NEW YORK — Mark Sanchez blew the second chance Rex Ryan gave him. Now, it's Greg McElroy's turn to be the New York Jets' starting quarterback.
And, Tim Tebow? Well, he was leapfrogged by the third-stringer, fueling speculation that the team has little confidence in him as a quarterback.
Ryan decided to bench Sanchez on Tuesday after the fourth-year quarterback had another miserable performance, throwing four interceptions Monday night. He also mishandled a low snap with the game on the line as the Jets were eliminated from playoff contention with a 14-10 loss at Tennessee.
Ryan said after the game that he wasn't ready to decide who would start against the Chargers, but chose McElroy over Sanchez and Tebow after talking with his staff and others in the organization Tuesday.
McElroy, a seventh-round pick last year out of Alabama, helped lead the Jets to a 7-6 win over Arizona on Dec. 2 when Ryan pulled Sanchez from that game late in the third quarter. Ryan decided to stick with Sanchez after that game, saying that the one-time face of the franchise gave the Jets their best chance at winning as they remained in the playoff hunt.
But Sanchez struggled in a 17-10 win over Jacksonville and again even more in the loss to Tennessee. McElroy, who gave the Jets a huge spark in his first NFL action, was inactive for both games. That hurt New York Monday night when Ryan was unable to turn to McElroy, but instead went to Tebow for one unproductive series before putting Sanchez back in.
Sanchez leads the league with 24 turnovers, including 17 interceptions, and has turned the ball over 50 times since the start of last season. His future with the team is uncertain because he signed a contract extension with New York in March that included $8.25 million in guaranteed money for next season.
Tebow, acquired from Denver in March, has had a minor role in the offense after being expected to play a major part. He is recovering from two broken ribs that sidelined him for three games, but he returned Monday night and had little impact. It would seem unlikely that Tebow, who helped lead the Broncos to the playoffs last season, will be back with New York next season.
The Jets could opt to mutually part ways with the popular quarterback by cutting him after the season or try to trade him.