Jets turn to Flacco in bid for first win vs. Cardinals
The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals aim to get their seasons on track Sunday afternoon when they meet in East Rutherford, N.J.
The Jets are 0-4, one of four remaining winless teams in the NFL. Now, they are without starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who will miss Sunday’s game because of a sprained shoulder sustained in last week’s 37-28 loss to Denver.
Veteran Joe Flacco will start against the Cardinals, New York coach Adam Gase announced Wednesday.
“When I watch (Flacco) throw, the stuff I’ve seen him do on the scout team, the arm strength is still there,” Gase said. “I know that. Joe seems like he’s gonna be fine. It’s just more about just kind of working with the guys that he’s gonna play with on Sunday and just getting into some kind of rhythm.”
The Jets are 0-6 over the past two seasons when Darnold does not play due to injury or illness. But things have also been a struggle with Darnold behind center in 2020.
New York enters the week ranked last in the league in passing offense (179.5 yards per game) and second-to-last in both scoring (16.3 points per game) and total offense (278.0 yards per game).
Those issues have translated to the other side of the ball. The Jets rank in the middle of the pack in total defense (368.8 yards allowed per game), but third-to-last in scoring defense (32.8 points per game).
Flacco could get help this week, as running back Le’Veon Bell is eligible to come off injured reserve and was designated to return to practice Wednesday.
Linebacker Blake Cashman, wide receiver Vyncint Smith and defensive end Jabari Zuniga were also designated to return to practice after stints on injured reserve. Rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims, who has also been on injured reserve with injuries to both hamstrings, was not designated to practice.
Cornerback Bless Austin (calf), offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (shoulder), linebacker Jordan Jenkins (shoulder/calf) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Safety Ashtyn Davis (groin) and wide receiver Chris Hogan (ribs/knee) were limited.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring), offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (shoulder) and linebacker Jordan Willis (ankle) were full participants in Wednesday’s practice.
The Cardinals (2-2) won their first two games, creating early buzz about second-year quarterback Kyler Murray and the offense. That has dwindled significantly after back-to-back losses to Detroit and Carolina.
Arizona’s defense could not get off the field against the Panthers, allowing scoring drives of 15, 13, 10, nine and eight plays. That limited the Cardinals to 55 offensive plays, and receiver DeAndre Hopkins to 41 yards on seven catches.
“We’re trying to figure ourselves out, what we are, what our identity is,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’re still a work in progress, obviously.”
Kingsbury said Wednesday that Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker is expected to return Sunday after missing last week’s game due to a thumb ligament injury that required surgery. Baker, running back Kenyan Drake (chest) and offensive lineman Justin Pugh (leg) were all full participants in Wednesday’s practice.
Safety Chris Banjo (hamstring), tight end Darrell Daniels (thigh) and linebacker Devon Kennard (calf) did not practice Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (calf) was limited.
–Field Level Media