Keeping the Jets’ Quarterback Change in Perspective


Dec 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the game at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

The Jets made a quarterback change on Sunday, one that many fans felt was a long time coming. Mark Sanchez came out, Greg McElroy came in, and led the Jets on what happened to be the game-winning touchdown drive. There was life in the building, and there was life on the offensive side of the football. There is no denying that, and nobody was more excited than I was to see some inspired football. However, there is a lot of talk today about how Greg McElroy is now the long term answer. A lot feel that he is now the starting quarterback that can carry this team to where they need to go. What I am here to say is maybe he is, but let’s not send him to Canton, OH just yet. Let’s keep some perspective.

First of all, keep in mind the opponent. The opponent was the Arizona Cardinals. This is not the New England Patriots by any stretch of the imagination. After starting 4-0, they had lost seven straight games coming into the game against the Jets. They have a pretty good defense, that obviously was keeping our offense down, but at quarterback, they actually had a guy playing worse than Mark Sanchez in Ryan Lindley. Lindley completed 10-31 passes, and the Cardinals netted a whopping 137 yards for the game. The Jets defense played great, but it wasn’t like they exactly went against in offensive juggernaut. It wasn’t going to take a boatload of offense to get the job done.

I was thrilled with how McElroy performed, but let’s not make it out like he put on an aerial assault. He went 5-7 for 29 yards, he didn’t go 15-18 for 250 yards and 3 TDs. He was efficient, absolutely, and he used the clock well. He took them down for a score when they desperately needed one, and when they needed to close out the game, he managed the clock to perfection. But let’s be honest, McElroy was not asked to do very much. He threw the ball seven times. Including scrambles and penalties, they ran the ball 21 times. You cannot take away from McElroy what he actually did, but let’s not make it into more than it was. Let’s see it more than once.

Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy (14) walks off the field after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s also keep the actual performance of the offense in perspective. It started with a 69 yard drive, which the Jets desperately needed, and kudos to McElroy for leading it. It finished that started on the Jets’ 26 yard line, and ended on the Cardinals’ 2, taking up over half of the final quarter, ending the game. Brilliant clock management, Greg handled that drive like a seasoned veteran quarterback. The other two drives were a lot less successful, and a bit Sanchez-like. The two drives sandwiched between the score and the end netted 6 yards, and 4 yards respectively. The offense didn’t exactly fly up and down the field against a bad Cardinals team. Again, please don’t mis-interpret what I am saying. I am by no means saying that Greg McElroy did a bad job. To the contrary, he did a very good job. He just didn’t set the world on fire, and we need to see more.

Now let’s talk about the long term. Whomever is the quarterback going forward, this team has a lot to fix than just the quarterback position. I think we can ALL agree on that. Does anybody really think that a quarterback is going to be at the top of the league with THIS group of weapons. Is Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens, and Jeff Cumberland the group that is going to be a lethal set of weapons for an offense? Yes, the quarterback is going to bring the best out of their teammates, but when the ceiling is low, there is only so much to bring out.

How about this offensive coaching staff? Through 12 games, does anyone believe that a quarterback is going to become a dynamic passer in this offense. No matter who is in there, Tony Sparano’s offense is a “dink and dunk” offense that doesn’t give a quarterback a lot of responsibilities. It works well for a game manager, but doesn’t seem to give ANY quarterback the opportunity to develop and flourish. Who is going to become a great quarterback by dumping the ball off all day? I doubt it. How about the brilliant quarterback coach, Matt Cavanaugh? In three and a half brilliant years leading the position, Mark Sanchez has gotten worse and worse. Yes, some of that is on Mark. I am not trying to say anything to the contrary. But when you continue to see footwork problems, and see the same bad decisions made, over and over again, you have to consider the coaching as well. Matt Cavanaugh has done NOTHING to improve the position. What evidence to we have that ANYONE will be successful, long-term, at the quarterback position, with Cavanaugh’s direction? I don’t see any.

McElroy did a great job on Sunday, bring the stadium and the team life when it really needed it. But just don’t let yourself believe that the issues with the position are over, because they are not. Far from it.

Let’s keep some perspective.