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Kurt Warner: Jets’ Mark Sanchez ‘Has The Potential To Lead A Football Team’

Mark Sanchez (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Mark Sanchez (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) — Despite Mark Sanchez’s disastrous 2012 season, Jets coach Rex Ryan said last month that the former first-round pick is still Gang Green’s main man under center.

The first snap, he’ll be the guy running out there first,” Ryan said at the time in regard to Sanchez. “But there’s going to be competition at that spot, there’s no question about it. We need to get better at the quarterback position.”

Most of the competition will be courtesy of David Garrard, who is hungry to beat out Sanchez for the starting job. The other quarterbacks on New York’s roster include Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow and Matt Simms.

So can Sanchez, who has struggled mightily each of the last two seasons, regain his form and again become an adequate signal caller?

Kurt Warner, who knows a little something about the quarterback position, believes that he can.

“I think last year, and even the last couple of years, he’s had so much pressure on him,” Warner told WFAN hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Wednesday. “And I don’t think (the Jets have) done a very good job at all of putting any pieces around him that he can build off of. He was called upon to do a lot with that team, and he’s going to be the first one to tell you that he didn’t play up to his potential.

“He forced some things, he had some games that were really, really bad — even by his standards. But I do believe that he has the potential to lead a football team if you get the right pieces around him. But the problem is that they’ve got a long way to go here in New York to get the right pieces around him.”

The 26-year-old threw 13 touchdowns to 18 interceptions in 2012, completing just 54.3 percent of his passes and fumbling the ball 14 times. He’s been working with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia this offseason, and Garcia recently said that Sanchez is “doing an excellent job.”

And then there is Tebow. What is in store for Tebow moving forward? He could be traded or cut any day now, though the former Heisman Trophy winner will reportedly attend the Jets’ voluntary workouts beginning on April 15.

Warner believes in Tebow as a leader, but he has his reservations about his ability to be a starting quarterback.

“I think from a leadership standpoint, and what he did in Denver, I don’t think you can dispute what he brings to the table as a leader,” Warner told Boomer & Carton. “So I think there’s value there. The problem is that you have to be able to win inside the pocket. And that’s the one thing that I haven’t seen him make the right strides in, where I could see a team going, ‘We’re gonna give him a chance to be our starter right now.’

“I just don’t think he’s in that place, although I think he could be a valuable commodity to a lot of teams. He could come in, he could win some games and do some different things. But I’m just not sure he’s ready to be an every-down quarterback.”

Used primarily as a personal punt protector on special teams in 2012, Tebow threw just eight passes on the season, completing six of them for 39 yards. He also rushed the ball 32 times for 102 yards. The 25-year-old didn’t score any touchdowns.

Would Sanchez be successful again if he had the right pieces around him, or is he just simply not talented enough to be a quality starter? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…