Rex Ryan defends Tebow, Wildcat

August, 12, 2012
8/12/12
12:18
PM ET

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- The Jets have been criticized for their plans to use the Wildcat, with some people saying the gimmicky offense has lost its luster. Rex Ryan responded Sunday, revealing he was interested in taking quarterback Colin Kaepernick in last year's draft as a replacement for Brad Smith to run the Wildcat.

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Paul SakumaColin Kaepernick's 78-yard TD scamper for the 49ers caught Rex Ryan's attention.
"I was really intrigued by him coming out, knowing we might lose Brad," said Ryan, who ended up losing Smith to the Bills in free agency.

The 49ers drafted Kaepernick, a running quarterback in college, near the top of the second round. (The Jets didn't have a second-round pick.) On Friday night, Kaepernick scored on a 78-yard run, a designed play out of the shotgun. Ryan, of course, couldn't resist mentioning that.

"Guys, the Wildcat is tough to defend," Ryan said. "Are we going to do it? Of course. At some point, we're going to do it. Some people think the Wildcat has come and gone. No it hasn't. If anything, it's just the opposite."

Ryan clarified a conversation he had last Thursday with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who called the Jets' coach wondering if he was planning to use the Wildcat in Friday night's game -- at least that's the version Ryan told after the game. Somehow, it got reported that Ryan agreed not to run it. Not true, he said, adding that it never was in the Jets' game plan for the game.

The Jets didn't use any Wildcat plays in the game with Tim Tebow. Of his 22 snaps, only one came in shotgun. He scrambled four times for 34 yards, but none were designed runs. On Sunday, Ryan went out of his way to say he was pleased with Tebow's passing (4-for-8) even though he threw an interception.

Ryan absolved him of the interception, saying TE Jeff Cumberland ran a "poor route. He kind of drifted on it. With that being said, Tim has to make a better throw."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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