Jets’ Darnold out with shoulder, Flacco to start vs. Cards

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NEW YORK (AP)New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will sit out against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday with his sprained right shoulder.

Coach Adam Gase said Wednesday that veteran Joe Flacco will get the start at home in Darnold’s place.

”We’re just making sure we do the right thing, not only by him, but for the immediate future and long term,” Gase said of Darnold.

Darnold, who was injured last Thursday night against Denver, is week to week. The team will see how the quarterback feels after he rests this week.

”Hopefully he gets better quickly and he doesn’t miss too much time,” Gase said.

It marks the third straight year in Darnold’s young NFL career that he will miss at least a game. He was sidelined for three games as a rookie with a sprained foot and then three more last year while dealing with mononucleosis.

”He’s in a lot of pain,” Gase said. ”To go out and practice, it would be very difficult for him right now.”

Darnold sprained the AC joint in his throwing shoulder when he was sacked late in the first quarter by Denver’s Alexander Johnson. He stayed in for one more play and handed the ball off before heading to the locker room to be examined. Darnold appeared to have avoided serious injury when he came back into the game during the Jets’ next offensive series.

Gase said he and the team aren’t second-guessing the decision to have Darnold return since he’s now going to miss at least one game.

”At that time, the guys thought that was the right thing to do,” Gase said. ”He wanted to go back in and knew what it was. Obviously, after the game, the next game, he was a lot more sore than he was in real time. They weren’t worried about further damage. It would be hard for him to go practice this week.”

Darnold said Monday his shoulder seemed to be improving, but it would be up to doctors as to whether he’d be able to practice and ultimately play.

”I feel good,” Darnold said. ”Right now, just kind of taking it day by day. You know, it keeps getting better each day. So, I’m excited to see where my progress is come Wednesday. And we’ll see what we do there.”

Instead, the 35-year-old Flacco will make his first start since Week 8 of last season with Denver. He injured his neck in that game, a loss to Indianapolis, and had surgery on a herniated disk in April.

Flacco signed a one-year deal with the Jets in May and spent all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list. He was inactive the first three games, but was Darnold’s backup against the Broncos – and completed two passes for 16 yards in his eight snaps before Darnold returned.

Gase doesn’t anticipate the offense needing to change much with the switch at quarterback.

”Those guys have similar arm strength and all those types of things,” Gase said. ”Those guys can make all the same throws.”

In other injuries, running back Le’Veon Bell (hamstring), LB Blake Cashman (groin), WR Vyncint Smith (core muscle) and DE Jabari Zuniga (quadriceps) have all been designated to return to practice from IR.

Left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder), linebacker Jordan Jenkins (shoulder/calf), cornerback Bless Austin (calf) and wide receivers Breshad Perriman (ankle) and Denzel Mims (hamstrings) were not expected to practice. Wide receiver Chris Hogan (ribs/knee) and safety Ashtyn Davis (groin) were expected to be limited.

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