Joe Flacco was the right call for New York Jets

To the surprise of many, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that Joe Flacco, not Mike White or Zach Wilson, would start against the Miami Dolphins.

Many expected Wilson to return to the lineup following a week of practice as the scout team quarterback. However, according to the Jets, Wilson is not yet fully recovered from his knee injury. He will be inactive for the fourth straight game.

While the Mike White fairytale was fun while it lasted, the reality is Joe Flacco gives the Jets their best chance to defeat Miami this week.

The reason for that is simple: Flacco is capable of attacking deep while White is not.

In his third start, White came crashing back down to Earth against the top-ranked Bills defense, throwing four interceptions in a blowout loss. Buffalo was able to suffocate New York’s receivers in man coverage, correctly expecting White to focus underneath. Due to White’s limited downfield ability, the Bills never felt threatened deep and were free to sit on everything shallow.

Flacco, however, can threaten defenses downfield. That should open up the offense against Miami’s aggressive defense.

The Dolphins’ favorite coverage, the zero blitz, has given the Jets headaches in the past. Sam Darnold’s infamous “seeing ghosts” game came against the Patriots’ zero blitzes, the same ones Dolphins head coach Brian Flores deploys himself as a former Patriots coach.

Most teams beat zero blitzes by either throwing quick passes underneath or max-protecting and taking shots against one-on-one coverage. Darnold fell victim to the zero blitz because he couldn’t threaten the Pats vertically, allowing them to recklessly drive on underneath passes. If White started against Miami, there likely would be a similar result.

Considering both White and Flacco lack mobility, the only other way for New York to back off the Dolphins’ defense is to scare them with the deep ball.

The Jets have the skill position talent to take the top off of Miami’s secondary, but if the quarterback can’t make the throw, it won’t matter.

Flacco gives the Jets the best chance to hit on deep passes against zero blitzes, preventing the defense from spending the whole game squatting on hot reads underneath. Once the Jets hit a deep shot, it will open up the quick throws for easier yards.

If the Jets want to avoid disaster for the third week in a row, starting Joe Flacco gives them their best chance to accomplish that.

The Oklahoma Drill Podcast crew is back to review a tough loss to Buffalo and look ahead to a pivotal “right the ship” opportunity with Miami coming to town.

The Jets are desperate for a win to build momentum ahead of Wilson’s return. The Dolphins offer a chance to do just that.

Audio Version available to members only. Learn more here.

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Andrew Golden is a film analyst for Jets X-Factor with a focus on the NFL Draft, prospect evaluations and breaking down scheme fits. He also co-hosts the Oklahoma Drill Podcast with Vitor Paiva and Matt Mauro. Email: agoldenjets@gmail.com

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