Joe Flacco to Start for Jets vs. Cardinals After Sam Darnold's Shoulder Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2020

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold celebrates after rushing for a touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

New York Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold will miss at least one game because of a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 4.  

Head coach Adam Gase told reporters on Wednesday that Joe Flacco will start this week's game against the Arizona Cardinals

Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Darnold was diagnosed with an AC shoulder joint sprain suffered during the Jets' 37-28 loss to the Denver Broncos on Oct. 1. 

The injury occurred when Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson sacked Darnold, who landed on his right (throwing) shoulder.

It remains to be seen if the 23-year-old is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Jets franchise. He had the usual and expected struggles of a rookie signal-caller in the 2018 season, throwing for 2,865 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing just 57.7 percent of his passes in 13 starts. 

But Darnold didn't take a major leap forward in 2019, throwing for 3,024 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing just 61.9 percent of his passes, again in 13 starts. While the Jets were 4-9 in his starts as a rookie, though, that number improved to 7-6 last year. 

However, with the team off to a disappointing 0-4 start—and Darnold posting lackluster numbers of 792 passing yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions—it's fair to question whether he's truly a player the Jets can build around. 

Granted, he's never been surrounded with average—let alone good—weapons at the skill positions on offense. He's been behind poor offensive lines. And it's also fair to question whether Gase has done much for his development given the team's struggles under his watch. 

So it's hard to completely judge Darnold's career to this point. The context of his situation in New York has clouded the picture. 

Regardless, the Jets will now be without him, at least for the time being. Flacco will be making his first start of the season after completing two passes last week against the Broncos.