Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/20/12
The cast of characters in the Jets' quarterback soap opera were all unified: Nobody wanted to talk about anything but this Sunday's game against the Chargers, when former third-stringer Greg McElroy will make his first NFL start while one-time franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez watches from the sideline. Of course, McElroy, Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Rex Ryan all had different reasons for wanting to focus solely on Sunday. For the first time since his senior season at Alabama, McElroy is in full-on game preparation mode, so he had no time to wonder if he's auditioning for the starting job in 2013 or simply playing out the string for the Jets, who were eliminated from playoff contention after Sanchez threw five interceptions in Monday's 14-10 loss to the Titans. "You can't get caught up in next week against Buffalo, you can't get caught up in the offseason, you can't get caught up in next year," McElroy said. "Just enjoy the game (and) the fact that I'm able to step out there on the field against San Diego. "Enjoy it, make the most of it and have fun out there." Neither Sanchez nor Tebow, meanwhile, were eager to discuss the uncertainty that awaits them at the end of the season. Sanchez is due $8.25 million guaranteed next year thanks to the contact extension he signed in March following the Jets' unsuccessful pursuit of Peyton Manning, but his complete face-plant this year makes it difficult to envision the Jets turning back to him at any point soon. It's worth nothing that the last time a high-priced Jets' quarterback lost his job to a seventh-round pick, Neil O'Donnell was released months later. "Look, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals of me being here, not being here, whatever," Sanchez said. "We're focused on this week, we're ready to play San Diego and that's where my mind's at. "So any question about what's going to happen next year, are you going to be a starter ever again. ... I'm not even going to go there." As for Tebow, the New York Daily News reported in its Wednesday editions that he will demand a trade or his release if McElroy starts the final two games of the season. Tebow, whom the Jets acquired from the Broncos 14 days after signing Sanchez to his extension, said multiple times Wednesday that he would wait until after the season to ponder next year. But he said plenty when he spoke in the past tense while discussing his disappointment over being passed over for the job and his role, or lack thereof, with the Jets this season. "All you can ask for and all you want is a chance to go out there and play the game you love and help this team win football games," Tebow said. "That's all I wanted. "Tried to make the most of every opportunity that I had. Would've loved to have more." Ryan, meanwhile, also said it was too early to discuss the Jets' quarterback depth chart next year. He also initially weaved his way around questions about whether or not the Jets made a mistake in selecting Sanchez with the fifth pick of the 2009 draft or if they misused Tebow this season. Then, in his own inimitable style, ended up talking at length about both issues, even if his logic sometimes seemed flawed. Ryan lauded Sanchez's resume and said quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses, although the Jets are 6-11 in Sanchez's last 17 starts and 33-28 overall in his 61 regular season starts. And he said Tebow's rib injury impacted how the Jets wanted to use him, even though Tebow didn't get hurt until the Jets' ninth game of the season at Seattle. In speaking about Tebow's situation, Ryan unwittingly summed up the entire quarterback soap opera and, indeed, the whole season. "Has it been a perfect situation?" Ryan said. "I would say we're 6-8. There's probably some things that I never anticipated." Such as, one could presume, a third-string seventh-round draft pick starting the penultimate game of the season.
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