Monday, March 26, 2012
Updated: March 27, 9:35 AM ET
Mark Sanchez 'not worried' about job
By Jane McManus
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is glad to welcome Tim Tebow to New York, but isn't at all worried about losing his spot atop the quarterback depth chart.
"We're adding another player and were not replacing anybody," Sanchez said on a conference call Monday roughly five hours after Tebow met the New York media for the first time. "I mean, he's here to help us and I'm confident in my abilities. I know the team feels the same way about me. They have belief in me. ... I'm not worried about losing my spot."
It was the first time the former No. 5 overall pick commented publicly since the Jets acquired Tebow as his new backup last week.
"I just wanted to let the dust kind of settle," Sanchez said Monday. "Let him do his press conference, welcome him to the team, and then give my comments at the right time. It was no slight on Tim at all."
Sanchez didn't watch Tebow's big intro to the Big Apple. Instead, he said, he was working out and throwing.
"I heard he did a pretty good job," Sanchez said. "How did he do?"
Tebow handled himself with the poise and confidence of a guy familiar with the spotlight and deftly downplayed any sort of controversy.
"I think we'll have a great relationship and, hopefully, we'll thrive together," said Tebow, adding that Sanchez seemed excited about the pairing when they talked last week by phone.
Sanchez has known Tebow since he served as his recruiting host at Tebow's campus visit to USC. The two have hung out at the Super Bowl for various sponsor events, and gotten to know each other a little bit over time.
"He's been great to be around," Sanchez said. "He's almost one of those guys who's such a good guy, people don't want to believe it, like there's no such thing as that good of a guy, but he really is. He's a great player, great competitor and he's going to be a great teammate."
According to the Jets, Tebow is the No. 2 quarterback and will be used in the Wildcat formation, with coach Rex Ryan hinting Sunday that Tebow could be on the field for as many as 20 plays per game.
Ryan suggested on Sunday that Tebow could be used at a position other than quarterback. He kept referring to Tebow as a "football player," his ability not limited to QB.
"I don't see Tim just holding a clipboard," Ryan told a group of reporters in Florida. "He's going to be playing for us. There is no doubt."
Ryan added: "There won't be a better Wildcat quarterback in the game. Is that his only role? I don't believe that. We'll see."
Previously, the Jets used former receiver Brad Smith in the Wildcat role. Rookie wideout Jeremy Kerley and second-year running back Joe McKnight filled in last season as the team scaled back its use of the formation after Smith's departure.
Sanchez has said he's not a big fan of mixing in those plays, and was even caught on camera flinching on the line of scrimmage in the role of wideout during a game last season.
"It's well documented that I'm not thrilled about playing wide receiver or coming off the field, but that's just how I'm programmed and any quarterback is programmed like that," Sanchez said. "The way I feel about the Wildcat really is secondary. And our team goal is what's most important and that's winning."
Still, Sanchez said he thinks Tebow would be a great fit in that role for the Jets' offense under new coordinator Tony Sparano.
"We're just excited about how dynamic of a player Tim is," Sanchez said. "He really does add a new wrinkle to our offense similar to the way Brad Smith and Jeremy Kerley can change things up. It really is a plus for us to have him as a player."
Sanchez brushed off the speculation that fans could call for Tebow as soon as he struggles.
"That stuff happens whether you're Tim Tebow or not," Sanchez said. "They call for the backup any time you're not playing to your potential, so that's just part of the job if you're not playing well."
And for the record, Sanchez thinks Tebow, with his megawatt personality and occasionally overwhelming following, will fit in just fine in the Jets' locker room.
"I think guys will definitely welcome him and I'll definitely welcome him," Sanchez said. "I'll encourage other players to do the same thing so I don't see that being a problem."
I just wanted to let the dust kind of settle. Let him do his press conference, welcome him to the team, and then give my comments at the right time.
-- Jets QB Mark Sanchez
on taking a week to comment on Tebow
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and The Associated Press contributed to this report.