June 18, 2024

Patriots

“Flacco hasn’t precisely set Cleveland on fireplace, however he is appeared higher than something in New England this season.”

Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) runs off the sphere after an NFL soccer sport towards the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Picture/Ron Schwane) AP

COMMENTARY

On the one hand, the Patriots appear poised to land both the primary or second choose in subsequent spring’s draft, giving the franchise a major alternative to safe one of many nation’s high quarterbacking abilities. As a result of as Sunday reiterated, with a 27-17 loss to the Chiefs in Foxborough, New England isn’t going to have the ability to compete with the Patrick Mahomeses of the NFL with out a Patrick Mahomes of its personal. 

Then again although, Joe Flacco. 

This isn’t to counsel that washed-up veteran quarterbacks are the cure-all for playoff-hopeful groups in determined want of a starter. Put the 38-year-old Flacco on the Patriots and possibly they’re a 6-7 win group. Then once more, identify anybody however Mac Jones the starter and also you is likely to be sniffing .500. 

It may be irritating to look at from afar. The Patriots can’t get any form of consistency out of both Jones or Bailey Zappe and in some way the Cleveland Browns, of all groups, discovered magic within the arm of Joe Flacco. The Browns, armed with one of many league’s high defenses, misplaced gazillionaire starter DeShaun Watson for the season after which determined that no matter they bought out of PJ Walker or Dorian Thompson Robinson on the place was so unhealthy that somebody like Flacco couldn’t do any worse. What’s occurred as an alternative is a novel re-birth of a profession with a group that’s abruptly the darling of middle-aged males in all places. 

On the subject of Flacco Magic, Patriot followers shouldn’t be asking, “Why not us?” Tom Brady himself would in all probability step off the apply discipline with this identical assortment of expertise and place a right away apology name to Joey Galloway (“I believed you have been unhealthy, however it’s best to see this.)  Flacco hasn’t precisely set Cleveland on fireplace, however he’s appeared higher than something in New England this season. 

Flacco got here up huge when it mattered most on Sunday, main a fourth-quarter comeback over the Chicago Bears. It was the form of veteran efficiency the Browns may solely have dreamed of from a middling quarterback pushing 40, flying instantly within the face of the overwhelming majority that insists the quarterback is the hub of every thing else on the soccer discipline. With out one of many nation’s greatest, you’re all the time going to be enjoying catch-up. Good luck hitting the lottery, otherwise you is likely to be using the rotating door used for many years in spots like Miami and Chicago. 

Paradoxically, Patriots head coach Invoice Belichick should love the present iteration of the group he used to educate 30 years in the past: a squad with a stable protection, good operating sport, and a forgettable identify and face at quarterback. Possibly it was what he was making an attempt to construct again up right here within the wake of Brady’s departure 4 years in the past. The protection is first rate, however teaching has been a mishmash of poorly-planned personnel, and the quarterback play has been among the many worst within the league. 

Joe Flacco wouldn’t have mounted this. Nor ought to his success in Cleveland immediate any form of league-wide seek for resurrecting presumably-dead careers. However, you imply to inform me that after all of the horrible quarterback play we’ve seen throughout the NFL this season, no one even gave Flacco, who was understanding and expressed curiosity to groups, an opportunity to work out earlier than Cleveland got here calling? What number of instances did the Patriots need to signal and launch Malik Cunnigham, Matt Corral, and Will Grier earlier than it ever occurred to them {that a} veteran is likely to be on the market price using? 

As aggravating as it may be for Patriot followers to witness, there ought to be some rooting curiosity relating to Flacco and the Browns. On the very least, their success helps define what the Patriots have to know; it doesn’t matter what they resolve to do with their first-round choose subsequent spring, the group desperately wants a veteran quarterback on the helm.

Caleb Williams. Drake Could. Bo Nix. Jayden Daniels. If any of them wind up beginning for the Patriots in 2024, the group dangers turning him into Bryce Younger, the No. 1 general choose who has had a nightmare rookie season in Carolina. Joe Flacco isn’t going to repair this both. However it’s one thing that any person like Baker Mayfield can handle simply as guys like Geno Smith are preserving groups viable within the current whilst they re-tool for the longer term. There are such a lot of examples for a way to do that flawed, how one can waste your draft capital within the identify of the hype machine. Williams is likely to be the subsequent John Elway. He is likely to be the subsequent Trevor Lawrence. He additionally is likely to be the subsequent Zach Wilson. 

Or — shudder — Mac Jones. 

In addition to, with such an emphasis being positioned on the quarterback, a place Belichick tends to offer much less consideration to than a beachside cabin doorbell digital camera, shouldn’t we pay extra consideration to guys like Brock Purdy, system quarterbacks who’re solely nearly as good because the expertise round them? That’s precisely how individuals described Brady’s limitations within the early portion of his profession.

That isn’t to say Purdy is the subsequent Brady, however there’s something to be mentioned for the aggressive gene current in each. Are groups higher off getting a quarterback who has to claw and show his means or one which comes on the high of his draft class and may need half fairness within the franchise? 

On the very least, Joe Flacco may make you need deal with Joe Alt or receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. with that choose subsequent spring. As a result of when you may have the right combination of expertise, even a journeyman might help make a playoff push. 

The Patriots are a couple of years away from lastly placing that recipe again collectively. Inform Flacco we’ll preserve his quantity on file although.