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Jets say Sanchez is the starter, Tebow is the backup

Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2011 file photo, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) walk off the field together after an NFL football game, in Denver. Tebow has been traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez, File)


Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum made clear on Wednesday night that he traded for Tim Tebow to be a backup, not to supplant Mark Sanchez as the starter.

“Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback,” Tannenbaum said. “We’re adding Tim to be our backup and be used in other packages.”

Those other packages primarily refer to the Wildcat formation that Jets head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano both like to employ, and Tannenbaum noted that both Ryan and Sparano learned first hand last year that Tebow can beat a team with his legs.

“I’m looking at two head coaches who lost to Tim last year,” Tannenbaum said of Ryan and Sparano.

Tannenbaum suggested that Tebow will have a more active role on the field than most backup quarterbacks, but he will be a backup.

“Every quarterback in the NFL has a backup, we just changed who ours is and we feel good about it,” Tannenbaum said. “How many plays Tim plays in one game, Rex and Tony will decide that. But we have a vision for the player, we have a role for the player.”

Tannenbaum said he has always been impressed with Tebow’s talent and that the Jets organization liked him out of college and decided to make a play for him when Peyton Manning’s arrival in Denver made Tebow available.

“He’s a great competitor,” Tannenbaum said. “He’s going to come in next year and help us win.”