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Why Mike White Should Be the Jets' Starting QB

This former scout believes Mike White gives the Jets a better chance to win than Zach Wilson.

There is an old adage in scouting that game film does not lie. 

While the hype machine has done its best to push quarterback Zach Wilson, the reality remains unchanged.

Mike White is the best QB on the Jets, and New York has a higher ceiling with him under center. 

That is what the game film revealed, and the statistics are equally supportive in this apples to apples comparison.

Although Wilson (first-round 2021) has not been in the league as long as White (fifth-round 2018), both threw their first NFL passes last season. 

Right when White entered the Patriots game in Week Six, everything suddenly started clicking better. It was noticeable as I watched the game. 

Even the same exact offensive line performed better.

Up until this New England game, the offensive line ranked No. 31 in the league (giving up an average of 3.6 sacks per game). 

With White in there, that number dropped to an average of 2.0 sacks per game and that same unit improved to No. 27. 


White was more decisive in the pocket with the football and he got rid of it faster than Wilson. 

All told, White played in four games against three top-10 defenses and three out of these four opponents made the playoffs. He completed 66.7% of his passes during that stretch of the season. 

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Up until this New England game when Wilson got injured and White took over, Wilson had completed 57.7% of his passes. 

Overall on the entire season, that completion percentage dropped to 55.6% for Wilson. 

Then there’s the fact the Jets scored a season-high 34 points against the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals with White at the helm. Plus, he brought the Jets back in that game from deficits at two different points, including being down 31-20 in the fourth quarter.

The overall body of work for both of these quarterbacks is also revealing, when looking at their 2021 stats. 

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Wilson was 213/383, 2,334 yards (6.1 average), 9 TD and 11 INT over 13 games.

White was 88/132, 953 yards (7.2 average), 5 TD, 8 INT over 4 games. 

Despite throwing a third as many pass attempts, and playing in nine less games, White only had four fewer touchdowns. White additionally had a higher average per completion (indication of better ball placement downfield). 

The third-down conversion rate is also in White’s favor. Wilson was 52% converting third-downs and White was 61.5%. Red-zone efficiency numbers additionally side with White. Wilson was 58.54%. White was at 77.78%. 

Supporters of Wilson like to point to the meltdown White had against Buffalo in Week Nine when he threw four interceptions. However, Wilson also pitched four interceptions against New England in Week Two. 

Wilson fans like to argue he didn’t have enough weapons and the defense didn’t have a good enough pass rush in 2021, but neither did White. 

White was working with the same exact roster as Wilson, yet White got more out of the team’s talent level. 

Now, everyone wants to pretend last season never happened? 

Suddenly, Head Coach Robert Saleh likes to point to the fact Wilson has bulked up as indication of his “development.” 

All cameras are back on Wilson due to him being a first-round pick and the hopes that surround being picked early. 

However, none of that changes the facts, no matter how politically unpopular they may be. 

Based on the Jets’ 2022 schedule, this roster General Manager Joe Douglas has built, the team has a 5-12 ceiling with Wilson and a 9-8 ceiling with White. 


White has more confidence than Wilson. That is what this comes down to. 

It showed on the game film and it is proven by the numbers. 


Follow Daniel Kelly on Twitter (@danielkellybook). Be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.