After upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals at home, can Mike White become a folk hero for New York Jets fans?
When Zach Wilson went down with an apparent leg injury in Week 7, you could hear the collective groans from New York Jets fans. Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh had refused to get a veteran quarterback to back up Wilson in the offseason.
Robert Saleh went as far as to say that having one wasn’t important at all. Many (myself included), thought this would be a fatal error for the Jets. It just goes to show how much we know.
When Mike White came in relief for the injured Zach Wilson, it’s safe to say not many people knew who he was. Even Jets fans would have a hard time telling you which colleges he attended. He didn’t play amazingly in that Week 7 game, but he did look better than Wilson had through most of the season.
New York Jets: Mike White, Folk Hero
In Week 8, White got his chance to start in his first career NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals. A team that sits atop the AFC North – one of the hardest divisions in the NFL. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any Jets fan who didn’t believe this game would be a blowout win for the Bengals. Thankfully for them, Mike White is indeed a savage.
After looking like a team that didn’t prepare at all after their Week 7 loss following the bye, the Jets looked like a vastly different team with Mike White under center in Week 8. White showed poise in the pocket, with excellent precision, timing, and touch on his throws.
White handled the pressure of the Bengals offense incredibly. On top of that, he understands the scheme to perfection, and made his job simpler by doing so – a task Zach Wilson has yet to achieve.
This is hardly the performance you would expect from a sophomore transfer in college who was a 5th round pick in 2018. In fact, this performance was so incredible, that White became the first Jets quarterback since Vinny Testaverde in 2000 to throw for over 400 yards in a single game.
White won’t have time to bask in glory, though. The Jets take on the Indianapolis Colts on a short week on Thursday Night Football. The Jets are traveling to Indianapolis, where Mike White Fever will be on full display; and we’ll be able to see if he can keep that same composure in hostile territory.
The Colts have given up the second-most passing touchdowns to opponents this season with 19, only one behind Washington Football Team. There’s a very real chance that this game becomes a shootout between Carson Wentz and Mike White (imagine saying that a week ago).
While we should probably temper expectations for White in this game, you can’t help but root for a player like him. Players that put in their time, move around the league and continue to perfect their craft – in the hopes they get a chance like the one Mike White received in Week 8.
It seems greedy to ask for a repeat performance. But starved New York Jets fans are looking for something to believe in. They’re looking for their folk hero.