There’s always hope on Opening Day, even when your team hasn’t made the playoffs for 11 straight seasons, even if your quarterback is the gray-bearded shooter called upon to hold the fort.
The 2022 Jets have yet to lose a game. The head coach and offensive coordinator and the franchise’s last young quarterback, on the knees for now, are no longer rookies. The general manager eliminated the 2022 draft from the park. And while much of the talent is young, it’s talent nonetheless, arguably more talent than the long-suffering Jets fans since the 2010 AFC Championship runners-up, bolstered by a group of experienced veterans.
For this troubled franchise and fanbase, it may be a day to forget the 53-year-old “Same Old Jets” monkey claiming the rights to squat on their backs, once the ball is thrown against the Ravens.
This must not be a day when the faithful laugh at the football gods for delaying Zach Wilson’s planned sophomore jump and obsess over Flacco’s 0-5 record as a Jet.
Nobody passed a law that says 37-year-old Joe Flacco can’t show up forever young against the team that drafted him and rudely dumped him for Lamar Jackson, the team that he led to the Super Bowl XLVII championship when everyone hailed him as Joe Cool.
There are three Week 1 quarterbacks with varying degrees of revenge on their minds – Russell Wilson on his return to Seattle, Baker Mayfield against the Browns and Flacco.
Flacco’s pressing challenge is to hold the fort behind an offensive line troubled by recently signed left tackle Duane Brown’s shoulder problems for no less than three weeks while Wilson’s meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee heal.
“Just enjoy the old man. …I’m listening, all the old people at home? Jump on Joe’s bandwagon! Flacco’s father, Steve, told the Post.
Robert Saleh and the Jets need good old Joe Flacco, and they need him now.
Flacco is the anti-Lamar Jackson facing chaotic pocket hell, but at least he hasn’t lost his fastball, and he’s in command of the offense and commands the respect of his teammates.
“We knew when [the Ravens in 2018] drafted the other guy in the first round, the end was in sight,” Steve Flacco said.
Bill Parcells used to label a trusted veteran with Flacco’s experience as a guy who holds the fort.
“They can kind of lead the ship in terms of bringing everyone back to reality and balancing everything out because they’ve been through a lot, so they know there’s going to be ups and downs,” Good said. Old Joe. “I think it gives young people a guy to watch maybe in the not-so-best moments in the middle of a game, for any season, whatever it is.”
Everything is fine. But Good Old Joe believes in his heart that he’s more than a guy who holds the fort.
“I don’t want to just go out there and run the game, if you want to say,” Good Old Joe told The Post. “It’s part of the quarterback role, so it’s going to be a good part of the game that’s always going to do that.
“But I really believe in my abilities to help this team win, not just give us a chance to win, you know?”
The Ravens made him the 18th pick of the 2008 draft after a scout named Joe Douglas watched the second half of a game Delaware lost in five overtime to Richmond. The legend of Joe Cool, the unflappable Jersey kid who created an 11-0 touchdown interception ratio in the playoff race to the Super Bowl XLVII title and MVP had begun.
“His job here is to hold the siege until Zach gets ready. … He understands that,” Steve Flacco said. “He’ll help Zach, and the other thing he’s going to help them with right now is hopefully he can play in some of these games so Zach can actually get better before they go. don’t bring him back, so they don’t have to rush him back. That in itself will be valuable to them.”
The playoffs could very well be a pipe dream for the Jets. But is it too much to ask that maybe, just maybe, it can at least be the dawn of a new day in which long-suffering Jets fans teased as they were by the year Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career in 2015 and the team of Sam Darnold and Adam Gase, can start believing again?
“A lot of guys are hungry,” Laken Tomlinson told The Post. “There are a lot of detractors, and we have something to prove. We have a bunch of winners in this locker room.
After a decade of hell, maybe the football gods will finally relent and allow Flight 2022, with Good Old Joe in the cockpit, to soar high enough to see what heaven looks like.
New York Post