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Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow or Greg McElroy? Jets' QB quandary

Mark Sanchez was benched Sunday, but it wasn't for the man most expected. With Sanchez ineffective and Tim Tebow inactive, Greg McElroy led the New York Jets to a 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

During his Monday news conference, Rex Ryan wouldn't name a starter for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars: "I need a little more time," the Jets coach said. So, who should be the starter in Week 14: Sanchez, Tebow (presuming he's healthy) or McElroy?

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  • Ian Rapoport NFL Network
  • Jets must keep starting Sanchez to see if he's salvageable for 2013

Greg McElroy came off the bench and did everything the Jets asked of him on Sunday. He directed the game's only touchdown drive, made completions to keep the offense on the field, and earned a win. It was a perfect performance for a backup. That's what he is right now: a backup -- a point which McElroy understands perfectly. That's why the former Alabama national title winner didn't get into any speculation about who will start going forward.

The Jets have $8.5 million invested in Mark Sanchez, their starter, for next season. They must continue attempting to salvage Sanchez's fluttering career until there is no choice left, at which point they will eat the money. They aren't there yet.

McElroy was a quick fix, what the Jets needed to do to win that particular game. But they are nowhere near knowing if he's a long-term solution. Yes, this year is important. But the Jets need to know if Sanchez can be their quarterback next year. That's why he has to start.

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  • Gregg Rosenthal
  • Sanchez by default, as Tebow's a lost cause and McElroy's upside is limited

I would start Mark Sanchez. It sounds ridiculous, but he's the guy that's going to matter for this team next year. He's due more than $8 million guaranteed in 2013.

The Jets have already decided Tim Tebow is a lost cause. They tell you that by how he's been used. There's no point in even trying him. You could make a better case for seeing if Greg McElroy has a future as a potential starter, but I think we know the answer to that. I'd rather see how Sanchez responds to being benched for the first time.

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  • Jason¬†Smith
  • Sanchez cannot start; McElroy reminiscent of Pennington back in 2002

You just cannot go back to Mark Sanchez. When Greg McElroy was simply warming up on the sideline, MetLife Stadium was electric. And immediately, in the next two plays, the Arizona Cardinals' offense went backward 14 yards. The Jets were excited and had an energy about them they hadn't had in a while. Bad quarterback play will do that to a team, just sucking the life out of it. McElroy deserves to start against the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday. Excitement and hope is a precious thing. You have to hold on to it.

Two things about this situation. First of all, call me a Pollyannish Jets fan, but right now this feels very similar to 2002, when Chad Pennington replaced Vinny Testaverde in what was shaping up to be a lost season. Pennington got hot, leading the Jets to the AFC East title and a postseason win. And he turned into a heckuva quarterback (when he was healthy) for six years.

Secondly, I know Tebow will never get a start for the Jets. Follow me on this. Tebow, who was medically cleared to play against the Cards, was inactive. Why? Rex Ryan knew if Sanchez was awful against Arizona, he'd have to make a move, and he clearly didn't want that move to be to Tebow. So, he eliminated that possibility before the game began.

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  • Charley Casserly
  • Jets should give Sanchez one last chance against a beatable opponent

I would go back to Mark Sanchez. While he did play poorly against Arizona, it was not all his fault. The Jets are 5-7 and are facing a winnable game in Jacksonville this week.

There is no place for Tim Tebow as a starter with the Jets' offense. They should have developed a package for him, but that hasn't happened.

Greg McElroy is a smart guy who has limited throwing talent. If Sanchez falters again, you can go back to him. There is momentum to start him, but he can still win the game coming off the bench. If Sanchez is lackluster again, don't give him three quarters to play with -- yank him in the second.

McElroy is not the long-term answer at QB. Sanchez most likely is not either, but I would ride it out with him, unless it goes bad again.

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