Tim Tebow, the New York Jets, and….the….Wildcat?
By Alan Schechter
Aug 18, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) is sacked by New York Giants tackle Matt McCants (71) during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aristide Economopoulos/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
We have seen a lot of Tim Tebow so far this preseason, and we are going to see quite a bit more. He is set to finish the game on Sunday night after Mark Sanchez and the starters play into the third quarter. He likely will see significant time in the final tune up as well.
But there is one thing we haven’t seen, and we aren’t going to see either, until the regular season begins. It’s Tim Tebow’s calling card, and the Jets have been very secretive about it. They have only practiced in sessions closed to the public, and had walkthroughs even after the media has been dispersed. We are talking about the Wildcat.
It has been missing from the preseason so far, and coach Rex Ryan has announced that the Jets are not likely to show any of the plays until the season starts. Mark Sanchez, according to coach Ryan, will take all of the first team snaps on Sunday night, indicating that we won’t see any of the Wildcat at all.
My question is, Is this the right move? There are pros for doing it this way, but there are certainly negatives as well.
First, the obvious pro that the Jets are going for, and that is secrecy.
It is no secret that the Jets are going to use the Wildcat. The day that the Jets acquired Tim Tebow, everyone on the planet knew that this meant the Wildcat was coming to New York. The question is how they are going to use it.
It’s been talked about on this site a lot, through other writers than myself. Our own Sean Lester Durham had a very interesting theory about how the Jets are coming up with a new, hybrid version of the Wildcat, that involves both quarterbacks taking an active role on the field (take a look at it by clicking here)
Whether that is the case or not, the idea is to keep it a secret. Running it during closed practices, and not using it in games, is keeping it off of video. Keeping it off of tape, means no teams will see footage of the Wildcat until real games begin. If and when the Jets put it into play against the Bills, the Bills will have no idea what it is going to look like. They have it in the back of their heads that they will see it, but they won’t know what it will look like.
In this case, what they don’t know, CAN hurt them. But, turn the page, for the other side of the coin.
The other side of the coin is that old saying about practice making perfect.
The preseason is a time for evaluation, seeing where your team is at in the various aspects of the game. You see how the defense looks, and you evaluate your offense as well.
Running something in practice is good. Getting their reps in on the practice field is important, especially for the Wildcat. Doing it without the media around gives them the freedom to get the work done without all of the cameras, speculation, …etc.
But, to evaluate where they are in learning the system, don’t they need to try it in a game setting? I am not saying to break it own 10 times or more, like they might do during the regular season. My point is, shouldn’t they at least run it once, against guys that are in the other color uniforms, to see if it works? Isn’t that the best way to see if they are getting it? I think so.
So my question to you is, which way is right? Should they try it in a game, or are the Jets right in keeping it hidden until the season starts?