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Robert Saleh Leaning Toward Starting Mike White at Quarterback vs. Bills

With Zach Wilson still working back from his knee injury, Robert Saleh said he's maintaining a conservative approach, likely to use the rookie's backup on Sunday.

There could be a quarterback controversy brewing in Florham Park. Before the Jets get to that point, however, New York has to decide who will start against the Bills in Week 10 on Sunday.

As much as rookie Zach Wilson is expected to return to practice this week, after missing two games with a sprained PCL in his right knee, Jets head coach Robert Saleh disclosed on Monday that he's planning to handle the situation in a conservative manner.

"We're not in any hurry to rush him back because of the fact that this is a two-to-four week injury," Saleh told reporters. "He's going into week three and there's a couple of hurdles he has to pass."

In other words, if Wilson is suddenly given a clean bill of health this week, then this becomes another conversation. Until then, why risk more of a serious injury for your biggest investment when your quarterback room is loaded with signal-callers that have proven they can give you a chance to win.

"If he's not fully healthy, it'd be irresponsible for us to throw him out there," Saleh added.

Mike White is coming off a 405-yard performance in New York's victory over the Bengals. After that, the 26-year-old produced two solid series in Indianapolis before exiting the game with a frustrating forearm injury.

As early as Friday—when Saleh revealed that White had suffered a nerve contusion—the Jets were under the impression that White would be available Sunday against Buffalo. 

In fact, Saleh said Monday that he believes all four of New York's quarterbacks will be practicing on Wednesday. That's Wilson, White, Josh Johnson (who had a career day Thursday night filling in for White) and Joe Flacco (who has yet to make his 2021 Jets debut after he was acquired from the Eagles before the trade deadline).

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Asked if he would reveal his starting quarterback on Wednesday, Saleh chuckled and agreed. The head coach added that with reps coming at a premium, whoever is starting is going to be working with the first team in practice starting on Wednesday.

This all feels like the proper approach. White has been excellent since being handed this opportunity. Heck, even Johnson played well on the national stage, coming off the bench as a third-string quarterback. 

As much as Wilson's development means a great deal to this franchise, it makes no sense at all to rush him back at this point in the year.

If the quarterback room was in shambles and Wilson had been spectacular earlier this season, then sure, the rookie is the right call. But Wilson was 1-5 to start the season. New York's offense is averaging 498.5 total yards per game in two contests with Wilson on the sidelines.

At this point, give Wilson another week to rest, recuperate and review. Because let's face it, the phenom can learn a thing or two from the way White is orchestrating this offense.

"I've got a great appreciation for what Mike is going through," Saleh said. "As we go day-to-day and game-to-game, I just think it's really cool that Mike's been able to take advantage of this opportunity."


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