FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Four months ago, new Jets quarterback Luke Falk was unemployed.
On Sunday, he’ll be leading the team against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots up in Foxboro, Mass.
That’s quite the task for your first NFL start.
Six teams will go into Week 3 with a backup quarterback. The Jets’ starter is the most unheralded, but that’s nothing new to Falk.
“It has been a been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s starting to slow down. I’m just excited for the opportunity. I just want to go out there and do my job,” Falk told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer on Thursday at the team’s practice facility.
“Playing is the ultimate way to get … the ultimate fill. It has been good this week to get those reps, and I’m looking forward to Sunday,” said Falk, who was 20 of 25 for 198 yards and no turnovers in the Jets’ 23-3 loss to visiting Cleveland on Monday.
Falk wasn’t a first rounder. In fact, he was picked 199th overall. The same pick as his childhood idol, New England quarterback Tom Brady.
“It’s pretty cool. I mean, you’re going up and playing against one of your idols, but I’ll be facing the defense. I’m not playing against him,” Falk said.
Falk is accustomed to getting the job done. He was a walk-on at Washington State before leading the nation in passing yards. Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu was Falk’s teammate in college.
“I told him that it’s just like it was back at (Washington State), back in the old days. Just be yourself and just control everything. You the head man now. You’re the big dog. This is your spot. You’re on the stage now,” Luvu said. “Guys like Luke and myself, we’re not as talented, but if you put in the hard work, put your head down and grind through it I feel like you’re going to be successful.”
Just making an NFL team can be the pinnacle of a quarterback’s career. Moving from practice squad to starter is almost unheard of.
When asked if he thinks Falk’s path can be inspiring to other players, Luvu said, “One-hundred percent. Hard work beats talent for guys like Luke or myself, or those not as talented.”
“You got to realize it’s just football. I’ve been playing playing this sport for a long time, obviously not at this level. But you just have to keep simple things simple,” Falk said.
Because its not just about getting a chance, it’s what you do with it.
The move from the the practice squad to starter also helps Falk’s bank account. His salary has jumped from $122,000 to $585,000.