PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow? How about Greg McElroy.
McElroy became the first quarterback to lead the New York Jets into the end zone this preseason in a 28-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.
Sanchez, Tebow and most of the Jets starters didn’t play in this battle between backups and guys fighting for roster spots.
Michael Vick and all of Philadelphia’s starters watched from the sideline.
Trent Edwards threw for 197 yards and two TDs to help the Eagles (4-0) finish unbeaten in the preseason for the first time since 1995.
None of that will matter when the games count.
Hours before kickoff, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie basically issued a win-or-else ultimatum to coach Andy Reid.
Lurie said the team must make a “substantial improvement” for Reid to return for his 15th season next year. He added another 8-8 record would be “unacceptable.”
“I don’t have a level or anything like that,” Lurie said. “I want to be clear about that. You try to make the best judgment you can after the season.”
The Jets (0-4) became the first team in 35 years to go three preseason games without a touchdown, matching the 1977 Atlanta Falcons for offensive futility.
That drought finally ended in the second quarter when McElroy tossed a 6-yard TD pass to Terrance Ganaway. Sanchez and Tebow failed to do that in 35 possessions.
McElroy finished 12 of 17 for 90 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 33 yards.
A seventh-round draft pick out of Alabama last year, McElroy spent his rookie season on injured reserve after dislocating his right thumb while playing against Philadelphia last preseason.
McElroy was best known for his critical comment in the offseason, saying there was a “corrupt mindset” in the Jets’ locker room last year. Now he can say he was the only Jets QB to produce a TD this summer.
Sanchez was 24 of 35 (68.6 percent) for 203 yards with two interceptions and six sacks. Tebow completed 36.1 percent (13 for 36) of his passes for 151 yards with two interceptions and seven sacks.
Despite Tebowmania, there’s no controversy in New York. Sanchez is the clear-cut starter, but the way the Jets use Tebow will be intensely scrutinized.
McElroy guided the offense on a 14-play, 77-yard drive that consumed 8:04 to put the Jets up 7-0. He scrambled for a first down on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going.
Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles, who all but officially won the backup job with three impressive performances, was 4 of 6 for 46 yards before giving way to Edwards.
On Edwards’ first drive, Bryce Brown ran in from the 2 to tie it at 7.
Edwards threw a 31-yard TD pass to Mardy Gilyard late in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
Nick Folk kicked a 58-yard field goal as the first half expired to cut it to 14-10.
Edwards connected with Brett Brackett on a 7-yard TD pass in the fourth. Chris Polk’s 3-yard TD run made it 28-10.
Edwards, a veteran and former starter in Buffalo, is competing for a roster spot with Mike Kafka, who began training camp as the backup to Vick.
The Eagles failed to live up to enormous expectations last year and needed a four-game winning streak to close out the season at .500.
“You just got to make the best decisions you can after the season,” Lurie said. “As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable. Yeah, I guess, if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there’s always exceptions.”