FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — There’s been nine months of unremitting debate whether Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow should be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. For the past three days, however, the debate has involved Sanchez and Tebow but not to be the starter.

That job belongs to Greg McElroy. For now.

“Greg got every single snap in practice. He’s starting and the ball is in his hand. You approach the situation as he’s your starting quarterback and he is, so let’s see what he can do,” Rex Ryan said Thursday.

In a year where the story has been the rise of the young, talented quarterback — the story in New York is not about the blooming McElroy, but the catastrophic collapse of their two somewhat young, semi-talented quarterbacks.

Since leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship appearances, Sanchez has failed to take the next step as he’s led the league in turnovers since 2011 with 50 — an issue that was magnified in his five-turnover Monday Night performance that fumbled the Jets playoff chances. Couple that with a 10-13 record over his last 23 games and a loser in five of his last eight and it’s hard to argue with the former fifth overall pick’s demotion.

Could Sunday, in McElroy's first pro career start, be Sanchez and Tebow's last game in New York as Jets? ( Photo).

“I respect Coach’s decision. Obviously, I want to be out there playing, so I don’t necessarily agree with it,” Sanchez said Wednesday. “There’s a ton of emotions going through your mind. I guess at the forefront it’s just disappointment. You’re upset. I’m frustrated with my play and some of the decisions I’ve made.”

Tebow’s situation is a horse of a completely different color. While it could be argued that Sanchez was over-used, an adversely similar case could be made that Tebow has been underused — or better yet, misused. Promised to get a shot at competing for the starting job prior to the start of training camp, Tebow got his chance in the second quarter of Week 14 — a five-play series which included two runs for 13 yards, a sack for a loss of two, a delay of game penalty and an incompletion to Jeremy Kerley. This came after Tebow missed the three previous games with cracked ribs despite being cleared to play by the team’s doctors and, seemingly, being relegated to a special teams sideshow in the Jets three-ring circus act.

“Obviously, I’m a little disappointed [with not being named the starter],” Tebow said Wednesday. “I don’t think anybody knew exactly what was going to happen [before the season]. Just tried to do what was best in their mind and we just tried to work together as a team. Obviously, everybody’s a little bit disappointed with how the season has turned out.”

Ryan has left open the possibility of dressing all three quarterbacks on Sunday, but will release his number two starter “when he’s ready” to.

“When I’m ready to let you guys know, I’ll let you know that. I’m not ready to do that yet,” he said.

For both Sanchez and Tebow, Sunday may very well be their final farewell game in MetLife Stadium as multiple outlets are reporting that the front office is open to moving their quarterbacks elsewhere.

A report Wednesday in the New York Daily News indicated that Tim Tebow, who spent this season as Sanchez’s backup, would likely request a trade or ask for his release if he did not get a chance to play in the final two games. ESPN New York cited league sources as saying that the Jets plan to part ways with Tebow after the season.

When asked if he has requested a trade, Tebow responded, “I have not. We’ll talk about that after the season though,”. He later added that he “just believed that [he] would get an opportunity to try to compete as a quarterback and get opportunities”.

The Daily News later reported the Jets could also explore trade options for Sanchez, although making a deal might be difficult since he is due a guaranteed $8.25 million for 2013.

“Look, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals of me being here, not being here, whatever. We’re focused on this week. 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 … [How the season has unfolded] is different than what I expected back in August, but it will somehow work out and make me better and stronger,” Sanchez said.

With the presumed death of the Sanchize and Tebowmania in the same week — just days before the end of the Mayan calendar — maybe it really is the end of the world.
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