Before Week two of the 2019 NFL season had concluded losses at the quarterback position were felt around the league. It began with Indianapolis Colts superstar Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement prior to the season. Then, Jacksonville Jaguars signal caller Nick Foles went on Injury Reserve with a shoulder injury. Week two was brutal as the New Orleans Saints lost Drew Brees for over a month, and the Pittsburgh Steelers announced Ben Roethlisberger is to miss the remainder of the season with an elbow injury. All of these teams have their team in the hands of their backup quarterback, except for the New York Jets as they turn to third-string quarterback Luke Falk.
Luke Falk Is Next Man Up for New York Jets
How Did the Jets Get Here?
In the off-season, the Jets signed former Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Trevor Siemian to a one-year deal to back up Sam Darnold. Around them, the team added halfback Le’Veon Bell, receiver Jamison Crowder, amongst others in a revamped offense. Entering the season, it was a team that if everything went right, there was playoff potential.
Clearly, it was a big if. The season opener against the Buffalo Bills was brutal as the Bills scored 17 unanswered to win 17-16. Little did fans know that was the beginning of the worst start imaginable. The injury report quickly saw 2019 third overall pick defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and linebacker CJ Mosley added to it. It was also announced that receiver Quincy Enunwa was to miss the remainder of the season with another serious neck injury.
It can’t get any worse right?
Then the heartbreaking report came in. That illness that Darnold missed practice with was diagnosed as mononucleosis, which causes an enlarged spleen that if hit, could be fatal. That being said, this past Monday night the Jets turned to backup Trevor Siemian for the foreseeable future with the unknown timeline for Darnold’s recovery.
The Cleveland Browns marched in and stopped Siemian’s offense from moving the ball. Nothing was happening, and then Siemian went down. One of those injuries that the moment it happens, fans get the feeling that’s it for that player.
And that is where Luke Falk comes in.
Who is Luke Falk?
From the class of 2013, the three-star recruit went to Mike Leach’s air raid offense of Washington State. Falk has never had the strongest of arms or been the most mobile threat, but he has always played a smart and accurate game. He started five games as a freshman, quickly earning his way into the starting job for the next three years. Falk threw for 14,481 yards and 119 touchdowns to only 39 interceptions in his career as a Cougar. With a winning record, his football IQ, and consistent production, he gained interest from the NFL.
He was selected in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlen’s report on Falk spoke of how Falk is a “tall, rhythm passer with good natural accuracy and years of quality production who is much more comfortable working the perimeter and against man coverage… There are some holes that could be hard to correct in Falk’s game.”
Entering 2019 with the Jets, he was fourth on the depth chart behind Darnold, Siemian, and Davis Webb. Quickly, Falk’s smart play overtook Webb for the third-string job, but both were cut as the team brought its roster to 53. Unlike Webb, Falk was brought back as the theoretical third quarterback, if needed, as a member of the practice squad.
And just like that, he was in line for Siemian’s backup for Monday and now he’s the starter.
What to Expect from Luke Falk
Once Siemian went down, the Jets quickly had Falk take over. At first, it was all about Bell and the run game, but then Falk settled in. He finished the game with a promising 20/25 for 198 yards. The former Dolphin even drove the ball into Browns territory multiple times.
With Falk at quarterback and his familiarity to Gase’s offense, expect the offense to run at full speed. Falk is an intelligent player with a high football IQ and has plenty of experience as a leader. This team will rally around him this week as the line against the New England Patriots this week is in favor of the Pats at -22.5. Bell and Ty Montgomery will be getting tons of touches, as well as Robby Anderson and Crowder in the air.
With this being Gang Green’s third starting quarterback in as many weeks, this has not been the start that anyone expected. And it could very well be a difficult game on Sunday in Foxborough. However, the Jets have the bye next week, with the potential of Darnold returning against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week five getting higher.
At The End of the Day
Falk does not need to win on Sunday for his start to be a success. He needs to simply come in, run the offense, and play his game. If he does that, win or lose, everyone will finally settle in. Entering the bye, the team will start getting healthy, the franchise quarterback is not lost for the season, and the offense has the potential to produce. The Jets will be a hungry team for the final 13 games of 2019. And it all starts with a practice squad turned starting quarterback Luke Falk playing a good game this Sunday.