For Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow not such a tough act to follow

Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez celebrate after Sanchez

Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez celebrate after Sanchez threw his second touchdown pass in the second quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Sept. 9, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- To those who believe the Wildcat interrupts Mark Sanchez's flow, Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano offered this retort Thursday: "Well, you interrupt that flow when you're on the sidelines and [the team] is on defense. That happens during the course of a game. So it's not something I get worked up about."

To the Jets' credit, Sanchez was 4-for-5 on passes immediately after Tim Tebow's Wildcat runs. His 12-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley came after Tebow's 4-yard plunge. And Sanchez's 33-yard TD pass to Stephen Hill was preceded by a 3-yard run by Tebow.

"As soon as Mark comes to the sidelines, it's like, 'What's next?' What are you thinking?' " Sparano said. "For me, it's like an additional timeout. It's another way for me to get more information to him. I think those are real positive things."

Looking in the mirror

The scariest thing about the Steelers' defense, at least to Rex Ryan, is the similarity it bears to his own. "The systems aren't identical," Ryan said, adding that both teams favor 3-4 schemes, have strong secondaries and guys "you wouldn't want your kid playing against.'' He added, "But we still do a lot of the same things, just maybe in a little different fashion."

The Steelers had the No. 1-ranked defense last season. The Jets finished fifth overall.

 

Tale of the tape

Neither Sanchez nor Ryan has opened up this week about the disappointment of the AFC Championship Game after the 2010 season. But for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, the sting of the 24-19 loss to the Steelers emerged as he scanned game tape this week.

"Yes, I've watched it, and no, I couldn't detach myself," he said with a smile. "Give me a couple more years and maybe I can watch that and just look at it from an X's-and-O's standpoint.''

Jet streams

After experiencing soreness Wednesday, TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) was held out of Thursday's practice. CB Darrelle Revis (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and S LaRon Landry (heel) did not practice, either . . . LB James Harrison (knee) and S Troy Polamalu (calf) did not practice for the Steelers . . . Pettine labeled rookie Quinton Coples' NFL debut as "middle of the road" and inconsistent . . . Actress Eva Longoria confirmed on "Extra" that she and Sanchez are an item. "Mark and I are, you know, fine," she said when asked about their relationship status. "We're happy just dating."

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