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Ryan says Tebow would have done wildcat if asked

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Ryan says Tebow would have done wildcat if asked

NEW YORK (AP) Tim Tebow would have done whatever Rex Ryan asked - if the New York Jets coach had asked him.

Ryan acknowledged Monday that Tebow wasn't happy when the coach chose Greg McElroy to start for the benched Mark Sanchez, but insisted Tebow was willing to play in any role Sunday against San Diego - including the wildcat.

``He was disappointed, there's no question,'' Ryan said Monday. ``He was disappointed that he was not named the starter, but with that being said, I'm not going to get into private conversations that I have with players, but it was my decision to use Jeremy Kerley in the wildcat, without question.

``But I'll say this: I believe if Tim's number was called, he would've went in and played. I don't think there's any doubt about that.''

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Tebow asked out of his wildcat offense duties last week after hearing that McElroy, the third-stringer, would get his first NFL start over Tebow, listed as the No. 2 quarterback.

Another person, also familiar with the situation, said that wildcat plays involving Kerley instead of Tebow were added before practice last Wednesday.

Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the Jets do not disclose personnel discussions.

ESPN New York first reported that Tebow opted out of running wildcat plays. ESPN also reported that Tebow said his relationship with Ryan was ``strained'' for a few days, but they smoothed things over. Ryan had all three quarterbacks active for Sunday's 27-17 loss, but Tebow never got onto the field in any capacity.

Ryan did not deny that Tebow asked out of running wildcat plays, but also refused to go into any details of what happened.

``I've been transparent and all that stuff without question, but I'm not going to give you a private conversation that I would have with a player,'' Ryan reiterated. ``That's between him and I. If he wants to share whatever the conversation is, Tim or anybody else, then that's up to him.''

Ryan was also asked if it could be considered ``insubordination'' if a player refuses to play in a role designed for him.

``You guys are assuming something's a fact or whatever, and that's fine,'' Ryan said. ``If I would have asked Tim to play in anything, Tim would have gone into the game and done that.''

After the game, Tebow would say only that ``it just happened'' that he didn't play in the wildcat package. He has done his best to hide his frustration throughout what he could consider a lost year on the playing field.

``Well, it's been disappointing,'' Tebow said of the season. ``Obviously, it didn't go as we thought, as I had hoped, but sometimes in life you have that. Sometimes you have setbacks and you just have to look at them as another opportunity for you to step back up and keep working and figure out what to do.''

New York will either trade or release Tebow after the season, a disappointing and frustrating one-year stint with the Jets that just seems to get worse. Tebow was asked after the game if he could remember the last time he had played so little.

``Three or 4 years old, probably,'' Tebow said. ``Since I started.''

Tebow has not played a single snap in four of the last five games, although some of that inactivity was due to him breaking two ribs at Seattle on Nov. 11. He has been cleared to play, and got a full offensive series at quarterback last Monday night at Tennessee, but Ryan confirmed that Tebow ``still has two cracked ribs.''

The Jets (6-9) were eliminated last week with their loss to the Titans, and Ryan announced after the game against San Diego that McElroy - despite being sacked 11 times - would start in the season finale at Buffalo. Whether Tebow actually plays in that game or has taken his last snap with the Jets remains to be seen.

Tebow was acquired from Denver in a stunning trade last March and expected to be a major contributor to the offense. He has been only a role player - whenever he actually plays.

``I thought we'd do some better things out of that wildcat,'' Ryan said. ``It hasn't happened. I'm not blaming it on Tim Tebow. I'm sure there's multiple reasons, but for whatever reason, it has not had the results that I envisioned for it.''

Some reports have Jacksonville interested in bringing Tebow in to compete for its quarterback job next season. The Jaguars were the only team other than the Jets that tried to trade for Tebow last year, plus it would be a homecoming for Tebow if he played in Jacksonville.

``I'm not pulling the tampering thing,'' Ryan said. ``Tim's under contract with us and that's all I know.''

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey told Jacksonville reporters that he wasn't aware of reports that his team looked into pursuing Tebow before the trade deadline earlier this season.

``I am not going to talk about that,'' he added. ``I don't talk about other players on other teams right now.''

NOTES: Ryan was still disgusted by how many times McElroy was sacked by the Chargers on Sunday. ``The 11 sacks and all that, that's as poor as I can ever remember as far as the pass protection was concerned,'' he said. It was the most a Jets QB was sacked since David Norrie in 1987 against Dallas - a game played by replacements. ... The Jets waived WR Mardy Gilyard, who had two catches for 15 yards in three games for New York.

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AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.