The high level of optimism quickly dissipated through the first half of the campaign because the Jets have stumbled toward another disappointing year. Meanwhile, Wilson has struggled with his performance. He’s been sidelined with a knee injury that forced him to miss the last few games.
Mike White has sparked a QB controversy for the Jets
This has opened the door for Mike White to step in to fill the starting job. He has shown enough to prove to first-year head coach Robert Saleh that he will keep the spot. On Wednesday, Saleh stated that the team will “organically” move back to Wilson as the starter when the time is appropriate.
“If Mike is playing phenomenal football, it is what it is,” Saleh said via ESPN. “You might call it a controversy or not. I can pull up an article from every single one of you guys that has mentioned that the best thing for a young quarterback is to watch, so there’s no harm in either way.
“We have the utmost confidence in Zach. When he gets back on the football field and he’s ready to play, he’s going to do a phenomenal job. His talent is undeniable. There’s 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.”
However, it shows the team is more confident in White’s ability. In his first three starts, he has tallied 702 passing yards with five touchdowns to four interceptions while holding a 95.9 passer rating. Much of the optimism is fueled by his strong performance in the upset 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, where he threw for 405 yards with three touchdown passes to two interceptions.
It hasn’t been a clean transition to White, but he has been able to move the ball down the field consistently. Meanwhile, Wilson struggled to find any stability as he’s thrown nine interceptions in six games while holding a 63.5 passer rating.
The 22-year-old may be the team’s long-term future, but he’s clearly not ready for the responsibility. It’s no shot at him, but not every quarterback is ready at the get-go to lead the charge. If anything, Wilson can benefit from learning on the sidelines. That could prove to be instrumental to his success once he gets his next shot.
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Meanwhile, White can continue to build on his strong, brief performance, showing what could turn out to be the spark he needs to ignite his career. There is no pressure to play Wilson if he’s not ready, and the 26-year-old Western Kentucky product is providing the team that leeway to do that.