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Why Corey Davis could explode with NY Jets QB Mike White

Corey Davis, Mike White, NY Jets
Corey Davis, Mike White, New York Jets, Getty Images

Corey Davis had a great connection brewing with Mike White in 2021

The New York Jets have a new starting quarterback in Mike White.

White’s play style is significantly different than that of the man he is replacing, Zach Wilson. The stylistic switch-up could lead to a drastic shift in opportunities and production for various members of the Jets’ pass-catching weaponry.

Running back Michael Carter is the man who has received the most attention as a potential beneficiary of White’s elevation. Carter was White’s favorite target over his four games last season. When targeting Carter, White completed 20 passes on 29 targets for 196 yards and 8 first downs. Each of those numbers was a team-high during White’s stint under center.

But there’s one more player who had a particularly efficient connection with White, and he doesn’t get nearly as much attention for it as Carter: wide receiver Corey Davis.

Davis and White were building a strong connection in their short amount of time together in 2021. They only played seven quarters together, coming over two games (3 quarters in New England and 4 against Buffalo), but in that short amount of time, White and Davis were connecting for big plays at a tremendous rate.

Here is a look at Davis’s production in 2021 over 59 routes run with White at quarterback:

  • 59 routes run
  • 12 targets
  • 9 receptions
  • 140 yards
  • 1 touchdown
  • 7 first downs
  • 75% catch rate
  • 11.7 yards per target
  • 2.37 yards per route run
  • Recorded a first down or TD on 13.6% of his routes
  • Mike White had a 106.2 passer rating when targeting Davis

That is incredible efficiency. For perspective, 2.37 yards per route would rank between Cooper Kupp and Tee Higgins as the 11th-best mark in the NFL among 85 qualified wide receivers this season.

Even more impressive than the yardage is the frequency at which Davis produced conversions (first downs or touchdowns). With 8 conversions on 59 routes, Davis recorded a conversion on 13.6% of his routes with White under center. To contextualize how fantastic that number is, it would be the third-best mark out of 85 qualified wide receivers this season, sandwiched between Amon-Ra St. Brown and Stefon Diggs.

Compare those numbers to how Davis performed in 2021 when Zach Wilson or Joe Flacco was under center (the majority of this is with Wilson, as Flacco only played one game):

  • 223 routes run
  • 47 targets
  • 25 receptions
  • 352 yards
  • 3 touchdowns
  • 13 first downs
  • 53% catch rate
  • 7.5 yards per target
  • 1.58 yards per route run
  • Recorded a first down or TD on 7.2% of his routes
  • Wilson/Flacco had a 63.4 passer rating when targeting Davis

Clearly, Davis’s play took a massive leap when White was playing.

Davis’s stint with White is a very tiny sample, though. Take it with a grain of salt.

It’s also important to note that Davis was the Jets’ top receiver last year while Garrett Wilson has overtaken that throne this year. This will likely decrease White’s reliance on Davis.

Regardless, Davis and White’s efficiency as a duo is an interesting tidbit to keep in mind heading into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. White will make his first appearance of the season while Davis makes his return from a three-game absence. Perhaps the pair can build on their chemistry in their second year as teammates.

Even with Flacco and Wilson at quarterback, Davis has been playing much better football in 2022 than he was in 2021. Don’t be surprised if he takes another step forward with the return of White.

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Peter Buell
1 year ago

I have to start this off by stating I still thing Wilson can be a top 15 QB in the league.
The change from when a QB waited a season or two because of the hate to be good b4 the QB really gets paid has changed things.
One big lesson is Mahomes sat a season and look at him…so how many top 10 QB busts or semi-busts backing up or going from team to team might have come closer to thier ceiling if they had that year.
To my main point. Mike White at 26 could very well be a guy who can ve that guy who just does the right things, limits mistakes and has proven he “can” play..but to what level.
I wanted him to get that extra fame last year. What was the purpose of Flacco on a team going nowhere.
IMO White was 50% he should play and 50% give it to the #2 pick.
Age 26 is not prime and he can develop late

1 year ago

Good point Michael. I was thinking Garrett Wilson’s numbers, moreso than Davis, will explode, much how they were with Flacco this year. I’m pretty excited to see how White fares. I’m expecting a good game.