Tebow, Sanchez relationship 'great'

Updated: September 8, 2012, 5:11 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Santonio Holmes said that Mark Sanchez was "rattled" by the Tim Tebow trade, but the New York Jets' backup quarterback isn't so sure.

"I don't know that he was rattled," Tebow said Friday, two days before the Jets open their season at home against the Buffalo Bills. "He called me a few hours after (the trade) happened and we had a great talk and I (feel) like our relationship has been great ever since -- even before that."

Sanchez and Tebow have said all the right things publicly about their much ballyhooed "quarterback battle" since the trade, but Sanchez felt differently when it first happened, Holmes revealed Wednesday.

"I think since Day 1, it was a focus that kind of rattled him a little," the mercurial wide receiver said. "I use that word only to say that, 'Wow, how did this happen?' Those were words that came out of his mouth."

Sanchez responded to Holmes' comments Friday in a radio interview with Larry Hardesty of ESPN New York 98.7-FM.

"I think (Holmes) made it a little more dramatic. When you read it in the paper, it sounds like a Lifetime movie script or something, (like) he's talking me off the ledge or something like that," Sanchez told Hardesty. "Anybody in that situation would have a couple of questions about a trade like that. But as soon as I talked to the team, I really started to understand that (Tebow) is an addition, he's not changing anything. He's here to help us.

"I'm the starting quarterback. It's nice to know that for your confidence, but at the same time, nothing was going to change how I came into the season, mentally and physically. I've said it before: Whether it was Peyton Manning or Tim Tebow, it didn't really matter. I was going to play and I plan on playing well."

Appearing on "Mike and Mike" on Friday morning, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum reiterated his confidence in Sanchez, and said he's going to get the majority of the snaps under center.

"Mark's going to be on the field for the lion's share," Tannenbaum said. "You guys will see. His playing time will be 80-90 percent over the 16 games. He's clearly our quarterback."

Coach Rex Ryan was asked about the percentages. Tebow could get on the field for somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-20 plays Sunday, counting offense and special teams, where he serves as the personal punt protector.

"... or 10 percent in this game, I'm not really sure yet," Ryan said jokingly. "We are not gonna put a percentage on it, at least I'm not going to."

Tebow doesn't know how often he'll be used.

"I mean, there's stuff that's scheduled, but how often does a game go as scheduled?" he said. "I think that's up to the coaches based on how the game is going, you never know. We just want to be ready when our name is called and when my number is called."

Both Sanchez and Tebow failed to produce a touchdown during the team's winless preseason. Sanchez did complete 68.9 percent of his passes. Tebow threw two interceptions but did average 7.6 yards per carry on 11 rushes.

Tebow is excited about making his Jets debut.

"I'm looking forward to it, but I don't know if I'm necessarily anxious," he said. "This is my third year playing. I feel like I've gone out there and shown what I can do, now it's just about helping this team win football games."

On Thursday, owner Woody Johnson disputed the notion that the Jets have become a circus, but there's certainly been a lot more media attention ever since they acquired Tebow.

"I'd say it's been a little bit of a whirlwind, but it's been fun," Tebow said. "I'm very blessed to be here. I had a great time and a lot of great memories in Denver, but this is where I want to be, where I'm excited to be, and I can help this football team win some football games."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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