What we learned about the New York Jets and their fascinating quarterback situation on Sunday is that Mike White is in charge now and Zach Wilson cannot actually win back his old job.
It sounds harsh and perhaps even difficult to believe with Wilson being last year’s first round draft pick and the anointed face of the franchise. But it’s true.
The New York Jets on offense now belong to Mike White. He’s the quarterback going forward.
And the only way White goes out and Wilson comes back in this season is if White fails. So, no, Wilson cannot win his job back by practicing well and correcting things.
White has to lose it in a game first.
Mike White ‘Did A Great Job’
That’s where the Jets find themselves after Sunday’s 31-10 whipping of the Chicago Bears. That game, in which White started for the first time this season, saw the new quarterback throw 3 TD passes en route to a 315-yard passing performance.
“He did a great job,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters afterward. “He didn’t need to be anybody but Mike White. We didn’t need to turn into ‘The Greatest Show on Turf.’ We just wanted him to play within himself and play efficient. I thought he did that.”
Yeah, um, White was better than efficient.
In the rain, leading an offense that managed no touchdowns and only 103 total yards last week, White completed passes to 10 different receivers.
He drove the Jets for a score on their first possession to set the tone and didn’t turn the ball over either with an interception or fumble.
“He made the easy look easy,” Saleh eventually admitted. “I thought he did a really good job of that.”
And that background sound you’re hearing is Wilson sobbing.
Jets Job No Longer In Zach Wilson Hands
Wilson lost his starting job because he hasn’t progressed from a rookie year that was unremarkable. His fundamentals have been sloppy. And his ability to win over teammates and get them to play for him, as well as with him, haven’t been great.
Wilson, in other words, has been kind of the same player he was at Brigham Young.
Except Western Kentucky and Texas State aren’t on New York’s schedule and the stuff that was overlooked in college costs dearly in the NFL.
So Wilson’s taking a time out on the bench — until White does something that opens the door to the starting job.
That’s a rough situation for Wilson. But he put himself in this spot.
And White has earned his.
“He comes in and prepares, goes about his business the right way and goes about his preparation the right way,” said receiver Garrett Wilson, who led the team with 5 receptions for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“You do things like that consistently, you’re going to get it back on the back end. I think we saw that today. That’s a really good talent, really good mindset …”
Sunday dawned with no one really knowing how White would play. He’s a 27-year-old who was a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. And he hadn’t thrown a regular-season pass, much less started a game, until last season when he was 1-2 while Wilson was injured.
Jets Belong To White Until He Shows Otherwise
But by the time Sunday ended the New Yawkas was hollerin “Mike White, Mike White” at MetLife Stadium.
The kid from Pembroke Pines, FL., was suddenly their guy, the Jets his team.
“It is very unique and I’m not going to complain because every time they’re chanting, things are going right for us and we usually end with a win,” White said. “So I don’t want to give them too much grief.”
Unlike Wilson, White showed this game he’s learned from his playing experience of a year ago.
“Yeah, I think going out there you have the experience to draw on from last year, but every game is its own game and you’ve got to play to such,” White said. “But having the experience of being out there and having the highs, having the lows as well, you can’t just learn from the highs, you’ve got to learn from the lows, and drawing upon that and using that to help you however you can.”
This is some underdog-makes-good stuff for sure. Now ready for a dose of reality?
White starts for sure against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. But while he’s not expected to deliver 3 TDs without an interception every game, he has to continue playing at a certain plateau to keep the door shut on Wilson.
If that happens consistently, we’ve got an amazing story on our hands.
Come to think of it, it’s pretty amazing that Zach Wilson’s fate is all in Mike White’s hands now.
But that’s what he earned on Sunday.