Mathematically eliminated from 2012 playoff contention, the New York Jets are making a switch at quarterback.
Coach Rex Ryan announced Tuesday that Greg McElroy would start Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The news comes one day after a disastrous four-interception, one-fumble performance Monday night from Mark Sanchez in a 14-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
McElroy, in his second season out of Alabama, has just one game of NFL experience. He came off the bench Dec. 2 in the Jets' 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals, and he completed five of seven passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.
"After thinking about it, just where the team is now, I think it's best for our team and for this game," Ryan said. "I liked what I saw from Greg against Arizona, and I liked what I see on the practice field. ...
"I did have a lot of conversations, but this is something that I made the decision that I was going to make a change. I told Mark that last night and I never decided on the quarterback until today, who I would go with, but I let Mark know."
Sanchez has struggled for most of the season. He threw for just 111 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he had 97 passing yards and three interceptions a week earlier against the Cardinals.
The team's presumed No. 2 quarterback, Tim Tebow, was passed over in the change. Tebow recently was sidelined due to a rib injury, but he returned to action Monday. He played one series against the Titans, throwing one incomplete pass and rushing three times for 15 yards.
Ryan said Tebow's health wasn't a factor in the decision to go with McElroy.
"He's been cleared to play for a number of weeks," Ryan said. "I think, like I said, as the week went on, he looked better and better, and that was why we decided, you know what, let's put Tim out there (Monday). We even ran some pistol and some Wildcat and things like that. But this decision is my decision, and I'm choosing to go with Greg."
Ryan emphasized that the quarterback position would be re-evaluated following the San Diego game ahead of the season finale at Buffalo on Dec. 30.
Asked whether the offseason trade to acquire Tebow can now be ruled a mistake, Ryan said, "People can speculate anything they want. Obviously, as a football team we're 6-8, and nobody is happy about that. Ultimately, I'm the man accountable for this. I understand that. It's never about one person or it's this guy's fault, this is a good situation or a bad situation.
"The end result is we're 6-8, and I know that I'm accountable for that. Whatever decisions are made and everything else, this is a bottom line business, and right now we're 6-8."