"Right now Mike is starting," Jets head coach Robert Saleh revealed on Wednesday afternoon. "We've got a lot of faith in him and we think he's going to do a hell of a job."
To Saleh, the acquisition of Flacco was designed to bring stability, ensuring that New York will always have three viable options at quarterback available. In addition to White—who made his NFL debut last Sunday filling in for Wilson—Flacco joins journeyman Josh Johnson, who has been a reserve on the practice squad this season.
Due to what Saleh called personal reasons, Flacco won't report to New York's practice facility until Friday. Until then, the veteran will participate in meetings remotely.
That in mind, Flacco is "more than likely" going to be inactive this week against the Bengals, Saleh said. It's a day-to-day situation, depending on how quickly Flacco absorbs the offense. Johnson is expected to be active on Sunday, serving as White's backup.
"Obviously Joe has been around the league, he's been a prolific quarterback," Saleh added. "It was an opportunity that hit on Joe Douglas' desk this week and it was something that we thought would be beneficial to the entire team."
Wilson is expected to miss the next two to four weeks with his sprained PCL. There's always a chance that the rookie's timeline could fluctuate, but it's also possible that Flacco will only be active for one week (next Thursday against the Colts) before Wilson is healthy again.
Giving up a conditional draft pick for a quarterback that isn't even going to start is certainly perplexing. Especially when New York had Flacco on their roster last year and could have re-signed him with this type of scenario in mind.
Asked why Saleh and Douglas didn't orchestrate this type of trade sooner as a security blanket for this type of situation—or sign a vet like Flacco this offseason—the head coach reiterated that the organization has faith in White.
"Mike has done a hell of a job, he's earned this right to go out there and play on Sunday and show what he's capable of," Saleh said.
White threw for 202 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions last week over two-plus quarters in New York's miserable 54-13 loss to the Patriots. Saleh mentioned a handful of drives that White orchestrated in the second half, bringing the Jets into field goal range, as proof that the 26-year-old is up to the challenge.
He'll face the Bengals and a defense that has allowed 245.9 passing yards per game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
"Take care of the football, move the football, move the chains, score when you get a chance to score," said Saleh, breaking down the quarterback's expectations for this week. "He can do well. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. Just go execute."