FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez was once the face of the franchise, the quarterback expected to lead the New York Jets to a long-awaited Super Bowl appearance.
There were lofty comparisons to Joe Namath just two years ago. Now, Sanchez might not even be the starter anymore.
Rex Ryan is in quite the quarterback quandary, undecided on whether it will be Sanchez, Greg McElroy or Tim Tebow under center Sunday at Jacksonville.
“Well, I think right now,” Ryan said Monday, “I definitely need a little more time to make that decision.”
Not only do the Jets have a quarterback controversy, but they have one that involves three players who all make for intriguing options.
“I’m comfortable and confident with all three quarterbacks,” Ryan said. “I think all three guys have, now, proven they can win in this league.”
While it was widely thought Tebow would be the guy to eventually take Sanchez’s job, McElroy made a strong case for himself in leading the Jets (5-7) to a 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
“That’s a decision above my pay grade,” defensive end Mike DeVito said with a laugh when asked who he thinks should start. “I trust all three of those guys.”
Sanchez was pulled Sunday with 4:48 left in the third quarter, and McElroy came in and led the Jets to the only touchdown of the game on his first NFL drive. Fans chanted “Mc-El-Roy!” throughout the game and booed Sanchez loudly nearly each time he stepped on or off the field, particularly after each of his three interceptions.
Sanchez went a miserable 10 of 21 for 97 yards before taking a spot on the sideline. McElroy’s numbers were hardly eye-popping — 5 of 7 for 29 yards — but the fact he energized the team and the crowd meant a lot for a squad still harboring playoff hopes.