The New York Jets have named Mike White the starter for their Week 10 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. This comes after a couple of weeks where White has been playing very well, including in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. In addition to this, Zach Wilson has been on the injury report for the past couple of weeks, and he would likely still be slowed down a bit if he were to play this week. So, now that a starter has been named for Week 10, who should the Jets start for the rest of the season?
Mike White Gets the Start in Week 10
As mentioned above, Saleh announced on Wednesday that White will indeed be starting against the Bills, and he said some interesting things when explaining why. For example, he said that White is “a quarterback who is giving you a clear blueprint on how this offense is supposed to be run,” and this does seem to imply that the coaching staff thinks Wilson is not running the offense correctly, but fans could already tell you that.
But the question must be asked, is White really playing that much better than Wilson? A deeper dive into how they differ answers that. One of the main complaints about the Jets, and specifically Wilson, is that he does not get the ball out, and this leads to extra pressure. Wilson was sacked way more often than White, and Wilson is partially to blame. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Wilson leads the NFL in TT (Time to throw), at 3.1 seconds on average. White, however, sits at the bottom of this stat at 2.63 seconds.
In addition to this, simply looking at the passer rating for both quarterbacks is extremely telling. While White sits at a 95.9 rating, right around Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, Wilson currently sits at 63.5, which is worst in the NFL by a wide margin.
In this West Coast-style offense, the ball must be out quickly. It’s only successful if the quarterback can hit those quick throws, which so far, Wilson hasn’t. On top of that, he is currently working his way back from a knee injury, and with the Jets not in contention, there is no need to rush him back.
But What About Zach Wilson?
Conversely, it does feel weird not starting the second overall pick in the draft, especially if he were able to play. What Wilson put on tape wasn’t all bad. He missed open receivers, took too much time in the pocket, and wasn’t efficient when he needed to be. However, while most of it was bad, he has shown flashes on multiple occasions.
Mike LaFleur, by the way, is also now up in the box, which is where he has always preferred to be. John Beck, who is Wilson’s personal quarterback coach, is now an official coach on the Jets staff. He has been on the sideline the past two weeks, and it helps to have both of them in their current situations. White has also put two good weeks of tape out there, stuff that Wilson would be able to improve from.
Being able to see how Wilson can run this offense after the past couple of weeks would be really exciting, but there is no reason to rush him in. It seems like Saleh and the rest of the coaching staff would like to ease him back into action and stay with the hot hand in White. There is no reason to punish him for playing well, especially when he gives the team a chance to win.
The Final Answer
The Jets made the right decision in keeping White as the starter. Even if the Jets are not in contention this year, it gives the fans hope to have an offense that can put up 30 points per game. Furthermore, Wilson is coming off an injury, and we have seen a few quarterbacks of recent times that got injured way too often and fizzled out or had to step away from the game (RG3, Andrew Luck, etc.).
White also has the hot hand, which the Jets would be foolish to temper. Ride with him, and when Wilson comes back to full health, let him play against a team that does not sit atop the NFL in defense. The Miami Dolphins are on the docket for Week 11, and they represent a seemingly weaker team overall.
Do not make this a bigger deal than it is. Wilson will come back eventually, and it does not have to be this week. When he does return, hopefully, he looks more like White has in the past couple of weeks.
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