Three years in the league and with two AFC Championship Game appearances under his belt, it seemed like Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had earned the confidence of the coaching staff with a contract extension two weeks ago.
Then came last week when the Jets shockingly sent draft picks to Denver in order to obtain Tim Tebow.
“Anytime we add a player to our team that can help us win, I’m on board and let’s sign him up. Whether it’s a draft player or a free agent or a trade,” Sanchez said during a conference call yesterday five hours after Tebow was introduced to the media.
“As a quarterback I’m judged by getting wins for this team. If Tim’s going to help us get wins then I’m excited about that.”
Wins may come, but a team that was once Sanchez’s is now one he will share with Tebow.
“I’m the same guy that won a lot of big games here,” Sanchez said. “I’m not worried about losing my spot.”
Last year, Tebow won a quarterback battle in Denver, taking over the 1-4 Broncos and leading them to a divisional title. His style of play was unorthodox, as Denver transitioned to an option offense. Only four times last season did he complete more than 50 percent of his passes, but he powered the Broncos to an 8-8 record and a playoff win.
The Jets too were 8-8 despite having a star-studded offense. Sanchez was frequently booed by the home crowd. The Jets said that they traded for their new quarterback specifically to be a backup and to run the team’s Wildcat package. But the fact that Tebow did more with less in Denver last year means that the first time Sanchez makes a mistake, there will be voices calling for Tebow to start.
Sanchez made it clear through his word choice that he sees Tebow in a limited role and not as someone who will supplant him as starter.
“We’re excited about how dynamic of a player Tim is. He really does add a new wrinkle to the offense, similar to how Brad Smith and Jeremy Kerley can change things up,” Sanchez said. “It really is a plus for us to add him as a player.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.