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Robert Saleh doubles down on Joe Flacco as Jets’ QB1 amid Zach Wilson injury, but there’s a catch

Jets., Robert Saleh, Joe Flacco

With Zach Wilson still sidelined following knee surgery, Joe Flacco is expected to start for the New York Jets at quarterback in Week 2 Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. But there is the possibility that Mike White could get the starting nod instead.

“As of now, Joe’s our starting quarterback,” coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “It’s more than likely going to be Joe, but the door’s open on every position, every week.”

Flacco started Week 1 and presided over an ugly 24-9 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens. It was a mistake-filled game for the Jets, who have high hopes this season after rebuilding their roster with significant additions on both sides of the ball.

And the guy they call “Joe Cool” did not distinguish himself Sunday. Flacco completed 37 of 59 passes for 307 yards, mainly in the second half after the Jets fell into a 24-3 crater. He threw an interception and was under siege all afternoon. The Ravens had 22 QB pressures and sacked Flacco three times.

The 37-year-old struggled to get the ball downfield in the passing game against his former team, attempting one pass longer than 20 yards, a 24-yard completion to Elijah Moore. Twenty-seven of his attempts were for 10 yards or fewer.

The Jets also had four key drops and fumbled twice after receptions deep in Ravens territory.

“It was a real punch in the face,” Flacco said postgame.

Flacco is 0-6 as the fill-in Jets starter the past three seasons. He’s won two of his past 14 starts since 2019.

Jets fans chanted White’s name in the second half Sunday. They’re likely seeking the same magic White provided when he started for the injured Wilson last season and threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns on 37-of-45 passing in a Week 8 win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Saleh said during training camp that the Jets have three quarterbacks capable of being No. 1. Wilson, who sustained a non-contact injury to his right knee last August 12 and had arthroscopic surgery four days later, will return to practice on a limited basis this week. But he is not expected back in the lineup until Week 4 “at the earliest.”

That leaves Flacco, and perhaps White, to man the QB1 role until Wilson returns.