FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Lessons from Big D: Before landing on the Jets' doorstep in 2019, Mike White spent a year with the Dallas Cowboys. He never played, but he did a lot of listening and observing. One of the players he studied was fellow quarterback Dak Prescott, whose leadership style made an impression on White.
"I thought, off the field, what Dak does so well is the relationships he has with every single person in that locker room and in that building," said White, drafted by the Cowboys in 2018 (fifth round). "That's just kind of how he operates. That's what I noticed firsthand when I got there to Dallas.
"Whether it's Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) or the starting receivers or the practice-squad backup corner, he's got a relationship with everybody. I try to emulate that."
White is enormously popular in the Jets' locker room. Whenever he walks in the room, even on a mundane practice day, the players chant, "Mike White! Mike White!" The admiration, even from players and coaches on defense, comes through when they talk about him in interviews. They respect his journey, how he got cut by the Cowboys and worked his way up from the Jets' practice squad and scout team.
White has energized the entire building, and I'm predicting he will remain in the lineup for at least another game no matter what happens Sunday against the first-place Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
2. Did you know? White, making his third start, has a 60.4 Total QBR. The only Jets quarterback in the past 15 seasons to have a 60.0 QBR (minimum: 100 snaps) was Ryan Fitzpatrick, who recorded a 62.0 in 2015.
3. Promising rookie class: Quarterback Zach Wilson is on the bench (for now), but the rest of his fellow rookies are logging serious playing time -- an encouraging sign for the future. In fact, the Jets' 13-player rookie class has totaled 2,780 snaps, easily the most in the NFL at the midpoint.
Some notes on the draft picks not named Wilson:
Guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (533 snaps) already is regarded as the best offensive lineman on the team. He's had a few hiccups, mainly on post-snap adjustments, but he has impressed with his explosiveness and knee bend. The coaches love his attitude; he wants to be great. Coach Robert Saleh said he thanks general manager Joe Douglas all the time for trading up to get AVT, who hasn't missed an offensive play.
Wide receiver Elijah Moore (265) has turned the corner from a health standpoint; the quadriceps injury that kept him out of the preseason was partly responsible for his slow start. He's humming now, displaying a tantalizing mix of quickness, good hands and football instincts. His run-after-catch skills are obvious. Not so obvious: He's a better vertical threat than some folks expected. The Jets believe he has WR1 potential.
Running back Michael Carter (280) has been the most consistent player on offense. Yes, really. He's ultracompetitive, which has endeared him to the veteran players. He's quick, with lower-body strength that reminds some of former Jacksonville Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew.
Linebacker Jamien Sherwood (207), out for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon, had to learn a new position after playing safety in college. Not surprisingly, he got overwhelmed on the inside. The offseason will be important for him. Aside from rehabbing his injury, he needs to add weight and strength. His floor is solid backup/special-teamer. Nickelback Michael Carter II (463) has struggled in some man-to-man situations, but he has exceeded expectations. He's tough, fast and instinctive.
Cornerback Jason Pinnock (36) has taken some practice reps at safety, which is interesting. They need bodies at safety, considering all the injuries. He has some intriguing measurables, but he's a project. Like Sherwood, Hamsah Nasirildeen (134) is a safety-to-linebacker conversion, so he's a work in progress. His special-teams play has impressed the coaches.
Cornerback Brandin Echols (412) is tough and competitive, with good speed, but the game gets too big for him at times. He's a borderline starter, so the next nine games will be important for evaluation purposes. At worst, he's a solid backup and special-teamer. Defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall (8) has more power and quickness than expected, but he's still adjusting to the one-gap scheme. He projects as a backup in 2022.
4. Unlikely matchup: Sunday is a battle of two quarterbacks from the Class of 2018.
Josh Allen, drafted seventh overall, has a six-year, $258 million contract.
White, drafted 171st overall, is making $850,000 on a one-year deal.
Based on his $43 million-a-year average, Allen makes nearly three times as much in one week ($2.4 million) as White makes in a year.
5. Homers: If Saleh wants to change the culture, it has to start at home -- literally.
The Jets are 2-1 at MetLife Stadium, with a chance to establish a home-field advantage. They have six home games remaining, including three against teams with losing records. The best teams win consistently on their own turf, and the Jets haven't done that in a while. Since 2011, their home record is 39-44 (25th).
Of course, one winning season doesn't guarantee future success. In 2019, coach Adam Gase took great pride in finishing 5-3 at home -- and then everything fell apart.
6. Titanic impact: Remember that seven-sack destruction against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4? Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it? The Jets' front four hasn't come close to duplicating that day, and the popular rationale from the players is that teams adjusted to them -- i.e. they aren't holding the ball as long.
Sounds perfectly reasonable, except it's not that simple.
In that game, the Titans' averaged 2.61 seconds in time before pass (TBP), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Since then, the Jets' opponents have averaged 2.73 seconds, so they're actually holding the ball longer. Part of the reason could be because offenses have used more max-protection schemes.
Comparatively speaking, the Jets aren't getting a lot of time to get to the quarterback, as the overall TBP (2.71) ranks 11th-fastest in the league. More and more, that Tennessee game looks like a bigger outlier than it appeared at the time.
7. Too many cooks? The Jets have a 1-to-1 ratio in the quarterback room -- four quarterbacks, four quarterback coaches. That's not something you see every day in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said Joe Flacco, a 14-year veteran, told him, "I've never seen anything like this before."
The recent addition of offensive assistant John Beck -- aka Wilson's personal QB coach -- brought the number to four. He joined LaFleur, senior offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh and quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese as coaches directly involved with the signal-callers. Calabrese has the title, but Cavanaugh does the most hands-on work.
8. Thanks for the help: Former Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Geno Smith have helped their old team's draft position by losing games -- a combined 5-7 as starters. Remember, they acquired the Carolina Panthers' 2o22 second-round pick (Darnold trade) and the Seattle Seahawks' 2022 first-rounder (Jamal Adams trade). As of now, the Jets would have four picks in the top 46.
9. Money for nothing: Between "dead" money (players no longer on the team) and players on injured reserve, the Jets have $68 million (roughly one-third of their entire cap) tied up in players who can't help them win on Sunday. Yikes.
10. The last word: “I’ve told you guys countless times, I have 100 percent confidence in myself. If you ask me, I should have been a first-overall pick, but that’s neither here nor there. That’s four years ago.” -- White on being an under-the-radar prospect out of college