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Jets QB Greg McElroy On His First Start

New York Jets QB Greg McElroy spoke with the media about his first start and the support from Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez.

On being named the starting quarterback?

I was excited obviously. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is a great moment and a great milestone in my career. Obviously this is something I?ve looked forward to and I?ve dreamed about my entire life. I?m thrilled to have this opportunity. This is a tremendous team. I?m just glad (and) thankful to (Coach) Rex (Ryan) and Coach Sparano for giving me a shot.

On talking to Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow since he was named the starter?

I can?t say enough about Mark and Tim. Those guys are unselfish and have been nothing but helpful. I talked to Mark yesterday and he was very encouraging (and) very helpful, and Tim?s been the same way. I can?t say enough about those guys. It makes the situation difficult because you love those guys (and) you want to see them have success, but at the same time I know that if the roles were flipped, I?d be rooting those guys on and they?ll be doing the same for me.

On getting the opportunity to start?

I?m excited. I?ve been working. I?ve been working. I?ve been working trying to get better every day, so I think I?m ready. I think it?s a tremendous opportunity (and) a tremendous moment for me. I can?t emphasize enough that this is not a finish line. This is a starting point. You work hard enough to get here, you set a goal for yourself and as soon as you accomplish that goal, you better restructure because (you) want to continue to excel. You want to continue to improve and I?m fortunate enough to have a great supporting cast and a great coaching staff to be able to help me out and make this a lot easier.

On getting reps with the first-team offense?

(They were) my first reps in a long time, but (they were) good. Obviously, Coach Sparano and Coach Cavanaugh have done a great job of just talking me through it (and) giving me the game plan yesterday so I was able to get into it. I was able to watch a lot of film yesterday (and) to have a good understanding of what San Diego is going to be doing, just base stuff as far as I was able to watch. Tomorrow, I?ll kind of get into sub stuff and some more of those things. I was able to watch some of the basic things and have a good feel coming into today. It made me more comfortable and I was fortunate to have Coach Sparano and Coach Cavanaugh helping me out.

On if he views starting as a tryout for next year?

I don?t look at it like anything. Obviously, it?s one game at a time. Like I said a couple weeks ago, your role changes every day, and every minute. You never know what the situation is going to be. Obviously, going into Sunday, I?m going to be the starter. I?m very thankful and fortunate for this opportunity, but I?m not concerned about next week against Buffalo. I?m not concerned about next year. I?m not concerned about those things. Just enjoy right now (and) live in the moment. That?s what my dad said when I talked to him, ?Live in the moment. Enjoy this. You?ve been dreaming about this your whole life.? My whole life, I can think back. I remember wearing a Troy Aikman jersey growing up and pretending I was in these shoes. I did it. I got here and I?m very grateful and excited about this opportunity.

On what he has learned from Mark Sanchez?

Everything that I?ve learned at this position in this league has been from Mark. He?s the guy that I?ve seen every day. Every day that I?ve been an NFL player, I?ve been looking up to him. I?ve been observing him and trying to follow after his lead. I?ve been watching him. I understand how to play this game because of him and I?m very grateful for that opportunity. I?m looking forward to continue working (with him) and I know he?ll help me out every step of the way.

On the relationship between the team?s quarterbacks?

We all have a great relationship. Like we said a couple weeks ago, if Tim is on the field and Mark is on the sidelines, you will not find two bigger cheerleaders in the entire stadium. The same (goes) for Mark being out there and I think the same for me being out there. Those guys are so supportive. I?m very grateful for that and I think they?re grateful for our relationship as well. It?s a great group. It?s a great interaction (and) great chemistry. We?re lucky to have such great friends and such great competition at the position.

On how excited he is?

To tell you the truth, I?m being 100 percent honest. I?m just an honest guy so I call it how I see it. You can?t worry about anything else. This is a big deal in my life and that?s really all it is at this point. Obviously, I have tremendous teammates that will continue to help me out and continue to make it easier for me. You don?t pay attention. I stopped paying attention about what?s going on in the outside world long ago in regards to sports. I don?t watch a lot of sports television, aside from watching soccer when it?s on, and baseball of course, but it?s not the season. I try to just keep things in perspective and understand that this is a big deal for me. It?s a great stepping stone in my life and my career.

On if starting will make playing easier?

Nothing?s easy. This is a game and we?re fortunate enough to compete against the best players in the world. I think that?s something that makes it really fun. It?s incredible competition. This is the greatest league in the world in my opinion, the NFL, and the players are one of the greatest parts of why it?s so special. I don?t know if it?s going to be easier.

On if starting will make him feel more comfortable on the field?

Absolutely, it?s going to be great to have reps reps going into Sunday. I think having the reps, working with the offensive line (and) working with this group of wide outs, that will make it a little bit more comfortable (and) make the transition a little bit easier on Sunday, as opposed to just taking the majority of the scout team reps and going out there trying to execute our offense.

On hypothetical situations?

You don?t get into hypotheticals. You don?t worry about those things. Quite frankly, you just take it and you understand what the situation is at this moment. That?s all it is at this point now. That?s all it was a couple weeks ago. You just worry about right now. If you get caught up in hypotheticals it can make things really difficult. Just enjoy the moment right now, don?t think about anything in the future or in the past, just try take it as it is and try to improve each day.

On if he marvels about earning the starting role?

I don?t know. It?s a great opportunity for me. I?m just proud that (Coach) Rex (Ryan) has the faith in me and I?m just really thankful I have the support of my teammates.

On San Diego?s defense?

San Diego does a great job. They do a lot of different things to make it difficult. (They have) a tremendous front seven. Jarret Johnson is a tremendous player. I remember him at Baltimore last year and they have a really experienced team, so it will be a great challenge for us. It?s something that we?re looking forward to.

On how excited he was to be named the starter?

I was excited obviously. This is what you dream of. This is something that you always look into and it?s something you look forward to your entire life. I?m just very pleased and proud to have this opportunity, and proud that (Coach) Rex (Ryan) has enough faith in me to be able to go out there and execute. I?m glad that I have this group of teammates, a great group of guys to be able to help me out and make this transition a little easier.

On if he views the opportunity as an audition?

(I am) taking it one step at a time, that?s the only way you can look at it. You can?t get caught up in next week against Buffalo. You can?t get caught in next week against Buffalo. You can?t get caught up in the offseason. You can?t get caught up in next year. Just enjoy this game (and) the fact that I?m able to step out there on the field against San Diego. Enjoy it, make the most of it and have fun out there.

On how his role changes as the starter?

It changes because I feel like you?re a little bit more prepared, just because you have the amount of reps during the week to be able to look at what they?re doing and be able to work with the offensive line and the wide receivers. That makes it a little bit easier.

On whether being game planned for makes it more difficult to produce?

Absolutely. It?s a difficult situation. Obviously, you?re playing against the best players in the world, but it?s something you look forward to. It?s something you get excited about, but having the repetitions throughout the week is very important and I?m just very fortunate that I have a lot of veteran guys around me to be able to help me out and make it a little bit easier for me.

On his relationship with Sanchez and Tebow?

I can?t say enough about Mark and Tim. Those guys have been tremendous for me, guys that I?ve looked up to all year and guys I?ve enjoyed being around. We have a great friendship, (a) great relationship and I?m just very lucky to have them. They?ve been so positive. They?ve been so encouraging and I?m very grateful to have those guys. It?s obviously a fantastic thing to be in that quarterback room. I?m really lucky.

On Sanchez?s support?

Mark is so supportive. He?s so positive. I?ve said this a ton of times, regardless of who?s out there on the field, it?s Mark and Tim and I are on the sideline, you won?t find bigger cheerleaders. And if Tim is out there, you won?t find bigger cheerleaders than me and Mark. I think it will be the same with me being out there. I think we?re all just very happy to be a part of a group that has such great chemistry and just such a great relationship. It makes it fun for us and it makes it great to compete with guys that are your age and guys that are such great players and such great competitors.

On whether he can explain moving up to the starting position?

(There is) nothing to explain. Obviously, this is just the situation right now. It?s something to enjoy. It?s something to look at. It?s not something to make too big a deal of. That?s what I talked to my dad about. You?ve been dreaming your whole life for this and this is something you?ve worked hard for, all the things that you?ve sacrificed over the course of your life in college, high school and now, finally getting this opportunity, but this is not by any stretch of the imagination the finish line, this is the starting point. I?m looking forward to hopefully going out there and having a great week of practice this week, having a great game Sunday, and continuing to get better and improving.

On getting repetitions?

It?s invaluable. Anytime you?re able to have a lot of repetitions in high school (and) college, that?s so important. Obviously, I?ve been able to play in some great places, like Southlake (High School) in Dallas. Obviously, Texas high school football, it?s harder to get any bigger, and obviously, in Alabama, it?s kind of like New York to a certain extent. But it?s a lot of fun. I?ve been very grateful. I?ve been very fortunate to have such tremendous opportunities in every place that I?ve been. Obviously, starting football, it doesn?t change a lot. The competition is greater, but your approach has to remain the same. You have to continue to have that routine, have confidence in yourself to be able to go out there and execute, and have the confidence in your teammates to be able to give you everything they have. I know they will.

On if there is pressure to perform well?

There?s always pressure, absolutely, but if you don?t feel any pressure then would you feel comfortable? That?s the thing. You want to play in this environment. You want to play under the brightest lights. That?s what?s great about New York. That?s what?s great about playing for the Jets. This fan base is incredibly passionate and obviously we?re very grateful for that. Obviously, this city is a great place to play football and I?m very fortunate and very grateful to have this opportunity.

On whether there has been awkward conversation between the quarterbacks?

Not at all. We?re all competitors. Every one of us in this locker room wants to be the starter on Sunday and I?m not the least bit surprised that those guys are competitive as they are. I like to think that we bring out the best in each other. We all work so hard. We have a great relationship. We have a lot of fun together. We understand that when the other guy is out there, we?re going to help him out, regardless of whom that person may be taking the snaps. I?m very grateful to have such tremendous guys around me and our quarterback room is second to none. I wouldn?t trade those guys for anything. I?m very grateful for them.

On running out on to the field as the starter?

It?s something you dream about. I remember thinking about that, when you?re getting through those workouts in the offseason, you?re kind of thinking about that. You just need to find a little bit more to finish a rep (or) finish a set. I remember that was kind of what I went to. It will be great. It will be a great opportunity if that?s the case. (I am) going to be proud to go out there to represent the Jets and represent Jet nation.

On when Coach Ryan told him he would be the starter?

Yesterday afternoon, I just went in and (Coach) Rex (Ryan) said it was going to be me. That was when I found out. It was probably a conversation I?ll replay a million times over the course of my life and it?s not anything where I?ll probably remember every detail, but I?ll remember how he said it, how I heard it, remember how I walked out and how he introduced himself. It was a great moment for me and obviously it?s something I?m looking forward to be able to do on Sunday.

On the length of his conversation with Coach Ryan?

It was one minute and 17 seconds, exactly (joking). It wasn?t long. Obviously the coaching staff is working tirelessly on Tuesday, especially after a Monday night game. Those guys had a lot of work to do yesterday, so I was just grateful (Coach) Rex (Ryan) was able to pull me aside and talk to me. I know he had a ton of things going on, so obviously I?m grateful for that.

Source: New York Jets Media


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