Putting a Percentage on Wildcat Plays is a Bad Idea


August 30, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) shown on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Jets 28-10. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

We are one day away from opening the Jets season against the Buffalo Bills. We are all waiting with baited breath to see this offense unveiled, finally. The big secret is the Tim Tebow package. How often will we see it? Will it be based on game plans? We just don’t know.

Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum was interviewed this week, and was asked if he could quantify how much we will see him during the season. Mike did, by saying that Mark Sanchez would play anywhere from 80-90% of the snaps. Head coach Rex Ryan would not comment on that assertion. He in the past has said it will be game plan specific, and could increase if it is giving the defense problems.

That is the best way to go about it. Tannenbaum shouldn’t be putting a percentage on it, just because he is asked, because putting a percentage on this would be a very bad idea.

The reason it is a bad idea has to do with the offense itself. The offense gets in a rhythm when it is playing well. Playing offense, especially as a quarterback, is about having a feel for what is going on around you. Putting a specific percentage on the amount of plays, implies that the Jets are going to forcefeed the plays into the game, and that goes against getting in rhythm.

Aug 26, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) comes out of the pocket looking to hand off during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

For the Wildcat, or the read option, or whatever you want to call it, it has to be used as a change of pace. It must be used to confuse the defense. Giving it a specific percentage, means you are scheduling it into the game, rather than using it based on a feel. If it is scheduled, teams are going to know that, and be ready for it, which will take away any chance it has to be successful.

The rhythm issue cannot be overlooked either. If the offense is moving the ball solidly with Mark Sanchez under center, switching to the Wildcat plays can serve to disrupt the rhythm that has been established, and can even stall a drive. You have to keep the ball moving while it is hot. If Shonn Greene just broke off fifteen yards, in between four straight Mark Sanchez completions, bringing in the Wildcat could be destructive. Mark clearly has a feel in this scenario, so even if the Wildcat play, or couple of plays is successful, the streak that Mark and his group are on can be halted when he comes out.

Rex Ryan has a better attitude about the use of the Wildcat. Mike Tannenbaum is doing a detriment by setting a percentage of plays. Despite being asked, he cannot give that type of answer. It is a bad idea.