Wildcat Details Cloaked in Secrecy
Cortland, NY- Last offseason the Jets lost one of their key offensive weapons and were never able to find someone to fill the vacant role that Brad Smith left when he took his talents to Buffalo. Enter Tim Tebow.
Since the Jets traded for Tebow the media has not stop speculating for a even second. Tebow-time is now all the time as far as the media is concerned and until the season actually begins the media machine could care less about how the Jets actually plan to use use Tebow, after all the media has plans of their own.
Two quarterback system? Are we talking a handful of snaps a game for Tebow or 20? How about 50? Will Tebow be the red zone quarterback? These are just a few of the continuously repeated questions about the addition of Tebow and while it may be driving some fans crazy, especially fans of teams not named the Jets, Rex Ryan is probably sitting back laughing and thinking to himself, ‘they took the bait, hook line and sinker.’
The Jets continue to be coy with their plans for how they will use Tebow and the Wildcat and for good reason, the mystery is part of the advantage. Ryan said if it was supposed to be a secret that the Jets would use Tebow in a Wildcat role, then, “I blew that, if that was the plan. We are going to run the Wildcat. We will not get into the specifics of it. We’ll just say that we’re obviously going to run some Wildcat. I think we know that, but whether we’re going to go into great detail or not, we probably won’t.”
So just how much will they use Tebow and in how many different roles? That’s the secret that only Ryan and Tony Sparano know. All we know for sure is the Jets started to install their Wildcat package yesterday.
“We have an excellent quarterback (Mark Sanchez), we’ll have our offense, and the Wildcat will be part of our offense. We’ve said that from day one. The great thing is you don’t know if we’re going to run it once, you don’t know if we’re going to run it 20 times, 50 times, whatever.” Ryan said, “That’s up to us and if you’re not prepared for it, why wouldn’t we run it? If you’re not defending it well, why wouldn’t we keep running it? You’re going to run something until you stop it. That’s that old (saying). Packer sweep, they kept running.”
Ryan wants opposing teams to have to think about and game plan for every possibility. The more time a team spends preparing for the Wildcat, the less time they can devote to game planning for the traditional offense and teams can’t afford to spend too much time on the Wildcat because so few teams utilize it. So the hope is teams come in slightly unprepared for both and the Jets can use this to their advantage. Of course on the flip side, the more time the Jets spend practicing the Wildcat the less time it gives Sanchez to prepare and improve, but that’s a story for down the line if this offense fails to get the job done.
“I think it’s a great scheme and I think Coach Sparano really knows how to handle it.” Sanchez said, “Like I said, he’s going to put us in the best spots we can possibly be in and give us an opportunity to move the chains. It’s our job to execute.”
Outside of the coaches no one really knows how much the Jets plan to use the Wildcat and despite many in the media insisting this is now a two-quarterback system designed to create a divid in the locker room and make way for Tebow to become the starter, that is simply not the case as Sanchez is the unquestioned starter and that’s the only part of this Ryan wants to make sure is clear.
“Now clearly we have a starting quarterback, it’s Mark Sanchez, period, there’s no question about it. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win, but if Tebow can help in protection, we’ll put him there (joking).” Ryan said, “Mark is our quarterback. As much as people are trying to make it a quarterback controversy, it’s not. Mark is our starting quarterback, and Tim is an excellent football player like we’ve said.”
If it wasn’t called a two-quarterback system when Smith was here, it shouldn’t be called one now. Ryan has been a fan of the Wildcat ever since he got beat by it. Then he started to use it to his advantage and he feel in love with it, losing Smith made him realize just how much he missed the Wildcat and he saw an opportunity to get a better, more versatile version of Smith and jumped on it by trading for Tebow.
“Well, I mean we had Brad (Smith). He was involved and, as a Wildcat quarterback, he was a wide-out. We have had, before I got here, Leon Washington I know did some of that before Brad, I only had him for like six games, but he did some of that for us. I just think it’s an effective weapon, it’s a change of pace, but also it takes up a lot of preparation time, and you guys know how I feel about it.” Ryan said, “You can feel good about it, all of a sudden that hits you. A perfect example is when we played Miami. We struggled. The first time we ever played Miami, we struggled stopping the Wildcat. Then at the end of the day we couldn’t stop anything. That was the day I said the quarterback (Chad Henne) looked like Dan Marino. He had the highest quarterback rating I think of any of (the quarterbacks he faced that season). We play against (Tom) Brady twice a year, Peyton Manning, all of them.”
When the trade for Tebow was official many people wondered why the Jets would want Tebow and invite all the distractions that comes with him. Well, the Jets are used to distractions and Smith averaged eight yards a play when running the Wildcat as a Jet so with Smith gone, why wouldn’t they look for someone else to do the same or even better?
“Well, it’s something that I’ve had so many reps (with) and (I have) gone through that so many times, especially at the University of Florida and even in high school too.” Tebow said, “So it’s something I’m very comfortable with and obviously, that’s why most of the time I am under center and doing things that I haven’t done as much, play-action drops, seven-step drops, five-step drops, getting in the gun and doing that stuff has always been a little easier for me.”
With the New York media already so prone to speculation, Ryan figures tossing them the Wildcat bone will only make the wheels spin faster. How much the Jets utilize Tebow and the Wildcat isn’t what concerns Ryan, all he is focused on is how much time his opponents are going to have to spend tearing their hair out trying to prepare for it.
“I think it takes a lot of your time. There’s some guys who say it’ll take a third of the practice.” Ryan said, “Some guys say it will take less than that. I don’t know if it’s that much, but I know it’s on your mind.”