The Jets and the Odd Use of the Wildcat
By Alan Schechter
September 16, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) walks off the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
If you have looked at this website at any point this offseason, you know the primary feeling about Tim Tebow amongst myself and other writers here. We don’t, and never have liked the idea of bringing him in here. So, there’s that. But, like I said before week one, whether we like it or not, Tebow is here. We have to support him, and support the Wildcat package.
That is the topic of this morning. The Wildcat package. Specifically, the Jets peculiar use of it so far this year. It is supposed to be used as a change of pace, to keep the defense off balance. It’s supposed to be a different look for the Jets, to keep the defense confused as they bring back in Mark Sanchez and the standard package. But, how are they using it?
The Jets offense was as good as we have ever seen it during the Rex Ryan era in this game, putting up 48 points. Yes, it was the Buffalo Bills, but 48 points is a tough feat against any opponent. Mark Sanchez had the offense in a rhythm, and that rhythm never stopped clicking for the entire game.
The Wildcat pacakge was run for 7 or 8 snaps, and didn’t account for more than 25 yards. The offense was playing so well, that the Wildcat almost felt forced into the game. The Jets talk about how the progression of the game is going to determine the use of the Wildcat. Well, the game was progressing quite well. The defense was off balance without it, so why force it?
Sep 16, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) runs the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood (96) during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE
We have been over the result, no need to rehash it at this point. Needless to say, aside from early in the game, the offense looked lost. Mark Sanchez was inconsistent at best, and had no help from his wide receivers. All of that flow that the Jets had in the win over Buffalo, that was the lack of flow they had against the Steelers. The offense needed a change of pace, clearly.
The Wildcat? A whopping 3 snaps. The first of those snaps yielded the top running play for either team all game long, when Tim Tebow ran for 22 yards. His emotion coming off of that play was palpable. They ran two more plays, Sanchez was back, and we never saw the Wildcat again on the day. Very odd.
Also, did the Jets forget about the performance Tim Tebow had against the Steelers, in that building in the playoffs? He threw for 316 yards, 2 scores, and ran for 50 and a score. He has been a success against that team. If you were ever going to let the package loose, this past Sunday would have been the day to do it.
The common denominator in both games, has been the fact that Tebow hasn’t thrown a pass yet. We can argue about his fundamentals, not the point here. The point is, Tim can get the ball downfield with the pass out of this package. If you don’t ever try it, you are saying that the only thing they are going to do out of the Wildcat is run the football. Eventually that will be figured out.
Are the Jets still feeling their way with the Wildcat package? Sure. Figuring out where to use it and not to use it? Definitely. Are they holding some of it back? Probably. But they had better figure this thing out. If the Wildcat doesn’t serve a defined purpose, it won’t work out.