A year ago, New York Jets quarterback Mike White was a novelty, helping spearhead a Week 8 win over Cincinnati after replacing an injured Zach Wilson.
Then he faced the Bills in Week 10. White threw four interceptions in a 44-17 loss to Buffalo and wouldn’t see the field again until Week 12, 2022.
White has jumpstarted the Jets offense following Wilson’s November benching, throwing for 315-plus yards in back-to-back weeks. He knows Buffalo is a different test, particularly after last year’s disaster.
“It’s always going to be part of my development as a quarterback,” he said Thursday. “Like I said before, I don’t want it to beat me twice.”
White’s ability to spread the ball around, make the right reads, get it out quickly, find playmakers and run the offense how OC Mike LaFleur intends has opened up Gang Green’s attack.
“He’s just matured, he’s gotten better,” LaFleur said, “and I know he’s excited for Sunday.”
The 27-year-old knows he can’t avenge last season’s loss to Buffalo.
“You can’t play hero ball,” White said. “You can’t go in there thinking that, ‘All right, I want revenge for what happened last year.’ What happened last year is over with. It’s done with, it’s got to move on from it. It’s a different scenario, different team.
“I think you can easily fall into that, and me personally, I’m gonna do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
White is one of 13 QBs with three games of 300-plus passing yards in his first five career starts (other notables: Kurt Warner, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck). His 1,435 pass yards as a starter are the ninth-most through five starts in the Super Bowl era, and White is one of three players since 1950 with 120-plus completions and 1,400-plus passing yards through five career starts (others: Kirk Cousins and Justin Herbert).
The Bills are an interesting litmus test for White. Not only is the revenge factor in play, but Wilson played his best game this season in a Week 9 win over Buffalo, aided by huge defensive stops by Gang Green against Josh Allen. Wilson threw for just 154 yards and a TD but didn’t turn the ball over and made some clutch plays late.
With Wilson’s first-round status, there will always be questions about when he might return. White can’t worry about that. He can only put his best foot forward and continue to make the offense move. Avoiding a catastrophic game against Buffalo will be vital to keeping the starting gig. Another four-INT game, and the door might crack open for Wilson to get his job back.
Image & Story Credit: nfl.com