Questions about Tim Tebow get on Rex Ryan's nerves
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan stood stone-faced behind the lectern, fielding questions -- as always -- about Tim Tebow and the Wildcat.
On this particular day, after this type of loss, the Jets' coach was in no mood to be questioned or second-guessed. As he met each inquiry about Tebow with a blank stare, the edge in his voice was undeniable.
A day after the Jets (1-1) mustered only 90 rushing yards -- 22 of which came courtesy of a Wildcat run by Mark Sanchez's backup -- Ryan grew more and more snippy when asked why he chose to limit Tebow and the Wildcat in Sunday's 27-10 loss to Pittsburgh.
"We've always said from Day 1, we can do it 20 times, 40 times, 10 times, two times. Whatever," he said of the formation. "But we determine that, OK? It's not just going to be that these specific things have to be lined up. It's just that that's exactly what happened in this game.
"Does that mean, given the exact same scenario against a different opponent, that you may or not use it? That'll be us. We'll always do what we think is in the best interest of our football team."
The Jets used Tebow on offense in only one series at Heinz Field -- midway through the third quarter, when Tebow had his first (and only) run of the game. In all, the backup quarterback was involved in only three plays -- a drop from his already pedestrian Week 1 stats (five carries, 11 yards, zero passes).
Ryan bristled when peppered with more and more questions about Tebow and the Wildcat during his morning-after news conference. But during his weekly afternoon radio spot Mondayon ESPN 98.7, he clarified that his frustration had nothing to do with the most popular player on the team.
"Look, I was all for bringing Tim Tebow in here, because I know what he does," Ryan said, adding that "there will be more" of those 22-yard type of plays for him as the season goes on.
"I expect some big things in the future from Tim Tebow. I was upset with the loss. I'm not worried about a question about Tim Tebow."
But Ryan's frustration with the line of questioning seemed to crop up only when the backup's name was mentioned. The coach, looking emotionally drained and exhausted Monday morning, reiterated what he's said all offseason about Tebow's ability: "I believe Tim can pass."
Just not on second-and-16, apparently.
Joe McKnight followed Tebow's 22-yard run with a 12-yard gain of his own. But after featured back Shonn Greene was stopped for a loss of 6, Sanchez (10-for-27, 138 yards) trotted onto the field on second-and-16 from the Pittsburgh 45.
Ryan praised the emotion Tebow showed on his first-down carry and called him "a tremendous football player" Monday. But Sunday night, he said it was more practical to go with Sanchez with his team trailing 20-10.
"At the time, you're out of it,'' he said, "and by then, we're down several points, so I think you need to throw the ball in those situations."
When pressed Monday about his confidence (or lack thereof) in Tebow on passing downs, Ryan backtracked.
"I never said we had to do anything," he interjected, adding that Tebow is capable of throwing the ball. "Right now, we think Mark gives us the best chance to be successful in that particular situation against that particular opponent."
Despite the Jets' rather tame Wildcat thus far, Greene said there's much more in store.
"I would bet on it, yeah," he said of seeing it more. "I think we're just putting stuff out there here and there, and whatever game plan we decide to put up, we'll decide to use that."