Rex Ryan says it's not time for Tim Tebow ... yet

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Rex Ryan says it's not time for Tim Tebow ... yet

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Changes might be coming for the New York Jets.Mark Sanchez losing his starting job won't be among them.Rex Ryan again stood by his quarterback Monday despite Sanchez's struggles in an ugly mistake-filled 30-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday that left the Jets coach searching for answers and fans chanting for Tim Tebow to take over."I think Mark's our guy," Ryan said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. I'm confident in Mark."There's no question, though, that the Jets (3-5) need to figure things out, and quick. They have games at Seattle and St. Louis after their bye-week break, followed by a home game on Thanksgiving night against New England.Ryan originally planned to have the players report to the facility on Monday and Tuesday, but decided to give them the full week off to be with their families and prepare for Hurricane Sandy."I want them to get away and when they come back, we have to be all in," Ryan said during a conference call. "The only chance we have is if we are 100 percent all in. We have no wiggle room. We need to start playing a ton better."Ryan will brainstorm with his coaches this week before they take a few days off, and he expects suggestions on how to fix "everything" from everyone on his staff."Is it a little change? Is it a radical change?" Ryan said. "I'm up for anything."While Tebow won't be the solution as the full-time quarterback, Ryan acknowledged that he'll explore how the versatile backup can be used more on offense after seeing minimal playing time during the season's first half. Tebow has played in just 54 offensive plays, averaging less than seven per game."I think we'll take a hard look at how we're using him, what we're asking him to do," Ryan said. "Are there other things we can do with him? I think you're absolutely right. We will definitely look at that."So much was made in the offseason about how Tebow would add a unique element to the offense, whether it was in wildcat or read-option packages, but that certainly hasn't materialized. Last week, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said he could "do a better job" of using Tebow.To his credit, Tebow has not complained publicly, or offered a sliver of frustration, knowing he could be doing more to help this team."I'm just ready and willing," said Tebow, who even lined up at wide receiver Sunday. "Whenever they call my number, I go out there to help the team and (I'm) not listening to what the crowd is saying."There's a good chance that Tebow will be a large part of the discussions between the coaches this week, and would understand if the backup quarterback wasn't thrilled with his role so far."Any competitor wants to be out there playing, so it wouldn't be shocking if that's how he felt," Ryan said. "As a football team, we're frustrated. We're getting closer and closer, and we thought we were getting better as a football team, but we took a step back yesterday."The Jets allowed a blocked punt to be returned for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked and Sanchez fumbled on a sack that the Dolphins later turned into a score. There were mistakes all over the field, and it wasn't all Sanchez."We all understand it comes down to execution," center Nick Mangold said. "It doesn't matter if we have Joe Namath back there if we don't execute."There were missed throws, dropped passes, failed assignments on the line and in the running game -- and it all added up to a dismal performance on offense. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie intimated after the game that the defense has been doing its part while the offense continues to struggle.With a long break in between games, there's plenty of time for frustration to fester, something that helped rip apart the Jets' season a year ago. Mangold insists that won't be the case this time around."We learned last year that pointing fingers and being disgruntled is not going to help anybody," Mangold said.The players also support Sanchez as their leader, despite the growing public sentiment that some sort of change needs to be made to save the season."I believe in Mark just as much as he believes in me being a nose tackle," Sione Po'uha said.Sanchez was 28 of 54 for 283 yards with a touchdown, but had the fumble late in the opening quarter on a sack by Nolan Carroll. He also was intercepted by Chris Clemons when he had the Jets driving while trailing 27-3 in the third quarter.There are mistakes still being made by Sanchez that many don't expect from a fourth-year quarterback. But, he has also had to adjust to a constantly changing cast of characters on offense around him. While many teams build around their quarterbacks, particularly a first-rounder such as Sanchez, the Jets have rebuilt the personnel on offense on a regular basis.Only two skill position players remain from Sanchez's rookie season in 2009: tight end Dustin Keller and running back Shonn Greene. While it's not the only reason for Sanchez's struggles, the frequent turnover can't have helped his development.So, for now, this remains Sanchez's team to lead -- to a second-half surge or a second straight season out of the postseason."If it was one guy, I think it's easy to say we'd make that change," Ryan said. "But I think Mark gives us the best chance to win. That's how I feel. Can Tim be successful? Yeah, absolutely. We'll look at that as well. But in my opinion, Mark as the starting quarterback gives my football team the best chance to win."------NOTES:Po'uha said he has no structural damage to his back after missing three games because of severe stiffness. He returned Sunday and played 21 snaps. ... Ryan said thinks RB-WR Joe McKnight (sprained right ankle), LB Bart Scott (hyperextended right big toe), S Eric Smith (sprained knee) and RB Bilal Powell (dislocated right shoulder) should be healthy and ready to go against Seattle.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

Giants spring training Day 7: Rule change should help Bochy

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On one of the many nights last season when his bullpen imploded, Bruce Bochy nearly put a catcher on the mound. Trevor Brown ended up playing an inning of third base on June 28 as the Giants gave up eight runs over the final two innings in a brutal loss to the A’s, and he said this week that he was told he was the next man up on the mound. 

That night was an odd one, as a tired bullpen was waiting for Sergio Romo to get activated off a rehab assignment and trying to get by without long reliever Chris Stratton, who had thrown 57 pitches out of the ‘pen the night before. The bench was also short because Joe Panik was about to be put on the concussion DL.

Bochy hopes he doesn’t have to deal with such a situation this season, and not just because the bullpen should be much improved. The disabled list lasts 10 days now, not 15, and Bochy is thrilled with the new rule.

“The DL thing, I really like it,” he said. “You get caught in that gray area so often.” 

Bochy met with league officials on Saturday to go over some of the rule changes. DL stints can now be made retroactive just three days, but it’s still a vast improvement overall. 

“With (position) players and pitchers it’s going to make it easier to DL guys,” Bochy said. “If you’re looking at (starting) pitchers, they could miss just one start.”

The Giants have often played a man or more short, trying to get by day-by-day to give a position player or starter time to heal. Around camp, this could be called the Angel Pagan Rule, as the former Giants outfielder often missed a week or so before officially going on the DL. At times, Bochy has been patient with players like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, knowing that even if they missed a week, keeping them off the DL could still earn the Giants seven or eight games with a big bat back in the lineup. If a future diagnosis is that a player will miss a week, it’ll be much easier to swallow putting him on the 10-day DL than it was for the 15-day. Likewise, the Giants will take advantage of the change if a pitcher will have to miss a start. 

Bochy has said often that he would like every reliever to go on the DL during the season to freshen up. That’ll make more sense now, and it should keep the Giants from having to play as many games where the bullpen is gassed and a backup catcher is preparing to pitch. For guys like Stratton — a versatile pitcher on the 40-man roster — it should also lead to increased trips up to the big leagues to fill gaps. 

INJURY UPDATE: Pence (side muscle) took 25 swings during a live BP session in the cage and Bochy said he’s doing much better. That was about the only significant activity Sunday. Once again, the workout was rained out. Bochy said the Giants have enough time to get guys ready for the Cactus League opener on Feb. 24, but they’ll likely hold some big-name pitchers out of the early games. Brandon Crawford and Posey will get plenty of early starts to prepare for the WBC. 

PROSPECT WATCH: If the early games are turned over to prospects, Dan Slania will be an interesting guy to watch. Slania is listed at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, so he always had the look of an imposing reliever. But his greatest success last season came after a surprise move to the rotation. 

Slania, a 2013 fifth-round pick out of Notre Dame, got a call on his 24th birthday telling him to prepare to start because of an injury in Richmond’s rotation. He had not started a game since high school, but his four-pitch mix worked. He had a 5.32 ERA out of the bullpen but it dropped to 1.48 in 10 starts for the Flying Squirrels. In two Triple-A starts, he struck out 14 over 13 innings while allowing just eight hits and two runs. The Giants put him on their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. 

“He had a great year last year,” Bochy said. “He’s in camp for a reason. He’s got great stuff and a good makeup.”

RULE CHANGE: One more thing that came out of that rules meeting: Managers who are out of challenges now have to wait until the eighth inning to ask an umpire to look at a play.

QUOTABLE: “We know he’s better off taking some days. We talked about it (with him). He agrees that it’ll help him.” Bochy on Pence’s workload. The right fielder is coming off two injury-marred seasons, and the Giants have no intention of even trying to get him back to his Iron Man days.