Mark Sanchez will open the offseason program as the starting quarterback … for the first snap at least.

Jets coach Rex Ryan would not give Sanchez much more of an advantage in the team’s starting quarterback competition other than taking the first snap when the team starts practicing this spring.

“Somebody has to take the first snap,” Ryan said. “That’s kind of how I look at it. But there is definitely competition at that spot. The first snap, he’ll be the guy running out there first. But there’s going to be competition, and clearly we have to improve at the quarterback position.”

New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said this month that Sanchez has a “leg up” in the quarterback competition, but Ryan made it sound like that is not really true.

“We’re going to have great competition,” Ryan said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. Obviously, we have to improve at the quarterback position. That’s no great secret. We have to play better at that position, but I think we will. And I think the competition will help with that.”

The Jets have Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy competing for the starting job. Tim Tebow remains on the team, but is expected to be released soon despite what Ryan said.

“He’s on the roster,” Ryan said of Tebow. “What we’re talking about is competition, and he’ll get a chance to compete. We’ll see how the offseason plays out. Right now, Tim is on our roster. We’re just beginning this process. There’s a lot of things that could happen. But currently, Tim and a whole bunch of other guys are on the roster, and whoever gets to [the first day of training camp] will have an opportunity to compete.”