Inside the Numbers | Some Large Metrics in Mike White's Short Time as Jets QB

In 7 Pro Games, He's Racked Up Impressive Completion, Yardage and Average-Drive Statistics

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What is it that makes Mike White tick? What makes him the option that HC Robert Saleh, coordinator Mike LaFleur and the Jets offense have turned to for these last two games of the regular season?

The qualitative elements of the White package are obvious and have been discussed a lot with him and with his coaches. Toughness, of course, and leadership and a winning personality.

The quantitative aspects are also impressive, although not every one of White's metrics are through the roof. He's 2-4 as a starter, he's thrown 10 interceptions in his seven games, and this season's TD drive rate of 18.4% isn't much higher than Zach Wilson's 17.0%. The NFL's leaders, Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, are all at 30%-plus.

But some of White's numbers are simply outstanding, in franchise history and among some of the league's top QBs, through seven games, of course:

Average Drives — White's typical possession in his still-small body of work lasts 6.45 plays and travels 38.6 yards. And that's a healthy average drive. In our unofficial NFL drive stats, 46 QBs have at least 30 drives. Arizona's Kyler Murray leads the league with 6.59 plays/drive. White is No. 2. Yardage-wise, the top five are KC's Mahomes, Miami's Tua Tagovailoa, White, Buffalo's Josh Allen and Philly's Jalen Hurts.

Dating to the 1960 Titans, again unofficial, White, if he maintains his current drive numbers, will finish with the highest number of plays and yards per drive in a season and in a career in franchise history.

Passing Yardage — Another thing we know about White is that he finds his receivers (64.4% accuracy) for good yardage, understanding of course that some of those yards have come late in losses. Still, he's got his 405-yard masterpiece vs. Cincinnati last year plus two 300-yarders this year, in the win over Chicago and the loss at Minnesota.

With 952 yards in his three starts this season, White would need 248 passing yards on Sunday at Seattle to join six Jets QBs who threw for 1,200 yards in four consecutive games. With 348 yards, it'd be just him and Ken O'Brien late in the 1985 season as the only Jets with 1,300 yards in that span.

First 7 Games — For this category, it helps that White didn't play at all with Dallas in 2018-19 or on the Jets practice squad in 2020. He pitched long relief for the injured Wilson in his pro debut at New England in '21, then his last six appearances have been starts.

We turned to TruMedia to see where White's seven-game totals have landed among all the league's quarterbacks since 1970. With 168 completions, White is fourth (first is Joe Burrow ,195). With 261 attempts, he's ninth (Burrow, 293). With 1,905 passing yards, he's seventh (Mahomes, 2,149). And he's seventh again with 91 passing first downs (Burrow, 114).

For all Jets QBs in their first seven games, extending the numbers back to 1965 to include Joe Namath's rookie season, White is No. 1 in the above categories. But it may surprise some to know who No. 2 is in most of those stats. It's White's upcoming QB opponent with the Seahawks (accuracy is for at least 100 attempts, Jets ranking in parentheses):

Table inside Article
Jets QBCompsAttsAccuracyYards1st Downs
Mike White168 (1)261 (1)64.4% (1)1,905 (1)91 (1)
Geno Smith130 (2)223 (2)58.3% (3)1,723 (2)79 (2)

Smith began with a bang as the Green & White rookie starter in 2013, then tailed off, then moved on from the Jets after 2016 and has improved at his craft as the Seahawks' starter. What will it take for the second-year QB White to prevail over the 10th-year Smith? LaFleur has an idea.

"There's nothing magical that Mike's going to do other than just play his game," the Jets OC said this week. "So, when the shot's there to take, take it. When the intermediate play is there to be made, make it. When it's not there, get the ball out of your hands, check it down. He does a great job of going through his progressions and getting the ball where it needs to go.

"We're not asking him to be any different than he was. Just go out and play your game, and that'll be good enough."

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