Since taking over from Zach Wilson two weeks ago, Mike White has received a lot of praise from teammates, fans and even the media.
But this Sunday, White will try to exorcise some demons from the last time he played the Bills.
Last year, while leaving for Wilson due to injury, White completed 24 of 44 passes for 251 yards and four interceptions in a 45-17 demolition of the Jets by the Bills.
“It’s a good opportunity, obviously a new team – both sides of the ball,” White said. “I learned a lot from that, but I tried my best to close the book on it and move on.
“I think it will be a very good test for the team. It’s obviously a very difficult place to play. They’re rolling right now, so it’s going to be a battle. I can not wait to be there.
“I think it goes back to what I said before, you can’t play hero ball. You can’t go into this thinking, “I want revenge for what happened last year. What happened last year is over. It’s over with. We have to move on. »
In his two starts since becoming the Jets’ starter after Wilson’s bench, White has played much better football. He threw for 684 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
His ball placement and on-field decision-making stood out on starts. He also gives receivers such as Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis explosive play opportunities, which has helped the offense average 26.5 ppg in the Jets’ last two games. In the last four games Wilson has started this season, Gang Green’s offense has averaged just 14 points per game.
Trailing 20-3 to the Vikings in a game that looked set to be a rout of Minnesota, White kept the Jets calm and got the team back in the game. Gang Green was down 27-22 with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. A Braxton Berrios drop in the end zone and a late interception by the Whites secured the victory for the Vikings.
What also stood out was White’s behavior in the squad and on the pitch. No matter the situation, the moment doesn’t seem too big for him.
“If I had to elaborate, probably growing up as a baseball player, as a pitcher,” White said. “As a pitcher, you’re never too high, never too low, and I try to incorporate that into the quarterback role.
“You don’t want to surf the highs too much and surf the lows too much. You kind of want to stay balanced no matter what. If I had to identify something, it would probably be this.
White will arguably face the biggest challenge of his career against the Bills team bent on revenge after a 20-17 loss to the Jets on Nov. 6. Not only do the Bills (9-3) hold the No. 1 spot in the AFC East, but they currently hold the No. 1 seed in the entire conference. That means if Buffalo were to hold that spot for the rest of the season, they would have a first-round bye and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bills are 10th in the league in total defense (320.2 yards per game) and fourth in points against per game (17.4). Buffalo has won its last three games but will be without one of its best defensive players for the rest of the season.
Von Miller, who signed a six-year, $120 million contract with the Bills in the offseason, will miss the rest of the year after undergoing surgery for an ACL injury. Miller was injured in the second quarter of Buffalo’s win over the Lions.
Miller initially said he hoped to return before the game against the Jets, but was determined he needed a knee scope after seeking several opinions from doctors. Without Miller, the Bills defense limited the Patriots offense and quarterback Mac Jones to one touchdown in their 24-10 win last Thursday.
“They got healthier, obviously, except for Von [Miller], which is a big loss in terms of their upside, but they ran two deep there because it seems like an eternity now and they’re spinning, and these guys are playing hungry,” said Jets offensive coordinator Mike TheFlower. “[Jordan] Poyer’s return is just huge for them, he brings that veteran leadership and that presence to that half of the field.
“Obviously the turns, they turn a lot but get Tre’Davious [White] return has been important to them, bringing [Xavier] Rhodes, then, is a new cast of guys, but guys we’re familiar with. The message to the young receivers was, ‘hey, the guys you go against, the guys you study, the guys you get used to in this first game, it’s going to be different because there’s going to be different bodies there. -down.
“We’ve had to study the last few weeks and get an idea of how those corners are going to play us.”
RETURN OF PLAYERS
A day after missing practice due to a flu virus that hit the team, wide receiver Davis, cornerback DJ Reed and right tackle George Fant all returned on a limited basis. Left tackle Duane Brown [shoulder] and safeties Lamarcus Joyner [hip] and Ashtyn Davis [hamstring] were also limited.
Defensive lineman Micheal Clemons, who is also suffering from an illness, is the only Jets player not to practice Thursday.