Both sides of the debate may have problems with Saleh’s comments
We officially have a quarterback controversy in East Rutherford.
This one seems to be born not of statistics or film, but an unusual debate of ceiling vs. floor.
Coach Saleh says the intent is for QB Zach Wilson to get back on the field at some point this year. pic.twitter.com/R8Cg22B2Wu
— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 23, 2022
Following White’s electric performance against the Bears, Saleh put off any questions about reconsidering that stance, maintaining that the quarterback decision was a week-by-week proposition.
The questions got a little more pointed in Saleh’s Monday afternoon press conference following the Jets’ 27-22 loss to the Vikings. The coach doubled down on his stance, announcing that White will start in Week 14 with no change in the status quo while continuing to insist that the plan is for Wilson to start again in 2022.
Robert Saleh says the Jets' intent remains for Zach Wilson to play again this season: pic.twitter.com/OuR3BCoXkd
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) December 5, 2022
Ian O’Connor of the New York Post went right back at Saleh, saying, “My follow-up question would be, why? Because it looks like Mike White’s capable as a quarterback”—to which Saleh interjected, “Mike is capable”—”Why is that the intent still, to get Zach back on the field?”
Saleh said, “For Mike, and we’re going to stay status quo on all of it, this is Mike’s opportunity to make some noise. You never ask how your opportunity comes, you just take advantage of your opportunity and do the best you can. We’ve got all the faith in Mike. … I know the line ‘If you’ve got more than one quarterback, you have none,’ but we feel that we have three of them. … But right now, while Zach is focusing on reconnecting and doing all the different things we know he’s capable of, right now it’s Mike’s opportunity. I’d really like to just focus on Mike’s opportunity and give him the chance to succeed.”
However, the New York media would not let Saleh off the hook there. First, it was the Post‘s Brian Costello:
I asked Saleh if Mike White can ruin that plan. He dodged the question.
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) December 5, 2022
Saleh responded to Costello’s question with a smirk and said, “Is that a backdoor hypothetical? … He’s played really well.” In other words, he dodged the question.
Another reporter followed up and asked, “Are you at least open to the possibility that Mike White is your long-term quarterback and just happens to be a better football player than Zach Wilson? Is it at least a possibility that that could happen?”
Saleh dodged the question once more.
Robert Saleh asked if he’s open to possibility that Mike White, not Zach Wilson, is this team’s answer at QB because White might just a better QB than Wilson: “One week at a time, guys” #Jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) December 5, 2022
This press conference is sure to anger both sides of the White-Wilson Wars. The Whiters will be furious to hear that Saleh would even consider playing Zach Wilson over their hero, while the Wilsoners will scorn the questions and continue to denounce Saleh’s plan to start Mike White at all.
However, those who are Jets fans, rather than player fans, will root to see success from whoever is quarterbacking the team that week. For now, at least, that is Mike White.