Joe Klecko says Mark Sanchez will be more of a leader

Mark Sanchez looks to pass against the Giants

Mark Sanchez looks to pass against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. (Aug. 18, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

As a member of the Jets' 1980s Sack Exchange, Joe Klecko was a master at playing different positions on the defensive line. First defensive end, then tackle, and finally nose tackle when the Jets moved to a 3-4 scheme. Klecko sees Tim Tebow's role in the Jets' offense in a similar vein.

"He's like having another fullback -- that can throw the football," Klecko said. "I'm sure that's how they're going to look at it. Can the offense succeed under that drama? I don't know. It's going to be a wait-and-see thing."

Klecko, 58, who was speaking at an NFL youth event Tuesday at Chelsea Waterside Park in Manhattan, said the greater onus on offense falls to Mark Sanchez, who he believes was "slightly intimidated" during the Jets' three-game losing streak to end last season.

"After the games, he'd say the right things, 'Oh, the coaches were right and we were wrong. It was my fault,' " Klecko said. "All that sounds good, but it's tough to rationalize to your fans. Your fans are people who don't want to hear you did wrong, they want to see you do better.

"One thing Mark has not come to the forefront on is his leadership. They were going to try to force Sanchez into being more of a leader by bringing Tebow in. Maybe they have accomplished that."

Whatever the quarterback situation, Klecko has full confidence in Rex Ryan to work out the kinks.

"Rex has a method to his madness that really I don't think anyone has a grip on," he said. "I'm sure he sees something that nobody else sees. He has a vision of this, I'm sure."

Where Ryan has thrived in the past is in directing a defense. To Klecko, the key to the Jets' season is if Ryan's defense, specifically ends Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, can generate a pass rush.

"If these kids can get after the passer, they're going to be bigger than anything Tebow and Sanchez do," he said. "Those guys, especially on first down, are going to be a very big deal to the New York Jets."

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