Amidst yet another no-good, very bad season for the New York Jets, a ray of light and joy shined through in the form of Mike White. White was a fifth-round pick coming out of the 2018 draft and bounced around the league for three years before landing in New York, where he was inexplicably named the only backup for No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. Usually, teams starting a rookie under center have a steady vet behind him in order to act as another coach and provide some reliability should the rook exit the game for any reason.
That exact scenario happened when Wilson hurt his knee in a blowout against the New England Patriots and was declared out for the foreseeable future. White was forced into a starting role while the Jets traded for Joe Flacco. And White, against all odds, balled the hell out. As you probably know, he became only the second QB to throw for over 400 yards in his first career start. He led the Jets to an upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals. There was much rejoicing, the kind of unadulterated joy that has been severely lacking amongst Gang Green faithful since the Mark Sanchez days.
Not even the most blind Jets fan thought it would last, but it doesn't hurt anybody to enjoy the moment to the fullest. Thanks to that one performance, White became a folk hero. Then reality came crashing down like a tidal wave. White got hurt in his immediate encore to the Bengals game against the Colts and then was put in a torture chamber by the Bills' defense, completing 54 percent of his passes while throwing a whopping four interceptions before he got benched in a 45-17 loss.
This was expected, though. Much better quarterbacks have fell victim to Buffalo's staunch defensive unit. Head coach Robert Saleh seemed to agree with this line of logic on Monday, when he said everybody seems awfully eager to toss White away like an unwanted toy after a bad day against one of the league's top defenses.
Two days later, the Jets announced White would be benched in favor of Flacco.
Saleh did exactly what he was complaining about. He threw away Mike White.
This is not a surprising decision, though, even with Saleh's comments in mind. The Jets are bad and everyone knew they were going to be bad, but not quite this bad. They have a win on the docket, which is better than the Lions, but the defense is downright horrendous. Saleh is probably feeling the pressure and the organization is committed to Wilson over White anyway, so if the top draft pick isn't starting, they may as well pick the QB that gives them the best chance to win the game.
Still, disappointing. Everyone knows who Joe Flacco is. We wanted to see if there was anything more to the Mike White experience. Sadly, we may never know.