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Jets' Ryan won't take Broncos' Tebow lightly: 'He is a winner'

Reeling from a loss to the Patriots, Rex Ryan and the Jets now shoot west to Denver to face the Tim Tebow-led Broncos on Thursday night.

Tom Brady he's not, but Tebow -- despite his critics -- has marched the Broncos to three wins in four games, frantic affairs that have only amped up the attention around the second-year pro.

Denver's offense is an NFL oddity, rushing the ball 55 times against the Chiefs on Sunday. Tebow threw but eight passes -- completing just two (seriously?) -- but Ryan sees beyond the stats.

"You can go back and when people ask me about him, I thought he was a great competitor and he is a winner, and that's what he's showing right now," Ryan said Monday.

"Are there prettier passers than him? Yeah, absolutely. But again, (we) just (have to) try to find a way to beat him."

When Ryan took the Jets' reins in 2009, then-rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez wasn't asked to save the world with his arm (something he's still not doing).

Those Jets went wild with a "ground and pound" attack that led the NFL in rushing, a brutal, in-your-face style -- paired with the league's best defense -- that took New York to the AFC Championship Game.

Stark differences remain between the 2009 Jets and 2011 Broncos, but Ryan's boys -- backed into a corner -- won't look past Tebow's magic show.

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