The New York Jets suffered a major setback under center ahead of the new NFL season as 2021 second overall pick Zach Wilson sustained a bone bruise plus a torn meniscus during the preseason.
Wilson underwent surgery on Tuesday, August 16 to repair the meniscus and was reported to have no additional damage to his knee, putting him on track to return to the team after his two-to-four-week recovery timetable.
With this development, the Jets will have to rely on veteran backup quarterback Joe Flacco to lead them in their Week 1 matchup against his former squad, the Baltimore Ravens.
Flacco's connection with the Ravens runs deep after spending the first 11 years of his career with the franchise, which included a Super Bowl title and the quarterback being awarded the Super Bowl MVP.
He put up great numbers as their main quarterback during that time, winning 96 of his 163 regular season starts while also putting up franchise records in passing yards (38,245), passing touchdowns (212), and interceptions (136).
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked about the prospect of facing his former quarterback in Week 1 and was quick to show respect and admiration for Flacco.
"He [Joe Flacco] has been playing for three or four years now away from us, and he's had some great moments. We've never played against his team yet, I don't believe, but it's been fun watching him, [and] it will be different when you play against him as an opponent. We haven't done that yet," said Harbaugh.
The thought of having a "former quarterback versus the guy who replaced him" storyline is always an intriguing prospect in any sport as seeing the mentee upend his teacher validates both sides' career progression.
Lamar Jackson found himself in control of the Ravens' offense when Flacco went down with a hip injury in their 2018 Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Louisville Cardinal signal caller led them to a 6-1 record, which cemented his spot at the position, with Flacco being relegated to a backup role for the first time in his career.
While Flacco struggled to find consistency since being traded in February 2019, the Ravens continued to soar to greater heights with Jackson at the helm.
Harbaugh is fully aware of what Flacco brings to the table and that familiarity with each other changes nothing in their preparations.
"We'll prepare for the Jets... Obviously, we have great respect for all their guys, but Joe [Flacco] we know, and he's a Raven. Once a Raven, always a Raven. So, we've got a lot of respect for Joe – and great family," Harbaugh stated.
The Ravens led by Jackson and Jets with Flacco opposing him will go head-to-head against one another on Sunday, September 11 at MetLife Stadium in New York.