The New York Jets have not passed for over 200 yards in a game since November, and they haven't beaten a .500 team since a fluky win over the Indianapolis Colts on October 15. Right now, this looks like a team without hope, and definitely a team without a quarterback.
Just imagine what happens if McElroy struggles. The Jets will go into the offseason knowing that they need to get a quarterback and a new offensive system to help that quarterback thrive. They will have to admit that Mark Sanchez was a bust, and that means that Rex Ryan was a bust with him.
In that scenario, the Jets would probably grab an offensive-minded head coach to help develop their new quarterback.
In the scenario that McElroy shreds a mediocre San Diego secondary, though, the Jets will likely go into 2013 thinking they have a diamond in the rough at quarterback. They would be a team with hope again, and Ryan would still be a part of that hope.
There is plenty of reason to think that McElroy can succeed where Sanchez failed.
The conception of McElroy is that he was a game-manager in Alabama, a guy who wasn't asked to do much and was carried by his teammates.
That conception is simply not true, as McElroy was a legitimate playmaker who helped carry a dynamite Alabama offense. In his senior season, McElroy passed for an impressive 2,987 yards on a completion percentage over 70 percent. His passing efficiency of 169.0 was especially astounding.
While McElroy is limited somewhat by his arm strength, he is a natural leader with a pedigree of success, as he proved in limited action against the Arizona Cardinals. Though not asked to do much, McElroy was an efficient 5-of-7 passing for 29 yards and a touchdown, which was enough to win the game.
Against the San Diego Chargers, McElroy will have more opportunities to prove himself. The Jets will want to give him every opportunity to showcase his talents, and he should succeed against a pass defense that is nowhere near as talented as that of the Cardinals.
This is a Chargers defense that has allowed 251 yards to Matt Cassel and 351 to Joe Flacco. McElroy should be able to do just fine against this defense.
The real reason McElroy will succeed, though, is a question of will. The Chargers have nothing to play for. Norv Turner's job is already lost, and Phillip Rivers knows he will have a job in 2013. The Jets, though, are playing to save Ryan's job, and McElroy will be fighting to prove he belongs in the NFL.
With this in mind, there is no question that McElroy will be able to find success against a listless San Diego team. Expect enough from McElroy to save Ryan's job and make this offseason much more interesting for the Jets.