He relayed: “So [left tackle] Duane Brown, he’ll be out, dealing with a shoulder. [Right tackle] George Fant’s going to be out, dealing with his knee. [Right guard Nate] Herbig’s going to be out, dealing with his calf. [Cornerback Brandin] Echols will be out [quad], [safety Lamarcus] Joyner will be out [hip], and then [quarterback] Mike White will also be out [ribs].”
Saleh added that guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, safety Jordan Whitehead, safety Ashtyn Davis, and tight end C.J. Uzomah will all be questionable. Out of those four, the only true game-time decision appears to be “LDT.” The other three veterans are expected to play, per Saleh.
Jets Enter Week 18 Bruised & Battered After Season of Nagging Injuries
In revealing these absences, Saleh also noted that a few “warriors” were battling nagging injuries over the latter half of the season — if not the entire year in the case of Brown’s torn rotator cuff that the 37-year-old was able to fight through since Week 5.
Per Saleh, “the wheels [finally] fell off” for players like Brown after the Jets were eliminated from postseason contention. He included Herbig in that statement too, as well as Fant. Neither of the veteran offensive linemen looked themselves down the stretch.
With all the injuries, the Jets HC all but confirmed the starting OL for Week 18 would be (left to right): Mike Remmers, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Dan Feeney, Cedric Ogbuehi.
The subtle reason that Gang Green is choosing to go with Joe Flacco over Zach Wilson — they have no interest in throwing the youngster to the wolves against a hungry Miami defense.
Saleh called it a “coach’s decision,” explaining: “I want to stay firm with him and make sure that he gets to attack this offseason — I just want to get him to the offseason so we can start and attack the plan that we’ve been building. Putting him out there right now is not going to do him any good, it’s not going to do anyone any good. For him, for Zach, it’s all about 2023.”
In other words, no reason to risk an injury that could derail his offseason program. As for Flacco over Chris Streveler, the more mobile of the two backups, Saleh voiced that the veteran “gives us the best chance to win in that case.”
The Jets HC complimented his ability to get the ball out and make decisions quickly, despite an offensive line that could be compromised versus the Dolphins.
Earlier in the week, Saleh confirmed that undrafted rookie Tony Adams would start in place of Joyner, but it’ll be interesting to see if any other youngsters get opportunities as the game goes along — especially if things get ugly early on.
Has Mike White Played His Final Game With the Jets?
It’s no secret that White is an unrestricted free agent in 2023, and it’s not a stretch to say that the popular journeyman may not return next year.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini stated on Twitter that “you have to feel for Mike White, whose late-season opportunity was derailed by that Dec. 11 rib injury. Tried to play through it last week but appeared compromised. His future with the Jets is uncertain, as he will be a UFA.”
As much as the Jets organization loves White, it feels like there are very few roads that lead back to him returning and here’s why.
- One: There is an outside pressure to upgrade at the quarterback position and it’s hard to do that while also reupping White’s deal to be the backup.
- Two: It’s hard to imagine both Joe Douglas and Saleh putting their careers in the hands of White and paying him starter money — considering his durability issues and inconsistencies on the field.
- Three: They have committed publicly to the idea of developing Zach Wilson. This could always change but for now, they have to pay him to be the backup or third-stringer, leaving less money for White.
- Four: White may get an offer to compete for the starting job elsewhere and if he gets that, who could blame him for taking it?
The only real chance White returns is if the Jets decide to run it back with the same quarterback room and a different offensive coach (feels unlikely), or they bring in a player of a similar level of talent to compete with him — someone like Gardner Minshew.
Outside of those two scenarios — which both sound extremely risky after watching the way the 2022 campaign turned out — it’s hard to see White playing for Gang Green in 2023.