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Ryan doesn't name starter yet

The SportsXchange

To the surprise of no one, Rex Ryan didn't name his starting quarterback Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he benched Mark Sanchez for Greg McElroy and watched McElroy make his NFL debut by directing the Jets to the only touchdown of their 7-6 win over the Cardinals.

Ryan said he hopes to announce the starter against Jacksonville by the time the Jets practice on Wednesday, and that optimally, he'd know his decision by Tuesday night. So there's at least another day of reading the tea leaves and trying to figure out which way Ryan is leaning.

For instance: McElroy and Tim Tebow, the latter of whom spent the first 11 games as the Jets' backup quarterback but was inactive Sunday with broken ribs, both appeared on conference calls with Jets reporters. Is that a sign the three-man race is actually a two-man race and Sanchez is out? Or was it in deference to Sanchez, who is rarely available to reporters on Monday, and his status as the starter?

Then again, do Sanchez's chances of starting decrease with every minute Ryan doesn't reveal his decision? The three most recent coaches -- the Chiefs' Romeo Crennel, the 49ers' Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt -- to change starting quarterbacks all waited until at least midweek to announce that Brady Quinn, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Lindley had usurped Matt Cassel, Alex Smith and John Skelton.

And what if Jets owner Woody Johnson wants to help Jacksonville sell some tickets for Sunday's game? Might he order Ryan to start Tebow?

That's absurd, of course. But only marginally more so than the fact the Jets finally have a full-blown quarterback controversy that was instigated not by Tebow -- the player Johnson was accused of acquiring to sell tickets at the Jets' MetLife Stadium -- but by McElroy, who hadn't even been active for an NFL game before Sunday.

McElroy certainly looked and acted the part of starting quarterback on Sunday. The Jets gained 150 yards in four series with McElroy, just 14 fewer yards than they collected in 14 series with Sanchez. McElroy also impressively ate up the final 7:55 of the game by steering the Jets on a 13-play, 71-yard drive.

Afterward, guard Brandon Moore said McElroy carried himself in the huddle with a confidence that bordered on cockiness. McElroy also looked and sounded at ease both after the game Sunday, when he still had his eyeblack on during his press conference, and during Monday's conference call.

"That thing -- confident bordering on cocky -- I would like to think it's leaning a little bit more towards confident," McElroy said with a laugh Monday. "But yeah, one thing I've always tried to approach this game with is (the idea) you just never let them see you sweat. And that includes the players in your huddle, the players in the opposite huddle, the players on the opposite sideline, on your sideline. Never let them see you sweat."

There will probably be some sweating over the decision by Ryan, who said Monday he hadn't even begun to watch film of Jacksonville. Ryan said he plans to meet with his coaching staff and solicit input from as many people as possible before he delivers his verdict.

"I just want to make sure that I get all of the facts and everything else," Ryan said. "It's a big decision. Obviously, the decision, I think, has to be made in what gives us the best opportunity to beat Jacksonville."

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