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New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.

Why not start Tim Tebow?

Tim Tebow on the bench at MetLife Stadium

Tim Tebow on the bench at MetLife Stadium as the Jets lose to the Houston Texans, 23-17. (Oct. 8, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

Tim Tebow, the Jets’ No. 2 quarterback for most of the season, will not replace Mark Sanchez as the starter on Sunday against San Diego. No. 3 Greg McElroy will.

So why not start Tebow?

“I think it’s where we are right now and I just think it’s best for our team and for this game,” coach Rex Ryan said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “That’s how I feel.”

Asked how McElroy was more qualified than Tebow to start, Ryan said: “Again, I look at this . . . I know Tim, he’s a tremendous competitor, and I don’t doubt that at all. But for right now, I think this move – and it’s a move that I made – is best for our team in this game. I believe that and that’s why I’m making this move that I’m making.”

Ryan said the two cracked ribs that slowed Tebow last month were not a factor in his decision.

 “I’ll say this about Tim,” Ryan said. “And I’ve always said it, about the type of competitor he is. I know he wants to help his team be successful in the worst way. There’s no doubt about that and I truly believe that.”

Ryan wouldn’t say if Sanchez or Tebow would be the backup quarterback on Sunday.

“I’m not sure,” Ryan said. “As the week goes on, I’ll make that determination. Right now, I’m not ready to do that.”

Tebow played an entire series (five plays and one penalty) in the second quarter of the Jets’ 14-10 loss at Tennessee on Monday night. He rushed three times for 15 yards, threw one incomplete pass and handed off once on the series, which started at the Jets’ 20 and ended at their 37 with a punt on fourth-and-16.

Tebow entered for another play in the third quarter after Sanchez had completed consecutive passes. Tebow fumbled; it was recovered by Shonn Greene, but the play was nullified by a Tennessee encroachment penalty.

For the season, Tebow has completed 6 of 8 passes for 39 yards. He has rushed 32 times for 102 yards.

Last season, Tebow won seven of 11 regular-season starts for the Broncos and led them to the playoffs. Denver beat the Steelers in the first round when Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of overtime. Denver lost to New England the following week, then signed Peyton Manning in the offseason and traded Tebow to the Jets on March 21.

Asked if the trade for Tebow was a mistake, Ryan said: “People can speculate anything they want. Obviously, as a football team we’re 6-8 and nobody’s happy about that.”

Tags: Jets , Tim Tebow , Mark Sanchez

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