Be Like Mike – Mike White’s first NFL victory happened in amazing fashion
“The offense was outstanding,” Saleh said. “We had a lot of opportunities to move the ball on a really, really good defense. We created explosive plays.”
“Mike White was poised and took what the defense gave him, but also took shots when he had to. Michael Carter was hard to tackle. All the way across the board – the protection, the run blocking, the route running – it was awesome.”
Yes, it was awesome. And Saleh’s simplicity sums up the offensive performance: outstanding, explosive, awesome.
Simplicity, in a way, was a common theme from Sunday’s game.
White, the hero of the day, was as simple as a hero can be. At times, it seemed like White didn’t really want the hero status, as he continuously handed his more skilled teammates the opportunity to steal the show.
Still, there was no way around it: Halloween 2021 was Mike White’s day – and no one was taking it from him.
A former fifth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL draft, White played a fantastic NFL quarterback game in his first career start. White won the game, but more impressive than the win itself was how he made it happen.
White didn’t just win – he also showed multiple hidden skills that are key (and rare) to play the QB position in the NFL.
In a shortlist to start the conversation, White hit his check-downs on time, never staring at them immediately after the snap. He played in rhythm, always timing his feet with the throw. Finally, he showed the ability to make the big-time throws when needed.
Above all of this, White was calm, poised, and never flinched. It was truly an impressive outing.
Sure, White didn’t have completion in which the ball traveled further than 20 yards. But the game didn’t ask that from him.
The Bengals defense gave White the underneath and intermediate throws – and the Jets QB took them on time and with perfect accuracy. When the game asked White to deliver big-time throws (Braxton Berrios and Tyler Kroft touchdowns), he did.
The argument that White played a scared game is flawed, as he followed the game-flow perfectly. Saleh said that the Jets were actually trying to go deep early in the game.
“I know a lot of the early plays went underneath, but those were designed shots,” Saleh said. “Give credit to Cincinnati – they took away the shots early. Mike LaFleur wanted to be aggressive with the entire offense today. Mike White was really good at just taking what the defense gave. The defense gave space underneath and he gave it to his playmakers, and they went and made plays.”
Also flawed is the argument that the Jets’ offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur drastically changed the offense for White.
Sure, the first drive was different and much more aggressive than usual. But as the game settled down the Jets ran the same offense they usually do: a lot of spacing/stick concepts on the quick game, boot play action, and a lot of Hi-Lo reads on drop-back plays.
What made it work this time?
White made the proper reads consistently, was always on time with his throws, and kept the offense ahead of the sticks.
LaFleur’s change-up, to be honest, came mainly in the first drive and his willingness to use the running backs more in the screen game – probably a game plan wrinkle to counter an aggressive Bengals’ defensive line.
When the game settled down, what we saw was White making LaFleur’s previously-criticized scheme work perfectly.
It also shouldn’t go unnoticed how strong of an effort the Jets’ offensive line and skill players put forth in this game. Everybody rallied around White and many players had their best performances of the season.
The offensive line, as a unit, had its best game of the season thus far, benefiting from White’s quick release.
Jets’ receivers also separated well, and the running backs gave their A+ effort with the ball in their hands. Michael Carter, especially, is showing star potential.
For the first time of the year, the execution wasn’t an issue.
And White, the signal-caller, deserves the most credit for it.
Game film: Mike White showed amazing mental skills
White’s tape was impressive. It showed quick processing, accuracy, and decisiveness. It was a veteran tape, to sum it up in one word.
The quick throws and check-downs always happened on time and after a quick scan down the field, which allowed his playmakers to make the most after the catch while the defense backed off.
The intermediate passes by White were also impressive. There were many tidbits: the ability to time his feet to the route, the accuracy, the manipulation ability. White’s tape was simply very good.
In the video below, Jets fans will see 11 throws from White. The first four are short throws, whereas the last seven are intermediate-type passes.
White’s tape is nothing short of fantastic. He showed the ability to manipulate defenders and to progress easily in the offense’s concepts. Great ball placement was all over the game film, too.
After years of misery, the Jets might have a good problem at the quarterback position.
Thursday night vs. Colts: What to expect
The NFL gods won’t let Jets fans enjoy the Bengals win for long.
New York is facing a short week, preparing to battle the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football.
Cincinnati’s defense is ranked higher than the Colts’, but Indianapolis will have something at their disposal the Bengals did not: access to White’s tape as a starting quarterback.
Indianapolis will be able to study White’s tendencies. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a defense that has game-planned for his strengths and weaknesses.
For LaFleur, though, the mentality has to stay the same: trusting White and the playmakers. The screen game will remain a factor, as the Colts have a powerful pass rush led by DeForest Buckner.
Recent history makes fans wonder if Thursday’s game will be another historic letdown by New York after an impressive win.
It’s a fair question, but the confident aura that floats around Mike White makes me think the Jets will not disappoint this time.