McElroy: 'I know Mark is going to play great'

December, 5, 2012
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Backup quarterback Greg McElroy understood why Jets coach Rex Ryan named Mark Sanchez the starter for this week's game against Jacksonville. McElroy replaced Sanchez in the second half last Sunday against Arizona and led the team to a comeback victory.

"Obviously Coach Ryan is going to do what's in the best interest of the team and we trust him to make the best decision," McElroy said. "He believed that is the correct decision and going forward it's going to be a great opportunity for all of us to work and improve, and I know Mark is going to play great Sunday."

McElroy was active for the first time against the Cardinals because of fellow backup Tim Tebow's broken ribs. As Sanchez struggled Ryan put in McElroy, who led the team on its only scoring drive of the day in the 7-6 win. He completed 5-of-7 passes for 29 yards.

The team did not announce its quarterback until Wednesday as Ryan evaluated all the candidates before eventually settling on Sanchez. McElroy said the past couple of days have been fun, especially because of the win, and it's not frustrating that he goes from playing the second half against Arizona to potentially being inactive against Jacksonville.

"Every single player in this league wants to be on the field on Sunday. That's the competitor in all of us. We also have to understand what our role is and what's in the best interest of the team," McElroy said. "Coach Ryan has been put in charge to make those decisions and to put the best player on the team that he thinks gives the team the best chance of being successful, and that person is Mark.

"I obviously completely understand that and I will accept my role, whatever my role may be, and I will try to enjoy it and try to continue to prove."

McElroy's teammates said they did not pay that much attention to the team's quarterback controversy.

"I just allow the coaches to make the decision with that," lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "Definitely go out there and work hard and try to do my job as best as I can."

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley did say he's glad the decision didn't linger until later in the week, and he's not worried this will become a weekly thing.

While Sanchez will get the start, the players said they were confident in all three choices. They also said they have not lost any faith that Sanchez can get the job done despite his struggles. He has thrown just 12 touchdowns on the year while tossing 13 interceptions.

Said right tackle Austin Howard: "I think Mark can go out there and lead us to a win."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor



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