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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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Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

The Wizards didn't just drop their third straight to fall to 2-7 Wednesday night in Boston, but they again gave up an obscene amount of points. 

Washington fell 140-133, marking the fifth time in the first nine games in which they've given up more than 120 points. They've held an opposing offense under 100 twice. 

After the loss, Scott Brooks said the team's defensive issues started with the scouting report. Players weren't familiar enough with the Celtics' tendencies so when Washington needed a stop, they couldn't get one. 

Rookie forward Rui Hachimura put it a bit more bluntly. 

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good," he said. 

With Hachimura, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas, the Wizards shouldn't have any issue scoring this season. They have the sixth-ranked offense in the NBA, but the fact that they still have a -4.4 net rating is telling to how bad they've been on the other end.

The Wizards are in the midst of a rebuilding year. The goals for teams like these are to acquire young talent and hope they develop into foundational pieces. As important as obtaining talent is, building good habits can make or break a young player's development, especially in the age of the one-and-done.

They'll have to commit more to the defensive end if they have any hopes of putting multiple wins together. The question is whether they have the personnel to do it. 

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Capitals complete undefeated month, Ovechkin lets up on Niskanen and is Oshie the best shootout player ever?

Capitals complete undefeated month, Ovechkin lets up on Niskanen and is Oshie the best shootout player ever?

The Capitals have not lost in regulation in a month. With their 2-1 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, Washington extended its point streak to 13 games. The Caps have won 11 of their last 12 and have not lost in regulation since Oct. 14.

Check out Wednesday's game recap here.

Observations from the win

Panik is close

This was easily Richard Panik’s best game as a Cap. He had four shots on goal in the first period and six for the game. He had only seven shots on goal total in his nine games prior to Wednesday. He looked like one of the more dangerous offensive players for Washington and the third line actually looked offensively dangerous.

Now here’s the key, Panik has to continue playing like this. He can’t deliver a performance like this once every 10 games, this needs to be the new normal and not the exception.

Radko Gudas

Yeah, this game mattered to Gudas. He was far more aggressive in the offensive zone than we have seen him at any point this season. In the first period, he cut through the middle of the offensive zone and dangled the puck like a scoring winger. He nearly scored and that would have been a goal to remember.

No consistency by the refs

Slashing is called differently in today’s NHL than it was ten years ago. Heck, it is different than it was five years ago. Old-school hockey enthusiasts hate it, but whatever. It's fine. There’s not enough padding on the gloves and players get hurt from even innocent-looking slashes. It's better to have a few soft calls in the game than more broken fingers.

If you are going to call those light slashes as penalties, that’s fine, but you have to do it consistently. The issue is not that refs are calling too many slashes, it’s just that there is no consistency with those calls.

Jakub Vrana was called for a very light slash on Ivan Provorov in the second period. By the letter of the law, it was a slash. OK, they called it and that means that this is the standard you have now set. In the third period, Sean Couturier gave Wilson a whack in front of the net while he was battling for the puck. Ten years ago, no one would have batted an eyelash over it, t was just a light tap. But the refs set the standard with the Vrana slash, yet there was no call. You could see Wilson, he is used to having grown men throw their fists at his face, complain about what was a light tap to the refs. The severity of the slash was not the problem, consistency was.

That’s the frustrating part. It’s not that the Vrana slash was called, it’s that the same standard was not kept throughout the game.

Ovechkin on Niskanen

In the second period, Alex Ovechkin had Matt Niskanen square in his sights. The commentators on the broadcast praised Ovechkin for following through on his hit even though it was against his former teammate. I hate to disagree, but it sure looks to me like Ovechkin could have ended Niskanen with this hit. I’m fairly certain Ovechkin took something off this, but you be the judge:

Eastern conference

The Caps have played only eight games against the Eastern Conference in their first 20. In those eight games, Washington has not lost a single one in regulation and now has a record of 7-0-1.

Turning point

After the first period, this looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Caps who were completely dominating. After two periods, it looked like Washington would have to settle for a narrow victory. Then Nic Dowd toe picked in front of Matt Niskanen and fell into the former Caps’ legs. As happens in hockey, one bad penalty call quickly turned into a goal as Claude Giroux scored on a 2-on-1 to tie the game.

That was the difference between a regulation win and a shootout win on Wednesday for Washington.

Play of the game

There were a number of great saves by Holtby as the Flyers began to tip the scales in their favor after the first period. This one stands out as the best as Tyler Pitlick thought he could spin and tuck the puck into the far-side of the net, but Holtby was able to turn him aside with the toe.


Stat of the game

T.J. Oshie is not just one of the best shootout players in the league, he is the best shootout player ever.


Quote of the game

Holtby does not say much after games. He talks about shutting everything out and focusing just on his play. He does not get excited for shutouts or overly down on himself after bad games. His entire focus is helping the team win.

One reporter asked Holtby if playing in a game like Wednesday's is more fun because of how he has to push himself when the oppositions' goalie plays so well. Holtby's answer reflects how much respect he has for Philadelphia's Carter Hart.

"Yeah it is. Especially when it’s a guy that’s fun to play against obviously. Connections in different ways. Being Western Canadian, I root for those guys. It was fun. It was fun to see him play really well and it was fun to compete like that."

Fan predictions

Gudas and Holtby were closest. Gudas was buzzing and nearly scored in the first period. Holtby allowed only one goal and was 13:45 away from the shutout.

The Caps as a team could not muster two goals against Hart so that streak is now over.

Ovechkin fell just a bit shy of scoring the 224 goals he needed to pass Gretzky’s record on Wednesday. Oh well, there’s always Friday’s game.

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