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Greg McElroy Deserves Opportunity as Jets' Starting QB

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 02:   Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets passes against the Arizona Cardinals during their game at at MetLife Stadium on December 2, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2012

We know what Mark Sanchez can do. We know what Tim Tebow can do. Now it is time to see what Greg McElroy can do as an NFL starting quarterback.

The New York Jets are in the midst of a quarterback controversy, but not in a good way. Instead of backups pushing their way into the conversation (like Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers), the players on the field are proving they deserve to be on the bench.

Sanchez has remained the starting quarterback all season despite showing no improvements over his four-year career.

Through 12 games this season, the former USC star has thrown more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12), and is second-to-last in the NFL in completion percentage among qualified players.

In a statistic that measures all of a quarterback's contributions to winning, Total QBR, Sanchez ranks No. 32 out of 34 qualified players with a 28.4 out of 100.

After three interceptions and no points against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, head coach Rex Ryan finally benched the starter and brought in McElroy for his first career appearance.

The result: a standing ovation, a touchdown pass and a win. 

However, Ryan made a decision on Wednesday to keep Sanchez as the starting quarterback heading into the team's Week 14 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

It is possible that Sanchez might have a good game against a team that allows over 400 yards of total offense per game, but that does not make this the right decision.

The quarterback has had his chance to succeed over three-and-a-half years. In that time, he has failed to prove that he can be a quality starter at this level.

Many would like to see Tebow as the next option, but he is still dealing with a rib injury that kept him out last game. Even when healthy, he is still a below-average passer and does not have the confidence from his teammates that is necessary to win.

As a result, McElroy is the best option for this dysfunctional football team.

The second-year quarterback was a seventh-round pick out of Alabama, so he will not face the pressure to succeed right away. He is also a solid leader that helped his team win the national championship in college.

While he does not have a strong arm, McElroy proved throughout his college career that he can make up for it with good accuracy and great decision making. In his senior year, he completed 70.9 percent of his passes and threw 20 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions.

Fans were able to see a small glimpse of that in the last game against the Cardinals. He continually found an open player and completed five of his seven pass attempts. He also threw an easy touchdown pass off a great play action near the goal line. 

Between Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, the Jets have a solid run game that averages 115.2 yards per game. This offense can be successful if a quarterback simply completes easy passes and does not mess things up with turnovers (Chad Pennington anyone?).

Sanchez and Tebow do not have that ability. McElroy could be that guy if he is just given a bigger opportunity. 

Unfortunately, it seems like Rex Ryan will never give him a real chance.  

 

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