Camping out: Tebow looks forward to attending Sanchez's 'Jets West' camp next month
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Tim Tebow is looking forward to going camping with Mark Sanchez.
The New York Jets backup quarterback accepted an invitation earlier this week to attend "Jets West" camp, which Sanchez is holding for the third straight year at Mission Viejo High School in southern California.
"Yeah, I know it's pretty much open to everybody on the team and I think that's great," Tebow said Thursday. "Hopefully we'll be able to improve and get a little bit better and also get to know each other well."
The five-day camp gives the Jets quarterbacks, receivers and running backs a chance to get on the field away from the coaches and facility. There's also plenty of down time in which the players hang out together.
Tebow, acquired from Denver in March, said he didn't receive any sort of special invitation from Sanchez.
"Just the same he did to everybody else on the team," he said with a smile.
It was uncertain whether Tebow, expected to back up Sanchez and be used in a variety of ways on offence and special teams, would be invited since many fans and media consider him competition for the starting job.
"I think we just have a great relationship and I think we both want to get better as football players, as quarterbacks and find a way to help this team win football games and that is what it's about," Tebow said. "Also, our friendship outside of this locker room, outside of this facility has been great and I think that is important as well."
Sanchez said he extended the invitation himself, and just "assumed" Tebow would come to the camp despite the speculation surrounding whether they'll be able to co-exist.
"That's ridiculous," Sanchez said. "He's one of our quarterbacks. All the skill players and quarterbacks are coming."
While the camp has been open to the media at times in past years, the players decided to keep the workouts private this time around.
"We wanted it to stay within us, get a chance to get away from everything, focus on ball and relax," Sanchez said. "We know you guys want to be there and we appreciate it, but not this time."
Tebow acknowledged that he is gradually learning new offensive co-ordinator Tony Sparano's system, as is the entire team. He also said he is still getting used to playing in New York — instead of Denver or Gainesville, Fla.
"Obviously, this market's a little bit different than most," he said. "There's probably a little bit more scrutiny and a few more eyes watching you here in this market."
He's feeling increasingly more comfortable on the field and in the classroom, and the Jets even used him in two "very simple" direct-snap plays during OTAs this week. He has also been practicing regularly on special teams as the punt protector, something he hadn't done before at any level before joining the Jets.
"I have fun playing football," Tebow said. "We'll mess around with different things and have fun."
Coach Rex Ryan got a glimpse of Tebow's competitive nature recently when he saw a lineman — who he wouldn't identify — challenge the quarterback to hold huge sledgehammers, one in his right hand and another in his left, and extend his arms out from his sides. The lineman went for about 64 seconds, shaking at the end as he struggled to keep his arms up. Tebow went next, and topped the lineman's time by 14 seconds.
"He's everything as advertised," Sanchez said. "He's a great athlete and plays hard. He competes his butt off and is a great asset to our team."