Robert Saleh explains decision to start Joe Flacco in Week 18

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By: Billy Riccette

With Mike White unable to play in Week 18 against the Miami Dolphins due to his fractured ribs, the Jets had a decision to make regarding who would start on Sunday. Would they give Zach Wilson one last shot in 2022 or would they go back to Joe Flacco one more time?

The Jets are going to end the season exactly the way they started the season, with Joe Flacco as their starting quarterback. Wilson will be the No. 2.

What was the reasoning behind going with Flacco over Wilson? “Call it a coach’s decision,” head coach Robert Saleh told the media Friday.

“It’s more to give Joe this opportunity, but also with Zach, call it a coach’s decision, I want to stay firm with him and make sure that he gets to attack this offseason and I just want to get him to the offseason, so we can start and attack the plan that we’ve been building. Putting him out there right now I just don’t, it’s not going to do him any good, it’s not going to do anyone any good, for him, for Zach, it’s all about ’23.”

Saleh spoke earlier this week about how it would be beneficial for Wilson to get away for a while during the offseason. “Go read a book,” as he put it. This somewhat gives him a head start on his offseason, though Wilson will always be one play away from being back on the field Sunday.

Saleh was also asked why he would go with Flacco over Chris Streveler. “Flacco gives us the best chance to win in that case,” he said.

“Quick processer, quick decision maker, quarterbacks sometimes can alleviate pressure by his ability to process and get rid of the football and that’s what Joe does,” Saleh added on Flacco.

When asked why Flacco despite his recent play, Saleh said you can’t hold Flacco accountable for the Buffalo game when he came in cold and threw three passes in place of an injured White.

Saleh even defended Flacco from before the Buffalo game. “I don’t think it was terrible. I get it, we were 1-2, he moved the ball, he did well, we didn’t score points, we could’ve been better on defense for him, was awesome versus Cleveland so yeah, little bit of up and down, but you know Joe’s still a veteran quarterback and gives us the best chance to win.”

Flacco could be having his swan song with the Jets, as he is set to be a free agent after the season, though Saleh did say he would “for sure” like to have Flacco back as a mentor for Wilson in 2023.

“Joe, Mike White, we love the room, there’s a lot of, obviously a lot of discussions that’ll have to be had with Joe (Douglas) and all of that stuff, but I thought Joe has done a great job just being a professional through this whole process, going from starter to backup, when we made the move from Zach, not getting that opportunity.”

“He’s just been a professional through all the chaos of the season and I really respect him for what he stands for. I call Joe, Joe is like a Ford pickup truck, you may not appreciate him in September, October, November because there’s nothing flashy in his game, but when December and January hit and the weather is kind of (expletive), he’s still freaking rolling, so Joe and I have a genuine appreciation for him.”

Originally posted on Jets Wire

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