Mark Sanchez was once the face of the franchise, the quarterback expected to lead the Jets to a long-awaited Super Bowl appearance.
There were lofty comparisons to Joe Namath just two years ago. Now, Sanchez might not even be the starter anymore.
Rex Ryan is in quite the quarterback quandary, undecided on whether it will be Sanchez, Greg McElroy, or Tim Tebow under center Sunday at Jacksonville.
‘‘Well, I think right now,’’ Ryan said Monday, ‘‘I definitely need a little more time to make that decision.’’
Not only do the Jets have a quarterback controversy, but they have one that involves three players who all make for intriguing options.
‘‘I’m comfortable and confident with all three quarterbacks,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘I think all three guys have, now, proven they can win in this league.’’
While it was widely thought Tebow would be the guy to eventually take Sanchez’s job, McElroy made a strong case for himself in leading the Jets (5-7) to a 7-6 win over the Cardinals Sunday.
‘‘That’s a decision above my pay grade,’’ defensive end Mike DeVito said with a laugh when asked who he thinks should start. ‘‘I trust all three of those guys.’’
Sanchez was pulled Sunday with 4:48 left in the third quarter, and McElroy came in and led the Jets to the only touchdown of the game on his first NFL drive. Fans chanted ‘‘Mc-El-Roy!’’ throughout the game and booed Sanchez loudly nearly each time he stepped on or off the field.
Sanchez went a miserable 10 of 21 for 97 yards before taking a spot on the sideline. McElroy’s numbers were hardly eye-popping — 5 of 7 for 29 yards — but the fact he energized the team and the crowd meant a lot for a squad still harboring playoff hopes.
‘‘It was a good experience for me,’’ McElroy said on a conference call. ‘‘There’s been no indication, no information at this point [on who’ll start].’’
Ryan wants to consult his coaching staff to have ‘‘an open discussion’’ and review the game film before making a decision, which he expects to have before practice Wednesday.
Tebow’s health will also likely play a role after he was inactive Sunday while recovering from two broken ribs.
He is listed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart and was medically cleared to play against the Cardinals, but Ryan decided against making Tebow active because he felt he’s ‘‘not near 100 percent.’’
Tebow had additional X-rays on his ribs Sunday to see how they’re healing and was still awaiting the results.
‘‘Could I have forced it and went out there and played?’’ Tebow said. ‘‘I think I could have managed it.’’
Eagles fire Washburn
The foundering Eagles fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn as they try to fix a broken pass defense amid an eight-game losing streak. Eagles coach Andy Reid said former defensive line coach Tommy Brashear will replace Washburn. The Eagles hired Washburn before last season, expecting his wide-nine defensive line alignment to produce plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The scheme helped the Eagles tie for the league lead with 50 sacks last season but has resulted in only 20 so far this year. In addition, Reid said rookie Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback even when Michael Vick returns from a concussion.
Hearings in the NFL bounty probe of the Saints continuted in New Orleans with witness appearances by former Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been appointed to oversee the hearings, which he has scheduled to conclude in New Orleans by Tuesday. Tagliabue informed attorneys representing all parties that he hopes to rule on the appeals of Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, and two other players shortly after the hearings conclude. Tagliabue also has requested strict confidentiality by those involved . . . The Raiders are preparing for Thursday’s game against the Broncos without head coach Dennis Allen, who left the team after Sunday’s loss to the Browns to be with his ailing father, Grady, a 66-year-old former NFL linebacker.
Tackle Jake Long’s absence from the lineup will help the Dolphins decide whether to keep him next year. Long hurt his left triceps in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, and the Dolphins fear he’ll miss the rest of the season. That means Long might have played his final game for Miami, because he can become an unrestricted free agent this winter. Rookie Jonathan Martin moved from right tackle to the left side to replace Long against the Patriots, and if he plays well, the switch could become permanent. Long, a perennial Pro Bowl tackle since being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, earns a base salary of $11.2 million. He would receive $15.4 million next year if the Dolphins give him a franchise tag . . . Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs tweeted he will have a second medical opinion Tuesday for what has been reported as a torn biceps suffered Sunday. Coach John Harbaugh told ESPN he doesn’t think Suggs has a long-term injury . . . Colts tackle Mike McGlynn called the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh and some of his teammates “ignorant’’ and “childish’’ for pointing at, laughing, and dancing over Indianapolis’s Winston Justice after Suh knocked down Justice, who suffered a concussion on the play. “Totally ignorant on their part,’’ McGlynn told the Indianapolis Star. “I don’t know if the hit was legal or not, but clearly [Justice] was hurt, and they’re out there dancing and pointing at him and laughing. Just blatent disrespect.’’ . . . 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he is sticking with Colin Kaepernick as his starting quarterback . . . Coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose Cardinals have lost eight in a row, said he hasn’t decided if rookie Ryan Lindley or John Skelton will start at quarterback Sunday . . . The Panthers placed safety Sherrod Martin on injured reserve with ACL and MCL injuries to his right knee . . . Bills center Eric Wood will miss 2-4 weeks with an MCL tear in his left knee. Buffalo also released linebacker Kirk Morrison.