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Tannenbaum: Sanchez will play '80-90 percent' of the time

Qaurterbacks Mark Sanchez, left, and Tim Tebow throw

Qaurterbacks Mark Sanchez, left, and Tim Tebow throw during practice at Jets training camp in Cortland, N.Y. (Aug. 14, 2012) Credit: AP

ESPN's "Mike and Mike In The Morning" set up shop in Florham Park on Friday, interviewing everyone from Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum to coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson.

Naturally, the topic of Tim Tebow came up -- as it relates to the psyche of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Tannenbaum insisted (for the one millionth time) that Sanchez is, in fact, the leader of the Jets. Now, "will the ball be in (Tebow's) hands in the red zone?" the general manager asked. "Absolutely. But again, that doesn't mean Mark's not going to throw touchdown passes. It just means, in certain games, in certain situations, if Tony thinks that's the best way to go, that's the way we're going to do it. But unquestionably, Mark is our quarterback."

Co-host Mike Golic then presented this seemingly awkward scenario: Sanchez is feeling good about himself after leading the Jets downfield to the 8-yard line, only to see his backup trot onto the field to punch it in.

How exactly is Sanchez supposed to feel?

"Again, we're going to do what's best for the team and, in terms of, if that gives us the best matchup on that play, that's the play we're going to run," Tannenbaum responded. "But again, Mark's going to be on the field for the lion's share. You guys will see. His playing time will be 80-90 percent over the 16 games. He's clearly our quarterback."

The Jets led the NFL in red-zone efficiency last season, scoring 65.5% of the time with Sanchez at the helm. And in the past, the starting quarterback has publicly expressed his displeasure at coming out of games because it disrupts his rhythm. But Ryan said the entire team -- including the starting quarterback -- is on board with doing whatever it takes to get a "W."

"We just want to win and if that means Tebow goes out there and runs a red-zone play, or whatever it is, it makes no difference," the coach said. "If it means (cornerback Antonio) Cromartie goes on the field as a wide receiver, we just want to get it done. And I think that's the important thing." 

Ryan then joked: "I think the people that are going to be upset in that scenario are the fantasy owners that have Mark Sanchez." 

During his Friday afternoon press conference with local reporters, the coach was asked about Tannenbaum's statement that Sanchez will get 80-90 percent of the playing time. Ryan, however, refused to confirm or deny.

"I don't know. We'll see," the coach said. "You know, the beauty of it is, you don't know. And the opponent doesn't know. And that's kind of the way I like it."


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