robert saleh mike white jets
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Mike White will start at quarterback for the Jets this Sunday in the absence of Zach Wilson.

The Mike White era begins this Sunday — if you can even call it an “era.”

The Jets‘ primary backup quarterback is expected to start in place of Zach Wilson, who should be out 2-4 weeks with a PCL sprain. White will notch the inaugural start of his professional career against a tough Bengals defense.

White might be excited. He also might be nervous. Of course, I don’t want to speak for his true emotions because I will never know what it’s like to step on an NFL field — that ship sailed a long, long time ago.

But regardless of how he’s feeling or what’s to come against Cincinnati, Jets head coach Robert Saleh has simple expectations for the young player.

“Same expectations every starting quarterback would have. Take care of the football, move the football, move the chains, score when you get a chance to score. But just really command the offense, the way he has since OTAs and training camp,” Saleh told Newsday‘s Al Iannazzone and the rest of the media Wednesday. “I thought he did a really nice job when he stepped in there on Sunday. Finish off the scoring drive, had another drive into field goal range that we just failed on fourth down, had a scoring drive to start the second half, had another drive that entered field goal range, we just didn’t finish. So, he can move the ball. He can do well. Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. Just go execute.”

White entered last Sunday’s loss to the Patriots following Wilson’s injury but didn’t execute the game plan to the fullest. He threw for 202 yards, one touchdown, and two picks in the midst of a 54-13 rout (Bill Belichick didn’t exactly take it easy on his division rival).

This Sunday, the opponent shouldn’t be any simpler. The 5-2 Bengals are one of the teams to beat in the AFC and are allowing fewer than 20 points per game through seven weeks.

Crazier things have happened in the NFL, but White defeating an impressive Cincinnati squad would be one of the more surprising Week 8 occurrences. Unless, of course, the 1-6 Texans somehow defeat the Rams or the Chiefs continue their early-season woes against the 2-5 Giants.

Maybe don’t bet on the Jets this week? Just a thought, unless Mike White proves us wrong…

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.