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.
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 😂)
I mean, I wrote a rather scathing article about Flacco’s (in)abilities the other day, but yes, if it’s Flacco under center, you root for whoever’s there.
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.
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.
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.
I mean, this is not coming back from injury; it’s coming back from the coaching staff saying that he was worse than a career backup. It’s a different confidence hit. That being said, things can’t really get that much worse for Zach at this point, so perhaps he won’t overthink as much. I definitely think it would behoove the MetLife crowd to get behind Zach rather than getting into his head by booing him.
Zach is the more talented QB. Right now, you can’t say he’s better precisely because White is doing what he has never done consistently. We haven’t seen Zach progress through his reads and make reads pretty much this whole season after having done it somewhat better down the stretch last year.
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.
I don’t think it’s the system. Any QB needs to be able to get through reads. The Jets’ offense is designed to give a QB easy reads. White has done it pretty consistently. Zach is usually looking in the wrong place.
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.
Very few systems have more of a focus on mobility than quick reads, and Zach is not the type of QB for which such a system would be created. Whenever they’ve tried rollouts, Zach has done poorly.
What type of system do you envision utilizing Zach’s skillset better? Other than running more QB draws/read options to keep the defense honest, but Zach won’t be able to run if they spy him.
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.
I don’t think so. I think that regardless of team, you need to be able to go through progressions, set your feet, and get rid of the ball rather than taking sacks. It’s not about system.
Could Zach become a good QB if he was traded to KC and learned to correct his footwork like Patrick Mahomes did? Possibly. But I don’t think Wilson will be a good QB in the NFL any time soon because he cannot perform the essential tasks of quarterbacking. We’ve seen many QBs with all the physical talent in the world fail because they can’t get through progressions or read a defense.
Detroit’s defense, as poor as it is overall, has the exact schematic tendencies that Zach struggles with the most, as Michael Nania has detailed. There are reasons to think that Zach can go either way, though. If he comes out with a nothing-to-lose, fast-and-loose attitude, he can definitely succeed.
Regarding Zach’s mobility, it’s definitely an asset, but only if he actually uses it. He has been exceedingly reluctant to run. As far as throwing on the run, he’s been atrocious at it all year; White has played far better on rollouts than Zach has.
Wilson’s ceiling is way higher than White’s, but his floor is much, much lower. Ideally, you can get Wilson to put it all together, but there has been so little reason to think he can do so. Furthermore, White must have done some extremely hard work between the preseason and now, as he looks like a totally different QB. We have yet to see Zach come through with that level of improvement, and I’m not sure if the Jets can afford to wait past this year if he doesn’t show something over the next few weeks.
That being said, I’d think any Jets fan would love nothing more than to see Zach succeed. His combination of arm and mobility is far superior to White’s. If the Jets decide to go with White moving forward, there would definitely be some dimensions of the QB game missing that would limit the ceiling of the offense.
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.
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 😂
So THAT’S why he broke his ribs!
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.
Unfortunately, by the time White sees the field again the season may be over.
I don’t disagree about White vs. Wilson. I just think that Zach is likely to get the Jacksonville game anyway because White won’t be cleared within a few days. With that being the case, it would be ideal for the Jets if Zach would play really well and, at the bare minimum, give himself some trade value moving forward.
I do have to say that White’s lack of mobility is tough in today’s NFL.
I’m a Whiter, but I hope Zach kicks butt Sunday.
That’s the spirit.
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.
True, but booing Zach because you like White would be counterproductive, particularly with a QB who’s struggling so much with the mental aspect of the game.
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
Go check Twitter and other forums. There are many fans who have been rooting for Wilson to fail from Day 1 because they did not like the pick. Sometimes, people will prefer to be right and unhappy than wrong and happy. It’s illogical, but it’s common.
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.
If Zach looked like a legitimately good QB for five games, not just an adequate one, I might reconsider. If he can get through reads like White has, I’d think twice about my take on White. I think Zach’s upside with his legs is worthwhile to bet on if he shows potential as a passer. Do I think that’s going to happen? Absolutely not. But it’s possible.
Are you really willing to throw big money at White to keep him from leaving? I’m not. It would be a very risky proposition. Despite the fact that I’m impressed with how he’s played thus far, I’m not willing to give him more than $10 million for one year, and possibly even less. I’d rather go out and get Jacoby Brissett or Jimmy Garoppolo for more money but at least a proven floor rather than an unknown ceiling.
I don’t think the Jets will go into 2023 with Zach as the presumed starter. If White walks, they’ll sign another starting-caliber QB. In an ideal scenario, the Jets can trade Zach and then both re-sign White and get another potential starter.