Mike White is back at quarterback for the New York Jets.
And just in time, with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance.
White was cleared by team doctors and will start Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks after missing the Jets’ last two games while dealing with broken ribs in New York’s 20-12 loss to the Bills on December 11.
“I thought Mike had been doing a great job moving the offense, keeping the drives going and getting the first downs,” coach Robert Saleh said as he confirmed the decision. “Much more efficient. Our offense was running with good efficiency.
“It’s a great opportunity for him, a great opportunity for everybody.”
White has practiced on a limited basis since then, but had not cleared the contact so he could not play.
This authorization came on Monday. And with the Jets (7-8) still in the playoff hunt with two games to play, they get their quarterback back. And “barring injury,” Saleh said, for the duration of the season. But the coach wouldn’t go so far as to speculate whether White could be the long-term answer at quarterback.
“You just have to take it one day at a time,” Saleh said, “and go from there.”
Saleh said Joe Flacco will serve as White’s backup and Zach Wilson will move from starting the last two games to being the No. 3 quarterback and inactive Sunday.
White went 80-for-129 for 952 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while starting three games in Wilson’s place on the bench. He was knocked out twice in the game against the Bills. X-rays at the stadium were clear and he finished the game, but CT scans at the hospital revealed a fractured rib.
“A couple in a row,” White said two weeks ago, “that makes this area really vulnerable.”
Jets team doctors ruled that the contact could not be authorized, and White said he sought the opinions of about 10 independent doctors who agreed.
Wilson fought mightily as he started the last two games in White’s absence. He was replaced by quarterback Chris Streveler, promoted from the practice squad before the game, to spark the Jets in their 19-3 loss to the Jaguars last Thursday night.
Wilson, who was benched to reset his mechanics and mental focus, went 27-for-53 for 409 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in losses to the Lions and Jaguars.
Should Jets move on from Zach Wilson after loss to Jaguars?
“First Things First” discussed whether the Jets should move up the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after their loss to the Jaguars.
Saleh insisted Monday that the Jets are “not giving up on the young man.” But Wilson’s performance against the Jaguars in front of a national crowd (9-for-18 for 92 yards and an INT) was a clear indication that he hasn’t corrected his flaws.
“I still think it has a future here,” Saleh said. “I still think he’s going to be a very good quarterback. He needs time to sit down and continue the development that we’re trying to restart, if you will, after the New England game (before his first bench).
“But we still have him in our future and our plans.”
The Jets’ playoff situation looked dire after that loss, but New York received some good news with the results of a few other games over the weekend. The Dolphins, Patriots and Raiders lost, so the Jets remain in ninth place in the AFC playoff standings behind the Patriots (7-8) and Dolphins (8-7).
The Jets can snap an 11-year postseason drought if they win their last two games in Seattle and Miami, and the Patriots lose one of their last two against Miami at home or in Buffalo.
“We still have to find ourselves, we still have to find confidence and we have to get the ball rolling,” Saleh said. “And it starts with how we prepare day in and day out and how we attack those moments.
“The playoffs and all that stuff is great, but we just have to stay connected to this moment in Seattle and Seattle.”
FOX Sports Top Stories:
Report made by Associated Press.
Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more