The New York Jets are making yet another quarterback change. With Zach Wilson still not yet ready physically, Joe Flacco will start over Mike White Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Our biggest question: Why?
“Joe, one of the reasons we got Joe was for the experience part of it,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters Wednesday. “Not only for the playing ability, for the room, but also situations just like this. Miami’s got a dynamic coverage situation, when it pertains to defense, with [Cover-]Zero and all the different coverages that they run. Joe’s kind of been-there, done-that, and just kind of a steadying experience that we felt like would put is in the best position to win.”
Why are the Jets starting Joe Flacco?
That’s thinking backward. Unless Woody Johnson is the least patient owner in professional sports, Saleh’s job should be secure. Perhaps Joe Douglas is feeling some heat with little talent to show for in two offseason cycles. But Johnson has professed “unwavering, steadfast confidence” in his general manager in the last few weeks.
So assuming Johnson hasn’t done a 180, this isn’t a panic move. But it’s a misguided one.
How does this change make the Jets any better in 2022? That’s the only thing that should matter at this point. Flacco probably won’t even be on the team then. At 2-7, there’s no salvaging this season. Play the young guys at every position, quarterback included.
Yes, White was bad against the Bills — he threw 4 picks — but he’s not the reason the Jets are at the bottom of the AFC East. The reason the Jets are at the bottom of the AFC East is they have allowed a staggering 175 points in their last four games. They’re last in yards allowed per game (417.1) and per play (6.3), and 31st in pass defense (283.2) and yards per pass allowed (8.0).
But Saleh seemed to suggest that he hadn’t been benched because of performance, but rather concern for how he would handle a confusing Dolphins defense.
“What Mike has done in three weeks as a starter has proven to this entire organization and in my opinion to the entire New York fanbase is he’s a capable quarterback who can play in this league and do a lot of good things,” Saleh said. “We’re more excited about Mike as a quarterback in our future and working with Mike for as many years as possible because of what he’s done in his three starts. He’s also a young guy. … Mike has only strengthened his case.”
Mike White benched after 4-pick game
But even if the Jets have seen enough from White (who has thrown 5 touchdowns and 8 interceptions but has averaged a respectable 7.2 yards per attempt and completed 66.7% of his passes), then let Josh Johnson get a chance.
We know what Flacco is, an average career quarterback who had an incredible run in 2012. We don’t know what Johnson is, and these are exactly the kind of games to find out.
Johnson has completed 64.4% of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempt, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception in 2021.
Flacco, as the New York Daily News’ DJ Bien-Aime II points out, completed 21 of 44 passes for 188 yards and an interception for a passer rating of 50 against a blitz-happy Dolphins team last year. He can expect to see much more of the same when the teams meet Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Flacco signed with the Eagles in the offseason, but he returned to New York in late October via trade that surprised us all, Flacco included.