Ryan benches Sanchez, McElroy named starter

Greg McElroy | New York Jets

On the heels of a disastrous outing against the Titans, New York's head man is moving in a different direction under center.

After the New York Jets season came crashing down to earth with an ugly loss on Monday Night to the Tennessee Titans, Rex Ryan informed Mark Sanchez he would be relegated to bench duties for Gang Green's final two games of the regular season. Ryan announced on Tuesday that second-year player Greg McElroy will be handed the keys to the offense as the Jets embark on a search for their quarterback of the future.

"Well, I think anytime you do that it's not easy," Ryan said of benching his hand-picked quarterback. "That's for sure. In dealing with it, I told Mark that I think we need to make a change and he respected my decision, but that's not easy, that's for sure."

Over his past 30 games, Sanchez has committed 51 turnovers showing no signs of improvement in his decision-making and failing to recognize various defensive coverage schemes. With the Jets playoff hopes hanging in the balance against Tennessee, Sanchez's five miscues proved to be the final straw that broke the Jets' back.

"It's just a heartbreaking loss, without question," admitted Ryan. "We turned the ball over five times. It was just too much to overcome."

New York is shifting its attention to Sunday's upcoming contest against the San Diego Chargers with McElroy trading in his pencil and clipboard for a helmet and pair of cleats. While the former Alabama Star has been inactive for all but one game this season, Ryan expressed confidence in the young gunslinger.

"Well, that's what I feel in my gut," mentioned Ryan of his decision to move forward with McElroy. "I liked what I saw from Greg against Arizona and I liked what I see on the practice field. I just truly believe I think it's best for our team right now and that's how I feel about it."

With Sanchez and McElroy at the center of the Jets' quarterback drama, Tim Tebow is seemingly the forgotten man on the roster, not garnering serious consideration for the starting job.

"I have to look at what I think is the best for the team and not necessarily the individual," offered Ryan. "I'll say this about Tim and I've always said it, about the type of competitor he is. I know he wants to help this team be successful in the worst way. There's no doubt about that. I truly believe that."

For the second consecutive season, the Jets will finish on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, creating speculation that Ryan's job could be in jeopardy. New York's head man isn't fazed by being thrown on the hot seat; rather he is focused on finishing a disappointing 2012 campaign on a high note.

"I've always said that the priority is not me by any stretch," said Ryan. "I'm not thinking about myself. I'm thinking about this football team and trying to get this team ready to play. Believe me, that's the truth. I think if you focus on the job at hand, that I'll be better off that way than any other way."

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