FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mike Tannenbaum gave a puzzling response when asked about his fourth-year quarterback on ESPN radio Thursday. The Jets' general manager never has wavered, at least publicly, about Mark Sanchez being his starting quarterback. But when asked on air by host Michael Kay if there are times he's doubted Sanchez will be a great player, Tannenbaum paused slightly.

"I guess it depends on how you define greatness," he said. "I define the success of the quarterback position by wins and losses."

Tannenbaum went on to praise the successful "combination" of Sanchez and Rex Ryan, who helped lead the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. But he also made it a point to highlight Sanchez's inconsistent play -- juxtaposing the quarterback's turnovers in their loss to the 49ers with his "key throw" to Santonio Holmes in overtime against Miami.

"So are the statistics perfect? No," he said. "But the guy's been a winner for us."

Underdog mentality

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The Jets know they're not favored to beat the 4-0 Texans. But the underdog role suits Ryan just fine. "We're going to swing, that's for sure," he said. "We're not going to just take it, I can tell you that much."

Ryan admitted he wouldn't mind having some Texans players on his roster, but he "absolutely" believes Houston coach Gary Kubiak would want some of his guys, too.

But the Jets' coach added, "I wouldn't trade this team . . . I think we have the group right here to get it done. That's how I've always felt and I think that's what we're going to show."

Jet streams

TE Dustin Keller, WR Stephen Hill (hamstrings), FB John Conner (hamstring), LBs Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and NT Sione Po'uha (back) did not practice. S Eric Smith (hip/knee), S LaRon Landry (heel) and CB Aaron Berry (ribs) were limited . . . Houston WR Andre Johnson (groin) was limited.