Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

QB Debacle Just Tip of Jets Iceberg

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

QB Debacle Just Tip of Jets Iceberg

Article excerpt

FLORHAM PARK -- The glare from a lone TV camera shined in Greg McElroy's eyes, still a new experience for a young quarterback just 48 hours before his first NFL start.

"I'm probably getting sunburn from the lights," he joked Friday about the sudden media attention.

Across the locker room, a subdued Mark Sanchez stood alone, a former franchise quarterback who doesn't know if he'll be the designated backup -- or behind McElroy and Tim Tebow -- Sunday when the Jets (6-8) host the San Diego Chargers in their home finale.

And he doesn't know if he'll remain a Jet in 2013 amid reports of a possible off-season trade.

"I really haven't thought about it," Sanchez said. "Honestly, I'm a Jet. That's all I've known."

Change has arrived as another lost season comes to a close. And the three-headed quarterback controversy is merely the beginning. The question of who stays and who goes on the roster and in the front office will stretch over the final two games and into the off- season.

That includes the coaching staff.

Friday began with reports that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had turned down a contract extension offer from the team earlier in the season. That could signal his departure in the off-season, possibly in search of a head coaching position.

It leaves Jets players with something to watch unfold besides the quarterback debacle and the possible firings of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

"You don't chase ghosts," nose tackle Sione Po'uha said. "You cross the road when you get to that point."

Gauging the effect of Pettine's potential loss is difficult. He's led a defense that finished first, third and fifth respectively in his first three years with the Jets. The unit is ranked eighth in the NFL this season. But that defense belongs more to coach Rex Ryan than the coordinator, reportedly in the final year of his contract. Ryan vouched his pupil is head coaching material.

"I don't think there's any doubt," he said. …

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