When a press conference starts with “you’re not going to believe this one,” as the one New York Jets coach Rex Ryan led Thursday did, that’s never a good sign. Ryan told a stunned group of reporters that he would again be switching quarterbacks, going back to Mark Sanchez after it was announced third-stringer Greg McElroy was being evaluated for a possible concussion.
The announcement caps a string of disappointments for Tim Tebow, the pop culture phenom who reportedly held the backup quarterback position for much of the team’s season. As it turned out, that was in title only. After Sanchez embarrassed himself by throwing four interceptions in a debacle of a loss against the Tennessee Titans Dec. 17, Ryan put in McElroy. And after McElroy was sacked 11 times in another humiliating defeat against the San Diego Chargers a week later, Ryan is turning back to Sanchez.
As leadership decisions go, this one’s a head scratcher of linebacker proportions. Yes, as has been widely chronicled, Tebow’s running skills mean he plays a certain style of offense that Ryan may not want to deploy. And yes, there was the reported flap over whether Tebow asked out of the Wildcat—the formation he was specifically designated to play—though that has now been denied, avoided and made into a debate over Tebow’s usually angelic character.