Mike White seizes the NY Jets moment in famously fearless fashion

Mike White has arrived to save the day for the New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—What is the most noticeable difference between No. 2 and No. 5, apart from the former’s incredible physical advantage over the latter?

Well, simply put, No. 5 brings an element of fearless moxie to the table that No. 2 simply cannot match.

The position of football quarterback is one of many talent evaluators that keep getting it wrong. The mystery behind Why that’s the obvious thing to rage about, but it shouldn’t be such a mystery after the quarterback case for the 2022 New York Jets is investigated.

Zach Wilson, 23, entered the season as the unquestioned face of the franchise. Selected No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL draft, no one would argue that the kid brings an incredible physical advantage to the table.

His feet are lightning fast, his arm is electric, and his release is absurdly quick – perfectly suited for today’s 3-step loaded National Football League. No one would dare dispute these qualities against today’s hero, Mike White.

Yet, interestingly, the guy with the lesser talent is more apt to lead the charge.

White, 27, passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns (to no interceptions) in a 31-10 Jets’ shutout of the Chicago Bears on Sunday. White lifted the squad to 7-4 and found himself brilliantly ensconced in a familiar atmosphere with admiration all over the backdrop.

“Mike White, Mike White, Mike White,” the MetLife Stadium crowd chanted continuously on and off throughout the rainy afternoon.

While no one would ever mistake No. 5 for an arrogant person, the kid’s human element was on display in the postgame presser.

“It’s always cool,” White told the media after being asked about the songs. “I’m not going to sit here and give you a quarterback cliché. Sometimes I’m not (hearing the fan chants), but towards the end of the game (I am).”

Just make sure your football IQ matches the Jets’ new starting quarterback’s football mind.

“I think it would be a lot cooler if they didn’t do that while we’re trying to snap the ball,” White joked. “But no, I’m not going to complain too much about it.”

White’s communication is very human and relatable, which is in stark contrast to Wilson, whose machine-like persona could not avoid being detected even from Mars. And then there’s the matter of the quarterback mind and mentality, both of which were on excellent display against the Bears.

Not only did White lead the Jets on a nine-play, 75-yard opening drive that resulted in an 8-yard Garrett Wilson touchdown reception, but he also did — along with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur — something this unit failed to do. often do this season.

He stretched the field in a way that forced the defense to actually adjust.

Down 10-7 in the second quarter, in a game that featured a less-than-dominant Jets defense, White fired one over the middle without fear. Wilson turned it into a 54-yard chunk touchdown.

At that point in the game, Chicago had settled down defensively. Although Matt Eberflus’ defense is quite similar to Robert Saleh’s — a laid-back shell feeling that keeps everything up front — the Bears unit came out with an aggressive attitude.

The Bears crowded the box, ran a bunch of 1-high concepts, and defensive backs also broke on balls earlier than normal timing, which was more the case after White led the charge on the opening drive.

What the Jets needed was a quarterback to slam it down — when it mattered. (This idea is similar to the way the Jets needed White to destroy the Cincinnati Bengals two Halloweens ago – take what the defense gives you.). What the Jets offense needed was a quarterback to right the ship.

What the Jets fandom needed was a leader who displayed a fearless attitude.

All professional athletes understand this: If you play to avoid getting hurt, you’re more likely to get hurt. As a quarterback, if you play not to turn the ball over, you are more likely to turn the ball over.

You simply have to know that the free throw goes in, that the putt falls in the hole, or that the pass will fit into the tight window above the middle.

Zach Wilson never quite knew, as his confidence was left behind in Utah. For whatever reason, he was simply playing with fear firmly rooted in his mind.

Just look at his game against the Patriots in New England before and after Devin McCourty dropped the interception. Initially confident in the game, the flip switched to the defeated side after he sailed on over the head of Tyler Conklin and almost turned the ball over.

That simply cannot be the case. A quarterback must not be so fragile – regardless of the level of pressure that comes from a defensive-first coaching staff.

Mike White played like he had nothing to lose, while Zach Wilson played with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

“It’s awesome,” White said of the results after the game. “To go out there and play football with your friends, guys you’ve been with for a couple of years now (it’s awesome).”

Perhaps Elijah Moore noticed the most, the disgruntled Jets weapon who tallied his first touchdown of the season on this Mike White Day.

Another third down, and another clutch play by Mike White, this time he understood his surroundings and what was materializing down the field in real time. He remembered the tighter splits, the concept of longer development, and drifted just enough as he anticipated the breakout corner route from Moore as he snuck under the vertically-traveling Corey Davis.

So, yes, those who claim Zach Wilson is the more talented quarterback will be right 99% of the time. That is until you start drilling down into the nuances of actually playing the position.

What about mindset?

What about mentality?

What about toughness?

What about consciousness?

What about personality?

How about presenting a fearless set of skills that a team follows into an alley with dangerous people looking to do world record damage?

That’s why evaluating quarterbacks is one of the toughest things in the world. It is almost impossible to predict how individuals will react in a given situation, surrounded by specific people, while up against the weight of the world that stacks the odds in the outcome of failure.

Tom Brady, a skinny shrimp from Michigan, a sixth round pick in 2000, is just one such an example of being wrong. There have been countless others.

Mike White aims to add his name to that list.

The kid who grew up near Fort Lauderdale, FL and moved from South Florida to Western Kentucky couldn’t get a sniff from an NFL franchise as he toiled on the fringes of the Jets’ active roster and practice squad. And now he suddenly has Halloween 2021 against the Cincinnati Bengals and the 2022 sweep of the Chicago Bears in his back pocket.

Even better, he now has the faith of his teammates and the organization as a whole on his side. And that’s thanks to being equipped with the right quarterback mindset — one that plays fearlessly, energetically, unapologetically and with nothing to lose — a mentality that stands in stark contrast to the previous quarterback.

Even worse, for Zach Wilson, that is, the New York Jets, his teammates, love Mike “Effing” White, just like No. 5 loves his teammates.

“When it wasn’t my time to play, I was very supportive of them and had fun with them as well, but just being out there, being a part of it and helping the team, and helping the team win is always fun, White said after the game.

Even though this Chicago Bears defense stinks and the kid has a lot to prove, Mike “Effing” White has fearlessly joined the New York Jets, once again, and just in time for a talented team looking to do some damage this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *