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Tebow's rib injury brings more questions to Jets' QB situation

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Posted Nov. 23, 2012 @ 3:20 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Rex Ryan was right — the Jets’ debacle of a loss on Thanksgiving night to the Patriots cannot all be pinned on QB Mark Sanchez, but Ryan didn’t provide clear answers to the quarterbacks on the depth chart behind the much-maligned starter.

Backup QB Tim Tebow was active, but never saw the field, not even on the punt team, where he has been a mainstay as the personal protector. After the game, Ryan said that Tebow had a rib injury and was available in an emergency, and Tebow later told reporters that he fractured two ribs. On Friday, Ryan maintained that Tebow was medically cleared, and could have played if necessary.

The obvious question observers had, though, is what would have happened if Sanchez got hurt, and why Ryan didn’t activate No. 3 QB Greg McElroy? “That’s something I considered,” Ryan told reporters on Friday. “But like I said, (Tebow was) cleared to play.”

McElroy has not played in an NFL game — he spent his rookie season on injured reserve and hasn’t had the reps in practice. But he has played well in six preseason games, granted, against weak competition. He was 16-of-23 throwing this preseason and threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. Tebow gets all the attention, but McElroy is on the roster, and fewer teams now carry three quarterbacks than in the past. 

Sanchez was responsible for two of the Jets’ turnovers on Thursday, though Ryan gave a lot of credit to Patriots S Steve Gregory on Sanchez’s interception. Sanchez completed 26-of-36 passes for 301 yards, statistically one of his better outings. The Jets’ brass remains content with Sanchez as the starter, but Tebow’s injury brings more questions to the most talked about backup situation in the league.

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