The New York Jets were thoroughly embarrassed by the Buffalo Bills in Week 10, losing the contest by a painful final score of 45-17. Jets head coach Robert Saleh made a significant decision by starting backup quarterback Mike White, as rookie signal-caller Zach Wilson continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered against the New England Patriots in Week 7.
Jets fans were irrationally excited to witness White receive another start after the former fifth-round pick shocked the football world by completing 37-of-45 passing attempts for 405 yards and three touchdowns in an unexpected Week 8 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets faithful quickly embraced White, but the shine unfortunately wore off against Buffalo on Sunday. White appeared unprepared to handle the challenge presented to him by a physical and stout Bills defense and threw four interceptions before gracefully and rightfully being replaced by veteran quarterback Joe Flacco. The sample size was undeniably small, but Flacco performed admirably in mop-up duty, completing all three of his passing attempts for 47 yards and a touchdown.
According to multiple reports, Saleh made a surprising decision, anointing Flacco as the starter for New York's Week 11 contest against the Miami Dolphins—and it's the right decision to make.
By making this decision, Saleh continues to prioritize the long-term health and availability of Wilson, as the former BYU quarterback continues to miss time with a difficult knee injury. White may have captured the nation's hearts a few weeks ago, but going back to him after the debacle we witnessed on Sunday would have been an illogical decision to make. When considering the opponent, starting a veteran like Flacco makes even more sense. The Dolphins recorded a shocking win on Thursday over the Baltimore Ravens thanks to a dominant and unforeseen defensive performance. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores compiled an excellent game plan to stifle Lamar Jackson, one that included a relentless amount of Cover 0 play calls on the majority of Jackson's dropbacks. Had White been named the starting quarterback for Sunday's divisional battle, one could envision the Dolphins employing a similar game plan in order to test White's pre and post-snap capabilities, and whether or not he could take advantage of such an aggressive defense. A veteran quarterback such as Flacco is much more equipped to handle such looks, and will likely force Miami to deploy a different strategy on Sunday.
Flacco returned to the Jets in October following a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, and will now make his fifth start for the club since 2020. Jets fans will undoubtedly be disappointed to see the 36-year-old Flacco taking snaps under center against the Dolphins, but it's a sound decision by a first-year head coach that continues to protect the future of the franchise.
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