No one is expecting much of anything out of Luke Falk on Sunday when he presumably gets the first start of his NFL career at quarterback for the New York Jets.
Falk and the Jets face seemingly insurmountable odds Sunday in Foxboro when they’ll take on the New England Patriots as underdogs of 20-plus points. In fact, Falk’s long-term NFL prospects aren’t entirely encouraging on their own.
He’s an NFL long shot in more ways than one. In that way, at least, he’s kind of like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In fact, he’s kind of like Tom Brady in a lot of ways.
Now, now, hear us out: We’re not saying Falk will become Brady. No one ever will become Brady. We’re not saying Falk will become anything resembling Brady. We’re not even willing to say Falk will make another start in his NFL career after Sunday. But, goshdarnit, there are a whole bunch of similarities between the two quarterbacks, at least the early-career versions of the QBs.
Both Brady and Falk were tasked with beating massive odds early in their career. The Patriots took Brady with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. The Tennessee Titans, meanwhile, took Falk with, you guessed it, the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Spooky!
All right, so that’s whatever. It’s a coincidence — a potentially eerie coincidence — but a coincidence nonetheless. Still, if we dig a little deeper, we’ll find that the two players were also quite similar upon entering the NFL. It’s worthless to compare their stats with their college careers coming 20 years apart, but the pre-draft scouting reports paint an interesting picture.
BRADY: Good accuracy and touch
FALK: Good natural accuracy and years of quality production who is much more comfortable working the perimeter and against man coverage
BRADY: Smart and alert. Can read coverages
FALK: Accuracy, mobility within the pocket, and smart decisions make him a finalist for the Manning and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards
(Brady scored a 33 on the Wonderlic test; Falk scored a 29)
As for the weaknesses …
BRADY: Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush.
FALK: Mobility is below average … Sacked 125 times in his career
BRADY: Lacks a really strong arm.
FALK: Quick release disguises inconsistent arm strength
BRADY: System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.
FALK: Must prove he can win beyond his system
Oh, and how exactly did Brady get his start? As everyone knows, the then-second-year quarterback stepped in for Drew Bledsoe when the Patriots starter was knocked out of the second game of the season — against the Jets, mind you — and the rest is history. Falk, on the other hand, is replacing not one but two quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart in his sophomore campaign after they fell victim to mono (Sam Darnold) and an ankle injury (Trevor Siemian).
And Falk came into a game against the Cleveland Browns, who gave Bill Belichick his first head coaching job. He eventually was exiled from Cleveland, while being mocked and ridiculed by the local media. That’s not unlike Jets head coach Adam Gase, who was laughed out of Miami after a bumpy tenure with the Dolphins.
The evidence is everywhere you look, people! Connect the dots!
As we pull our tongue out of our cheek, we’ll again say it’s highly unlikely Falk’s career in any way shapes up to anything resembling Brady’s legendary run. But hey, don’t count it completely out.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images