Making Sense Of The New York Jets Quarterback Mess

An attempt to make sense of the New York Jets quarterback mess

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will likely announce a decision on his starting quarterback within the next 24 hours. There have been various reports on who prefers who in the Jets hierarchy, but at this point who can really trust any sources from this organization?

We know this much, it isn’t going to be Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire coaching staff have never shown a hint of interest of giving Tebow a major role and that isn’t going to change now. This was 100% a PR trade and at this point, it is almost an act of defiance and protest by everybody not named Woody Johnson to keep him on the bench. Tebow will never start a game here, may never play another snap again here, and without question will be let go this off-season.

This leaves the decision down to Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez. From what I can tell about 95% of the fanbase wants McElroy to start because the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and he did provide a needed shot of energy to the Jets huddle on Sunday. Outside of that, there is a reasonable argument to give him the ball for the final four games of this disappointing season.

Considering how Mark Sanchez looked on Sunday from the opening snap and his general play throughout this season, it is fair to surmise that he is mentally finished as a quarterback in this market. Doesn’t Rex Ryan have to hold his players accountable for porous play on the field…especially his quarterback? You can’t watch the game tape from the past two weeks and say Sanchez gives the Jets a very good chance to win. Simply put, he is playing like a bottom three starting quarterback in the league right now and could jeopardize four very winnable games down the stretch for his team.

McElroy looked decent enough in his first NFL action and could be a viable contender for a starting job next season. The only way the Jets will find that out is by giving him a chance here. His arm strength is suspect but at a minimum, it is fair to expect relatively smart, mistake free football from him which could be all the Jets need to finish 4-0 and keep themselves distantly relevant in the playoff race into week 16 and week 17.

On the other hand, Mark Sanchez is owed over 8 million guaranteed dollars from the team next season. Unless they want to take a massive cap hit, he is likely going to be on the roster next year. He is a former first round pick who has been successful here, no matter how much certain people want to act like it never occurred, shouldn’t you give him every last chance to turn it around…particularly in a generally meaningless final four games? If there is a place to build somebody’s confidence back up, it is on the road the next two weeks against awful Jacksonville and Tennessee defenses. If you permanently send him to the bench here, is there any way he is viable competitor to start next year or do you just accept a 8 million dollar cap hit or spending that on a backup?

People are going crazy for McElroy but is there any reason to believe his ceiling is anything higher than “game manager?” Are the Jets in such a rush to usher in another era of that type of football or will they finally look to do better than that at quarterback? If McElroy plays okay down the stretch and the Jets finish well, the team can’t be blinded by that and must still bring in veteran competition for him.

There is an argument for both sides at this point despite the fan’s angst towards Sanchez. It is a critical decision that could ultimately seal the fate of Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Tony Sparano which is what should make these next few days and upcoming game especially compelling.

Ultimately my prediction is that the team will cave to public sentiment and go with McElroy. The Jets will finish winning 3 of their last 4 or maybe even running the table behind generally average play from him. They will try like hell to move Sanchez in some way this off-season (probably failing) and whether he comes back or not as a “competitor” for the starting job with McElroy and a veteran add on will depend on their desire to stomach such a large cap hit for a player not on the roster.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Angel

    If the Jets go with Mark Sanchez and he whips the Jags’ assess this Sunday, he may actually save his job, the Jets season, and maybe his career. This could be the challenge he needs to take that extra step.

    IF NOT? Then he is a broken man and his career is over. If they Start Glen Foley I’ll root for him with all my heart… Oh, what did I say? Sorry, I mean Greg McElroy. I’ll root for him to be the next Chad Pennington… until the Jets fans run him out of town too for the next Kellen Clemens.

  • My worst fears coming true (gasp) Whoever starts the next 4 plays just well enough to win and knock the Jets out of the Manti Te’o (insert coveted pick here) draft sweepstakes. End up 8-8 or 9-7 and Woody gives T-Ryan-No-sore-ass a new lease in NY. This is a BAD football team with a declining O-line, slowest LB unit in NFL history, and no legit play-makers on offense. Jets probably need 2-3 solid drafts to fix this under NEW management or a decade of T-bomb Turds.

  • Jay

    I classify QB’s in three categories: a game manager; a game breaker; and a game turnover! Now 2 questions: What has Sanchez been the last few games and what does a good defense need to win? No matter how bad Arizona’s QB play was, he didn’t turn the ball over – Sanchez did and the Jets were losing! With that said, I want Manti Te’o. I want some good high draft picks. I want someone with football sense picking them (so I want Mr T gone)! So in essence, I want Sanchez to start. He gives us the best chance to better our team in the future through the draft (if Mr T is gone that is).
    I feel bad for Tebow – all he did was want to play and believe that he’d be given a shot! They lied, as they lied to us fans about his role, about the team being the best, about our draft picks, and about keeping their mouths shut! They even lied to Woody – all he wants is publicity and football relevance. You want a new contract for Sanchez, fine – Harris, fine – Pace, fine – Holmes, fine…He is willing to spend money but put his trust in loud mouths and incompetents!

    Hopefully, this time next year Mr T, his bad free agent signings and cap draining contracts, will be dining with Isiah and Omar and paying for their meals courtesy of Woody, Dolan, and Wilpon…

  • Gustav

    Wow, that really cleared things up for us smarty pants. Your opinion on the subject is well taken and i disagree with your opinion of Mc Elroy as a game manager. I repeat that is strictly your opinion on the subject. Unless you have a crystal ball that we don’t know about? Mr. Tit must go and we could build on our defense after we cut back on some of the contracts (Harris, Pouha and some other over payed players) Then we make some cuts. (Pace, B.T., Scott and a few others) Then we draft high with offensive linemen and build a strong front so we can really have personnel to run on anyone like San Fran. Get some good blocking tight ends that Mr. Tit totally over looked in the off season. The most important subject of all is what to do with the waste of space and cap money that is Sanchez???????