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Clipboard Chairman In Focus For Jets

#1 User is offline   a1elbow2.0 Icon

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 09:13 AM

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December 5, 2012
Clipboard Chairman in Focus for Jets

By BILL MORRIS
Even in today's high-tech N.F.L. with its aerial cameras and triaxial knee braces there's still room for the humblest of technologies. You Jets fans know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Greg McElroy's clipboard.

Let's travel back in time. As Sunday's game between the Jets and the Arizona Cardinals crawled through the third quarter with the Jets on the short end of a scintillating 3-0 score, McElroy, the team's third-string quarterback, could be seen on the sideline studying a clipboard as if it were the Rosetta stone. Coaches have those spiffy, multicolored, laminated sheets full of plays which double as mouth shields to thwart enemy lip readers. But the third-string quarterback, also known as the understudy, gets a lowly, low-tech clipboard. Not unlike those clipboards wielded by 300-pound bouncers outside nightclubs. Or the ones you use to fill out forms at the dentist's office.

When Jets Coach Rex Ryan got fed up with the performance of his starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, he sent the untested McElroy into the game because the second-string quarterback, Tim Tebow, was injured and unavailable. As if to reconfirm his low-tech bona fides, McElroy had to read the plays off his left wristband. It's a wonder he didn't have a bunch of Post-it notes stuck to center Nick Mangold's rear end.

And yet, in spite of or was it because of? his lack of tech savvy, McElroy led his team to the game's only touchdown and a 7-6 win, much to the delight of the Jets faithful, who have not been particularly familiar with delight this season. In fact, a sweatshirt popular with fans of the 5-7 Jets advises fellow fans to Just Endure The Suffering.

McElroy, a second-year player out of Alabama, is described by those who know him as a serious student of the game. He was also a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. The team's offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, calls him a "brilliant, brilliant guy" who is "super, super smart." Since we have entered the zone of redundancy zone, it should be noted that any N.F.L. team that can muster only 7 points in a game can be said to have a super, super anemic offense and should count its lucky, lucky stars it was playing an awful, awful Arizona team.

So what exactly do quarterbacks do with those clipboards?

For an answer we turned to Don Majkowski, who played quarterback for 10 seasons with Green Bay, Indianapolis and Detroit, and was no stranger to clipboard duty when he was breaking into the league or recuperating from injuries.

"There's two different things the third-string quarterback is studying," said Majkowski, now retired and living in Atlanta. "On the clipboard they're writing down every play that's sent in by the coach. They're also studying the photos of the previous series of downs, looking at the defenses."

Those pictures are faxed down from a skybox, Majkowski explained, and it's the job of the understudy to parse them, then inform the starter of things he might have missed. Majkowski, who was drafted in 1987, remembers those antediluvian days when scouts in the press box put Polaroid snapshots into weighted pouches, clipped them to a wire and slid them down to the sidelines after every offensive series.

"It was strictly old school," Majkowski said. Even with recent tech upgrades, he added, "clipboard duty's a pain."

"Everybody hates it," he said. "It's degrading to have to do that, especially when you're a star like Mark Sanchez. I feel for him. All that press when Tebow got there. It's a nightmare for Sanchez."

Trent Dilfer, who played quarterback in the N.F.L. for 14 seasons before becoming an analyst for ESPN, agreed. "We thought it was a real kick in the you-know-whats for Sanchez to get the clipboard," he said. "That's typical of the Jets your starting quarterback gets treated like a second-class citizen. To Sanchez's credit, he put on the headset and took the clipboard and did his job. I think most starting quarterbacks would have said, 'Take your clipboard and stick it where the moon don't shine' especially when Tim Tebow is standing right next to you wearing sweats."

Sanchez may have done his job, but as the fourth quarter wore on he had the distinct look of a man who had just swallowed a bad oyster. Tebow didn't look a whole lot happier.

On Wednesday morning, to the dismay of many Jets fans, Ryan announced he would stick with Sanchez as his starting quarterback Sunday against Jacksonville. So, after his brief spin in the spotlight, it's back to the sidelines for McElroy at least until Sanchez starts throwing the ball to the Jaguars.

But maybe McElroy has earned a small step up the food chain. Maybe Tebow will do the right thing Sunday and take over that degrading, degrading job known as clipboard duty.


View PostClemens11, on 12 August 2012 - 01:21 PM, said:

1 int for every 4 tis is a pretty nice ratio to me


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