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New York Jets Notebook: Mike White’s Starting Debut And The Defensive Plan That Didn’t Work

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 31, 2021

Mike White will be making his first NFL start when he takes the field at quarterback for the New York Jets against Cincinnati

on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. As the 2018 fifth-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys said, “It’s what you grow up dreaming of as a little kid,” despite the circumstances (the injury to starter Zach Wilson). 

As White added Thursday, it’s “pretty freaking cool.” 

But two questions remain—how long will it last, and what can White show the Jets? He insisted that he is not putting undue pressure on himself, even though the Jets traded for veteran Joe Flacco, who arrived in camp in Florham Park, N.J. on Friday. 

White said, “Once you add more pressure to it, you start to mentally lock up and then do things that aren’t in your realm. So, I think personally, I’m trying not to think of anything of that nature. Just go out there, play my game, have fun with my guys.

“I don’t think Joe coming in changes anything,” he added. “I told myself from the beginning of the week, I just want to go out there and do my job and help this team win.”

After Sunday, the Jets have a quick turnaround before facing Indianapolis on the road on Thursday. The Jets have not placed Wilson on injured reserve despite the torn posterior cruciate in his right knee, because that would necessitate him missing at least three games. Thus, they apparently believe he could be healthy enough to play against visiting Buffalo on Nov. 14. 

As I noted here, if White plays well in this audition, he could give New York a quality backup going forward, or perhaps a trade chip for the future. (Not for this week, though, with the trade deadline looming Tuesday.)  As he said, he needs to play within himself and not try to do too much. He isn’t Zach Wilson, nor should he try to be. They are different types of quarterbacks.

Linebacker plan didn’t work. The Jets’ plan of drafting undersized box safeties and converting them into linebackers did not work. Head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had high hopes for both Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen, and both were pressed into service sooner then planned when free-agent signee Jarrad Davis suffered a severe ankle injury in August. He is expected to finally make his Jets’ debut against the Bengals.

Sherwood, a fifth-round pick from Auburn, is out for the season after suffering a torn Achilles’ in the loss to New England. 

Nasirildeen, a sixth-round choice from Florida State, is on injured reserve with a knee problem. He had been benched after starting the first two games. 

At listed weights of 216 and 215, respectively, Sherwood and Nasirildeen had problems defending against the run as linebackers, especially Sherwood. His deficiencies were exposed because he played longer. Granted, he showed the ability to deliver hits in space, but going forward, the Jets probably should think about drafting actual linebackers to fill that position. General manager Joe Douglas, Saleh and Ulbrich should have a different approach in the future.

Also, Blake Cashman, a fifth-round pick of previous general manager Mike Maccagnan in 2019, landed on injured reserve again, this time with a groin injury suffered against the Patriots. In three years, Cashman has played only 14 of a possible 40 games. He has talent, but cannot stay on the field. It might be time for the Jets to part ways with him, despite his potential. 

Saying goodbye? This could be the last home game for safety Marcus Maye, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and other veterans, even though Saleh indicated last week there wouldn’t be a “fire sale.” Still, Douglas should be in seller mode, despite the trade for Flacco.


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