Greg McElroy: Jets' QB Not the Answer to Team's Struggles

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 16, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 02:  Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets celebrates throwing his first touchdown in the NFL to  Jeff Cumberland #86 against the Arizona Cardinals during their game at at MetLife Stadium on December 2, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 7-6.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Jets finally gave their backup QB a chance on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. It just wasn't the man everyone expected.

Greg McElroy may have entered the game and orchestrated a touchdown drive in his first taste of NFL regular season action, but that doesn't mean he's the answer to the team's struggles under center.

After unworthy incumbent Mark Sanchez—it's okay to say that at this point, isn't it?—stunk it up in completing under 50 percent of his passes with three interceptions, the former Alabama QB and Rhodes scholar was thrust into action.

This Bleacher Report photo captures the essence of Sanchez's day very well, and further speaks to the notion that the highly coveted former USC quarterback isn't the long-term answer in New York:

Mark Sanchez is literally holding a clipboard on the sideline.…

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 2, 2012

McElroy simply played smart, safe and conservative football, completing five of his seven passes, but for just 29 yards.

That included a one-yard touchdown to tightend Jeff Cumberland that turned out to be the deciding score. But considering the Jets won just 7-6 and had an even more inept quarterback in Ryan Lindley on the other side, it's not that grand of an achievement.

The scoring drive McElroy orchestrated was set up by a stellar return and an unnecessary roughness penalty, taking the Jets just 60 yards.

The Cardinals, after all, have lost eight in a row after beginning the year 4-0. That type of opposition can be a handy short-term fix for Rex Ryan's much-maligned team, but the win was hardly a convincing one.

Most of what McElroy did was hand the ball off and complete short, simple passes. One decent defense of Sanchez is that the Jets ask him to throw the ball down the field far too often considering his stellar ability to throw slants and the supporting talent around him.

Leaning on the running game more would be beneficial to New York, and it's precisely what Tony Sparano wants to do as a play-caller.

That's what makes this scenario all the more head-scratching. The insertion of McElroy—in spite of how awful the opposing Lindley was playing—was almost a slap to the face of Tim Tebow supporters.

Tebow was out with injured ribs, and may have finally gotten his shot if he were active. Or maybe not.

It's unclear why the Jets gave up a fourth-round pick for Tebow if they weren't going to use him hardly at all. Anything seventh-rounder McElroy did during Sunday's game could have been done by Tebow without question, despite the former first-round pick's perceived inability to throw.

It's almost impossible not to include Tebow in the discussion of McElroy's insertion into the lineup, because speculation will be rife as far as what the Jets' staff will do at QB for the remainder of the season.

That becomes all the more complicated if Tebow becomes healthier, too.

While McElroy has a chance to be a somewhat decent quarterback, the Jets' running game could be even more effective with Tebow's ability to use his legs. But for whatever reason, the team refuses to see it that way.

The fact of the matter is that the Jets have no answer long-term at quarterback on the roster, no matter who is leading the team for the remainder of the year.

This McElroy situation should cause a cessation of those clamoring for "Tebow Time." That whole "Sanchize" movement might be over as well. But that's just one of the many problems facing the Jets, and not the biggest one. It's pretty clear none of these three men are the answer—or the Jets simply don't want to give Tebow the chance to be.

The Jets are one of the most defunct teams in the league, despite Sunday's victory, as they trudge toward a second consecutive disappointing season.