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The 5 Throws of Mike White
I’m writing this before the final games in Group B tonight, so hopefully, if you’re a football fan (European football) then you’re waking up with smile on your face this morning and both the USA and England have progressed in the World Cup. If they haven’t, well at least we have some Jets football to look forward to.
I don’t want to say the energy was lacking in the aftermath of the Patriots debacle but I do think there was an air of frustration, that emanated from the locker room and infiltrated the fanbase. The offensive explosion against the Bears energized me and based on what I’m seeing online and in the national media, it energized everyone else as well.
Today I’m going to take a look at five throws of Mike White’s that impressed me against the Bears. Yes it was the Bears and there will be tougher tests to come, but if that was his entrance exam, then he passed with flying colours, now he just needs to worry about graduation.
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The Jets are currently the #7 seed in the AFC Playoff race, if the season were to end today then New York would head to Miami to take on the '#2 seed Dolphins in the Wild Card game. Wouldn’t that be fun!
The only QBs in NFL history with multiple games of 300 Pass Yards, 3 Pass TD and a 75% completion percentage in their first 4 starts are Kurt Warner and Mike White.
Garrett Wilson is up for rookie of the week honours, again. The Jets receiver caught 5 passes for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns, if you want to see the Pepsi belt return to 1JD you can cast your vote HERE.
Talking of Garrett Wilson, he’s now the third favourite to win the NFL’s rookie of the year award trailing only Seattle RB Kenneth Walker III and Saints receiver Chris Olave.
More honor talk, Sauce Gardner is currently the #1 corner in terms of votes for the Pro Bowl among AFC cornerbacks. Sauce is having an outstanding season and deserves every accolade that comes his way.
There was some talk that the Jets/Bills game next Sunday would be flexed into primetime, but the game will remain at 1 pm EST after ESPN announced they’d flexed the Dolphins-Chargers game instead, that works for me. I actually have no desire to see us play in the prime slots.
It really wasn’t very easy to pick just five throws for White from Sunday’s game, he had no many that I liked. The first pass to Wilson showed some arm strength to force it into a tight window. He later had one to Conklin which was just a perfectly thrown ball after he avoided the rush by stepping up in the pocket. On the first drive, the Bears blitz off the edge and White instantly recognises it and knows where his hot-read is (Conlin) which went for 9 yards. So much to like, but here are my top 5.
Throw #1 - 16 yard pass - Zonovan Knight - 2nd & 1 (1st Quarter)
This throw was one of the more impressive throws from White on Sunday, although it may not actually look like it considering it only travelled about 5 yards in the air.
Zonovan Knight is actually the 4th read for White here. He’s working right to left in his reads. His first option is Wilson who’s going vertical at the top, but White instantly sees that the safety stays deep so he moves to Moore from the slot who’s also going vertical, what you don’t see in the above video is that there is a deep safety sitting back, so that’s not an option. The third read is likely Uzomah who’s never open and then it’s Knight. You only have to pick up a single yard here, so there is no point in pushing it deep and taking a chance.
I’ve actually timed this throw (because that’s the kind of thing I do for fun) and it takes White 2.50 seconds from when he gets the ball to work a full field read and get the pass off to Knight. That’s extremely quick. It doesn’t just show an understanding of the offensive philosophy, it actually shows a really good understanding of what the defense is trying to do here by keeping both safeties back. Zonovan is the only real option here.
Throw #2 - 42 yard pass - Elijah Moore - 3rd and 9 (2nd Quarter)
How nice is it to see Elijah Moore happy and making plays? The reaction of his teammates to his touchdown tells you everything you need to know about how he’s viewed in the locker room. Frustration for the better of him earlier this year, but a happy Moore is a productive one.
Here’s what I like about this throw, patience, timing and his ability to throw within the pocket. Unlike the first play, it looks as though White wants to hit Moore all the way but to do that he has to give Moore time to beat his CB and get cut in on the dig route. The pocket actually gets pushed back onto Mike’s toes here but he doesn’t vacate it, instead, he knows that as soon as Moore breaks he can let go of the ball, the timing and ball placement here is impeccable.
White can see pre-snap that the Bears are playing two deep safeties, he knows that dig-route is going to be open if Moore can beat his man, which he does. What you can’t really see from this angle is that White actually drops his arm angle slightly to get the ball out before the defender has a chance to get into the throwing lane.
Anyway you want to look at it, this is a big-time throw from within a crowded pocket. If this ball is slightly late or it sails then the safety is there, if it’s underthrown or placed even 6 inches inside then the trailing CB has a PBU opportunity. Outstanding.
Throw #3 - 16 yard pass - Ty Johnson - 3rd & 2 (2nd Quarter)
Yesterday I mentioned in the stat pack that White completed 100% of his passes when under pressure, and this is one of those passes. It’s worth noting that on the very next play after this completion, White found Wilson for the big touchdown on the play where Eddie Jackson got injured. Some said that if Jackson hadn’t of gone down he’d have made a play, he may have stopped the TD but he wasn’t stopping the completion because of the timing and where the ball was placed. Anyway, back to the play in question here:
This is all about pocket awareness and mobility. When you think of mobility, you instantly think of a Lamar Jackson type QB, someone who can bust off an 80-yard run. But there are varying examples of mobility and we’re going to see a couple from Mike White. This to me is the kind of mobility that you need in a QB and that’s an ability to feel pressure and step/slide away from it to extend the play.
If you watch the clip a couple of times you’ll see two things. One that all the receivers are closely covered by the time the pressure gets through and two, White makes a very slight move to dip his shoulder away from the oncoming rusher. It’s a very slight move and you can miss it if you don’t watch carefully, but this is the difference between getting the ball off and it turning into a sack. Instead, he quickly dumps this ball off to Johnson before taking a big hit.
One of my absolute favourite plays on the day.
Throw #4 - 54 yard pass - Garrett Wilson - 1st & 10 (2nd Quarter)
I’ve watched this a few times from a couple of different angles and I will continue to insist that Eddie Jackson doesn’t make a play on this ball even if he doesn’t suffer the injury. It hits Garrett in the stomach and Jackson’s not getting around to that ball.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter because this is exactly the kind of throw you want to see White make because showing the ability to make these throws stops defenses from cheating down on the short stuff. This is probably the deepest drop he makes all game and he climbs into that pocket and delivers an absolutely strike to Wilson, all with a defender closing in on him and trying to bat the ball down.
This is a very confident throw because you have the linebacker dropping into the middle of the field, he’s dropping there to discourage any throws over the middle of the field, but White trusts his arm and manages to get the ball up and over the linebacker and into Garrett’s hands. I may sound like a broken record sometimes, but in this offense it’s your job to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers and then allow them to make the magic happen. White did that perfectly on this play and all game.
Throw #5 - 22 yard pass - Elijah Moore - 3rd & 4 (3rd Quarter)
I’m not sure what was better. The touchdown to Moore or the celebrations that followed. You could see what it meant to Moore to be back in the end zone, but you could also see what it meant to the rest of the offense. They know that Moore is a real talent that needs to be unleashed. We’re talking White here, but that is an excellent route by Moore too.
Here is that pocket mobility again. White can feel the attempted stunt coming from the defensive lineman and he just slides away from it while always keeping his eyes downfield. The moment you look to see where the rush is coming from, or the moment you look down at the ball, this play is pretty much dead. Especially as the outside rusher against Max Mitchell is 1-2 yards away when this ball comes out.
Being able to flick your wrist and make these plays as you’re basically going backwards and sideways is a skill that not everyone possesses. White doesn’t have the arm talent of Zach, in fact, he doesn’t have the arm talent of a lot of QBs in this league. But, being able to throw a 70-yard bomb becomes largely irrelevant when you can’t handle pressure or don’t have that internal clock and mobility to just slide away. I’m not necessarily talking about Zach here, I’ just talking about QBs in general.
The ball placement again is absolutely outstanding, leading the receiver away from the defender and giving him the best possible chance to continue that journey into the end-zone.
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