Tim Tebow? Count Mark Sanchez in.
"Really, if he can help us win, I'm on board, let's sign him up," Sanchez, the Jets' starting quarterback, said at the top of his conference call late this afternoon with beat reporters. "Whether it's a draft player, a free agent or a trade, as the quarterback I'm for getting wins for this team. That's my primary focus. If Tim can help us win, I'm excited about that."
In case that sounded too generic or analytical, Sanchez came back with something a little more warm and fuzzy about the player he once hosted during one of Tebow's college visits, to Southern Cal, many moons ago now.
"I just welcomed him to the team, gave him my number, left him a voicemail and he called right back," Sanchez recalled on this call, which was in the works before Tebow had his media availability at noon today at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "We're excited about working together. He's a great guy. We meet a few times [each year], whether it's media obligations or sponsor obligations at the Super Bowl.
"We're just excited about how dynamic of a player Tim is really. He 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."
Reporters probed Sanchez's psyche for any lingering feelings against the trade that brought Tebow to the Jets last midweek (or ultimately Saturday after all contractual issues were cleared up). But he said he harbored no anger, frustration, worries or fears over, for example, the possibility that Tebow could somehow threaten his starting status.
"We're adding another player. We're not replacing anybody. He's here to help us," Sanchez said. "I'm confident in my abilities. I know the team has the same belief. I'm the same guy who helped the team win a lot of games here with a lot of good guys around me, a lot of comebacks, playoff wins. I'm not worried about losing my spot. Rex [Ryan] and Mike T [general manager Mike Tannenbaum] have been absolutely clear about that."
And if and when Jet Nation and Tebow Territory combine to chant around midseason for a QB switch?
"Those things happen," Sanchez said. "Whether it's Tim Tebow or not, they call for the backup. It's just part of the job if you're not playing well."
About the only area that Sanchez allowed he's not thrilled about regarding the trade is the offense itself, which has gone here and there by the name of Seminole (Leon Washington), Mizzou (Smith) and Horned Frog (Kerley) since Mark was drafted in 2009. Of course new Jets coordinator Tony Sparano called it the Wildcat when he introduced it to the Dolphins as their head coach in '08 and had Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams running it, and it will probably be called the Wildcat as long as it survives in the NFL.
"It's well-documented that I'm not thrilled about playing wide receiver or coming off the field," Sanchez said. "That's just what any quarterback would say. The way I feel about the Wildcat really is secondary. Our team goal is what's most important and that's winning. I'm a team guy. I'll do whatever it takes to win."
And he impressed on reporters that he's intent on doing whatever it takes to win while starting ahead of and playing alongside Tebow, who's a tough guy not to like.
"Tim's really just well-mannered, a great guy, smiling, excited all the time," Sanchez said. "You can tell he's competitive, he wants to win at everything, and that's good. Those are the kind of guys we want on our team. ... He's been great to be around, such a good guy. People don't want to believe it — 'There's no such thing as that good of a guy' — but he really is.
"He's going to be a great teammate."