New York Jets QB Controversy Begins (Again) in Earnest, and Other AFC East News

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 02:  Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets talks with quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh while teammate Mark Sanchez#6 and Tim Tebow #15 stand by in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals on December 2, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Jets defeated the Arizona Cardinals 7-6.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Jets have their quarterback controversy, but it does not involve one Mr. Timothy Tebow.

In making the switch from struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez to third-stringer and former national champion Greg McElroy in what was eventually a 7-6 win on the strength of a McElroy touchdown drive, the Jets opened Pandora's box to a quarterback controversy.

With that box now more wide open than Jeff Cumberland in the back of the end zone, hope you have enough room for the New York media as they all climb in and make themselves at home. It's been just over 16 hours since Rex Ryan made the switch, but there are probably already 1,600,000 opinions on who should be the starter.

There are already varying opinions on how the Jets should proceed from here. Joe Caporoso of says the Jets should go with McElroy:

Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. 

That is an opinion that is in lockstep with readers of the Bleacher Report AFC East blog; with over 4,000 votes already cast, an eye-popping 91.3 percent of voters (as of 9:00 a.m. ET Monday) think McElroy should be the starter for Week 14.

Not everyone agrees; Gary Myers of the New York Daily News thinks the Jets would be right to turn back to Sanchez:

McElroy is a game manager. He is not a playmaker. He doesn’t have a big arm. There is a reason he was inactive the first 11 games of the season. He is not the future. The Jets are still alive in the wild-card race (the Patriots clinched the AFC East) and I just wouldn’t put December and the season in the inexperienced McElroy’s hands.

Rich Cimini of ESPN New York takes the most broad approach, examining pros and cons for each player, but admits that taking some time to step away from the heat of the moment has given him some perspective:

My initial reaction after the game was that Ryan would make McElroy the new starter. After thinking about it, I'm hedging. It would be awfully risky. Third string to starter in one week? That would be like making Caleb Schlauderaff the new left guard after four decent series. My gut tells me he'll give Sanchez one more chance, with a quick hook next Sunday in Jacksonville if he doesn't get his act together. 

That seems to be the most sensible way to approach it. We have seen that McElroy is capable of running an offense in a regular season game. Some will cite the Cardinals' eight-game losing streak as a reason for McElroy's success, but that's the second-best pass defense in the league (74.3 defensive passer rating) and can be a confusing unit for any quarterback to read, much less a rookie. 

Let's not sugarcoat McElroy's performance, though; he got a lot more help from the running game than Sanchez did (16 carries for 56 yards in the first half, 27 carries for 121 yards in the second half) and had a bad pick get called back on a ticky-tack illegal contact penalty that probably shouldn't have been called.

A full breakdown of McElroy's first game will be available on the AFC East blog later today, but the discussion hardly ends there. This is a career-changing decision for Rex Ryan. Don't worry, though, I'm sure it will get all the coverage it deserves.

Here's some more news and analysis from around the AFC East.


New York Jets

Believe it or not, there were other players on the field besides Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy.

Mike Vorkunov of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger says the defense gave a stalwart effort against the Cardinals.

Jane McManus of ESPN New York points out that the Jets defense held the Cardinals to 0-for-15 on third downs.


New England Patriots

Nick Underhill of CBS Sports delivers a report card for the Patriots' 23-16 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston says that the Patriots are not satisfied with winning their division, and that their hunt for a top seed begins on Monday night against the Texans.


Miami Dolphins

Greg Stoda of The Palm Beach Post wonders why defensive ends Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick weren't on the field for the Patriots final offensive drive.

Brian Miller of PhinPhanatic says the Dolphins showed signs of a bright future despite losing.


Buffalo Bills

Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 Sportsradio delivers his sideline reactions to the Bills' resounding 34-18 win over the Jaguars

Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News writes that the Bills running game carried the load and carried the team to victory.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.


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