New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh’s decision on who will start at quarterback for his team’s Week 10 meeting against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, CBS) wasn’t a difficult one.
Zach Wilson’s knee is not fully 100% ready to go after injuring it three weeks ago against the New England Patriots. With the supernova backup that is Mike White overcoming a bruised nerve in his right arm in their Thursday night loss against the Indianapolis Colts, he’ll be the No. 1 man under center at MetLife Stadium.
Rightfully so, too.
White has been superb since making his first career start in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals in an upset win.
He’s completed 44 of his last 56 passes for 500 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions — a statline that should have featured a larger sample size had he not suffered that arm injury early in Week 9 against the Colts. That game against the Bengals, though, was his coming-out party, completing 82% of his attempts for 405 yards and three scores.
White and the Jets face a Bills defense that yielded just nine points to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9, but they still lost after Josh Allen and his offense were steamrolled by the Jaguars’ Josh Allen.
It’s the toughest test yet for White considering the Bills have allowed the fewest points in the NFL this season (35 fewer than the second-ranked Denver Broncos), the fewest passing yards, and the fewest passing touchdowns (five compared to two teams tied for second with 10).
But a strong performance by White would officially prompt a Jets quarterbacking controversy as Saleh — who initially claimed Monday that Wilson will be the starter upon his return — backtracked and said the job is up for grabs.
“If Mike is playing phenomenal football, it is what it is. You might call it a controversy or not, but I think I can pull up an article on every single one of you guys that has mentioned that the best thing for a young quarterback is to watch,” Saleh said. “So, there’s no harm in either way. We have the utmost confidence in Zach when he gets ready to play and he gets back on the football field that he’s going to do a phenomenal job.
“His talent is undeniable. There is a great amount of growth that can happen, whether he’s playing or not. Those are facts. Those are history proven throughout the history of time. Playing or not playing, you can get both done. At the end of the day, it comes down to what’s best for the organization and the team. That, I’m very confident will happen organically.”