Jets turn back to QB Zach Wilson with Mike White not medically cleared for contact
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will start Sunday against the Detroit Lions, head coach Robert Saleh announced Friday.
Mike White wanted to play and has practiced but was unable to get medically cleared for game contact.
"He's exhausted every measure he possibly can because he wants to be out there for his teammates," Saleh said. "This is one of those deals where we gotta do what's best for the player and protect the player from the player."
White injured his ribs during a Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He took several hard hits and left the game but later returned.
Coach Saleh says QB Mike White was not medically cleared for contact and will not play Sunday.
QB Zach Wilson will start. pic.twitter.com/RREqyb5JM1
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 16, 2022
The news comes after Wilson was benched for White prior to the team's Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. That decision was made after Wilson faced criticism from teammates for a poor performance against the New England Patriots.
Wilson went 9-of-22 in the 10-3 loss, throwing for just 77 yards, but initially said he did not feel that he let down the defense.
He later reportedly apologized to his teammates, and Saleh explained via ESPN that his benching was not a "nail in his coffin" but a needed reset for the young QB, who had 13 touchdowns against 16 interceptions in 20 games.
On Wednesday, Saleh shared that Wilson was back on the game day roster and earned the backup quarterback position over veteran Joe Flacco.
"Zach's been doing a great job," Saleh said. "He's been deliberate in his approach over the last three weeks. He's been holding himself accountable with regard to how he wants to attack practice, how he's been performing in practice. Going against our defense, which I think is a pretty good defense to go against, and working on all the different things we've been asking him to accomplish."
Sunday will be an opportunity for the Jets to see how Wilson's recent performances in practice translate to prime time.