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Rex Ryan hears the call of the Wild(cat)

Rex Ryan at a press conference while at

Rex Ryan at a press conference while at training camp. (July 29, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Wildcat is alive and well. And don't try to tell Rex Ryan anything different.

Ryan said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis' phone call before Friday's preseason game against the Jets -- Lewis, who once was on the same Ravens coaching staff with Ryan, asked the Jets' coach not to include the Wildcat in the game plan -- is further proof that defenses will be forced to focus on it.

"Some people think the Wildcat has come and gone. No, it hasn't," Ryan said Sunday, adding that he was interested in Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2011 because he was afraid the Jets would lose Wildcat specialist Brad Smith. Kaepernick, now a 49er, rushed for a 78-yard touchdown against the Vikings on Friday.

"You're seeing these guys and it's hard to defend some of that stuff,'' Ryan said. "When you have the ability to throw as well as run, it makes it tough."

In March, the Jets traded for Tim Tebow and his Wildcat prowess. But when fielding questions Sunday about Tebow's elusiveness in the pocket, Ryan said the Jets would consider using the backup quarterback if the offense is struggling in pass protection. "We're open to anything," he said.

Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, however, downplayed the need for Tebow in those situations. "Mark Sanchez scrambled for a first down the other day, too, which I was impressed with," Sparano said. "Mark is a good athlete and he is our quarterback. I thought he has been playing really well right now for us and I don't see that kind of scenario at all out there." Jet streams

WR Jeremy Kerley, who told reporters he has a slight left hamstring tear, did not practice, but he fielded live punts for the first time since his injury. RT Wayne Hunter (lower back stiffness) practiced but was on a "pitch count," rotating in and out with Austin Howard. WR Santonio Holmes (rib), NT Sione Pouha (forehead, back), WR Chaz Schilens (ankle), LB Ricky Sapp (ankle), RT Stephon Heyer and S Eric Smith (MCL sprain) didn't practice. RB Joe McKnight left practice with an apparent ankle injury . . . P Travis Baltz was waived.

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