In the span of a couple of weeks, the New York Jets went from having zero intriguing options under center, to a full blown media and fanbase-buoyed quarterback controversy.
Zach Wilson started off the season slowly, but showed some flashes of improvement, especially in their matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
Putting on a show with his arm. #TakeFlight
— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2021
But Wilson went down with a knee injury in the Jets’ second matchup against the New England Patriots, which paved the way for a clipboard carrying legend to step onto the field.
Mike White finished out the Patriots game, and went on to tear up the Cincinnati Bengals defense the following week.
That performance led many to question whether White should be given extended rope, perhaps extending through the point Wilson was fully recovered.
Despite the fanatic level of attention White has received since his insertion into the lineup, Wilson should not lose too much sleep over his job security as New York’s starter.
The synergy is exciting; the Patriots knocked out the Jets’ franchise quarterback, paving the way for an unknown.
While it might be tempting for many fans to start inquiring about White’s measurements to fit him for a gold jacket in Canton, it’s a little bit too early to go down that road.
Buried under the White hype train is the fact that he has been with the team since training camp, and had the chance to solidify the backup role for months.
However, the Jets still felt the need to trade for veteran Joe Flacco after the game where Wilson was injured, even knowing that Wilson’s timeline only had him missing 2-4 weeks.
#Jets QB Zach Wilson will have an MRI on his knee, but sources say the initial belief is he suffered an injury to his PCL. He’ll likely miss time, but the tests will determine how much.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 24, 2021
We’ll see what White does against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, but there’s a great chance White’s performance regresses to the mean in the next week or so.
New York’s Investment In Wilson
While the leash on quarterback draft picks is not as long as it used to be in the NFL, the Jets would still be pretty unwise to pivot away from Wilson after just six career starts.
They still don’t really know what they have with the 22-year-old out of BYU, and would be irresponsible moving forward with a player who was only started two career games in White.
To be clear, New York shouldn’t necessarily feel tethered to Wilson if he doesn’t look the part of a franchise quarterback forever.
But being the second overall pick in a draft that was loaded with quarterback talent will inevitably buy him some time.
New York still doesn’t have what is considered to be a loaded supporting cast either, whether that’s on the offensive line or at receiver.
General manager Joe Douglas would likely want to continue to upgrade those areas of the roster around Wilson before feeling confident in making a decision one way or the other.