For the second consecutive week, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has named a new starting quarterback. For the second consecutive week, Ryan has announced someone other than Tim Tebow, instead naming Mark Sanchez the starting quarterback for the regular season finale against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Last week, Ryan replaced an ineffective Mark Sanchez with 2011 seventh round pick Greg McElroy, bypassing Tebow, who the team had acquired from the Denver Broncos last March in exchange for 2012 fourth- and sixth-round picks and an agreement to repay $2.53 million of a salary advance that the Broncos had paid Tebow in 2011.
McElroy completed 14-of-24 pass attempts for 185 yards with an interception and was sacked an alarming 11 times while playing in 58 of the team's 61 offensive snaps during a 27-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Sanchez and Tebow were active, but did not play as the club used wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in a "Wildcat" role that was supposed to be filled by Tebow, who according to ESPN New York, refused to participate in those plays after being passed over for the starting role.
According to Ryan, McElroy was lifting weights this morning when he began experiencing headaches. While being checked out by the team's medical staff, McElroy disclosed that he had experienced concussion symptoms after the loss to the Chargers, but that he had not told anyone about them.
"Look, I admire Greg's courage and everything else. You have to be truthful — and I think that's the lesson learned here — with the medical staff," said Ryan. "The fact that he really wanted to play, I understand the competitive side of Greg and all that, but the most important thing's the health of the players. Obviously, I just feel fortunate that something like this showed up without him going out there again and putting himself in harm's way."
Sanchez's struggles this season - 54.8 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns against 17 interceptions - led to his benching, but he played well against the Bills in the 2012 regular season opener, completing 19-of-27 attempts for 266 yards with three touchdowns in a 48-28 win. That familiarity with the Bills led Ryan to put the 2009 first-round pick back in charge of the offense, which has again left Tebow angry and frustrated.
"That's what you'd expect from anybody," Ryan said. "Obviously, Tim would like a shot at it. But when you look at the situation the way it is, it's a short window, really, to get the prep time in and things, I just think it's best for our football team. It doesn't mean Tim won't play in this game, but I'm comfortable starting Mark.
Win or lose, and no matter how much or how little Tebow plays, the Jets and the former Heisman Trophy winner are expected to part ways this off-season. ESPN has reported that it's a "virtual certainty" that Tebow will end up with his hometown team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had been interested in acquiring him from the Broncos last March.