Talking Wildcat at Tebow’s Introduction
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Tim Tebow was introduced officially Monday as a New York Jet. Perhaps you’ve heard of this. Being present for the momentous occasion was in such high demand, with over 200 media members, 30-plus TV cameras and at least 13 news satellite TV trucks outside, that the Jets were forced to move the press conference to their field house just to accommodate the heightened hysteria.
Our very own Chris Nimbley highlighted the coverage in his post earlier this afternoon, but as he will tell you there was just too much for one post. In all honesty, there was so much that was covered that six articles on the day’s events would be a more appropriate start.
Tebow, like Nimbley pointed out, stood poised and primed for the media onslaught while deflecting potentially disastrous trap questions back to his excitement for a fresh start — truly a PR representatives’ dream spokesman. There was not much new news to break that he hadn’t stated in his media conference call last Thursday, however Tebow brought up an interesting thought regarding the Wildcat.
I think one misconception is people think that the Wildcat is just a direct snap to a running back and you fake it and you run power or outside zone or inside zone. That’s a big misconception because I think when you have the ability to have 11 people touch the ball — not 11 people, but you have five or six people that have the opportunity to touch the ball on every single play, I think it can be confusing. I think it can make defenses play slow. I think when you have a great offensive coordinator like Coach Sparano that can put together packages and plays, not necessarily have tendencies, then I think it can be effective.
He brings up a valid point. While Tebow will be the talking point when team’s refer to their Wildcat formation in preparation, but he is not the only versatile player who may thrive from the shift in philosophy. A lot has been made about how detrimental the shift will be to players like Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, who had his own quarrels with the offensive coaching staff after being “toned” down in 2011, but not enough about the players who could benefit from it.
Joe McKnight is the first player to come to mind. He is the Jets jack of all trades, the second coming of the Swiss ARMY knife, if you will. A running back by trade, McKnight restored faith in the coaching staff by standing out on special teams and, at times, on defense. Now under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who helped Reggie Bush to his best statistical year in 2011, McKnight should expect a spike in his offensive attempts and, hopefully in return, his statistics.
The other is second year receiver, the slippery Jeremy Kerley. The former TCU Horned-Frog struggled early in the season but found his stride late, showing promise for the year to come. The Wildcat package may utilize his skill set to a fuller extent, showcasing his ability in the open field — something Kerley didn’t see too often playing across the middle from the slot position.
Yes, that means taking the ball out of Sanchez’s hand more — a complete 180 in philosophy from last year, where the team “took the reigns” off in his third season. While the move is detrimental to the immediate continued development of Sanchez, the offense is looking to flourish by capitalizing on their skilled position players.
Opposing defenses continue to carry more and more cornerbacks due in large to NFL offenses running more spread formations and reducing the emphasis of the ground game. Like the move to bring in Tebow, the Jets are hoping to catch defense’s off guard next year.