The New York Jets aren’t ready to try a “Hail McElroy” just yet.
After mulling the most important decision of his head-coaching career, Rex Ryan decided to stick with embattled starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, the team announced Wednesday morning.
Backup Greg McElroy, the new fan favorite after rallying the Jets to a 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals, will remain on the bench with Tim Tebow– for now.
Ryan, who informed the entire team of his decision to start Sanchez at its 8 a.m. meeting, will address the media at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.
The next question becomes the No. 2 job. Ryan apparently isn’t ready to make that announcement. That will depend largely on Tebow’s health, according to a source.
Ryan benched Sanchez for the first time in his career Sunday, fueling a quarterback controversy. It intensified when McElroy, in his NFL debut, led the struggling offense to its only score.
Sanchez, coming off a three-interception nightmare, will return to his familiar role Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. That the game is on the road should help him; he won’t have to deal with the venom of the New York fans, many of whom have turned on him in recent weeks.
Ryan was noncommittal Sunday and Monday, claiming he needed time to make the decision. It was the first time in three-plus seasons he didn’t publicly back Sanchez as his starter. Ryan said he wanted to have an “open discussion” with his staff.
That occurred Tuesday, sources said, as he huddled with owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
Despite his struggles, Sanchez still has support within the organization, including the offensive coaching staff.
The Jets also have a lot invested in him financially, including $8.25 million in guaranteed money for 2013.
Sanchez, drafted fifth overall in 2009, helped the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in his first two seasons. Since then, his record is 13-15, with 44 turnovers.
How Tebow fits into the equation remains to be seen. He’s recovering from fractured ribs, which kept him out last week. He was the No. 2 quarterback for the first 11 games, but it’s possible he could be deactivated for the second straight week.
The circus might remain in the Big Apple next year as long as Rex Ryan is coaching the Jets, but Tebowmania is going to have to find a new home.
Wednesday’s decision to start Mark Sanchez this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars helped confirm what has been obvious in New York for a while. This Jets coaching staff has no use for Tim Tebow.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News says the team never seriously considered Tebow to start.Greg McElroy, a 2011 seventh-round draft pick — and Tebow’s SEC rival — is seen as a more legitimate threat to Sanchez. That says it all.
It’s hard to see any way that Tebow will stick around in New York in 2013 unless Ryan is fired. Tebow is due $2.5 million next year, which doesn’t sound like much for a backup quarterback, until you realize he’s a backup quarterback in name only. If the coaching staff won’t play Tebow now, this late in a miserable season, they’ll never have a use for him. Even Ryan and owner Woody Johnson would have to admit Tebow’s presence has proven to be a distraction. Mehta reported that owner Woody Johnson reportedly pushed for McElroy to start on Sunday, so even the publicity-loving owner doesn’t want to see him start.
Tebow could wind up getting released or traded in a deal for a late-round conditional draft pick. Crazier things have happened than Tebow getting another chance to start elsewhere. (Like Tebow’s 2011 season when he led the Denver Broncos on an improbable playoff run.) But this year with theJets has proven to be a big setback in his career.
The Broncos didn’t want to keep Tebow as a starter. The Jets don’t seem to want him as a backup.Tim Tebow likely will be wandering through the football wilderness again soon, looking for a home.