Mark Sanchez has been benched and coach Rex Ryan has bypassed heir apparent Tim Tebow for former seventh-rounder Greg McElroy, who came in for Sanchez two weeks ago against the Cardinals and helped lead the Jets to victory. We'll have to wait until the offseason to see what fates await the Jets' quarterbacks, but the word on the street is that the team will shop Sanchez and his $8.25 million guaranteed salary while Tebow will ask to be traded or released.
For now, though, this is McElroy's team, and he'll head into his first start with Sanchez to thank. Not just because Sanchez played himself out of a job, but for teaching McElroy everything he knows about playing quarterback at this level.
|The home of the Super Bowl|
“Everything that I've learned at this position in this league has been from Mark,” McElroy said via comments released by the organization (by way of PFT). “He's the guy that I've seen every day. Every day that I've been an NFL player, I've been looking up to him. I've been observing him and trying to follow after his lead. I've been watching him. I understand how to play this game because of him.”
By most accounts, Sanchez is an extremely hard worker (although former Jets player Kris Jenkins might disagree with Sanchez's approach) but he just got caught up in a confluence of awfulness -- awful coaching, awful personnel decisions, awful on-field results.
Ironically, it was McElroy who said almost a year ago that the Jets locker room was "definitely not a fun place." He was speaking about the fallout following Santonio Holmes' midgame benching in the team's final game of 2011, a loss in Miami.
“It's the first time I've ever been around extremely selfish individuals,” McElory said at the time. “I think that's maybe the nature of the NFL. But there were people within our locker room that didn't care whether we won or [lost] … as long as they ... really had a good game individually. And that's the disappointing thing.
"It's going to take a lot to kind of come together next year. I think the fact that we struggled at times this year really led to a really corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we're going to regroup and I know that we'll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year.”
Well, McElroy isn't much of an prophet but he remains appreciative of what Sanchez and Tebow have done for him.
“I can't say enough about Mark and Tim,” he said this week. “Those guys are unselfish and have been nothing but helpful. I talked to Mark [after Jets coach Rex Ryan made the quarterback switch] and he was very encouraging, very helpful, and Tim's been the same way. I can't say enough about those guys.”
In season when there has been little to celebrate, McElroy offers something: Civility. Hey, it's a start.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.