Apparently, the New York Jets have just been taking their sweet time with the Wildcat, and now, they’re really ready to unleash it. So says Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News , who relayed this bit of info from the Jets’ PR department before Monday’s practice: Well, good. There shouldn’t be a problem with the bunker approach. Is isn’t as if anyone has free access to specific information about the Wildcat concept, and its three primary plays — Steeler, Power, and Counter, plus the play-fake pass that could come off a reverse. Oh, wait … you say there IS such a thing? My goodness. David Lee, the man drawing the Xs and Os of the Wildcat in that video, used to run it at Arkansas with Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. And it was Lee, not former Miami Dolphins head coach and current Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who brought the wildcat to the NFL on a large scale in a Week 3 upset win over the New England Patriots. Lee, then the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach, gave Sparano the idea. And Lee is the Buffalo Bills’ current quarterbacks coach. So, the Jets’ secretive approach should pay extreme dividends! Or, maybe it’s just the Jets who are puzzled by the ‘Cat. When they lost 17-13 to the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos in Week 11 of the 2011 season, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine now recalls that they were so busy preparing for the Tebow Wildcat they didn’t really see, they were unable to adjust to other things. From the Daily News : It’s a question that confounded defensive coordinator Mike Pettine when the Jets faced Tebow in Denver last season. After the Jets shut down the Broncos for 3½ quarters, Tebow beat them with a frenetic 95-yard game-winning drive in the final five minutes. Part of the reason why? Pettine said the Jets had exhausted so many hours preparing for the Wildcat/read-option plays that they didn’t have time to practice two-minute situations in the run-up to the game. So when Ryan consulted Pettine before the Jets traded for Tebow in March, the defensive coordinator was all-in. “Absolutely,” Pettine told Ryan. “I’d rather face him in practice than a game.” Never mind that, per Football Outsiders’ 2011 game-charting , Tebow didn’t run a single play classified as a Wildcat. That includes the Jets game, which saw Tebow using far more of the read-option ideas he’s been running since he became a red zone weapon for Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. It’s not that Tebow can’t run the ‘Cat — he’s certainly got the general skill set to do it very well — but that wasn’t what the Jets saw. The winning play was a simple Tebow bailout against the Jets’ Cover-0 package. We expect announcers to confuse read-option and Wildcat plays — they do it all the time.
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