Mike White? Not quite.
The Jets took flight with White on Sunday afternoon, pulling out a stunning 34-31 win over red-hot Joe Burrow and the Bengals in MetLife Stadium.
With Zach Wilson out, White was elevated to QB1 for New York’s matchup vs. Cincinnati despite the fact that the team had recently acquired Joe Flacco for a conditional sixth-round pick. But White delivered in a big way. After throwing two early interceptions, White finished with 405 yards and three touchdowns on 37-of-45 passing.
White’s performance clearly caught the eye of the NFL world, but more importantly, Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who offered some intriguing comments on his backup’s future following the game.
“We’ll go day-to-day, but anything’s possible, right? Anything’s possible. The difference between Player A and Player Z is an opportunity in reps. That’s what this league is — that’s professional sports.
“That’s why they come out of nowhere, someone gets an opportunity. What Mike does with his opportunity is — he’s got the world in front of him. Just have to make the most of it.”
On the surface, for those hunting for views and clicks on this fine Monday morning, Saleh’s comments spell disaster and doom for No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, who’s currently sidelined with a PCL injury, but within context, it’s more classic coach speak from the Jets head coach. The “day-to-day” part is especially telling of … nothing changing with the Jets’ situation.
It goes without saying, but for those who need to hear it while watching “First Take” or listening to New York sports talk radio or debating in NFL talk group chats or whatever: The Jets aren’t going to make a long-term decision on a single performance from a fourth-year backup quarterback over their No. 2 overall pick after just six games in the season. That’s pretty obvious.
There are questions to when Wilson will start once again: The team hasn’t placed him on IR, which means he’s eligible to return at any time. With a two-to-four week timeframe on his injury, he could return as soon as Week 10 vs. the Bills.
White is a former fifth-round quarterback selection of the Cowboys, landing on the Jets in 2019 as a member of their practice squad. He would alternate between the practice squad and the active roster between 2019 and 2020. That’s not exactly franchise passer stuff.
White, though, will have an opportunity to prove it (again) on Thursday: Saleh didn’t waste any time naming White the starter for the “Thursday Night Football” matchup vs. the Colts, which is fine and expected.
The QB’s performance Week 8 should reassure Jets brass that they have a competent QB2 on the depth chart.
But really, that’s about it.