Sanchez doesn't mind Eli comparisons

Mark Sanchez knows the deal. When you play in New York, you're going to be compared to the Giants' quarterback, and a certain former Jets quarterback who led the team to a Super Bowl win, and the icon in New England.

And he's okay with that.

"[Eli Manning] has won a Super Bowl, so that puts him in that category -- a certain status," Sanchez said Wednesday. "There's a lot to live up to in this town ... There's always going to be a Joe Namath comparison, an Eli Manning comparison and a Tom Brady comparison. That's the world you live in, playing for the Jets."

GAME PLAN: Rex Ryan said he's planning to play his starters into the third quarter Saturday night against the Giants, but he doesn't anticipate them going more than one series into the third.

That's a little less playing time than what most teams do in the third preseason game, and less than what the Jets did against the Redskins last summer in the third game. But that may have been dictated by circumstances. The offense opened the second half with a three-and-out, so Ryan sent them out again. The result was a long touchdown drive that spilled into the fourth quarter.

It's always a delicate balance, weighing pre-season preparation vs. injury risk. The Jets close the preseason against the Eagles, and you probably won't see any starters in that game.

INJURY REPORT: The news is that WR Plaxico Burress tweaked his lower back Tuesday while reaching for a ball. He "seems to be doing fine," according to Ryan, but he will be re-evaluated before the afternoon practice and probably will be limited.

In other injury news, backup QB Mark Brunell (calf), TE Jeff Cumberland (hamstring) and G Trevor Canfield (knee) won't practice. Brunell didn't even appear on the field for the morning walk-through; he hasn't been seen since pulling his calf muscle last week. He's in the injury-protection program, so to speak.

ROSTER MOVES: The Jets waived OL Chris Stewart and LB Brandon Long.

TONE TIME: Nearly 24 hours later, Sanchez still was gushing about Santonio Holmes' diving, 21-yard touchdown catch to end Tuesday's practice. Sanchez said he called his brother immediately after practice to talk about the catch.

"That was a sweet catch ... oh, my God," he said. "I thought it was better than his Super Bowl catch (as a member of the Steelers). I thought it was better than the Houston Texans catch (from last season). It was sick."

I asked Holmes, half-jokingly, if it was better than his catch for the ages, his toe-tapping grab that beat the Cardinals.

"I couldn't agree with that," he said, smiling.

CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE: On Thursday, the Jets will travel to Hempstead, L.I., their former home, for a 6 p.m. practice at Hofstra Stadium. Traditionally, nothing much happens at the annual Hofstra practice -- it's basically a glorified walk-through -- but it did provide a storyline last summer in HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.

If you recall, some players stopped at a nearby McDonald's for cheeseburgers and brought them to the practice, eating the grub on the field. A few days later, Ryan lashed into the team for its lack of discipline. This time, he doesn't expect any fast-food runs. Ryan, jokingly, said they'd limit their cheeseburger eating to the team bus.

"There will not be that issue ... at least there better not be," he said.

T-RICH HOLDING: Ryan said that, if he ever lost starting FB John Conner to an injury, he'd have "one guy that's a phone call away." He meant Tony Richardson, 39, currently a free agent. Richardson hasn't made any public declarations about his plans. The Jets are planning to carry only one fullback. A year ago, they defied conventional wisdom, carrying Conner and Richardson.