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It's ... McElroy and Simms at QB for Philly

And now for some flings completely different.

Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, barring the unforeseen, have completed their preseason game exposure. Head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Tony Sparano plan to turn the offense's keys over to Greg McElroy and Matt Simms for Thursday night's preseason finale at Philadelphia.

Which first and foremost means will the flinging and signalcalling of the Jets' third and fourth quarterbacks produce the first touchdown of the preseason after the first and second QBs could direct only six of the their seven field goal drives and no TDs.

"That's what somebody said. Honestly, I hadn't thought a whole lot about it," McElroy said of the 12-quarter touchdown-less stretch that will soon be forgotten but for now dominates the talk of the Jets' offensive showing this summer. "I'm just looking forward to going out there, having fun with my teammates, and trying to have a great outing."

Told that Sanchez himself said on NBC's air Sunday night that it looked like McElroy/Sanchez would have to take up the task vs. the Eagles, G-Mac replied, "I was busy getting mental reps on the sideline. I didn't see the interview. It should be a fun week."

"That's fair enough," Simms said of his possible challenge if McElroy comes up dry in his half of work as the starter. "Hopefully we'll each throw three, and then who cares? But that would be fun if we got the first touchdown in the preseason. I'm just looking forward to it."

The Jets' young guns are in similar situations. McElroy obviously has a leg up on winning the third QB spot on the depth chart. Simms could stick as a fourth QB (the Jets went through 2009 with Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, Erik Ainge and Kevin O'Connell on the active roster) or on the Jets' practice squad or may have to go elsewhere once the Jets make their 21 final cuts by 9 p.m. ET Friday.

But the reps for both have been hard to come by this summer. McElroy last appeared in a game for the final five drives of the preseason opener at Cincinnati and before that in last year's preseason finale vs. the Eagles, when he dislocated the index finger on his throwing hand late in the first half. Simms' last action of note was the final drive of the Green & White scrimmage at SUNY Cortland on Aug. 4 — when, it could be argued, he threw the last quasi-game TD pass by a Jets QB, ending the scrimmage with his strike to WR Raymond Webber.

The two have had a similar approach to their time on the sideline since.

"The reps have been limited," McElroy said, "but every time Mark's in there or Tim's in there, I feel like I'm getting a rep as well because I'm able to see it and think my way through it. It was a productive camp from that aspect and I feel like I have a good grasp of the offense as a result."

"That's always the case with the third and fourth guys and the small amount of reps you have," Simms said. "The constant studying, the little reminders that you have to go through because you aren't getting the physical reps out there, coming into the situation I kind of understood that's probably what would happen. That's just part of the business."

McElroy further acknowledges without bitterness that injuries like his are part of the business, and that his may have helped him get to this stage of his career.

"It was kind of a freak incident. I've hit my hand on a helmet millions of times and it never resulted in an injury even close to that magnitude," he said. But I was able to rehab it and learn a lot last year, treat it almost like a redshirt year. And I came back and have had a better camp, I think, because of the lessons I learned last year."

Now can these two QBs turn their lessons from injuries past and Sparano's offense and mental reps on the sideline into a touchdown or two and the Jets' only victory of the preseason? Both are eager, as Simms said, to "sling it."

"What I want to get out of this game is to improve," McElroy said. "It's my first time being on the football field since Cincinnati. Our goal as an offense is just get as much out of it as we possibly can, soak in every opportunity we have. We're all out here trying to prove ourselves and trying to make the roster." "I'm super-excited. I can't wait," Simms said. "The biggest thing for me is just to try and control my emotions before the game, not get too excited. I'm definitely looking forward to it and just being on t he field again, playing ball."

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