Robert Saleh has confirmed that Mike White was not cleared for contact after last week’s siege in Buffalo
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced on Friday that quarterback Mike White will not play in Sunday’s crucial interconference showdown against the Detroit Lions (1 p.m. ET, CBS). This development puts former starter Zach Wilson back into the top spot on the passing depth chart and after 2021’s second overall pick did not dress over the past three games.
Coach Saleh says QB Mike White was not medically cleared for contact and will not play Sunday.
QB Zach Wilson will start. pic.twitter.com/RREqyb5JM1
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 16, 2022
Saleh, who referred to White as “an absolute warrior” that “exhausted every option every measure he possibly (could)” in terms of playing against Detroit, said that Sunday’s game could be “a great opportunity” for Wilson, who was removed from the top quarterback spot after seven games, the last of which was a sluggish 10-3 loss bereft of offensive fireworks against the New England Patriots. Wilson did not dress in any of the past three games, as the White understudy duties were instead passed on to Joe Flacco.
The Jets (7-6) are 5-2 in games started by Wilson this season despite his statistical shortcomings. Wilson has accumulated a 72.6 passer rating this season, throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions. A preseason injury postponed the start of Wilson’s sophomore campaign.
Saleh believed that the fact that the Jets won with Wilson under center should not be discounted, nor should his prior big game experience, noting that Wilson once went a perfect 18-for-18 in a collegiate bowl game (a 49-18 win over Western Michigan in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl).
Robert Saleh on Zach Wilson becoming the Jets starting QB again: "We did go 5-2 with him at quarterback, and part of that had to do with things that don't show up on the stat sheet."
— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) December 16, 2022
White took several big hits in the Jets’ 20-12 loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and briefly left the game while Flacco took over. He was taken to a local hospital for x-rays, which “checked out fine” according to Saleh. While was cleared for practice but Saleh said that Jets doctors would not clear him for contact, a development Saleh referred to as “rightful.”
“It’s gotten to the point where we could drag this out to Sunday,” Saleh said. “But this is one of those deals where we got to do what’s best for the player and protect the player from the player. So he’s been cleared for practice, but he has not been cleared for contact.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags