NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –  Who is right behind Mark Sanchez on the Jets’ quarterback depth chart?

It seems like an obvious question and, sure enough, it has an obvious answer.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan told reporters on Wednesday that if Sanchez suffers a long-term injury this season, Tim Tebow will take over as starting quarterback.

Despite all of the media attention and publicity that Tebow has received since coming to New York, some have speculated that Greg McElroy, a more conventional quarterback, would get the nod over Tebow if Sanchez went down.

Ryan reaffirmed that this is not the case, and although the Florida alum will be used as a specialty player, he will also be asked to run the offense if the unfortunate situation arises.

“I think Tebow would expand his role,” Ryan said. “I think we feel good about what Tim can do.”

Despite his decision, Ryan expressed confidence in McElroy and explained that New Jersey native Matt Simms has plenty of upside.

“We’d be confident in McElroy,” Ryan added. “And Simms is kind of the wildcard. He’s a young man who really hasn’t been given a whole lot of opportunities. The opportunities he does get, he’s been impressive. I’m encouraged by Simms. We haven’t seen Simms do anything except have a great scrimmage, and he’s got a big-time arm.”

McElroy showed promise for Gang Green in last year’s preseason before dislocating his thumb in the final exhibition contest. The former seventh-rounder out of Alabama subsequently missed the entire season.

“I think his arm’s stronger,” Ryan said in regard to McElroy. “If that’s possible to build your arm up, I think it is. I think he has shown a stronger arm. We already know he’s a smart guy. He’s got a good grasp of our system.”

The third-stringer will start for the Jets at quarterback on Thursday in the team’s preseason finale against the Eagles.

Obviously this announcement comes as no surprise, but should McElroy be the No. 1 backup over Tebow? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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