Zach Wilson injury: Will Jets start Mike White or Joe Flacco?

Mike White Jets
Mike White stepped in for Zach Wilson on Sunday against the Patriots.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets are facing another quarterback conundrum after the news came down that rookie passer Zach Wilson will miss between two and four weeks after spraining his PCL during a 54-13 beatdown at the hands of the New England Patriots on Sunday. 

After Wilson departed the game during the second quarter, Mike White — a 2018 draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys who never appeared in an NFL regular-season game — completed 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. 

On Monday, the Jets spent plenty of time praising White’s play. Head coach Robert Saleh went on to say that White “a lot of really good things” within the Jets’ offense and did “a really nice job running the offense and generating some scoring drives.”

Any sort of confidence that was built up around White was likely torn down shortly after when the Jets traded a sixth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for veteran Joe Flacco, who spent the 2020 season backing up Sam Darnold at MetLife Stadium. 

The move was an understandable one. After all, White’s NFL experience is slim to none while Flacco not only is familiar with the Jets, but he should be familiar with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense. Lafleur’s system derives from the same Kyle Shanahan coaching tree as Rich Scangarello, the former Denver Broncos coordinator whom Flacco worked with in 2019 when he was with the AFC West side.

But initial expectations are that Flacco will begin his second stint with the Jets as White’s backup — a sizable upgrade from New York’s next-best choice of a No. 2 passer in veteran Josh Johnson. The 35-year-old Johnson has appeared in just four NFL regular-season games since the start of the 2014 season and they all came in 2018. 

Should White struggle against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8, then it’s more likely we’ll see Flacco under center in the Jets offense once again — which will likely spark some unpleasant deja vu for the fan base. Last year, Flacco went 0-4 as a starter in New York while completing just 55.2% of his passes for six touchdowns and three interceptions.