Jets announce Mike White not cleared for contact: Zach Wilson to start Week 15

Jets name Zach Wilson starter for week 15
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) works in the pocket against the Denver Broncos.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The New York Jets have a must-win game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday to kick off Week 15. It appears they’ll do so with another quarterback change. 

According to Jets head coach Robert Saleh, quarterback Mike White has not been cleared for contact after sustaining rib injuries in last week’s 20-12 loss to Buffalo.  Zach Wilson will instead make his eighth start of the season on Sunday. 

“This is going to be a great opportunity for Zach,” said Saleh. “We did go 5-2 with him at quarterback, and part of that had to do with things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.” 

Wilson’s 5-2 mark as a starter was heavily criticized due to a 4:5 TD:INT ratio while throwing for 1,279 yards. His 55.9% completion percentage was among the league’s worst. He was benched for White after the team’s 10-3 loss to New England in November.

For the Jets, it’s their fourth time having to go to another quarterback this season although this is under different circumstances. White went 1-2 as a starter but completed 61% of his passes for 952 yards, three touchdowns, and just two picks. 

“If it was 7 on 7, he’d be out there playing. But it’s not.” Saleh added. 

Robert Saleh also acknowledged Friday that Wilson had taken the majority of the first team reps in practice this week, while also improving on the fundamentals the team had requested for him to do during his benching.

“He’s done a really nice job. He’s had two of his best throwing days in practice.” Saleh said of the former second-overall pick. 

Wilson had been inactive for each of the last three weeks he had been replaced with Joe Flacco being the primary backup. Earlier this week, the Jets coaching staff had announced Wilson would be penciled in as the backup and be active for the first time in three weeks. 

From benched to now in a position to save the season, Sunday’s contest against the Lions will be an opportunity for Wilson to show he’s improved as a leader and passer, and even potentially earn back the role he lost. 

Facing a Detroit Lions team that is ranked 30th against the pass and 31st overall should certainly help. 

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