Jets Chaos: Will The Jets Have a Quarterback Controversy If Joe Flacco Starts The Season and Scores Big in Game 1? 

August 26, 2022

The Jets coach Salah made it very clear in his press conference that Zach Wilson will play as soon as he is healthy and ready. But what if it takes him a few games into the season and the Jets are winning with Flacco? The organization will be hearing it from a big portion of the fanbase that wants to win now. Meanwhile, it has not been confirmed if Zach will miss game 1.

The Injury

When Zach Wilson decided to cut inside instead of going out of bounds against the Eagles in the first preseason game this summer, it almost seemed inevitable he would end up injured. At first, it did not look good. Thousands of doctors suddenly took over Twitter diagnosing the ailment to be a torn ACL. The mood was tense. 

The team has a very capable backup in Joe Flacco. But the reality is that he is 37 years old and clearly not the long-term answer the Jets are seeking for a long-term franchise quarterback. So while Joe Flacco is a great temporary solution to fill in for a couple of weeks, seeing him start every week was not what the typical Jet fan was hoping for.

Over the next few days, the news got better and better. Actual doctors, who actually got to treat and diagnose the injury properly, estimated that Zach would be back in action anywhere from 2-4 weeks. The team escaped a potential disaster. But if Joe Flacco is more than capable, why would it be a disaster? 

Thinking Ahead

While it can be argued the team has just as much a chance to win any given game with Flacco at the helm, there is a tremendous downside that comes with him playing a larger bulk or even an entire season. As mentioned previously, Joe Flacco is not the long-term solution. Zach Wilson might be the long-term solution. But the organization can’t figure that out if he is not on the field. So for as much as the fans and organization would love to win now, there has to be some consideration about the future and sustaining a competitive team for the long haul.

Thinking about the long term is understandably difficult for a fanbase that has not seen a playoff season in over 10 years. Fans are frustrated and rightfully believe they deserve better for their loyalty. But what is the ultimate goal? Do fans remember how it felt to make the playoffs only to lose and feel brokenhearted? While it’s been too long since making the playoffs, 50 years without a Superbowl appearance is more appalling.

The answer can’t be simply to win now at all costs. Experienced football fans know that strategy does not work. The Jets have tried that approach in the past only to fall flat on their face. At the same time, you can’t always be building for the future and never be focused on the present. There has to be a balance.  Maintaining an experienced former Superbowl champion to spot start when needed, but staying committed to the potential franchise quarterback of the future represents the organization’s commitment to that balance.

What if they win with Flacco?

All of this talk about balancing winning and losing now sounds really good before it is even confirmed Zach Wilson will miss the opening game. The reality is he might not only miss the opener, but he could miss a game or two more. So it raises a big question. What happens if Joe Flacco helps the Jets open the season with a couple of upset wins over Baltimore and Cleveland? What if he plays incredibly well? Will it be that simple to just pull him out of week 3 and insert Zach Wilson back into the starting role? Robert Salah says yes. But war will certainly erupt amongst the Jets fanbase if he follows through.

The argument is strong that the team needs to see what they have in the 2nd overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. But let’s remember that the Jets have not opened a season with two wins since they were relevant in 2015. And recently the team has made two losses to start the season a normal occurrence.  So if the Jets were suddenly 2-0, it is easy to understand why a large portion of the fanbase will be tempted to move forward with Joe and see where it could lead.

Image Courtesy of USA Today

In the end, Robert Salah is not going to back down, and neither will the young offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur. This coaching staff, and organization all the way up to Woody Johnson, believes in Zach Wilson. With the exception of a bad series against the Eagles in a pre-season game, Zach has had a very good camp up until the injury. He showed great promise and provided every reason to believe he will be improved enough to win this year. And more importantly, prove to the organization and fanbase that a franchise quarterback has arrived.