Greg McElroy For The Win

Greg McElroy went from 3rd to 1st in a hurry.  After months of Mark Sanchez vs Tim Tebow talk, the 2nd year player got an opportunity and made the most of it.  With Tim Tebow inactive due to fractured ribs, McElroy was called into action after Mark Sanchez struggled.

Here is what Greg McElroy had to say to the media after his first win:

On how much notice he received before going into the game…
It was kind of one of those things (where) we had just come off and had sputtered the drive before. He told me to just go warm up,

On if there was any indication at halftime that he would play…
(There was) no indication at all. Going into the entire week, I just prepared as always. I played against the defense on the scout team. I was Ryan Lindley during the week. That was my role. That’s what I was expecting to be. Coach Ryan decided to do something differently.

On what advice Mark Sanchez gave to him…
He just gave me a hug and said, “Go get them.” It was the same thing I’d say to him. I really appreciate the way he handled it and was very supportive. He was very helpful and I was thankful for that.

On if he felt the energy in the stadium…
It’s tough to gauge the energy. I didn’t have a decibel meter where I could tell what the crowd noise was (laughter). It was fun. We were having a good time. It was exciting to get a shot and go in there. Fortunately, my teammates did a fantastic job executing. We were able to stick to the run game. We really did a good job of getting some holes for (Bilal) Powell and Shonn (Greene). That made my job a lot easier.

On if he ever thought he would play since he was third on the depth chart…
You never know. This is a crazy game. Even if you’re the one, two or three, you’re always a couple of plays away at most. The Arizona Cardinals started their third quarterback today. Things change throughout the course of the season. You just always have to be ready and always study. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to work with two great quarterbacks in Mark and Tim. I’m really fortunate to have Coach (Tony) Sparano and Coach (Matt) Cavanaugh preparing us (and) having us understand what the defense is going to be doing and what we’re going to be doing offensively to attack them.

On his touchdown pass…
To tell you the truth, it was a bit of a floater. It was a run reverse option and I almost didn’t want to throw it, but I had to just let it go. Jeff (Cumberland) did a great job of selling the run and Brandon Moore did a fantastic job getting in up front and trying to skirt the edge. It was just great execution. It was a great call by Coach Sparano. I was pretty fortunate and luckily we were able to get in.

On if he’s been aware of the fan’s desire for him to play…
I don’t necessarily read the clippings. You try to stay current as an NFL fan. You try to stay current on what’s going on, but I stopped doing that about a year and half ago (laughter).

On how he improved his arm strength over the offseason…
To tell you to the truth, last offseason I hurt my thumb and honestly, I think that was probably the greatest blessing I could ever have. It was a blessing in disguise. Obviously, at the time, it’s such a disappointment and your season’s over and they put you on IR, but I was able to really focus and do grip exercises. I had a great offseason program, working out at D1 in Nashville. They really helped me out. We had a plan. We knew what we wanted to do. I knew what I needed to do after meeting with Coach (Matt) Cavanaugh. He told me exactly what he wanted me to improve on and I understand that. (I) still have a long way to go.

On whether he was throwing more and getting more repetitions…
More repetitions, just hand-grip strength exercises, because most arm strength is obviously in-your-core and in-your-grip strength. And I’m not necessarily known for having huge hands, so I had to just really focus on strengthening the muscles within. I thought it was a good plan of attack. Obviously, it’s gotten better yet, but it’s not where I want it to be. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue to work on it, and my arm will continue to get stronger.

On how comfortable he felt when he was placed into the game after playing on the scout team this week in practice…
I felt comfortable. Coach (Tony) Sparano does such a great job of explaining exactly how he wanted things to be run, so I felt really comfortable. I understood the game plan. Obviously, I had a great supporting cast, and have those guys making plays for us and getting open. The offensive line gave me tons of time. Honestly, those other 10 guys made my job a lot easier, to be honest with you. I felt comfortable, though. Obviously, I didn’t get any reps with the offense this week, but I watched Mark, I always took those mental reps, and that was always so important for me, just to take those mental reps, because you never know when you’re going to get called upon. I just really kind of learned a lot by watching and hopefully that’ll pay a lot of dividends going forward.

On whether he expects to start next week…
No expectations at this point. Obviously, just enjoy this one for 24 hours and we’ll see how the week progresses.

On the difficulty of the uncertainty around the team’s future at the quarterback position…
It’s not’s worth speculating about, to be honest with you. We’re football players. What we do – nothing is ever guaranteed, nothing is ever for sure. We just go out every week and we try to learn and we try to get better. I know that’s Tim’s approach, I know that’s Mark’s approach, I know that’s my approach. There’s no need to stress about the uncertain. We’re just letting it unfold the way it happens.

On his strength as a quarterback…
I’m a little nerdy, so pardon me if this comes across wrong. I think one of the things I really try to do and the one thing that Coach (Nick) Saban always tried to emphasize with me as I was a quarterback coming up in his system, just play the game by the numbers. If it’s firstand 10, we want it to be second and five. If it’s second and five, we want it to be third and manageable, so that’s two or three. If you keep it like that, you’re going to keep yourself sustaining long drives and things like that, minimize turnovers and explosive plays are essentially what wins the game. And that’s always been my train of thought. Coach Ryan, obviously him and Coach Saban have a lot of similarities and I’m very very grateful to play for a coach in the NFL that is so similar to what I’ve been used to and what I’ve grown up in. I think just managing the game. I think it’s often overused to a certain extent, but it’s so important and it’s something that I take great pride in. It’s something that I would like to continue to try to do well.

On how much Alabama’s SEC Championship game yesterday ate into his preparation for today’s game…
Not much. We actually had the quarterback meeting with about three minutes left. So, A.J. threw the touchdown and then I had to go to the meeting. We find out they’re on the eight-yard line with five seconds left, and my heart starting going for a second. But I found out that we pulled it out. I was happy for them.

On the experience going from third string to winning a NFL game…
I learned when I was in JV football as a sophomore. I threw three picks in my first five attempts. I learned it’s never too high with the highs, never too low with the lows. Just stay even keel. Obviously, that’s what I’m going to try to do. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. I’m going to enjoy this for 24 hours, I’m going to learn from it, I’m going to watch the film. I’m going to get in there, all of us as a group, all 53 guys, we’re going to get ready for Jacksonville. We’re going to enjoy this one for sure and we’re going to try to learn from it and get better.

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