Mike White Named Jets' Starting QB vs. Bengals After Joe Flacco Trade

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2021

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 24: Mike White #5 of the New York Jets makes a pass play in the fourth quarter of game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that Mike White will start at quarterback in Sunday's Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

New York Jets @nyjets

QB Mike White will get the start Sunday against the Bengals. <a href="https://t.co/p3n52SOvoM">pic.twitter.com/p3n52SOvoM</a>

Zach Wilson will miss the contest with a knee injury.

Joe Flacco, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, is away from the team for personal reasons and isn't expected to practice until Friday. It's unclear whether he'll be ready to handle the backup role by Sunday.

"We'll see how it goes," Saleh told reporters.

Josh Johnson is on the practice squad and could be called up if Flacco is unavailable.

White, a 2018 fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys, made his first regular-season NFL appearance to replace the injured Wilson in Sunday's blowout loss to the New England Patriots.

The 26-year-old Western Kentucky product completed 20 of his 32 throws for 202 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

His first career start will come against the Bengals' 17th-ranked pass defense (245.9 passing yards allowed per game).

Wilson, who ranks 31st in ESPN's Total QBR through his first six career starts, is expected to miss between two and four weeks while recovering from a sprained PCL in his right knee.

Flacco, 36, is best remembered for his remarkable play during the 2012 NFL playoffs when he threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions while leading the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl XLVII title. He's otherwise been a mostly average quarterback, as evidenced by his career 84.1 passer rating.

The New Jersey native made five appearances (four starts) for the Jets last season, tossing six TDs and three picks, as part of a one-year stay before leaving to sign with the Eagles in free agency.

Saleh didn't provide any further details about Flacco's initial absence, but he noted the Jets knew he wouldn't be available right away when they made the trade, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

After Sunday's clash with the Bengals, the Jets have a short turnaround ahead of a Thursday Night Football road game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9, which would make it difficult to engineer any type of quarterback change.

Wilson could return as early as Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, which led reporters to question why the Jets would trade for Flacco:

Paul Andrew Esden Jr @BoyGreen25

Here is the very perplexing exchange between the media &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Jets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Jets</a> HC Robert Saleh when trying to explain Joe Flacco trade + Josh Johnson likely being No. 2 on Sunday + health of Zach Wilson 🧐🤨😵‍💫 <a href="https://twitter.com/RichCimini?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RichCimini</a> follows up w/ questions: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CINvsNYJ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CINvsNYJ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TakeFlight?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TakeFlight</a> <a href="https://t.co/h31pckzXAW">pic.twitter.com/h31pckzXAW</a>

In the big picture, New York owns a 1-5 record and is in imminent danger of an early exit from the AFC playoff race if it doesn't turn its season around in short order.