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Mangini: Tebow-Sanchez tandem can work

Rich "Big Daddy" Salgado, left, and Eric Mangini,

Rich "Big Daddy" Salgado, left, and Eric Mangini, right, are seen at the 1st Annual Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic at Oheka Castle on June 25, 2012. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Having both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow at the quarterback position is a problem Eric Mangini “definitely” would have loved to have back in 2008.

“Any time you can have a guy with the skill set that Tim Tebow has, that you can bring in and change the tempo – defenses have to spend a lot of time working on that,” the former Jets head coach said at a charity celebrity golf outing in Huntington Monday. “And it’s totally different than a normal game plan. So you’re taking away time that they could prepare for Mark Sanchez. And that’s a good thing for your offense.”

Mangini highlighted the fact that “Tim Tebow is different than Ronnie Brown” – meaning that the Jets version of the Wildcat won’t mirror what we saw in Miami under former head coach (and now Jets offensive coordinator) Tony Sparano. Unlike running back Brown – who completed 4-of-12 (a 33.3 percent completion rate) and threw two touchdown passes with the Dolphins from 2005-2010  – Tebow, a former starting quarterback, has shown he can make some of those downfield throws, said Mangini.

“So it’s not really what we think of as a Wildcat in Miami,” said the current ESPN analyst, who was fired by the Jets after the 2008 season. “It’s a little bit deeper than that and harder to deal with, I think.”

Much has been made about the potential for a quarterback controversy in Florham Park, but Mangini believes the hype is merely exaggerated fear or fantasy (depending on the source). The former Jets coach said the organization has made their intentions clear to both Tebow and Sanchez and there shouldn’t be any lingering doubt about Sanchez’s security as a starter.

“I’ve talked to both of them about it and that’s why they brought him in,” Mangini said of Tebow. “To be the second-string quarterback, to be that Wildcat/change-of-pace-guy, to work on the punt team. Now, certainly there may be pressure to do something differently. But they know why they brought him in. They’ve been very clear with him, they’ve been very clear with Mark. They’ve said it over and over again. I think what people are looking for is for them to say something differently. But they’re not going to.”

Though he agreed Tebow is arguably the most talked about player in football, Mangini doesn’t think the Jets backup quarterback will add any extra pressure on Sanchez. “When you’re in New York,” he said, “there’s inherent pressure.”

Mangini referenced the early struggles of Eli Manning. Many wondered if the Giants quarterback would ever live up to the hype and become a proven winner.

When Manning labeled himself a Top 5 quarterback – aligning himself with guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and his brother, Peyton – the Giants QB was criticized. But he later went on to win his second Super Bowl title in four years.

“So whether it’s Tim Tebow behind him or whoever you bring behind him, you’re going to have to show that you can do it in New York or anywhere else,” Mangini said, referring to Sanchez. “Yeah, Tim Tebow’s going to be talked about, but being a quarterback in New York is a tough job.”

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