PALM BEACH, Fla. -- For those worried about a potential quarterback controversy between Mark Sanchez and newly acquired Tim Tebow, both Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson don't share your angst.

The Jets' coach not only believes Tebow will enhance the offense, but also that Sanchez will benefit because of the more competitive atmosphere created by Tebow's presence. It will be Ryan's decision on which quarterback will play and how much.

"I feel confident Mark's going to do some great things. I think he's going to ascend," Ryan said Tuesday at the NFL's annual owners meetings. "There's a few things we have to do. We have to protect the football, and Mark knows he has to protect it better. But Mark is a little more confident than people want to give him credit for."

Johnson expressed confidence that Sanchez will grow as a quarterback this year, and he reiterated that he remains No. 1 on the depth chart.

"Mark Sanchez is our starter. I'm very, very clear on that," the Jets owner told Newsday. "I'm very confident about Mark. He's going into his fourth year. This is a time when these quarterbacks step up. He's had a good trajectory and overcome all the obstacles that New York can throw at him, so nothing's going to be a surprise for him."

Sanchez said Monday that he is not threatened by Tebow's presence. Ryan is convinced the added competition will make Sanchez better.

"Competition is good," Ryan said. "I think you do play your best with competition. I truly believe that. But I don't think Mark cares who's behind him on the depth chart. If you brought in someone and gave that person the job over him, Mark, in his mind, he's the guy. I don't care if it was Peyton Manning. Unless we said, 'Peyton, you're the starter and Mark's the backup,' Mark will say, 'It's my job. This is my offense. I just can't wait.' "

Bottom line for Ryan: "Mark is happy Tim is here because he knows Tim, and he knows Tim will add to this team and help us win. That's all he cares about. Now, are they going to push each other? Absolutely."

Ryan said he didn't consult Sanchez before the trade, although the coach didn't think it unusual that the starter wouldn't be asked about bringing in another quarterback.

"Mark's job is to play quarterback, not to be the general manager," Ryan said. "Our decisions are based on the team."

Tebow's immense popularity skyrocketed last year when he led the Broncos to an 8-5 record as a starter and got them into the playoffs after a 1-4 start with Kyle Orton. But Ryan doesn't think it will hurt the team's chemistry or Sanchez's confidence.

"Tim does have a huge following, and we recognize that," Ryan said. "He's an extremely popular player. But we made the decision strictly that this is a good football player. I just think with Tony [Sparano] as our offensive coordinator, the fact that he brought the Wildcat to the NFL, as creative as he is, I'm excited about what he can do with the skill set that Tim has."

Ryan said the bottom line for the Tebow trade is this: If the Jets win, it's all good. If not . . .

"Sanchez will be OK with it as long as we win,'' Ryan said. "Santonio Holmes will be OK with it as long as we win. Everything we do is about the team. This gives us the best opportunity to win, to bring a guy in that can help us."

Ryan said he welcomes those who question whether the Jets can pull this off.

"In a way, I feel like we've been pushed into a corner," he said. "Which is a good thing for us, because I know how we're coming out. We're coming out swinging. I hope we don't hit each other like we did a little last year, but we're coming out swinging."

Notes & quotes: Ryan said he expects LB Bart Scott, coming off a subpar season and turning 32 in August, to return in 2012. "I've had great discussions with Bart. He has his weight down. He probably felt he got a little too heavy last year.'' . . . Ryan left open the possibility of re-signing WR Braylon Edwards.

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