Greg McElroy entered the second half to a standing ovation. The 3rd string quarterback stepped in after Sanchez's anemic first half performance and led the Jets to a slim 7-6 win over the Cardinals. McElroy didn't have stellar statistics, but he managed the game well completing 5 of his 7 passes. He also through a touchdown strike that proved to be the game winner.
The rest of the schedule seems to be favorable for the Jets. The team will head down to Jacksonville Sunday to face a Jaguars team that ranks 31st in the league in total offense (also ranking 31st on defense). This should be a nice transition for McElroy if he does start. He can get in the NFL "groove" against a weaker opponent and continue to work on his field relations with his receivers.
After Jacksonville, the Jets will face the Titans in Tennessee. The Titans are currently ranked 27th defensively and 23rd on offense. The Jets will face the Chargers at Metlife stadium December 23rd and finish with the Bills in Buffalo. Both are cellar dwellers statistically (the Bills are average offensively speaking, ranking 17th in the league). McElroy can capitalize on a weak schedule and possibly show his leadership ability by helping the Jets sneak into the playoffs.
Their current competition for a post-season bid is Cincinnati , who's schedule is less than favorable. They still have to play the Steelers and Baltimore once more. They will also face a "scrappy" Dallas Squad.
By finally pulling Sanchez, Rex Ryan has sent a message to the team. These next four games are crucial and will cement McElroy's future. If he can manage games and find ways to win, than the move will prove to be a success. No one is looking for him to put up gaudy numbers. He needs to be effective and utilize the weapons at hand. He doesn't need to force plays, he just needs to execute.
McElroy is in the perfect situation... he can't do anything worse than what has been seen on the field this season. He just needs to be precise and calm, while finding a way to win out the rest of the schedule. McElroy has pressure, but not an immense amount. He was a seventh round pick who luckily fell in the right situation. Tim Tebow wasn't a threat to Mark Sanchez, so he certainly shouldn't be a threat to McElroy.
It is not so clear if McElroy will be the Jets quarterback of the future. He has the potential... let's not forget he was three year starter at Alabama. The Jets owe Sanchez $8.5 million dollars next year. That is a lotta cash for a backup if he hangs around and McElroy pans out. Simply put, the Jets know what they have in Sanchez and Tebow. It is unclear what they have in McElroy, but there is hope ... remember that one quarterback they had from Alabama? He may not be the next Namath, but neither is Sanchez or Tebow. McElroy can define himself in the next four games and make his worth more clear. Hopefully he capitalizes on the opportunity.