Coach Killers, Week 16 : Maybe Sanchez wasn't the only problem
Even when Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are on the sidelines fighting over the clipboard, the Jets still manage to ratchet up the futility to preposterous levels. This time, though, it had little to do with the quarterback.Greg McElroy, the former seventh-round pick and third-stringer the last two seasons, was able to do what the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart struggled with for months: look like a proper NFL passer. McElroy finished Sunday's game 14 of 24 for 185 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Nothing particularly noteworthy but that in itself is, well, noteworthy. There were no butt fumbles or balls fired 40 feet over the head of intended targets. Just your garden-variety, average quarterbackin' afternoon.
What hadn't changed: the horrendous pass protection. McElroy was sacked 11 times -- in 35 drop backs -- which tied a team record. Rex Ryan, who has some experience with what it means to describe what awful football looks like, called it "ridiculous."As ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini noted earlier this week, the Chargers defense didn't do anything particularly exotic. Six sacks came on four-man rushes, four sacks came on five-man rushes and one sack came on a six-man rush. Cimini (subjectively -- his word) assigned the blame thusly: RT Austin Howard, 2.0 sacks; LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson 2.0; RG Brandon Moore, 1.5; LG Vladimir Ducasse, 1.0; miscellaneous, 4.5.
Part of "miscellaneous" includes McElroy, who wasn't totally without blame. No, there wasn't anything as egregious as a typical Sanchez outing, but Cimini pointed out that the first-time starter was guilty of holding the ball too long; six sacks came after McElroy had been in the pocket at least four seconds. Cimini added: "At times, he didn't sense the pressure; other times, he sensed it but slid the wrong way in the pocket," which is a weekly occurrence for this offense no matter who's starting.Mercifully, there's one week left in the season. There's a lot to sort through in the coming months, chief among them will be finding a quarterback. Sanchez and his $8.25 million guaranteed salary will likely be back but will he be the starter or the league's most well compensated backup? It's the type of dilemma you'd expect to find in "The Book of Questions."
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