Dan Orlovsky, NY Jets, Zach Wilson
Dan Orlovsky, ESPN, New York Jets, Getty Images

Dan Orlovsky’s co-hosts clearly disagreed with his claim

Only time will tell what lies ahead at the New York Jets‘ quarterback spot. But it’s clear that it doesn’t involve Dan Orlovsky.

Orlovsky, an NFL quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst, boldly implied that he was the answer to the Jets’ passing woes during Thursday’s edition of “First Take.” Previewing the Jets’ Thursday night get-together with the Jacksonville Jaguars (8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video/WNYW), Orlovsky was asked by host Molly Qerim if the Jets’ uncertainty at quarterback was holding the team’s fortunes back.

Orlovsky’s response starts off rational enough … declaring that it’s “absolutely” the case … but things dive into the bizarre shortly after.

“I honestly think that if I went and played for the Jets they’d be a playoff team,” Orlovsky declares. While Orlovsky lasted a while as a nomadic NFL quarterback (2005-17), he apparently believed he could do so at his current state at age 39. “I could barely walk up and down the stairs right now.”

Orlovsky seems to immediately realize the firestorm he’s conjured with his comments, laughingly telling co-analyst and fellow NFL alum Marcus Spears to “fix (his) glasses,” which Spears has lowered to his nose in a quizzical fashion. Spears responds with laughter while Qerim tries to come to Orlovsky’s defense, claiming that he has remained in shape since his last NFL snaps.

That wasn’t enough to stop another analyst, Stephen A. Smith, from referencing Orlovsky’s infamous two-point gap from the 2008 season, when his lengthy dropback in the shadow of his own goal line produced a safety in a loss to Minnesota.

“When you’re the quarterback, you do have to stay in bounds in order to produce on the football field,” Smith chides, much to the raucous laughter of Spears. “You can’t win the game if you’re out of bounds.”

Orlovsky’s claim was likely tongue-in-cheek, as his last regular season snaps came with the Detroit Lions in 2015. While he posted some semi-respectable numbers when headlining different versions of football brutality … including the winless Lions from 2008 and the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts from 2011 … that likely wouldn’t be enough to supplant Zach Wilson as the Jets’ starting quarterback for Thursday’s crucial contest.

Wilson is set to reassume the Jets’ passing reins after losing the starting role to the since-injured Mike White. Unlike Orlovsky, Wilson has managed to salvage this season with a 5-3 mark over eight starts, a mark partly sustained by a dominant Jets’ defense. Thursday will see Wilson go head-to-head with Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the only player chosen ahead of him in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Despite a 2-10 record as a starter, Orlovsky managed to build a lengthy NFL career, lasting 13 seasons between Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles. It’s safe to say, however, that the Jets won’t be calling if/when they decide to re-open their quarterback competition this season, no matter how desperate they get.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email: geoffmags90@gmail.com
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Peter Buell
Peter Buell
11 months ago

How does Steven Smith have a job. Anyone can yell and name drop