Jets' Robert Saleh on Backup Joe Flacco: 'He Could Start in This League'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 3, 2022

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - AUGUST 01: Quarterback Joe Flacco #19 of the New York Jets during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on August 1, 2022 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters at training camp Wednesday that he believes backup quarterback Joe Flacco can still start in the NFL.

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"Joe Flacco is a starting quarterback in this league. He's really, really talented."<br><br>- Robert Saleh <a href="https://t.co/B44q9nqQwF">pic.twitter.com/B44q9nqQwF</a>

"He could start in this league. I believe that," Saleh said after a reporter asked him about having an experienced backup quarterback behind second-year pro Zach Wilson.

"Sometimes, this league has a tendency to pigeonhole people or put labels on people, and their opportunities kind of get limited. But Joe Flacco is a starting quarterback in this league. He's really, really talented."

Flacco enjoyed tremendous team success when he started for the Baltimore Ravens from 2008 to 2018. Baltimore made the playoffs seven times during that span and won Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013. That capped a four-game playoff stretch in which Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The former Delaware star never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, but he got the job done and performed especially well in the playoffs.

During the 2018 season, the Ravens changed their QB1 to rookie Lamar Jackson. Flacco went on to become the Denver Broncos' starter in 2019, but his tenure lasted just eight games. He's now served as a backup quarterback for the Jets for three seasons.

Flacco did fare quite well in his last start, completing 24 of 39 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins on November 21, 2021.

The 37-year-old's full-time starting days may be behind him at this juncture, but there's no question he's one of the game's top backups. It's commonplace to see teams' offenses fall off a cliff if a backup quarterback takes over an offense, but Flacco is more than capable of steering the ship if he needs to moonlight for Wilson.

Flacco will see some old friends in Week 1 on Sept. 11 when his old team, the Ravens, visits the Jets at MetLife Stadium to open the season.