The keys to Mike White’s success
Mike White has been a stud over his very short time as the New York Jets‘ starting quarterback, throwing for 500 yards and four touchdowns in less than five quarters of play. He also has a 112.8 passer rating as a starter.
How has White been able to throw so effectively?
These are a few of the primary things he is doing to achieve success.
Facilitating short-range YAC
White does an excellent job of getting large chunks of yardage out of his short throws.
On the year, White has completed 35 of his 43 “short” (0-to-9 yards downfield) pass attempts for 355 yards. That is an average of 8.3 yards per attempt – the best average on such throws in the league among qualified quarterbacks.
Much of that yardage is generated after the catch. In his breakout game against the Bengals, 149 of White’s 250 passing yards on short completions were gained after the catch (59.6%).
White has certainly been lucky to benefit from some great plays after the catch by his receivers, but he is great at setting his teammates up to make those plays by consistently placing the ball in the perfect position for the intended receiver to run through it in stride.
Getting the ball out fast
Anybody who has watched White play this season should immediately notice how good he is at getting the ball out quickly. This skill allows him to protect himself and prevent the pass rush from wrecking the game.
White has held the ball for an average of 2.42 seconds on his passing dropbacks this season. That is the third-shortest average among qualified quarterbacks, trailing only Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady.
Thanks to his quick passing, White does not take much pressure. He has been pressured on 28.6% of his dropbacks, ranking eighth-lowest out of 39 qualified quarterbacks.
The Jets’ offensive line has certainly been playing better recently, but White is playing a big role in making them look better by getting the ball out fast.
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Passing under pressure
While White has not seen much pressure (thanks largely to his own effort in hurrying the ball out), he has been cool, calm, and collected in the rare situations where the pressure has gotten home.
Among 39 qualified quarterbacks, White has the league’s best adjusted completion percentage (90.5%) and passer rating (117.9) on pressured pass attempts.
White has completed 17 of his 23 pressured passes for 181 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. That is incredibly solid production for under-pressure situations. Only Baker Mayfield (8.5) and Kyler Murray (9.4) are averaging more yards per attempt on pressured passes than White (7.9).
One great aspect of White’s under-pressure play is his ability to avoid sacks. White has been sacked on only three of his 26 pressured dropbacks, a rate of 11.5% that ranks seventh-lowest among qualifiers. He is not an evasive mover, but his recognition and swift reactivity allow him to get the ball out before a sack can be completed.
For comparison, Zach Wilson has allowed 23.5% of his pressured dropbacks to turn into sacks, which is the ninth-highest rate among qualifiers.
Sometimes, an offensive line can only look as good as its quarterback. That is the case with the Jets.
When Wilson is in the game, the offensive line looks like it is playing terribly because Wilson is holding the ball too long and taking sacks when the ball should already be gone.
When White plays, the same poor efforts by the offensive line that resulted in sacks for Wilson are being hidden by White.
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