Can former champ Joe Flacco end Jets' misery? Wrong time, wrong team

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Good luck, Joe Flacco. You'll need it.

You're not in Baltimore anymore.

Eight years removed from his signature moment -- Super Bowl XLVII MVP -- Flacco this week inherits one of the toughest jobs in the NFL. He's the quarterback of the New York Jets, which means he will preside over an offense that can't run, can't score and can't protect its quarterback.

And in case anyone hasn't noticed, they don't have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on the other side of the ball to clean up everyone's mistakes.

Yes, this is a difficult assignment for Flacco, who replaces the injured Sam Darnold on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Flacco hasn't started a game in 347 days and has barely practiced because of a late start due to offseason neck surgery. So we're talking about a rusty, immobile quarterback behind a leaky offensive line that will be charged with blocking pass-rusher Chandler Jones, he of 97 career sacks.

What could go wrong?

"It's funny, the four plays that I ran in the game [last Thursday night] were the first four plays that I've heard from [coach Adam Gase] and ever called in the huddle," Flacco said Wednesday after practice.

Ostensibly, the Jets signed Flacco, 35, for a situation like this. In recent years, they seemingly had no shot whenever a backup quarterback was pressed into action. In the Darnold era, they're 0-6 when he doesn't start. In fact, they've lost 11 straight games with a backup in a starting role.

Roll call, please: Luke Falk 0-2, Trevor Siemian 0-1, Josh McCown 0-3 and Bryce Petty 0-5.

The last victory by a backup was Dec. 11, 2016, when the scatter-armed Petty managed to pull out a road victory against the San Francisco 49ers.

Unfortunately for the Jets, the current circumstances aren't ideal. First of all, there's not much season to save, thanks to an 0-4 start. Their offense has generated five touchdowns and looks lost in the red zone. The proverbial hope is a change can provide a spark, but that's an enormous ask. It's too soon.

Quite simply, Flacco hasn't played a lot of football. His last start was last Oct. 27 for the Denver Broncos, his final appearance in a rather mediocre season -- 2-6 record, six touchdown passes, five interceptions and 26 sacks. He took a beating, injured his neck and underwent surgery in April. He signed with the Jets in May and wasn't able to practice until the regular season. He was a bystander in training camp.

Last week was Flacco's first game in a Jets uniform. Before he could get settled in his role -- boom! -- he was in the game.

Welcome to the Jets, where stuff gets crazy fast.

"It was a little weird last week," Flacco said. "My adrenaline was definitely pumping."

Flacco believes the normalcy of a full week of preparation will help him against the Cardinals (2-2). He still can sling it; that was apparent in last week's pregame warm-ups. Maybe his arm strength will provide a vertical element to the passing attack, although the best vertical threat -- wide receiver Breshad Perriman (ankle) -- is banged up and might not play.

He also might not have his left tackle, rookie sensation Mekhi Becton, who is nursing a shoulder injury. Flacco's blind side won't be protected by Conor McDermott -- lucky for him -- but rather Chuma Edoga or George Fant. Running back Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) likely will be back in the lineup, but the revamped offensive line has provided little evidence it can open holes for him to run.

Unlike Darnold, whose improvisational ability allowed him to create three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), Flacco has limited mobility. He's a pocket passer who might not have a pocket. He's confident, though. He still wants to be a starter, and he sees this as a showcase for the rest of the league.

"I'd be lying if I was to deny that," he said. "I want to play quarterback in this league. There's definitely some truth to that right there."

Flacco has the right attitude, but it's the wrong time and the wrong team.