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Greg McElroy or Mark Sanchez? The Jets Play Jacksonville, and Should Start ...

Mark Sanchez has struggled several times this season, yet Rex Ryan never benched him. The losses to San Francisco, Miami, Seattle (on the road) and New England (at home) all come to mind.

Pulling Sanchez in any of those games would have meant Tim Tebow would have been inserted at QB. At times, not yanking Sanchez seemed to send the signal that Rex never wanted Tim Tebow on the team, and wants no part of him at QB.

Naturally, the week Tim Tebow is not active (ribs), Rex pulled Sanchez … in favor of 2nd year pro Greg McElroy.

You know the rest – McElroy, the 7th round draft pick, led the Jets on a TD drive, the Jets hung on to win, and now the 5-7 team has a “controversy.”

Last night and early this morning, my thought was that McElroy should start against Jacksonville (I even said as much on a Fox radio interview). I didn’t think starting McElroy would be a death sentence for Sanchez. Why should it be? McElroy didn’t prove Sunday he is the Jets’ QB of the present or future in 20ish minutes of action. He attempted seven passes against a terrible defense. He was an effective reliever.

But given more time to ponder the Sanchez/McElroy situation, I actually think Sanchez should be the starter. Maybe Sanchez playing on the road is what he needs! Perhaps playing away from the boos and media crush in New York would help him. Let’s take a look at his home/road splits:

Home: 7 games, 70.0 QB rating, 56 percent completions, 6.3 YPA, 8 TDs, 9 INTs, 3 lost fumbles

Away: 5 games, 73.4 QB rating, 53.5 percent completions, 6.9 YPA, 4 TD, 4 INT, 2 fumbles lost

Eh, basically negligible, although they have played the Texans and 49ers, two of the top defenses in the NFL, at home. Three weeks ago, Sanchez played his best game of the season in beating the Rams – 15-of-20 passing, zero turnovers – on the road.

Here’s the real reason I think Sanchez is your guy: Worst case scenario is McElroy starts, tears up the Jaguars defense, and then there’s no way you can bring back Sanchez as the starter the following week at Tennessee. How bad is the Jacksonville defense?

Points per game: 30th (28.5 ppg)
Yards per game: 31st (404.9 ypg)
Rush yards per game: 31st (144 ypg)
Pass yards per game: 28th (260.9 ypg)
Sacks: 32nd (13 on the season, or fewer than Aldon Smith, JJ Watt and Von Miller).

Sanchez should be able to light up this defense. The mediocre running game should be effective. The Jets should win and keep and their dim playoff hopes (only mathematically) alive. If he shits the bed again? Well, then I think you’ve got to seriously look at option two laid out in this scenario: Convince the team’s cheap owner, Woody Johnson, to dump Mark Sanchez and eat a lot of money.

In addition to the rest of their roster overhaul this offseason, trot out McElroy next year, deal with a 3-13 year, and look at rebuilding in 2014 starting with the No. 1 draft pick, South Carolina stud Jadeveon Clowney. I highly doubt any of that happens, and my guess (today) is Rex convinces Woody to give it one more shot next year with Sanchez.

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