The New York Jets will start Mark Sanchez at quarterback for their season finale against the Buffalo Bills because Greg McElroy has a concussion, coach Rex Ryan said.
McElroy approached the Jets’ trainers today, four days after getting sacked a team record-tying 11 times in a 27-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers, and told them he had been feeling effects of a concussion since the game, Ryan said at a news conference.
“I was stunned by it,” Ryan said. “I admire his courage and everything else, but you have to be truthful and I think that’s a lesson learned here with the medical staff. He really wanted to play and I understand the competitive side of players, but the most important thing is the health of the players.”
McElroy was 14-for-24 passing for 185 yards and one interception in the loss that dropped the Jets’ record to 6-9. It was his first National Football League start after replacing Sanchez in the Jets’ lineup.
Tim Tebow, having served as Sanchez’s backup throughout the season, told reporters he was disappointed with being skipped over for McElroy, a third-string player, when Ryan decided to bench Sanchez following a five-turnover performance against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 17.
Ryan said today he decided to reinsert Sanchez rather than give Tebow a start because there are only two practices remaining before the Dec. 30 game at Buffalo and because Sanchez had success in the season-opener against the Bills. Sanchez was 19-of-27 passing for 266 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in that contest, which New York won 48-28.
“With the situation the way it is, it’s a short window to get the preparation time in, I just think it’s best for our football team,” Ryan said. “That doesn’t mean that Tim won’t play in this game.”
Ryan declined to specifically address reports that prior to the Chargers game Tebow said he wouldn’t direct the Wildcat offense, which uses a combination of quarterback passes and runs. Tebow later told reporters he never refused to run the plays.
“I can definitely understand the frustrations of not getting the opportunity to play as much as he would have liked,” Ryan said today. “I believe if Tim would have been asked to do something, he would have gone in the game and done it.”