Rex Ryan made it clear who's in charge when it comes to Tim Tebow's playing time.
It's the New York Jets' decision, and no one else's. Not the anxious fans or media who call for more — or less — of the popular backup quarterback this season.
"We control it," Ryan said Wednesday. "The media's not going to drive it."
Tebow played just three snaps on offense — all in the third quarter — in the Jets' 27-10 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, leaving many to wonder whether he's being used enough.
"I don't really pay attention to y'all, so it doesn't matter to me," he said laughing. "I just try to be ready for whatever my role is and try to do it the best I can."
So far, he has six runs for 33 yards and has thrown no passes while in for only about a dozen of New York's offensive plays through two games.
"I think going in, like I say, there could be more opportunities down the road," Ryan said. "There could be less, but that's it. I'm happy he's here. I can tell you that much. I think, as we've said from Day 1, this guy's a good football player. We're not going in saying he has to get X-amount of snaps. That's not what we do."
Tebow was acquired in March from Denver to back up Mark Sanchez and provide a versatile element on offense, particularly out of the wildcat-style package. But Tebow has been little more than a bit player.
He did give the Jets a short-lived spark when he came in against the Steelers, running for 22 yards on his first snap. He handed off to Joe McKnight, who gained 12 yards, on the next. But, the Jets lost 6 yards when he handed to Shonn Greene.
And, that was that for Tebow for the game. Sanchez was brought back in to try to clean things up on second-and-16, while Tebow jogged back to the sideline. Clearly, he would have liked to have had the chance to get job done, but has learned to control his emotions as the backup. So, there's no demanding the ball from Tebow.
"I think you just have to know your role and where you're at and be smart about situations," he said. "If you're asked, you have to believe in yourself, be ready for whenever you're called if that's asked upon. Then you can say something like that. As far as where I'm at now, I just try to be ready when I'm asked to go."
Tebow is a supremely confident player when he's on the field, and he doesn't have any trouble voicing his opinion to the coaches about what he'd like to do on certain plays. He just won't overstep his bounds.
"It's not that I feel uncomfortable, but I think the coaches believe in me and know what I can do, and vice versa," he said. "We have a plan and we're trying to stick with it and find a way to win games."
Sanchez was asked a similar question Wednesday, about possibly demanding to the ball to try to score right before halftime against the Steelers with 57 seconds and two timeouts left. Ryan said they tried to pop a run, and when that didn't work, they decided to run out the clock.
But some thought perhaps Sanchez should've been more assertive with the coaches in letting him take a shot.
"It's up to Coach," Sanchez said. "It really is. It's the coach's call."
Sanchez added that he asked what the game plan was at that moment, and the coaches made it clear that they were going in the direction they did. One reporter suggested he take charge, comparing the situation to how Peyton Manning has frequently waved off the punt team to take chances on fourth down.
"Good," Sanchez said with a smile, brushing it off.
For the Jets' offense to click on a consistent basis, Sanchez is clearly going to have to play more like he did in the opener against Buffalo — 19 of 27 for 266 yards and three TDs — than he did last Sunday at Pittsburgh — 10 of 27 for 138 yards and a TD, including a stretch in which he went two quarters connecting with any of his wide receivers.
New York also needs to figure out the best way to insert Tebow into games, something that will likely be a topic of debate all season. Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle certainly will be planning for Tebow, but some Dolphins players don't understand what the big deal is.
"Don't make more of it than it is," linebacker Kevin Burnett said. "Please, come on. Tebow is going to come in for maybe five plays. If they're up, he's going to be in more. If they're not up, he's going to be in less. You figure Tebow is going to play anywhere from three to 15 plays depending on the score.
"You have a Tebow package and you have the rest of the game. But it really doesn't change because you've got to stop the run."
Ryan also suggested that the game plan for Tebow isn't based just solely on the backup quarterback coming into the game, but the others who join him on the field.
"Really the wildcat is a personnel grouping and sometimes you want to go with that personnel grouping and sometimes you don't," Ryan said. "I feel pretty good about it. You can play a lot of it, you can play less of it."
Despite all that, Ryan believes it's in the team's best interest if they keep opponents — and everyone else — guessing about how Tebow will be used.
"The opponent, they're not going to have any idea what we're going to do with him," Ryan said. "I'm certainly not going to let them know, 'Hey, by the way, Tebow is going to play 50 snaps this week.' I'm never going to give you a legitimate answer. I know the answer, but I'm not going to give it to you."
That means whether Tebow is out there on the field against Miami on Sunday for three plays or 20 is anybody's guess.
"You'll have to see," Sanchez said. "Tune in Sunday."
NOTES: WR Santonio Holmes is playing in Miami for the first time since he was benched at the end of the fourth quarter of last season's final game. "I don't even remember that game," Holmes said. "Honestly." ... Sanchez said he "just missed" hitting Holmes for a TD, throwing the ball a bit high, on the Jets' second drive at Pittsburgh when they had to settle for a field goal. "Was that play in my wheelhouse? No question," Sanchez said. "I should have hit that in my sleep and I missed it." ... According to a list compiled by Forbes magazine, the Jets have three of the top-10 most overpaid players in the NFL, starting with LB David Harris. Holmes is fifth, while CB Antonio Cromartie is seventh. Dolphins LB Karlos Dansby is No. 2.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Davie, Fla., contributed to this report.
Follow Dennis Waszak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DWAZ73
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL