Three-QB circus continues

December, 9, 2012
12/09/12
8:14
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Joe McKnight's head hurt -- and that led to a decision that left many people scratching theirs.

Rex Ryan said he was set to activate all three quarterbacks Sunday against the Jaguars, but he made a last-minute change because McKnight developed a migraine on the morning of the game. Ryan decided to drop QB Greg McElroy from the 46-man active roster, replacing him with fourth-string RB Kahlil Bell -- insurance in case McKnight couldn't make it through the game.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Phil Sears/USA TODAY SportsTim Tebow was active for Sunday's game, although Rex Ryan (not pictured) didn't feel 'comfortable' playing the backup quarterback.
As a result, the Jets dressed only one healthy quarterback for the second time in three games -- Mark Sanchez. Tim Tebow was active, but he never stepped foot on the field. His ribs, fractured four weeks ago, still are healing.

"I've always said I don't like to dress three quarterbacks, but I was actually going to do it today," Ryan said.

Ryan said he would've had no problem playing Tebow at quarterback, but he "never felt comfortable" using him in the Wildcat or on the punt team. It was a curious call, considering McElroy -- after his performance off the bench last week -- was considered for the starting job.

If you believe Ryan on that one.

Asked what he would've done if Sanchez had struggled, Ryan claimed, "Then Tim is in the game. I wasn't going to put a backup tackle in. What do you want me to say? I felt good about Tim. He worked out great (in the pregame warmups). He's been getting better and better. Like I mentioned last week, he's our backup quarterback."

McElroy said he found out in the pregame warmups that he'd be inactive. He said he was disappointed, but he understood Ryan's decision.

This was a homecoming game for Tebow, who grew up in Jacksonville and became an icon as a Florida Gator. There were countless Tebow jerseys in the crowd, and he received the rock-star treatment before the game on the field. He posed for pictures and signed autographs in the VIP section on the field.

"I felt I could've done what I needed to do," Tebow said, when asked if he could've played quarterback.

Tebow's only contribution was serving as a game captain for the opening coin toss. He made the call and lost.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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