Following Mike White’s injury during the Bills 20-12 victory against the Jets last Sunday, Joe Flacco entered the game and promptly turned the ball over.
Flacco’s play was enough for Jets coach Robert Saleh to change his backup quarterback this weekend.
Former starter Zach Wilson, who has been inactive and the third-string quarterback the last three weeks, will back up White Sunday against the Lions. Flacco replaced White after he was knocked out twice. White later went to the hospital following the game because of a rib injury.
Flacco, who has been White’s backup quarterback, will be relegated to the third-string quarterback. That means he will be inactive against the Lions and moving forward.
When Flacco first replaced White for a snap, he was stripped sacked by Bills defensive end Greg Rousseau as defensive tackle DaQuan Jones recovered at the Jets’ 44-yard line. The Bills turned the fumble into a field goal on the next drive. When White left the game, Flacco played a bit longer before White came back during the fourth quarter.
“Zach has been doing a great job,” Saleh said. “He has been deliberate in his approach over the last three weeks. He has been holding himself accountable in regards to how he wants to attack practice and how he’s been performing in practice going against our defense and working on all the different things we’ve asked him to do and accomplish.”
After returning from a meniscus tear and a bone bruise that kept him out for the first three weeks of the season, Wilson started seven games for the Jets. He was 5-2 in those starts, but Gang Green’s passing offense struggled as he completed 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions and had a completion percentage of 55.6.
Following the Jets 10-3 loss to the Patriots on Nov. 20, Wilson was benched after he completed just 9-of-22 passes for 77 yards. He also said “no” when asked postgame if he felt like he let the defense down because of his poor play.
Since White replaced Wilson as the Jets starter, the team has gotten more production in the passing game. He has thrown for 952 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in three starts.
After he was benched, Saleh said the team wanted to give Wilson a “reset” as they wanted him to work on his mechanics and his footwork inside the pocket with the “full intent” of him returning to the field at some point this year. However, Saleh has continued to say that White will be the Jets starter and this is his opportunity on a week-to-week basis.
Following his benching and not even being in uniform the last three weeks, Wilson is excited to get the opportunity to be the Jets backup quarterback this week.
“It’s been a good opportunity just to hone it in,” Wilson said. “Just trying to improve and just stay dialed in.
“The past couple of weeks, just trying to approach it every single play like I’m the guy. What can I do to help myself in the best position to help the team and the organization?”
Wilson was Jets second overall pick in 2021, coming out of BYU as he was thought to be the team’s quarterback of the future. However, he has struggled with decision-making and accuracy during his 20 career starts.
He has thrown for 3,613 yards, 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Injuries have also been a concern with Wilson early in his career as he’s missed seven games in two seasons.
Saleh has said the team still wants to continue to develop Wilson and the book is not closed on him.
“I hope so, but that’s not up to me,” Wilson said about playing again this season. “It’s control what you can and having that mindset each and every day and attack the day and get after it and try to improve.
“I definitely believe in myself. I have all the confidence in the world and that’s how it should be.
“You gotta be able to prove that and that goes back to attacking every single day.”
Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (calf), defensive end John-Franklin Myers (flu), cornerback Brandin Echols (quadriceps) and wide receiver Corey Davis (concussion protocol) all missed practice on Wednesday.
Williams, who suffered his injury in the loss to the Bills, is 50-50 to play against the Lions on Sunday, according to Saleh. Davis also left the game against the Bills as he needs to pass all five phases before being cleared to play.
White was limited because of his rib injury. Tackles George Fant, Duane Brown, and defensive lineman Micheal Clemons were also limited Wednesday.