Zach Wilson will start for the New York Jets on Thursday as Mike White, his competition for the starting job, continues to work his way back from a rib injury.

Jets coach Robert Saleh announced the news on Tuesday, explaining that White won’t be cleared for contact in time to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on “Thursday Night Football.”

This week’s game will give Wilson a chance to build on the bright spots from Sunday, when he returned to the Jets’ starting lineup after being benched for three games.

The Jets lost to the Detroit Lions, 20-17, and Wilson made some costly mistakes, but he also showed resilience, especially late in the game, according to Saleh.

“I’m really pumped for him because, in his past, when he hit a speed bump in a game, he kind of derails,” the coach said during a Monday press conference, as ESPN reported. “But I thought he did a really good job of getting back on the rails and swinging back up in the fourth quarter to lead a touchdown drive.”

Saleh also said Monday that critics are too hard on Wilson, who was picked second overall in the 2021 NFL draft, and that the former BYU Cougars star still has a bright future ahead of him.

“The frustrating thing is that this kid is going to be a good quarterback, but the NFL and this new instant-coffee world that we’re in just doesn’t want to give people time,” Saleh said, according to ESPN. “So, we look at him and he’s just nitpicked with a fine-tooth comb.”

Former NFL and BYU quarterback and current ESPN analyst Steve Young shared a similar assessment during the “Monday Night Football” broadcast, arguing that Wilson still has a high ceiling and deserves more support from his coaching staff. Jets’ leaders, like offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, need to work closely with Wilson to develop his skills, he said.

“Spend the time with him, talk to him, communicate with him (and) support him,” Young said.

Related
What has Zach Wilson learned since getting benched?

Alex Smith, who, like Young, is part of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast team, argued that Saleh should be criticized for playing a game of “quarterback musical chairs.”

“There’s been a lack of a plan ... in place to develop Zach Wilson,” said Smith, a former NFL and Utah quarterback.

During a press conference earlier this month, Wilson told reporters that he still believes he’s the Jets’ quarterback of the future.

“I definitely believe in myself. Of course I have all the confidence in the world, that’s how it should be. But you’ve got to be able to prove that,” he said on Dec. 15, as the Deseret News previously reported.