Reports Surface That Rex Ryan Is Leaning Towards Starting Greg McElroy Sunday

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IDecember 3, 2012

Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14) in the huddle against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora, reports have surfaced that indicate Rex Ryan is leaning towards starting Greg McElroy over Mark Sanchez for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

LaCanfora reported that one source told him Ryan is "65-35" in McElroy's favor, but Ryan hasn't met with his staff on the matter yet.

Earlier in the day, Ryan was noncommittal (via cbssports) at his press conference and threw support behind all three of his quarterbacks.  

"I definitely need a little more time to make that decision," Ryan said. "I'm comfortable and confident with all three quarterbacks. I think all three guys -- now, you know -- have proven they can win in this league, with Greg at the end of the game. And then, obviously, Mark's history here and the way Tim has played.

"So I've got three guys I'm confident in, but I'll make that decision as the week goes on."

It is very likely that a decision could come as early as Tuesday.  

Ryan is scheduled to meet with his coaching staff Tuesday morning to begin preparations for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.

Although the team won't go to live preparations until Wednesday, it would be ideal to have a decision in place by Tuesday to give them valuable extra time to get the ill-prepared acclimated.

McElroy has been the third-string quarterback all season and hasn't had much time to work with since the start of training camp.

Although fans seem to be nearly 100 percent behind McElroy, there are a number of things to consider before making the change.

Most important is the long-term implications of a switch.

McElroy was a seventh-round draft choice out of Alabama who missed the entire season last year with a thumb injury.  

He was the last quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL Draft, behind such luminaries as Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Enderle and Ricky Stanzi.  It's not like he was any kind of real prospect coming out of Alabama.

Unless the Jets can convince Sanchez he could succeed with a change of scenery, he will still be on the team next year.  

If the Jets go with McElroy over Sanchez and the experiment fails, the Jets will go into next season with a psychologically-shot Sanchez, McElroy and some other unproven commodity.

The Jets don't have the cap flexibility to cut Sanchez and can't add a proven quarterback to compete with him without some major contract restructuring.

On the other hand, what if the Jets do have some kind of hidden jewel in McElroy?  They will have to find out at some point.

His arm strength, mental toughness and intelligence have all gotten high marks, and he has flashed some potential in the preseason.

This isn't just a situation where you could say "Hey let's see what the kid's got!"  In this era in the NFL and in the current Jets situation, there's a lot to think about here.

There are also the motives of the people who will be making the decision to consider.

Ryan will back the person who thinks gives them the best chance to win Sunday; Mike Tannenbaum will back the person who will best be able to save his job; and who knows what Tony Sparano or Matt Cavanaugh are thinking.

Then there is the matter of Woody Johnson.  The only Jets home game remaining on the schedule is in two weeks against the San Diego Chargers.  

If McElroy starts next week and leads the Jets to a win over the Jaguars, they will have crept to within one game of .500 and will be riding a wave of momentum into a winnable game against the Chargers.  

That scenario is the one that's most likely to sell tickets, and Johnson knows that.

Follow RC Cos and the Jets B/R Report on Twitter: @BR_Jets_Report.