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Thursday, December 20, 2012
McElroy: 'Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'

By James Walker

Lost in the muck of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow not starting for the New York Jets this week is the feel-good story of a long shot actually getting a chance to play.

The Jets tabbed 2011 seventh-round pick Greg McElroy their new starting quarterback, presumably for the remainder of the season. Considering both Sanchez and Tebow were former first-round picks, McElroy's rise to the starting job was completely unexpected at the beginning of the season.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," McElroy told reporters this week. "This is a great moment and a great milestone in my career. Obviously this is something I've looked forward to and I've dreamed about my entire life. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. This is a tremendous team."

Everything was believable until McElroy's last statement. Yes, he's excited. But McElroy is taking over an anemic Jets offense that is ranked 30th in the NFL.

McElroy doesn't have much to work with. The pass protection has been horrid, the Jets are thin at receiver and the running game is inconsistent. But maybe a quarterback change will create a spark in the offense Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. McElroy played decent football for a quarter and a half after replacing Sanchez in New York's 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.

This is a two-week audition for McElroy. He can gain an inside track to New York's starting quarterback job next year by winning against the Chargers and Buffalo Bills.

"Obviously, it's one game at a time," McElroy said. "Like I said a couple weeks ago, your role changes every day, and every minute. You never know what the situation is going to be. Obviously, going into Sunday, I’m going to be the starter. I’m very thankful and fortunate for this opportunity, but I’m not concerned about next week against Buffalo. I’m not concerned about next year."