Thursday, December 13, 2012

Making sense of Rex's backup quarterback quandary


Tim Tebow hasn't been healthy enough to see the field for a month, yet New York Jets coach Rex Ryan insists Tebow remains the No. 2 quarterback.

Meanwhile, Greg McElroy, Gang Green's third-stringer, is the only quarterback not named Mark Sanchez to run New York's offense in a regular season game this year. The healthy and capable McElroy replaced Sanchez in the second half of New York's win over the Arizona Cardinals a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, Ryan was dancing around an answer as to why Tebow at No. 2 is the best scenario, especially since Ryan admitted Tebow wouldn't be running the Wildcat anymore. Heck, Tebow won't even be in as the personal punt protector, which has been his biggest role thus far. (photo: Nick St. Denis)

It has to be one of two things, or both: the heavy hand of owner Woody Johnson's economical interests and Ryan's sentimental connection with Tebow.

Ryan is a smart enough football guy to understand that the only benefit to having Tebow as the backup is because of the extra things he can do in the Wildcat and elsewhere. Take those away, and he's essentially a healthy scratch.

But since it's very clear at this point that acquiring Tebow was merely a publicity stunt, demoting Tebow would be a hit to Johnson's ego.

Here's where it gets... different. When there was a mini QB controversy two weeks ago between Sanchez and McElroy, Johnson reportedly favored McElroy. Ryan opted to go with Sanchez, and he explained that he felt no pressure from Johnson when making the decision.

But is he feeling pressured now? Probably, both by Johnson and by his own heart strings, as he probably feels bad for the way Tebow has been tugged around daily from the time he first met with the Jets until mid-December.

Either way, it's arguably the strangest backup quarterback situation in the history of the game.

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