Jets vs. Jaguars first look: Mark Sanchez or Greg McElroy? Or Tim Tebow? QB question looms

Elsa

The Jets visit the Jaguars on Sunday, and it's anyone's guess who will start the game under center.

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said on Monday that he believes his team has a better quarterback situation than a lot of other teams in the NFL. With Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow, the Jets have three viable guys, you see.

But in the NFL, when you have two quarterbacks, or three quarterbacks, what that really means is that you have no quarterbacks.

The Jets tried all season to avoid a quarterback controversy, that is, after they created one by acquiring Tebow this offseason. But during the year, with ample time to go to the bench with Sanchez struggling, Ryan refused to do it, holding steadfast in his support of Sanchez. But last Sunday, with Tebow inactive, Ryan made the decision to go to the bench and McElroy engineered the Jets' fifth victory of the season in relief. The decision is now in Ryan's hand where the Jets go, and there are cases to be made for and against all three.

Most observers feel McElroy should be given the start with the idea that "you have to find out what you have with him". With the Jets' QB situation now in shambles, this notion does make sense. The chances that McElroy is a viable starting QB in the league are very slim, but the Jets aren't making the playoffs and it won't hurt them in any way to hand the reigns over to him for the final four games and see where you are. At the very least, he may prove himself as a good backup to hang on to for a while, knowing you have someone who can manage and win games in a pinch.But McElroy was a seventh round pick and has questionable arm strength, and like any player, you probably won't really know what he is until teams see him on film and game plan for him. Remember that even before Tebow's arrival, McElroy was slated to be the third stringer behind Drew Stanton this season.

As for Sanchez, there are a few compelling arguments for going back to him, although he hasn't deserved it with his on-field play. But the Jets are tied into him next season for a boatload of money, which is a big deal in a strict salary cap league. Additionally, and most important of all, is that the one position you simply can't afford to make a homerun swing at and whiff on is quarterback. It's possible that we've seen all we need to know about Sanchez and hes just not good enough. But he's never truly faced adversity until now, after losing his job. Maybe you hand him the job back for the remainder of the season and see if there's a difference in his play, preparation and attitude. Maybe the benching was the real kick in the pants he needed. Note that it should never, ever, ever have come to that, and it likely will not make a difference. But when you move up to draft a quarterback and invest time and money into him, you can't just give up on him without truly knowing that he's not your guy, without turning over every single stone. The benching would be the last stone, and if he doesn't respond from here on out, then you know to move in another direction.

As for Tebow, this writer personally would never go to him, but it's understandable to give him a shot given that you've tried your third stringer before your backup. In a way, you almost owe it to the guy given that he's been a great teammate and has slogged through the season with you waiting for his chance. But just realize that if you start Tebow, and you go on to beat a few bad teams and Tebowmania sweeps the nation again, you run the risk of being stuck with him and making him your full time starter. If you think you can win with that in the NFL in 2012, go ahead and make him your starter. But let us know how that works out down the line.

Thing is, with cases for and against the three quarterbacks, the only certainty in this whole thing is that the Jets have a problem at the one position in sports that you can't afford to have a problem at. With the soft schedule the rest of the way, Sanchez, McElroy or Tebow could all get the Jets three wins down the stretch and look good doing so. That would likely give false hope to the coaching staff, the media and fans that whoever it was could be the guy in 2013.but it's way more likely that all of the three aren't good enough to win consistently in today's NFL, which means the Jets would be back at square one at quarterback.

Just like they were after 2007. And after 2008. And countless other times throughout their history.

(via Gang Green)


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