On Wednesday, the New York Jets announced that they were benching starting quarterback Zach Wilson and starting backup Mike White for the team’s Week 12 home game against the Chicago Bears.
Many anticipated this move from head coach Robert Saleh, given the season-long struggles of the No. 2 pick from last year’s draft. Wilson had a nightmarish outing against the New England Patriots on Sunday, completing only nine of 22 pass attempts for 77 yards in a 10-3 loss.
After the announcement, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport shared quite the scoop on Wilson’s struggles. Rapoport was told that the 23-year-old has been struggling with a case of “the yips” since spring.
“Just struggling to make simple, basic throws…trying to figure out what was wrong with his mechanics,” Rapoport explained. “Why are these simple throws just not able to be made? And this was back in the spring.”
The “yips” is a common term used in sports, in which an athlete suddenly loses confidence and control in basic movements. The term is frequently used in golf, especially when it comes to a golfer overthinking simple and short putts.
The Jets are one of the NFL’s biggest surprise teams of 2022 with a 6-4 record, but the quarterback play cannot be cited as a reason why. Their success is largely thanks to a strong rushing game and a defense that is allowing just 18.6 points per game.
Wilson missed the Jets’ first three games recovering from knee injury. Backup Joe Flacco started the team’s first three games, and though he lost two of those contests, the Super Bowl 47 MVP fared well with 901 passing yards and five touchdowns against three interceptions.
The former BYU star has completed only 55.6 percent of his pass attempts in 2022 for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He has been held to under 200 passing yards in four of his seven starts, too.
White, 27, started three games for the Jets last season. In four total game appearances, he completed 66.7 percent of pass attempts for 953 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions.
White had quite the memorable first career start in the Jets’ Week 8 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals last season, tossing 405 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-1 victory.