Jets coach Rex Ryan offered an odd explanation when asked why his team didn’t use the Wildcat at all in Friday night’s preseason opener against Cincinnati: According to Ryan, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis asked him not to.
Ryan used the call as evidence that opposing defensive coaches are concerned about what the Jets will be able to do with Tim Tebow this season.
“I know nobody’s worried about Wildcat and all that stuff. It’s real easy to stop,” Ryan said sarcastically, according to the New York Post. “That’s why I got a call at 7 a.m. the day before we played by Marvin not wanting to see the Wildcat. I guess I’m the only guy who thinks it has a place in the NFL, me and every defensive coach in the league.”
The New York Daily News also reported that Lewis made that request of Ryan, with whom he was once on the same coaching staff in Baltimore. It’s an odd request — doesn’t Lewis want his defense to be ready for the Wildcat if someone runs it against them in the regular season? — but it’s not the first time there has been talk of gentlemen’s agreements between opposing coaches before a preseason game. Last year Saints coach Sean Payton and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t see eye to eye about whether they were supposed to touch base and discuss strategy before their preseason meeting.
In any event, the Jets are free to run whatever plays they want, regardless of whether the opposing coach wants them to. The Jets chose to keep Tebow in the base offense (and as the personal protector on the punt team), and we may have to wait until the regular season to see Tebow in the Wildcat.