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“Right now, I’m thinking that we’re OK,” Ryan said.

But he wouldn’t commit to Howard being the opening day starter when the Jets play the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 9.

“In all fairness, you are always evaluating your team,” Ryan said. “For me to sit here and say absolutely this is going to happen? If Jonathan Ogden called me up and said, `Rex, I’d like to come back,’ Jonathan Ogden is our starting right tackle. That would be a story.”

Ogden was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection for Baltimore who retired after the 2007 season.

The 25-year-old Howard was signed by the Jets off Baltimore’s practice squad last November and previously played in four games for Philadelphia in 2010. The Eagles signed the 6-foot-7, 333-pound Howard as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa, where he began his career as a tight end before switching to offensive tackle in 2008.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen Week 1, but I’m just seeing this as an opportunity to get better,” Howard said.

Howard has had some good moments during training camp, and it was his potential that Ryan said kept the Jets from being extra aggressive in going after a right tackle.

“We were excited when we picked up Austin Howard,” Ryan said. “When he came in, I think he turned some heads, he really did. But to sit back and say we’re going to put all our eggs in that basket, we had to see it first.”

Howard has played in four regular-season games, all with the Eagles in 2010, with one start at left tackle.

“Let’s see how he performs this week,” Ryan said. “We’ll have a better understanding of how he works with his teammates, with (right guard) Brandon Moore and company. But he certainly has a great skill set as well.”

NOTES: Ryan said the Jets don’t plan to use their wildcat formation with Tim Tebow at all during the preseason. They have used Tebow only in a conventional-style offense so far in games, and as the personal punt protector on special teams. … Ryan anticipates Sanchez playing into the third quarter against Carolina on Sunday night, with Tebow playing the rest of the way.


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