Backpedaling is one of Sauce Gardner’s many skills as an All-Pro corner with the New York Jets. But did he just prove to be adept at backpedaling off the field, as well?
Gardner was called out Thursday by the hosts of Good Morning Football for playing Mike White, and not Zach Wilson, at quarterback in a game of Madden that was streamed on YouTube’s NFL Tuesday Night Gaming this week. Though it was a playful take by the NFL Network hosts, Gardner responded quickly on Twitter to make sure he was not seen taking sides in the Jets’ quarterback drama:
Gardner, who was named PFWA NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week, was a celebrity participant in the YouTube event Tuesday. He took the controls for the Jets in the video game showdown with MMG, a noted gamer who picked the Detroit Lions.
MMG tried to rile up Sauce by questioning his choice at quarterback.
“You don’t got Zach Wilson in there,” MMG said. “What is Mike White doing?”
That prompted some Gang Green faithful to question out loud if Gardner was making a statement that he preferred White over Wilson at QB. In real-life football, White twice replaced the benched Wilson this season for the Jets and teammates rallied around him much more so than they did for Wilson.
When Gardner’s choice went viral, GMFB tossed kerosene on the fire by discussing it on a segment called “Big Deal, No Big Deal.”
HERE. WE. GO.@iamSauceGardner is ready to take on @PapaMeagzz in some Madden to get this @CampbellCanada Chunky® Soup Showdown kicked off!
— NFL Tuesday Night Gaming (@NFLTNG) January 25, 2023
Sauce explained himself in the tweet and punctuated the lighthearted aspect of it all with an emoji featuring tears of laughter.
Jets plan to resolve QB issues in offseason
Of course, the Jets’ QB situation is no laughing matter. Wilson’s future with the team is tenuous and White is a free agent after a 7-10 season when a playoff berth was sabotaged by poor play from the quarterback position.
Coach Robert Saleh and owner Woody Johnson have said the Jets will try to acquire a veteran QB. And Jets legend Joe Namath said last week he’d give permission for New York to bring his No. 12 out of retirement if the team acquired Aaron Rodgers this offseason.
For his part, Rodgers offered Wilson some advice on The Pat McAfee Show this week and called the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft “super talented.”
There will only be more fuel on the Rodgers fire with the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.
Where Sauce Gardner stands on this topic is unknown, despite him playing Mike White in a video game Tuesday.