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So why is Greg McElroy, not Tim Tebow, starting for the Jets?

December 19, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Greg McElroy, left, jumped over Tim Tebow, right, on the New York Jets' depth chart to get the starting nod this week.
Greg McElroy, left, jumped over Tim Tebow, right, on the New York Jets'… (Al Bello / Getty Images;…)

Greg McElroy is the starting quarterback for the New York Jets this week.

Coach Rex Ryan made it perfectly clear Tuesday that it was his decision to replace struggling starter Mark Sanchez with the team's No. 3 quarterback for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.

That's about all that was perfectly clear after Ryan's conference call with the press, during which he refused to go into detail about why he chose McElroy over Tim Tebow, the guy who has been listed as the team's No. 2 quarterback all season.

β€œI can answer this question a million ways, frontward, backward, sideways, anything else,” Ryan said. β€œIt's my decision and I based it on a gut feeling or whatever.”

Tebow led the Denver Broncos on a miracle run all the way into the second round of the playoffs last season, but he did so while completing just 46.5 % of his passes (Sanchez's 54.8% is among the lowest in the league this year).

After a much-hyped trade to acquire Tebow during the off-season, the Jets have used the wildly popular player quite sparingly this season. A New York Daily News article in November quoted several anonymous players and other members of the Jets organization making not-so-nice comments about Tebow's quarterbacking skills.

Tebow might have gotten an audition for the starting spot Monday night, mysteriously playing for one series in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans. He had a 12-yard run but was otherwise ineffective and never returned to the field.

McElroy was more impressive in his one game this season. Playing a little more than a quarter in place of a benched Sanchez on Dec. 2, the second-year quarterback out of Alabama led the Jets to their only touchdown of the day and conducted a drive that ran the final 7:55 off the clock for a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

It was McElroy's first and only appearance in an NFL game, but on that day Ryan had no one else to turn to since Tebow was inactive with a pair of broken ribs. This time around, Tebow is available but Ryan chose to go in another direction.

Maybe he wants to see what McElroy can do. Maybe a couple of decent games by Tebow would make it more difficult to dump him in the off-season (a move many people assume the team wants to make). Maybe Ryan just wants this miserable season to come to a quiet end, something that would not happen with Tebow as the starter.

Who knows? All we can do is speculate because, for once, Rex isn't talking.


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