Now it's a four-quarterback circus

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Of the possible quarterback scenarios, who could've imagined at the start of the season that it would turn out like this in the final home game?

Greg McElroy started, Jeremy Kerley ran the Wildcat, Mark Sanchez held the clipboard and Tim Tebow -- in uniform -- stood and watched, seething.

Anybody have that combination in the office pool?

The New York Jets' three-quarterback circus (or is it four?) hit a new low Sunday at MetLife Stadium, where dysfunction prevailed on and off the field. The Jets allowed 11 sacks in a 27-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers, tying a 25-year-old team record, but that wasn't the worst part.

A new twist developed in the sham that is the Jets' quarterback position.

Tebow was so upset by being passed over for the starting job that he told the coaches early in the week that he didn't want to be used in the Wildcat package, sources told ESPNNewYork.com. Sure enough, there was Kerley -- for the first time all season -- running the plays that were supposed to be for Tebow.

In fact, Kerley completed a 42-yard pass to Clyde Gates, albeit underthrown. It was the best play of the day for the Jets and, with that one throw, Kerley eclipsed Tebow's passing yardage for the entire season.

The ill-fated quarterback situation, a distraction from the moment Tebow arrived last March, has brought down the entire team.
The Jets dropped to 6-9, their first losing season since 2007 secured. Rex Ryan has mismanaged his quarterbacks -- especially the last few weeks -- and it casts Ryan in a terrible light as the organization heads into what could be a tumultuous offseason.

After his team's embarrassing effort, Ryan gave a string of non-answers when asked about the quarterback chaos. He said he told offensive coordinator Tony Sparano early in the week that he wanted Kerley to handle the Wildcat because he felt they'd be able to surprise the Chargers with a pass or two.

Wait, isn't that the reason why the Jets made the trade for Tebow? Something is rotten in Florham Park.

Ryan went into spin control, repeatedly saying he wanted Kerley in the Tebow role. Clearly, Ryan has an aversion to using Tebow -- we've seen it all season -- and it culminated with Sunday's mockery.

"I can understand [the questions], but understand what I'm telling you is that there's nobody in this ballpark that thought we were throwing the ball with Kerley," Ryan said.

If they had used "somebody else" to run the Wildcat, Ryan said, the Chargers would've stacked the box with defenders. In other words, they wouldn't have respected the pass -- a clear shot at Tebow.

So, yes, Kerley was a nice wrinkle, but Ryan never answered why Tebow was active with McElroy and Sanchez. It made no sense. Then again, not a lot of things make sense around the Jets.

The likely reason, according to a source, is that Ryan didn't want to have Sanchez as his only option if McElroy had been injured, according to a source. He feared a hostile crowd reaction because, as you may have heard, Sanchez isn't the most popular guy these days.

That McElroy played the entire game is a small miracle, considering the physical pounding he absorbed. For his efforts, McElroy was rewarded with another start. Wait, is that reward or punishment?

Tebow didn't give a direct answer when asked who told him he wouldn't be playing in the Wildcat, saying, "It just kind of happens."

This has been a tough year for Tebow, and a tougher week. A source said he was "furious" at being passed over in favor of McElroy, a former third-stringer. A report surfaced that he wanted out after the season, and a clearly miffed Tebow all but confirmed it when he met with reporters. A few hours later, it was reported by ESPNNewYork.com that the Jets are planning to part ways with him after the season.

Tebow has been a good soldier, smiling through months of non-answers about his smaller-than-expected role, but the frustration finally got to him.

"It's been disappointing," he said after the game.

Disappointing and dysfunctional. If the Jets can break Tebow, they can break anyone.

The Tebow experiment has been an abomination from the outset, undermining Sanchez, posing a distraction for the team, exposing Sparano for his lack of creativity with the Wildcat and, ultimately, sabotaging the season.

"Obviously, it's been a bad season," said Ryan, whose career record dropped to 34-29, including 12 losses in the last 18 games.

The madness culminated Sunday against another bad team. There was Sanchez, charting plays with his pencil. There was Tebow, modeling his uniform and playing cheerleader. There was Kerley, throwing the longest completion of the day.

And there was McElroy, getting knocked down -- over and over and over.

After the game, several players responded with only clipped answers to questions about the offensive debacle. This was ugly.
The only thing missing was Santonio Holmes and Wayne Hunter getting into a dust-up in the huddle.

Of course, it ain't over yet. Still one more game for that kind of meltdown.