Joe Flacco is back with the Jets. On Friday at One Jets Drive, the veteran quarterback was peppered with questions about his role in his second go-round with the Green & White. Backup or mentor? Aspiring coach?
"Coaching? Flacco said. "I've thought about it and have zero interest."
Backup? Mentor? The 36-year-old signal-caller took a shot at both with the bottom line being "I think I'm here short term to help out as much as I can on the field."
That opportunity, however, will not come in Sunday's game against Cincinnati at MetLife Stadium because Mike White will start for the injured rookie QB Zach Wilson and Josh Johnson will back White up. Wilson will miss 2-to-4 weeks with a sprained PCL in his right knee.
Though HC Robert Saleh was taking things day-to-day in regards to his QB for next Thursday night's game at Indianapolis, there would be a strange symmetry if Flacco ended up facing the Colts. Last season he made his Jets debut in a Thursday night game against Denver.
"Last year by comparison I hadn't called a single play until I got in there against the Broncos," he said. "It was the first time I called a play in that offense. I couldn't practice in training camp [because of a neck injury], then that week, it was all scout team. But I've played long enough to adapt on the fly."
Flacco left the Jets and signed in free agency with Philadelphia (which is close to his South Jersey home) as the backup to rookie Jalen Hurts. Flacco had not taken a regular-season snap with the Eagles before he was acquired by Jets GM Joe Douglas in a trade earlier this week.
"Maybe I had the opportunity to stay here, maybe not," he said. "I felt like Philadelphia was my one chance, I felt like they were really my opportunity. Sam [Darnold] was still here, they hadn't drafted Zach. I felt like I had to make a decision, I felt it was a good situation down there. I had to make a decision without all the information. There were a lot of positives besides the team down there -- it's close to home, I was able to live at home, my kids stayed in school and all that. Those things all weighed in."
Flacco (6-6, 245) started four games for the Jets last season, completing 55.2% of his passes while throwing for 864 yards, 6 TDs and 3 INTs. He was Baltimore's starting QB for the first 11 seasons of his NFL career, completing 61.7% of his passes for 38,245 yards and 212 TDs to 136 INTs. He had a passer rating of 84.1 and a won-loss record of 96-67. He played in Denver in 2019 and sustained a neck injury that cut his season short. He's thrown for 40,931 yards in his career, 224 TDs and 144 INTs while completing 61.7% of his passes.
"Getting Flacco, we have good stability in the quarterback room," Saleh said this week. "Now we just got to go play."
Flacco has always been a candid, straight shooter ... and nothing changed on Friday as he addressed the question about being a mentor to Wilson.
"I don't think that's always a conversation I want to have," he said. "I'm never trying to be that guy, I don't know, I don't necessarily see veteran players as always being the best mentors, including myself. When it comes down to it I'm a team guy, I have great relationships, whatever role it is I'm going to do it. I don't necessarily think bringing in a veteran quarterback means he's going to be a great mentor.
"The coaches have a ton of time to do what they're doing and make sure they know how to get across to everybody. Sometimes veterans come in and shake things up the wrong way, argue with the coach, and the rookie starts listening to him and not the coach. It's not always a great dynamic. There are benefits like getting into the meeting room, he may be struggling with footwork or reads. You want to simplify things for a young quarterback. Sometimes coaches have a tough time getting things across to the quarterback because guys just want to get to the line, and as detailed as it might be, you still have to keep the simplest terms in mind so you can play as fast as possible. I will embrace that role."
But ... Joe Flacco is back with the Jets because he still believes he can play.
"I see myself playing here at some point in the next couple of weeks," he said.