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Guess who is hoping new Browns QB Joe Flacco fails?

This portion of the season involves getting help from other clubs

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

When new Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco took the field last Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, many had their opinions of what to expect from the 38-year-old signal caller.

Would he have rust? After all, he hadn’t played in an actual game since Week 17 of the 2022 season for the New York Jets.

How would he play as a 38-year-old playing a young man’s game? That is an honest question, which was answered in the game as Flacco played well, and except for a horrible interception, he was more than a game manager who would hand the ball off 40 times a game.

Did he still have arm strength? Maybe a bit too much as he sailed the ball over receiver’s heads seven times in the contest. Of course, two were on purpose to save getting a sack, but the others just took off and were wild. But his arm strength is no longer a question. Even his passes have a great spin with a tight spiral.

Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

Does Flacco have any mobility left? What he proved is that he wasn’t going to gain valuable real estate with his legs, but he did come out of the pocket numerous times when flushed and was able to remain focused downfield. He had several good reads on his scrambles and was able to find an open receiver here and there including the “butt catch.”

Since Flacco remains a practice squad member and is considered the emergency QB3, could the Browns expect a full season out of him? Against the Rams, he showed calmness and the ability to go through his progressions and able to sustain drives.

And after the game, did he receive any adulation from Browns’ fans? Before the game, a good percentage of fans were sold on having rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (DTR) taking the reins for the remainder of the year. But now? Currently, DTR remains in concussion protocol. It is unclear if and when he will be cleared to play, but even if he is, there is a split camp on whether he should be inserted or go with the seasoned veteran for the rest of 2023.

But against the Rams, Flacco had one deterrent who made no qualms about his desire for him to fail: Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

For Week 13, the Ravens had a bye following their 20-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers the week before. On Monday after all games were played in Week 13, Harbaugh had his weekly press conference and one of the questions asked was if he watched the Browns vs. Rams game, and if he was rooting for his former quarterback. His answer:

“I was rooting against Joe [Flacco] and the Browns.”

The Ravens are leading the AFC North Division and own the Number 2 seed as the post-season is slowly getting nearer. The Browns have split their games with both the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers

Harbaugh added:

“I watched some games but wasn’t glued to the TV. I don’t even have a package. I watch Red Zone and the networks. I am at games; I’m not going to pay for that. But on the bye week, I am kinda mad at myself for not having it. So, you root against the teams that are in your way.”

While Baltimore was idle, both the Browns and Steelers lost. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals beat the AFC South Division leader Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday Night Football to get within one game of both Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Harbaugh acknowledged he did catch the Browns-Rams game for several reasons, One, was to see the Browns lose, and secondly, Los Angeles is the Ravens’ next opponent.

He explained:

“The Rams have now won three in a row. I think Joe’s cool. It’s cool what Flacco did, [and] he looked really good, but I couldn’t root for him yesterday.”

New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens, 2013 AFC Championship Set Number: X156078 TK1 R1 F102

Flacco was drafted by Baltimore in the first round and then played for Harbaugh from 2008-2018. Flacco guided the Ravens to a Super Bowl win and played in 16 playoff games during his tenure in Baltimore. After the franchise drafted QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens traded Flacco to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round draft pick.

While Harbaugh was having his weekly meeting with the media, in Berea Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski also had his weekly presser. When asked who would start this week at QB if DTR is cleared to play, he stated he was undecided.

On his media event via Zoom, Stefanski stated:

“I’m not going to get into those types of things. It’s just Monday and we’ll work through that.”

But Stefanski did give his take on what he saw with Flacco’s game against the Rams as far as how he functioned and operationally how he calmed the waters for the position.

“Operationally Joe did a nice job, he was sharp. In and out of the huddle we weren’t perfect, but Joe did a nice job which is what you would expect from a veteran. We had nine guys with receptions and if we are doing our job that is what it is. The ball always goes where it goes based on the defense. I thought Joe got through progressions and he found a bunch of guys in the passing game.”

And if Stefanski’s decision is indeed Flacco going forward, he will have plenty of new fans wishing him good fortunes in hopefully a playoff season.

At least Harbaugh could have said about his former quarterback that he was rooting for Flacco just not his new team.