As expected, the New York Jets have had one of the craziest quarterback competitions of the NFL preseason. But with the three interceptions thrown by Geno Smith, the injury to Mark Sanchez, and the postgame antics of head coach Rex Ryan, that craziness reached a new and unprecedented level over the weekend. However, here’s a simple solution to a complicated problem: Greg McElroy.
Even if he’s healthy, Jets fans don’t want Sanchez at quarterback, nor does general manager John Idzik, who pushed hard for the team to draft Smith. Even though he’s the most logical choice to start at quarterback, few in the organization want Sanchez to start the season as the quarterback, something he may not be healthy enough to do anyway.
Smith may be the future of the Jets at quarterback, but his performance Saturday against the New York Giants proved that he’s not the present. Smith flashed good potential at times, but three interceptions and a careless safety is too much to overlook, and made it clear that Smith simply isn’t ready to be a start in the NFL.
Instead of continuing to bicker between Sanchez and Smith, the Jets should just hand the keys to McElroy to start the season. Ryan has said all along that he wants a quarterback that’s not going to turn the ball over, and as low as those expectations are for a starting quarterback, that’s exactly what you can trust McElroy to do, more so than either Sanchez or Smith. McElroy may not be the type of quarterback that can win games, but he’s certain not one to lose them.
Despite winning a national championship in college, McElroy is nothing more than a game manager in the NFL, but that may be exactly what the Jets need. If New York’s defense is as good as Ryan says it is, their best bet could be to run the ball in an effort to shorten games, rely on McElroy to not make critical mistakes, and let the defense go to work, with the hope of being able to win close games.
The Jets don’t project as a team that will win many games anyway, so they might as well try this method. Smith may be ready to take over as the starter by the midway point in the season, especially since the schedule gets more manageable the second half of the season.
McElroy certainly hasn’t earned the starting job, but with the way things have gone for Sanchez and Smith this preseason, McElroy may be the winner by default, and he may just be the only quarterback that can give the Jets a fighting chance to win games this season.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.