Tim Tebow adjusting to N.Y.

Updated: May 10, 2012, 10:01 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Tim Tebow still is three months away from taking his first snap in a game, but he already has called an audible as a member of the New York Jets.

He changed the name of his dog.

Say hello to Bronx, the Rhodesian ridgeback formerly known as Bronco.

Yep, the Jets' new backup quarterback is all in, trying to embrace life in New York after two seasons with the Denver Broncos.

Tebow
Tebow
Sanchez
Sanchez

Speaking to the media on Thursday for the first time since his Super Bowl-sized introductory news conference in March, Tebow said he's having a blast with his new team, downplaying the brewing quarterback controversy with Mark Sanchez.

"It's been great, just working together, pushing each other, learning from each other, spending time in the film room, talking about our college days," Tebow said.

The Sanchez-Tebow relationship -- it's not a competition, the team says -- will be the most scrutinized dynamic on the Jets. From all indications, they're getting along well. In fact, they dined together recently in Manhattan.

But Tebow's presence, and his enormous popularity, has fueled speculation about Sanchez's job security, his recent contract extension notwithstanding. The Jets acquired Tebow, in part, to run a wildcat package, but he has taken only quarterback reps in the early stages of the offseason program.

Tebow said he hasn't been introduced to any specific plans regarding the wildcat. His entire focus, he said, is on playing quarterback and learning Tony Sparano's system. Tebow deftly avoided questions about his desire to be a No. 1 quarterback again, saying his only goal is to help the team.

But Sanchez isn't na´ve.

"I hope every backup quarterback wants the job of a starter," he said. "That's the way you have to prepare. I've been in those shoes in college, anticipating the game like I'm the starter, and then getting to the game and not playing.

"Fortunately for Tim, he has the ability to do other things, and that's why he's on board. He's a backup quarterback first, and then he'll do plenty of other stuff."

The Jets haven't revealed too much about Tebow's non-quarterback role, except to say he could play anywhere from one to 20 plays. No doubt, there will be times when Sanchez comes off the field, creating a potentially awkward situation.

Asked how he'd feel about that, Sanchez said cryptically, "That remains to be seen."

He said he didn't want to respond to questions about hypothetical situations, mentioning that a few times during an interview at his locker.

Sanchez spoke positively of Tebow, saying he's having "fun" in what he called "an ongoing, working relationship."

"Tim is going to support me when I'm in there," he said. "I'll be rooting for Tim when he's in there."

Tebow said they have a "good friendship," insisting they won't let outside distractions fracture their relationship. Considering the locker-room turmoil from last season, the last thing the Jets need is a full-blown quarterback controversy.

"I'm just a little piece, trying to help the team win a few games," Tebow said.

According to teammates, Tebow is a hard worker, always one of the first to arrive in the morning. He's routinely spotted in the weight room at 6:15 a.m. He likes to joke around, teammates said.

"What surprised me the most is how down to earth he is," guard Matt Slauson said.

Sometimes, Tebow and Sanchez kid each other. Said tight end Dustin Keller: "You don't do that with your enemy."

Keller admitted that "a lot of people were scratching their heads" when the Jets traded for Tebow, wondering how he'd fit in, but the transition has been smooth. Keller said Sanchez and Tebow know their roles, and he doesn't expect any problems.

"Mark is the starting quarterback, and he knows that," said Keller, one of Sanchez's closest friends on the team. "Tim isn't trying to slide in and make everybody think he's the guy. ... I guarantee, you go around this whole locker room, there won't be anybody who has anything negative to say about Tim."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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