New York Jets  

 

New York Jets' 2012 season has been a revolving door of weird

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- And on Thursday, Rex Ryan interjected another quarterback, this one a pipe dream, into his harebrained quarterback quandary.

"I'll be honest with you," Ryan said at his press conference. "If we had Tom Brady, I'd be happy with that. We don't."

Well, at least in that statement, there was clarity. Which is more than we can say about the overall handling of the quarterback position for the New York Jets. It has been a revolving door of weird all season long.

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How else to explain the Sanchez-Tebow-McElroy dynamic? The trio of press availabilities on Wednesday that left reporters and cameramen scurrying from locker to locker to locker, chronicling the disappointment of the veterans and the dream-come-true sensation of the new starter?

"I respect coach's decision," said former starter Mark Sanchez, who had been told Monday night that he was out and learned Tuesday that Greg McElroy would start. "Obviously, I want to be out there playing, so I don't necessarily agree with it."

Said Tim Tebow: "Obviously, (I'm) a little disappointed. (You) just try to handle it as best you can."

And McElroy, who was inactive for 13 of 14 games this season but on this day smiled like an Oscar winner: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is a great moment and a great milestone in my career. Obviously this is something I've looked forward to and I've dreamed about my entire life."

Where else on the planet, with two games remaining in a season to nowhere, is there a quarterback controversy that involves three quarterbacks? Seriously.

McElroy went on to laud the support of Sanchez and Tebow, referring to them as the biggest of cheerleaders. (Which, by the way, in the case of the 250-pound Tebow might literally be true.)

Say this for the Jets: Truly, there's never a dull moment. In a week where the New York Giants no longer control their NFC East destiny and play a must-win game in Baltimore, they have been a sidebar in the metropolitan area. The Jets and their zaniness trump all. Even a defending Super Bowl champion facing a Sunday on the brink.

That the Jets' season ultimately collapsed in a prime-time appearance, a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night, in a game where the defense yielded just 14 points, seemed fitting. On the big stage, for better or worse.

The Jets' past two prime-time games have featured 10 turnovers, two losses, one butt fumble and an immeasurable degree of the inept. Can we get a cleanup in Aisle 6?

Ryan has tried to piece together a season that has crumbled. His explanations were head-scratchers.

He offered no real explanations on why Sanchez and protecting the football don't mix. On why the Jets acquired Tebow in the first place. Or why Tebow finally played his first full series as a Jet on Monday night, or why it was pre-planned that Tebow would play the third series against the Titans. The third, no matter what.

He couldn't really say why Tebow and his version of the Wildcat have seen a grand total of 76 offensive snaps, resulting in 141 yards (32 rushes for 102, 6-of-8 passing for 39).

"Did I expect us to maybe have a little more success running the Wildcat?" Ryan said. "Maybe I did. I'm sure I did."

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But Ryan did know precisely why McElroy is the man to lead the Jets on Sunday in front of the home fans, against the San Diego Chargers.

"I want to see what he can do," Ryan said. "We all know the intangibles he has. He's a winner. He's been a winner his whole life. He's won a national championship, won a state championship (in high school). His whole résumé speaks about him obviously being a very confident guy and a confident leader."

At a different time and place -- you know, when these Jets still had a chance -- Ryan could have been speaking of Tebow.

Tebow has spent nine months saying exactly the right things, watching and waiting as Sanchez turned ball security into his personal slip-and-slide show, and anticipating a chance to start that never came.

If Ryan truly believes in intangibles and a winning résumé, then the joke is on him. Ryan allowed his team to wither while never learning if Tebow -- a winner at every turn (including an NFL playoff game in overtime) and a former champion, too -- could have made a difference. Tebow's head must be spinning.

"All you can ask for and all you want is a chance, a chance to go out there and play the game you love and help this team win football games," Tebow said. "That's all I wanted."

Could he have recaptured some Denver magic? Could he have led a scoring drive? Or even won a game? Incomprehensibly, the Jets will never know the answer to those questions. Even in Ryan's own locker room, that confounds some of his players.

Said Tebow: "Some things are hard to understand, but (the decision makers) are trying to do the best they can and I understand that."

Of course, there is no way to know right now, at this moment, what the future holds for the Jets. They will not make the playoffs; that is certain. Beyond that, the outlook is cloudy, and owner Woody Johnson has important decisions to make -- on Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and Sanchez, who is owed a guaranteed $8.25 million in 2013.

As for Tebow, he says he has no regrets and has learned a lot as a member of the Jets organization. He will find freedom after his one and only season as a Jet. He will be released or, less likely, traded.

Good for him. He deserved better. Run, Tim, run.

Follow Kimberly Jones on Twitter @KimJonesSports.

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