robert saleh joe flacco jets
Syndication: The Record

Joe Flacco will start for the Jets this Sunday instead of Mike White.

No Zach Wilson again in Week 11. The Jets‘ primary starting quarterback, who the team drafted at No. 2 overall back in April, will miss a fourth consecutive game with a PCL sprain.

So…the Mike White saga lives on, right?

Wrong.

The Jets will elect to start veteran Joe Flacco against the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon with White serving as the backup.

A quarterback switch obviously stirs the pot in the New York market — how does Robert Saleh justify breaking out the wooden spoon?

“One of the reasons why we went and got Joe was for the experience part of it,” Saleh told the media Wednesday. “Not only for the playing ability but also for situations just like this. Miami has got a dynamic coverage system as it pertains to defense with zero and all the different coverages they run. And Joe has kind of been there and done that and has kind of a steadying experience we felt would put us in the best position to win.”

The Jets traded for Flacco late last month following Wilson’s injury in Week 7. New York sent a conditional sixth-round draft pick to the Eagles for the one-time Super Bowl champion, who was part of the organization last year when Adam Gase and Sam Darnold resided in Florham Park.

If Saleh and this coaching staff believe Flacco provides them with a better chance to win than White, they will start the veteran signal-caller. The Jets are in desperate need of a victory after losing three of their last four games and allowing at least 45 points in each of the three defeats during that span.

Saleh’s Previous Comments

On Monday, following a 45-17 loss to Buffalo, Saleh noted he still had “a lot of confidence in Mike [White]” and basically felt the quarterback shouldn’t be kicked to the curb following the rough Week 10 performance.

So why did the head coach decide to bench him for Week 11 then?

“My comments on Monday were because people wanted him out of New York,” Saleh explained. “What Mike has done in three weeks as a starter has proven to this entire organization and, in my opinion, to the entire New York fanbase that he’s a capable quarterback who can play in this league and can do a lot of good things. We’re more excited about Mike as a future quarterback and working with Mike for as many years as possible because of what he’s been able to do in his three starts.

“He’s also a young guy; he’s also got some inexperience to him. But at the same time, Mike has only strengthened his case because he really took what he did in OTAs and training camp and throughout the preseason and used these three weeks to solidify everything that we thought of him. Now, this particular situation with Miami presents a completely different challenge and this is kind of why we brought in a guy like Joe, for situations just like this and his experience to be able to play systems of Miami’s caliber.”

Say what you want about the aging Flacco and how he’s not capable of performing as a starting quarterback anymore. Say what you want about how the Jets shouldn’t move on from White after one terrible performance.

But Saleh and his assistants are not trying to wave the white flag; they’re not trying to tank. The main goals are building as a team, winning ballgames, and overall, showing some semblance of progress moving forward.

If Flacco is more capable of succeeding against Miami than White, then that’s the route the staff will take.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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