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Joe Flacco’s recent history and most recent start helps set realistic expectations

Browns newest QB, and potential Week 13 starter, played last year for the New York Jets

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

As we enter the second day of practice for the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams in advance of their Week 13 game, there are very few knowns around the visiting team.

We know:

While all of the players, including DE Myles Garrett, on the injured list matter, DTR’s concussion at the game’s most important position is going to be the big one. That a veteran with the name value of Flacco is now on the team and in line to start if the rookie isn’t cleared just adds to that.

For most Cleveland fans, memories of Flacco are mostly negative due to his positive performance. The former first-round selection is 18-3 against the Browns including last year’s miraculous comeback as a member of the New York Jets.

Due to those memories, there are many Cleveland fans with visions of “elite Joe Flacco” dancing in their heads as Week 13’s start looms.

Despite all his success with the Baltimore Ravens and against the Browns, Flacco’s last four seasons have been far less impressive. In 2019, Flacco was 2-6 as a starter with the Denver Broncos throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions while being sacked 26 times.

In three years with the Jets, the 6’6” QB had a record of 1-8 (yes the lone victory was versus Cleveland) with 14 touchdowns, six interceptions and 19 sacks. He completed just 58% of his passes.

In his most recent start, in Week 18 of the 2022 season against the Miami Dolphins, Flacco went 18-33 for 149 yards. No touchdowns, interceptions or sacks. On that day, talented rookie WR Garrett Wilson caught nine of the 17 passes thrown his way for 89 yards. No other receiver had more than 17 yards.

The Jets roster was much more limited than the one Flacco might line up with this week. While Wilson is talented, Zonovan Knight led the rushing attack with 12 carries for 22 yards while Ty Johnson had five attempts for 12 yards.

New York’s offensive line was also a mess and the team was finishing off a 7-10 season as well.

If Flacco starts on Sunday, the situation around him will be much different than the last time he started a game. However, Flacco’s last four seasons have not shown a quarterback that can carry a team to victory. He might not have to with the Browns defense but fans expecting a high-performing QB might be disappointed. That Flacco only seems to exist versus Cleveland.

If the Browns can get 60-65% completion and no turnovers (even if it is only 170 yards passing) from Flacco fans should celebrate as it would give the team the best chance to win versus the Rams. Anything more than that might be too high of an expectation especially since he only recently joined the team.

What are your expectations if Flacco starts this Sunday?