Greg McElroy gets his first start in place of Mark Sanchez. Image courtesy of newyorkjets.com
The New York Jets are second in the AFC East, but for a team clinging to a slight hope of making the postseason, the 14-10 loss to Tennessee on Tuesday morning (AEDT) was the final straw for the organisation when it came to inconsistent quarterback Mark Sanchez. Head coach Rex Ryan announced he’ll be starting second-year player Greg McElroy against San Diego meaning a player who signed a massive contract extension in March could have played his last minutes in a Jets uniform.
Sanchez threw four interceptions in the loss to the Titans. That makes it 50 turnovers since the beginning of 2011, the most of any NFL QB in that period. McElroy replaced Sanchez when he was benched against the Cardinals at the start of December, throwing the only touchdown of the game to Jeff Cumberland to eke out a 7-6 win. He didn’t earn any regular season action in his rookie season due to a dislocated thumb suffered in the final week of the preseason. Tim Tebow was overlooked for the starting position and there is talk that he’ll request a trade from the Jets at the end of the season after making little impact in his time in The Big Apple.
One player who has benefited from Sanchez’s struggles is running back Bilal Powell. He has had 54 carries the past four games, compared to 35 in his first nine. Shonn Greene is still the dominant player in the backfield, but Powell is at least giving the Jets a different look.
The Chargers have some big names missing, too, although their hand has been forced. Gun running back Ryan Mathews and leading receiver Malcolm Floyd were both placed on the injured reserve list after the 31-7 loss to Panthers. Neither will play again this season.
They should be back next year, but one man who won’t is head coach Norv Turner. He has just two games left in charge after leading San Diego to a dismal 5-9 record so far. It’s a disappointing end to his reign, considering the Chargers won three straight AFC West titles to begin his tenure. Surprisingly, they’ve won one more game away from home than they have at Qualcomm Stadium this season. The Jets won the last match-up between the teams, a 27-21 victory at home in 2011.
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