Tony Sparano Interview: Jets Offensive Coordinator Talks Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes

Tony Sparano. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on refused to give any specifics on how the New York Jets might use Tim Tebow this season, saying "we're going to keep that to us right now." The Jets began their rookie mini-camp Friday, and Sparano was available to the media in advance of mini-camp opening.

Here are excerpts of Sparano's meeting with reporters:

On Tim Tebow's role in the offense...
Well, I won't give you the vision on what I think his role will be in the offense. But I would just say that to the best of my knowledge, I believe that what Coach (Ryan) said is he can play anywhere from one to 20 snaps, somewhere like that. And I would say what coach said is 100 percent correct. As far as how we'll use Tim or what we'll do with Tim that way, we're going to keep that to us right now.

On Tebow's usage impacting Mark Sanchez's role...
No, I'm not concerned about that, no, I don't think so. I think with all the work that we'll be doing between now and the time the season starts and all the steps, I think we have to remember that Mark, he's been under center here for a lot of games, for the three years that he's been here, and I think that between now and training camp and through training camp (with) all the snaps that Mark will get, I think we'll be in good shape.

On running the wildcat with Tebow...
Well, if that's the direction that we go, and I say if that's the direction that we go, I think that the element with Ricky (Williams) and Ronnie (Brown), the reason that we had to do it in Miami at that time was those were really our two best players at that point, and part of the philosophy was to get the two best players on the field at the same time. And in doing so, we created some match-up problems that way. I think the difference (with Williams and Brown) is there was very little element of pass involved in that, where obviously with Tim, that's a different element. So if we decide to go down that road, the element of being able to throw the football out of that brings a complete different dynamic into the picture here.

On what he meant by "if that's the direction that we go"...
I mean that that's going back to the first question which was asked, which was what exactly Tim's role would be. I said I wasn't going to get into that. Whether we run wildcat or a version of (wildcat), or something else, I'm not going to tie myself down to just one thing.

On using Tebow at other positions...
Yeah, sure, all those things are on the table. And I think that that's the great thing about having a player that has the flexibility that Tim has. Obviously our first goal here is to continue to work with Tim and to continue to have him mature as a quarterback. That's what we're trying to do here. But with that being said, he comes with a different skill set, obviously, from college, and I think that that's a good thing for us. He has the ability to do a lot of different jobs, and at the game, that's what you really want. You need players that are going to be able to do a lot of jobs for you.

On the offense right now...
I'm honestly very excited about it. You know, one of the things that I felt coming here is just that there were some outstanding parts here. I think Coach Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum have done a great job in putting together some of the pieces here with our tight ends and even some of the young players at the tight end positions right now that we're anxious to watch develop. And then the receivers to see how (Jeremy) Kerley has come along, and obviously having Tone (Santonio Holmes) and his ability out there and now we add a player like a Stephen Hill to that group. I was part of drafting Pat Turner in Miami, and to see how he's developed. So a lot of these players have developed very well along the way here, and some of the linemen, obviously the veteran linemen, but some of the young players, too. So a lot of guys had a lot of hands in this, (and they) have done a great job. I'm excited about the possibilities that we have.

On Sanchez last season...
Well, the funny thing is that when you watch it, and I know you can't do this, okay, don't get me wrong here, you can't take turnovers out of the equation. I mean, turnovers are turnovers, and yet in a lot of situations, how turnovers occur, they can come in a bunch of different ways. And now having a chance to go through and watch the tape and really see the way some of the turnovers occurred, a lot of that falls obviously on the quarterback's shoulders sometimes. He's the guy that everybody wants to look at. But we here in the film room really understand how some of those things come about every once in a while. With that being said, if you take the turnovers out, this guy really played better last year. His numbers were better last year than they had been the previous couple years. You saw improvement in a few areas, which is what you really want to see. We forget, I think, that this guy is a young player who's won a lot of football games here. I'm excited about where he is. The only thing I can tell you right now is that he has had a tremendous offseason and has really gotten himself in good shape and has come here and really worked hard this offseason physically and mentally here, as well, as of late, in learning what we're doing. I've been really impressed with him.

On Santonio Holmes...
Honestly, I think that Santonio really has special ability, and I've been on the other sideline. There's an interesting take when you've been on the other sideline and in the other room preparing for players like the Jets have here, like we have here right now. Having to figure out how you're going to handle Dustin Keller. Having to figure out how you're going to handle Santonio Holmes or the running game with Shonn Greene and that offensive line. I think this guy has really special ability. He can catch it and run with it. He makes the hard catches. I've seen him make some really acrobatic catches. You know, he works really hard at it. The guy wants the football. The thing I've noticed about Tone right now in my time being around him is that this guy is a competitive guy. He loves to compete. And I like that with skill players. I mean, I just love the fact that those guys love to compete.

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