The what-if scenario at QB

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If starting QB Mark Sanchez were to suffer a long-term injury, he'd be replaced by Tim Tebow, not Greg McElroy, Rex Ryan said Wednesday.

That might not be a revelation, but there has been some recent speculation -- we're talking out-of-left field speculation -- that McElroy would be a better choice because he's more of a conventional quarterback than Tebow.

Ryan put an end to that.

"We would expand (Tebow's) role," Ryan said. "We feel good about what Tim could do. We'd be confident in McElroy. (Matt) Simms is the wild card."

Naturally, Ryan hopes he never has to confront that issue.

McElroy and Simms will get their big chances Thursday night in Philadelphia, where the Jets close the preseason against the Eagles. McElroy will start, and he'll be relieved by Simms. Sanchez and Tebow won't play.

Ryan is resting most of his regulars, although FB John Conner, RT Austin Howard and rookie DE Quinton Coples are expected to play. Interestingly, rookie WR Stephen Hill might not play. Ryan said Hill already has received plenty of reps in the preseason.

It usually doesn't bode well for a veteran when he plays in the final preseason game, which raises a question about Conner. As I wrote the other day, I don't think he's an absolute lock for the 53-man roster.

Ryan said Conner "may get some reps because we don't have a fullback" on the roster. That is true, which is why they're experimenting with LB Nick Bellore at fullback. But rookie RB Terrance Ganaway can play fullback, and will against the Eagles. If Conner is a key player in the Jets' plans, why would they expose him to injury 10 days before the season opener?