Rex Ryan raves about Jets QBs

Updated: May 2, 2012, 12:08 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

EATONTOWN, N.J. -- Five weeks after the trade that rocked the NFL, Rex Ryan finally got his first look at Tim Tebow on the practice field. The New York Jets' coach said Tebow looks "outstanding" in limited drills.

"Same thing with Mark (Sanchez)," Ryan said Tuesday night at a charity event, quickly including his starting quarterback in the conversation. "Both those guys are in phenomenal shape."

Phase two of the Jets' offseason program began Monday, allowing coaches to be on the field during player workouts, per the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement. Ryan raved about the team's overall conditioning, claiming he expects an improvement in team speed.

Ryan laughed when asked what he's seen from Tebow.

"I saw enough of Tebow last year, to be honest with you," he said, referring to the Jets' crushing loss to the Denver Broncos -- a game than ended on Tebow's 95-yard touchdown drive. "I still see that last drive."

Ryan mocked critics that panned the Jets' draft, saying that Tebow, whom they acquired for a fourth-round pick, should be included when evaluating the overall draft.

"Everybody put everybody (in our division) ahead of us, which I think it hilarious, but I think we had a heck of a draft," Ryan said. "And when you put Tim Tebow in there as a fourth-round pick, it looks even better."

Because of the CBA restrictions, the practices this week have been glorified walk-throughs, focusing mainly on formations. Still, this is an important time for the Jets because they're learning a new offensive system under new coordinator Tony Sparano, who has devised a Tebow package that will include the wildcat.

"With Tony's background, he has a great vision for Tim, what we want to do with him," Ryan said. "It's exciting to have a young guy that has experience in the playoffs and is learning the system. I think he's an excellent backup quarterback. I think he's an outstanding football player. We'll see what we can come up with."

Sanchez reported to the offseason program at 230 pounds, five pounds heavier than last season. He worked with his personal trainer in California, adding muscle to help absorb the weekly poundings.

Ryan He's got size, he's got strength, he's got speed and he can throw the football.

-- Jets coach Rex Ryan on Tim Tebow

Sanchez, too, attended the charity event, but he wouldn't answer football-related questions from reporters.

The Sanchez-Tebow dynamic will be one of the most scrutinized quarterback situations in the NFL. The Jets have maintained that Sanchez is the clear-cut starter, but they plan to use Tebow in the wildcat -- an unconventional plan that will cost Sanchez some playing time.

Just a few days ago, Tebow was named the 95th-best player in the NFL by his peers, who voted in the NFL Network's Top 100 survey. Ryan said Tebow deserved the recognition.

"That's really saying something about the young man," Ryan said. "Everybody recognizes the competitiveness. The guy's a winner, no question. People get tired of me saying it, but how do you not describe this guy as a football player?

"That's what he is. He's got size, he's got strength, he's got speed and he can throw the football."

With an unspoken competition at quarterback, the Jets created one at kicker, signing journeyman Josh Brown, who was cut this week by the St. Louis Rams. Brown will compete against incumbent Nick Folk.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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