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Jets Explain Why Mike White Was Picked to Replace Zach Wilson This Week

New York could've gone with Joe Flacco, who played well earlier this season when Zach Wilson was out recovering from knee surgery.
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The Jets could've stuck with Zach Wilson this week, giving the quarterback a chance to rebound against the Bears' lowly defense.

With Wilson benched, New York could've handed the starting job back to Joe Flacco, the veteran that began the season under center while Wilson was recovering from knee surgery.

Instead, the Jets are rolling with backup Mike White at quarterback in Week 12. Jets head coach Robert Saleh revealed the quarterback change on Wednesday, assuring that White is more than capable of providing a spark on offense this week.

"He's won games with us, he does a great job in practice, he's done a great job in games for us," Saleh told reporters. "He's extremely competent as a quarterback and he's got the ability to make all the throws on the football field and run the offense in a manner that we need to."

White won over the Jets fan base with his remarkable debut last season, filling in for Wilson during a different knee injury. The longtime backup led New York to an upset win over the Bengals, throwing for 405 yards with three touchdowns in his first career start.

Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said on Wednesday that he wants White to bring that same mentality to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, trying to go 1-0 this week. He shouldn't think about how important this contest is for a 6-4 team looking to stick around in the postseason conversation.

"He's more than capable of getting it done," LaFleur said. "Both physically and probably more so mentally. He's on top of his stuff, even when he wasn't dressing, he's always been on, he's always going to be within the game plan and he's going to get his opportunity on Sunday to lead this team."

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Chicago is 3-8 this season. They've lost seven of their last eight games. The Bears have allowed 24.9 points per game on defense. Still, this is no guarantee for the Jets. New York is coming off an absolutely dreadful performance on offense in their 10-3 loss to the Patriots, a game in which Gang Green had 103 total yards on offense, two in the entire second half. 

That's a big reason why Wilson was benched this week, a chance for the second-year quarterback to reset as he continues to struggle with the fundamentals this year. 

It certainly seems like the rest of New York's roster supports whoever steps in under center from this club's QB room, understanding that they need better quarterback play in order for this team to contend in the second half of the season. 

"He's a baller," said wideout Braxton Berrios when asked about White. "We got to see a flash of it last year. We have all the confidence in the world that he's going to come out and play his game, which he can obviously play at a very high level."

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