With Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks due to a PCL sprain, third-year pro Mike White will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"We have a lot of faith in Mike," head coach Robert Saleh told reporters Wednesday. "Mike has done a hell of a job. He has earned this right to go out there and play on Sunday and show what he's capable of."
Veteran Joe Flacco, acquired by Jets GM Joe Douglas on Monday, won't arrive at One Jets Drive until Friday due to personal reasons. Before Friday's practice, Flacco will participate in meetings virtually for the next couple of days. Flacco (36) started four games for the Jets last season while connecting on 55.2% of his passes for 864 yards with 6 TDs and 3 INTs. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason and was an active as a backup in seven games, but did not take a snap.
"Obviously Joe has been around the league, has been a prolific quarterback," Saleh said of Flacco, the Super Bowl LXVII MVP who has thrown for 40,931 career yards. "It was an opportunity that hit on Joe's desk in the morning and it was something we thought would be beneficial to the entire team especially with Zach being out for 2-to-4 weeks. We just felt like we need another quarterback in there to make sure we always have three on the roster."
Saleh is anticipating a seamless transition for Flacco in the Mike LaFleur-coordinated offense. He pointed to the 2014 success Flacco had under Gary Kubiak in Baltimore (3,986 yards and 27 TDs) plus his injury-shortened 2019 campaign in Denver with former Broncos OC Rich Scangarello also will provide familiarity.
"The recall should happen quick," Saleh said. " At a certain point, all these offenses run the same concepts."
Josh Johnson will be promoted from the practice squad and could be the team's backup Sunday. Saleh wasn't ready to fully commit to Johnson in that role before Flacco arrives and practices.
"I feel like we're in a good situation," he said. "With getting Flacco, we have good stability in the quarterback room. Now we just have to go play."
White performed admirably in relief of Wilson last week, consistently moving the offense and finishing 20-of-32 passing for 202 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs against the Patriots.
"Right now, Mike is starting," said Saleh, who prefaced he's a day-to-day guy. "We have a lot of faith in him and we think he's going to do a hell of a job. And from there, we'll go on."
The Jets prepared for the worst-case scenario with Wilson and that could mean a four-week absence. But they're still a few days out from knowing more about Wilson's status.
"We want to see how it goes over the course of the week and how strong his leg comes back with regards to range of motion," Saleh said. "If it gets stronger as the week goes on, then the shorter it's going to be."
So the ball is in Mike White's court. Depending on his performance on Sunday and Flacco's absorption of the offense, the Jets could start Flacco in a nationally televised prime-time game against the Colts on Nov. 4 in Indianapolis.
"We'll see how it goes," Saleh said. "We'll see how everything goes with regards to absorbing the offense and all that stuff."
And while RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring), DE Bryce Huff (back), FB Trevon Wesco (knee), LB Quincy Williams (concussion) joined Zach*Wilson* (knee)and Flacco(personal)on the non-participant practice list, veteran linebackers C.J. Mosley (hamstring) and Jarrad Davis(ankle) were slated to be full participants. … Mosley, who missed last week's blowout loss to the Patriots, is the team's leading tackler (45) and the Mike 'backer is an additional coach on the field. Davis hasn't played yet this season sustaining an injury in a joint practice with the Packers in August. Saleh said of Davis: "He'll be out there practicing today and we'll see how it goes. Obviously day-to-day."