Zach Wilson, NY Jets, Fans
Zach Wilson, New York Jets Fans, Getty Images

Wilson will start against the Lions and likely beyond

Be careful what you wish for.

After Robert Saleh repeatedly insisted that he planned to get Zach Wilson back into action this season, the football gods decided to take him at his word. Mike White fractured his ribs in the loss to the Bills and has not been cleared for contact. Considering that the Jets play again on Thursday night against Jacksonville, Wilson could end up starting that game as well as the Lions matchup.

Those who believe in Mike White and write off Zach Wilson (the people I call “Whiters”) may choose to root for Wilson to fail. They’d argue that in the long run, White is far more likely to be the answer than Wilson, and they don’t want to see a QB controversy born of Wilson’s short-term success against bad defenses.

That logic may be tempting, but it’s also fundamentally flawed.

First of all, remember that you are a Jets fan first, not a player fan (unless you read this site for our scintillating fantasy football takes). The team is in the thick of a playoff race right now. Losing to Detroit may not kill the Jets’ playoff hopes completely, but it will make the odds that much more narrow. For that reason alone—wanting to see playoff football after a 6-3 start—rooting for Wilson to succeed is the way to go.

Besides that, having two viable QBs would do the Jets good for multiple reasons. First, it would make their bargaining position less desperate in free agency next year, allowing them to negotiate for fair value instead of bidding high due to a pressing need. Maybe they could go for Jacoby Brissett or re-sign White rather than give Jimmy Garoppolo more money than he’s worth.

More likely, Wilson playing well would give the Jets something to sell in a possible trade. Wilson’s value couldn’t be lower right now. Showing some potential in a playoff race could allow the Jets to move on from Wilson’s salary and have more breathing room in free agency, should they choose to go that route.

You can be skeptical about whether Wilson will actually play well. There is certainly enough on film to warrant that. But to actively root for him to fail means choosing a player over a team. If that’s the case, call yourself a Mike White fan, not a Jets fan.

Anyone can read our site’s content, but at its core, this is a website dedicated to covering the New York Jets organization. We may heavily criticize certain players, but let it never be said that we prefer our opinions to be vindicated over the good of the team.

So Jets fans, get out your No. 2 jerseys on Sunday. Get out and support Zach Wilson. Cheer for him. Let him shoot his best shot.

Maybe he’ll surprise us all.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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Braden Bethwaite
Braden Bethwaite
1 month ago

I’m definitely a Jets fan, if Flacco has to come in, I want him to do well… Emergency QB? Yes, him too…

(Not so sure about this Streveler guy though, Grey Cup Champion indeed 😂)

DFargas
DFargas
1 month ago

I won’t be surprised at all if Zach plays well. I’ve been very surprised that no journalists are mentioning that he already has a history of coming back strong after being on the shelf for a couple of games due to injury both this year and last year. As for who Jets fans should favor, many are quick to forget how important mobility is in a QB today. It’s really an essential, in part because it seems to be very difficult for teams these days to find quality O-linemen, while great D-lineman are plentiful. White is both immobile, he has slow feet even in the pocket, and is skinny, so he is very injury prone. Wilson is not only quick on his feet but can throw on the move to any part of the field. That is a huge asset. He is taking a while to put it all together, but how long did it take White to put it all together? Obviously, he wasn’t impressing coaches in practice all those years he kept getting cut. Wilson may not be there yet, but his ceiling is way higher than White’s.

jetsfan21
jetsfan21
1 month ago
Reply to  DFargas

I was thinking the exact same thing as soon as I heard Zach would start. Both times he has come back from injury, he has looked polished. He hits his 3, 5 or 7 step drop, hits his back foot and the ball comes out. This is what Mike White does really well. Fundamentally sound. I believe that the coaches have to be telling Zach, that’s all that you’re required to do. Have your read, drop back, and fire on time. Zach can get rid of the ball very quickly (an elite level), when he is on time. If he can get back to fundamentals, Zach is the better QB. Mike White has been awesome and has done his job as the backup. It’s time for Zach to rise up and handle his biz.

Psi
Psi
1 month ago
Reply to  jetsfan21

Until and unless Zach does this, White’s the better option. Zach’s problem since entering the NFL has been consistency. He shows spurts but not consistency. To me it’s 100% mental for him. Maybe that’s inexperience, maybe that’s innate to his personality. Problem is until he shows it, we’re at a disadvantage when he’s the QB on the field.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
1 month ago
Reply to  DFargas

Yes…but…

While I’ve watched football for decades I never understood what as I watching as well as I do now (that’s thanks to XFactor), and in the past three weeks I’ve seen what “going through your progressions” actually looks like when it’s done well. I am amazed at how white spotted the things he needed and made the right decisions almost every time. This now strikes me as the top priority, at least in this offense, more so than mobility, or really anything else.

I’m hoping Wilson’s higher level of athleticism can make up for fewer proper reads, but I’m skeptical. In the past, he’s spent too much time looking at the wrong reads, and worse, too much time looking at the pressure and not even making his reads. I don’t think the athleticism will make up for it, but I hope I’m wrong.

It may be his best skills simply aren’t suited for the Jets’ system.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
1 month ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

But you’d agree that getting through the progression fast and correctly is the priority, more so than mobility? I guess what I am trying to say is other systems may be more dependent on mobility than this one. I think we all expected a ton of sacks out of white, but what we got was subtle pocket movement mixed with quick decisions, so there’s more than one way to succeed.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
1 month ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

I dunno, I was just speculating. The thing is it was kind of surreal how superior mobility, release speed, and arm strength, all of which makes Wilson’s ceiling higher than White’s, about which no one seems to disagree, seemed practically irrelevant because White went through progressions the way the offense intended.

So I speculate, because if that other stuff doesn’t really matter all that much, then why is Wilson’s ceiling so much higher? It must be in another system, like Andy Reid’s or something.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

Thank you for writing that, I think the best case scenario is that White is a very good to top 10 QB talent and Wilson actually is better than that…you’re right, who knows if it happnes there are plenty of questions in Zach’s game but I’m rooting for Zach.

SmokeEater26
SmokeEater26
1 month ago

Plus if we’re being honest. I’m like super butt hurt because I’ve been waiting almost 2 weeks for my new Mike White shirt that was literally delivered today like 20-30 minutes after the news White wasn’t playing Sunday broke lol 🤯🤬 Can’t catch a break today 😂

Last edited 1 month ago by SmokeEater26
Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
1 month ago
Reply to  SmokeEater26

So THAT’S why he broke his ribs!

SmokeEater26
SmokeEater26
1 month ago

I’m not rooting for Wilson to fail at all. I’m praying he can step up and play well enough to help us get a W on Sunday. I’d NEVER root against us. But I’m all in on Mike White I think he’s the better QB of the 2 and gives us a much better chance to win week in and week out. And that’s a hill I’m willing to die on. It’s going to take a whole hell of a lot to change my mind.
I’m expecting Zach to have a strong game Sunday tho. But as soon as White is cleared he should remain our starter the rest of the season. And if he continues to play the way he was before he was injured in Buffalo and we make the playoffs He should enter next season as our starter. I just have an insanely strong belief and feeling in my heart that he’s the elusive franchise QB we’ve been hoping to find for years. And I haven’t had that feeling about really any QB we’ve had since I was old enough to understand football. I liked Vinny T a lot in the late 90s but I was only like 5 then lol Pennington got our hopes up but we know how that went. Bottom line White is better than Wilson. And nothing is possibly going to change my mind anytime soon. He’s going to do big thing’s for us as long as the coaching staff and front office management give him the chance he’s beyond earned and deserves. He’s earned the QB1 job for the rest of the season and a long look next season if he keeps doing what’s he’s been doing when he’s cleared to play.

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
1 month ago
Reply to  SmokeEater26

Unfortunately, by the time White sees the field again the season may be over.

Bird9
Bird9
1 month ago

I’m a Whiter, but I hope Zach kicks butt Sunday.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
1 month ago

It’s far from me wanting him to fail but weather Im sitting at the stadium or my couch I have little impact on how ZW plays.
The Lions won’t be shut down like the Pats in bad weather so 20 points will be needed at minimum to win this game.
I’m a huge fan of whomever is under center.

jetsfan21
jetsfan21
1 month ago

I can’t believe there is a true Jets fan that would root for Wilson to fail. If this person happens to be you, we need you to jump off the wagon now or we will throw you off. This team is exciting and has some heart. This whole experience has had to humble Zach a little bit and force some maturity. I think he’s gonna play really well. LFG Jets

Psi
Psi
1 month ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Rivka…you are correct. People’s pride is what would drive them to root against Zach if they didn’t want him in the first place. That said, as a huge supporter of drafting Zach, right now White’s the better player. Unless Zach shows a complete 180 over the next few games, I would be concerned that they would allow White to walk if someone else throws him big money. It would take more than 4-5 games of “good Zach” to convince me otherwise, and that’s all they’ll likely have left this year.