By Peter Schwartz
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There were other chances this year for Rex Ryan to make the move, but he didn’t.
Week after week we heard that Mark Sanchez gave the Jets their best chance to win. Despite all of his inconsistencies, Sanchez never lost the support of his head coach. Through all of those weeks, Ryan made the right move.
Tim Tebow was never going to do any better, so the coach decided to stick with Sanchez. But with Tebow out with cracked ribs, Ryan had another option on Sunday. His team was trailing the Cardinals in the third quarter and Sanchez was having one of the worst games of his NFL career.
Sanchez had thrown three picks and there could have been more. He had passes batted down and he looked lost out there. The fans were getting restless — the boo-birds were at their loudest this year at MetLife Stadium.
After another drive came to an end, Ryan made the move that many Jet fans were calling for. He benched Sanchez for the first time in his career and told offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to inform 2011 seventh-round pick Greg McElroy that he was going in the game.
Ryan was right. McElroy led the Jets down the field and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, which turned out to be the game-winning score in a 7-6 victory over the Cardinals. Last season, Ryan said he lost the pulse of the team and one could argue he was losing it again this year.
But Ryan knew he had to do something, even if it’s short term, to get the Jets going and putting McElroy in was the right thing to do. That leads us to — what happens next?
What will Rex do?
Who should be the starting quarterback on Sunday in Jacksonville?
It has to be McElroy.
This is the worst possible nightmare for Jets owner Woody Johnson. He’s paying Sanchez a bunch and his chosen one — Tebow — is hurt. Johnson watched as a seventh-round draft pick fired up his team and showed that he can play, while the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft and arguably the quarterback most embattled this season season were watching from the sideline.
Sanchez is due a lot of money next season and will likely be the starter regardless of what happens in the final four games, but the Jets owe it to themselves to see if McElroy can play. They have an idea of what Sanchez can do, but there could be a way to fix the problems.
That will be a story for another blog.
Tebow’s acquisition turned out to be an utter disaster. He should have picked the Jaguars when the Broncos reportedly gave him the choice of where to be traded to, Jacksonville or the Jets. If Woody okays it, the Jets should trade him after the season.
Again, that would be something for us to talk about another time.
But the focus right now for the Jets is Sunday against the Jaguars. Ryan’s job is to do what’s in the best interest of the team right now. That decision is to let McElroy start on Sunday. Rex is judged on wins and losses — and he knows it. His job could very well be on the line if the Jets sputter in the final four games.
The best thing for the team right now is Greg McElroy.
Everyone at One Jets Drive knows it. Let’s see if they make the right decision.
Former Cardinals linebacker Calvin Pace was the lone Jets captain.
In his NFL debut, Greg McElroy was 5 of 7 for 29 yards, a touchdown pass and a passer rating of 118.5.
Shonn Greene notched his eighth career 100-yard rushing game and second of the season with a 104-yard performance on 24 carries. Including the playoffs, the Jets are 8-0 when Greene rushes for at least 100 yards.
As a team, the Jets rushed for 177 yards, their highest total since racking up 252 earlier this season against the Colts. The Jets are 5-2 this season when they rush for 100 yards or more as a team and they are 15-1 under head coach Rex Ryan when the team runs for at least 150 yards.
The Jets defense was a perfect 15 for 15 on third down against the Cardinals. They also forced a three-and-out on 10 of the Arizona’s 14 drives.
It’s “Victory Monday” for the Jets as Rex Ryan has given his team an additional day off. The Jets will return to the practice field on Wednesday to begin preparations for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville.
That’s all for now, check back on Friday for more!
Do you agree with Pete? Be heard in the comments below!