New York Jets quarterback Mike White looks to throw during the second half of an NFL football game … [+] against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
The Mike White Era sure didn’t last long. Not that it was likely to, but the ending still was strange.
Coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday that Joe Flacco will start at quarterback for the New York Jets (2-7) on Sunday against the visiting Miami Dolphins. Saleh indicated he believes it will give his team a better chance to win against the Dolphins (3-7) and their blitzing defense. 
“Joe’s kind of been there, done that,” Saleh said. “We thought (he) would put us in the best position to win.”
That remains to be seen. It also will be interesting to see what affect it will have on White’s marketability going forward, and what kind of impact that will have on the Jets. White is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in March, and the Jets will have the option to match any offer if they tender him.  
White threw four interceptions in a 45-17 loss to Buffalo on Sunday two weeks after passing for 405 yards against Cincinnati in his first start, the most passing yards for an NFL quarterback in his first start. Flacco was acquired by the Jets in a trade with Philadelphia on Oct. 25 after rookie starter Zach Wilson was injured. It will mark Flacco’s first start since Nov. 22, 2020, exactly 52 weeks earlier. 
White is the first player to be benched by Saleh, despite New York being last in the league in team defense and 28th in team offense.
Wilson will continue practicing on a limited basis, but Saleh indicated he is not ready to play just yet. It is still unclear if Wilson, who has a sprained PCL in his right knee, will play Nov. 28 at Houston.
Flacco’s promotion is a stark about-face from what Saleh had said two days earlier, when asked if he had lost faith in White. 
“I’ve still got a lot of confidence in Mike,” he replied. “Again, this market fascinates me in the sense that he was anointed the (messiah) after one game, and now everyone wants to throw him away. He deserves better than that. Did he play his best? No. Is he capable of playing better? Absolutely. That (Buffalo) defense, give them a lot of credit. They’ve made a lot of people look really bad. … They’ve been together for four years, they’re so precise in how they operate. So, credit to them. But I haven’t lost faith in Mike at all.” 
So what changed in two days? 
Nothing, Saleh claimed. Yet the switch still was made.
The coach said, “I’ll be very, very clear on this one, my comments on Monday were because people wanted him out of New York. What Mike has done in three weeks as a starter has proven to this entire organization and in my opinion, to the entire New York fan base that he’s a capable quarterback that can play in this league and can do a lot of good things. We’re more excited about Mike as a future QB, as a quarterback in our future and working with Mike for as many years as possible because of what he’s been able to do in his three starts.”
Saleh denied that it had anything to do with the fact that Jets general manager Joe Douglas spent a sixth-round draft choice on Flacco. 
He replied, “It’s a fair question. But let’s be real, you can get a sixth-round pick back by trading one spot in the third. It was a really good opportunity to get a very veteran quarterback in this building at a cost that’s not hard to recoup. And I thought Joe (Douglas) made a fantastic move. But it has nothing to do with justifying something like that.” 
As for the off-season, if White’s four-interception game is his last impression for other front offices, how does that affect their evaluations of him? Certainly, the Jets may be able to tender him at the middle or lower end of the RFA spectrum, perhaps at second-round tender, approximately $3.5 million or original-round tender, approximately $2.223 million. White was selected by Dallas in the fifth round in 2019. 
Thus, it would be beneficial to the Jets but not to White if, as Saleh said twice, “We’re excited to work with him for as many years as possible.”
However, if they want to re-sign him and perhaps trade him in the not-too-distant future after that, not giving him a chance to atone for his mistake-filled game could hurt their trade return. 
Whatever the Jets’ ultimate plans for White may be, it’s a curious move given the fact they have had the most rookie snaps of any team in the NFL. And now, at 2-7, they decide, as Saleh said, “this is kind of why we brought in a guy like Joe, for situations like this and his experience to kind of play systems of Miami’s caliber.”
In that vein, some experience in the secondary would’ve helped, but the Jets chose not to sign any veteran cornerbacks in the off-season. The Jets are next-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed per pass attempt.


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