Coach's big decision: Dress three QBs?

December, 8, 2012
12/08/12
2:00
AM ET
A few weeks ago, Rex Ryan said he was philosophically opposed to dressing three quarterbacks for a game. On Friday, he suggested it's a definite possibility against the Jaguars.

It's the Tebow Factor.

It sounds like he's leaning toward activating Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow on the 46-man, game-day roster. Ryan said he will make a game-time decision, determining if Tebow is healthy enough to dress.

Presumably, McElroy would be the No. 2 quarterback. Ryan has said Tebow would be the No. 2 if he's "completely healthy," but we know his fractured ribs still aren't 100 percent. Ryan also said Tebow won't be used on the punt team, and he hinted they wouldn't use him in the Wildcat.

So why bother dressing him? This would be Ryan's way of throwing a bone to Tebow and to the fans of Jacksonville. Tebow, who grew up in the area and became a football icon with the Florida Gators, is more popular in the state of Florida than the governor.

Would it hurt the Jets to use a roster spot for ceremonial reasons? Not really. In last week's game against the Cardinals, they had two active players that didn't get into the game -- WR Mardy Gilyard and WR Jordan White.

There have been five instances this season where a team has dressed three quarterbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It occurred Thursday night with the Raiders, who had Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor active for their game against the Broncos. Leinart and Pryor didn't play.

Five of the Jets' seven deactivations probably will be TE Dustin Keller, WR Clyde Gates, G Caleb Schlauderaff, DT Damon Harrison and CB Aaron Berry -- the virtual locks. The last two likely will come from Gilyard, White, LB Ricky Sapp, S Antonio Allen and, possibly, Tebow.

Ryan won't be a popular guy in Jacksonville if he doesn't let Tebow suit up for his homecoming game.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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