A loss on Monday night to the Tennessee Titans have eliminated the New York Jets from playoff contention. The decision was made Tuesday by the Jets’ coaching staff to bench Mark Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy for this Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. McElroy’s Week 16 start will be the first of his NFL career.
McElroy was inactive for Monday’s 14-10 loss against the Titans in a move that Jets coach Rex Ryan refused to say that he regrets.
“I just regret not winning this game. I think that’s the big thing,” said Ryan to the Associated Press.
The controversial decision to start third-string Quarterback McElroy over the popular Jets’ backup, Tim Tebow, who the Jets traded for in the Spring to be the number two quarterback under Sanchez is a surprising one. Tebow was expected to have a significant role with the franchise, but has been used sparingly in the 2012 season, only completing six passes for 39 yards and rushing for 102 yards in 11 games.
Earlier in the year, Legendary Jets quarterback, Joe Namath accused the team of using Tebow to grab media headlines. With the Jets sitting at 6-8 with two games to go, it appears that Tebow fans will have to wait another season for the opportunity to see him try to re-create his magical run in 2011 as the starter for the Denver Broncos.
Sanchez’s benching comes after a terrible performance in Tennessee in which the former first round pick completed just 13 of 28 passes for 131 yards and had four turnovers. Sanchez now has 24 turnovers for the year, the highest among quarterbacks this season and a staggering 50 turnovers over the last two seasons.
McElroy has played in just one game this season for the Jets, a 7-6 victory over Arizona on December 2, in which McElroy replaced Sanchez in the third quarter and led the team down the field to throw for the team’s only touchdown in that game.