Greg McElroy: Does Quarterback Have a Future With the Jets?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystDecember 22, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 02:  Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets celebrates a call in favor of the Jets with teammate  Stephen Hill #84 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

It's not a very jolly time of year for fans of the New York Jets.

At 6-8, the Jets have been eliminated from playoff contention. Quarterback Mark Sanchez's putrid play and bloated contract hang around the franchise's neck like an anchor, and with Tim Tebow already with one foot out the door, the Jets will enter 2013 with one of the most unsettled quarterback situations in the NFL.

The Jets are attempting to clear up the situation at least somewhat by seeing what they have in second-year quarterback Greg McElroy, who will start Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.

McElroy came off the bench in relief of an ineffective Sanchez in Week 13 and led the Jets past the Arizona Cardinals. And after Sanchez once again stunk up the joint in last week's loss to the Tennessee Titans, head coach Rex Ryan told the Associated Press via Sports Illustrated that he's doing what he feels is now best for the team.

This is my opinion, and I do believe that it's best for our team that Greg is our quarterback. 'm the guy that's making this decision. Every decision I make is based on what I believe is the best decision for the team.

However, that begs the question of why Ryan didn't make this decision two weeks ago, which tells you quite a bit about both Ryan and what he thinks of McElroy. Sanchez is terrible, Tebow is finished with the Jets (not that he ever got started), and that leaves a seventh-round pick who has attempted all of seven career passes.

The likelihood is that while McElroy is auditioning right now, it's for a backup role. Given his inexperience and the sad state of the New York receiving corps, he likely won't be asked to do whole lot more than Sanchez, whose job it was to hand the ball off and not make mistakes.

If McElroy can do that and possibly lead the Jets to a win in one of these last two games, it would do a lot to help secure him at least something of a future in New York. But a poor performance could leave him on the outside looking in, especially given the changes coming at the quarterback position for the Jets and Sanchez's contract, which may be large enough to force the Jets to keep him for another season.

McElroy seems to be taking everything in stride. Although he knows the next two games may be the biggest of his life, the 24-year-old told Kimberly Martin of Newsday that he's just trying to do everything he can to get ready, including learning what he can from Sanchez and Tebow.

Those guys are great competitors and of course they want to be out there on the field, but they also want to help me. Because if the roles were reversed, I would be doing everything I possibly could to help them. And I think they understand that.

A word of advice Greg? If you want a future with the Jets, you may want to skip that "learning how to play quarterback from Mark Sanchez" part.