Jets to start Joe Flacco at QB in season finale

Jets to start Joe Flacco at QB in season finale

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — In the latest twist in their ever-changing quarterback situation, the New York Jets have decided to start Joe Flacco — not Mike White — in their final game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

White was ruled out Friday after aggravating an earlier rib injury on a sack late in the first half in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, according to coach Robert Saleh.

“He’s just in a lot of pain,” Saleh said, adding that the injury “clearly affected his ability to throw the ball” in the second half.

Former quarterback Zach Wilson, inactive last week, will be the No. 2 quarterback.

In explaining why he chose Flacco over Wilson, Saleh said he wants the two-time benched Wilson to focus on 2023. A messy offensive line situation may have had a decision to make as well. Left tackle Duane Brown (shoulder), right tackle George Fant (knee) and right guard Nate Herbig (calf) — all starters — were ruled out.

“I want to take him into the offseason so we can attack the plan we’ve built,” Saleh said of Wilson. “Putting it out there now isn’t going to do him any good; it’s not going to do anybody any good. For Zach, it’s all about ’23.”

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The Jets could have three quarterbacks for the game if they keep Chris Streveler off the practice squad, as they have the last two weeks.

The game has no playoff implications for the Jets (7-9), who were eliminated last week after losing their fifth straight. However, it has some symmetry. They started the season with Flacco because of an injury and now they will end it with him for the same reason.

Flacco, 37, has not decided his future, so this could be the last game of his illustrious career, which includes a Super Bowl MVP award with the Baltimore Ravens.

New York will finish the season with three quarterbacks who have started at least four games each – Flacco (four), White (four) and Wilson (nine).

It marked the second time in the last four weeks that White was sidelined Friday with broken ribs. After being injured on December 11, he was preparing to start the following week, but could not get the go-ahead from the doctors. He ended up missing two games after Wilson was benched.

Wilson was benched again after Saleh returned to White in last week’s game against the Seahawks. White threw two interceptions and completed just 23 of 46 passes for 240 yards as he appeared to be dealing with a rib injury.

Saleh said he doesn’t second-guess his decision to play White in such an important game.

“He felt really good and looked really good in the first half, and then he got heavy again,” Saleh said. “You can play the hypothesis: Was it a mistake? He still played good football in the first half. But we knew the risk that if he got aggravated again, it wouldn’t be good — and he got aggravated again. .”

On Monday, Saleh said White “should be ready to go for Sunday,” but red flags were raised when the Jets canceled White’s regular media availability Thursday. Later, the injury report said he was down to “limited” in practice. Saleh was not available Thursday.

So the Jets turn to Flacco, who started the first three games after Wilson underwent preseason knee surgery. He won one of three starts, throwing five touchdowns and three interceptions. He played seven snaps in a Dec. 11 loss to the Buffalo Bills, looking rusty and reeling in a bare sack.

Overall, Flacco has a 28.8 QBR, which ranks 37th out of 38 passers with a minimum of 150 attempts.

White’s time with the Jets may be over, as he will be an unrestricted free agent. He finished the season with a 1-3 record, along with 3 touchdown passes, 4 interceptions, a 59% completion rate, 1,192 yards and 37.5 QBR.

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