The first rule of the Jets’ new Wildcat offense is to not talk about the Jets’ new Wildcat offense.
More accurately, the first rule of the Jets’ new Wildcat offense apparently is to talk about it in very oblique ways, in the hopes of scaring other teams into wasting time trying to figure out what they’ll be facing when quarterback Mark Sanchez jogs off the field and Tim Tebow trots out.
As we explained last week, there’s a chance the Jets won’t use the Wildcat or the Tebow read-option at all, and that a completely new offense is being devised for their unique quarterbacking talent, or perhaps when it comes to passing lack thereof.
Tony Sparano made it clear (sort of) on Tuesday that there will be an alternative offense.
“Rex and I just had a long discussion,” Sparano said. “That’s assuming that we’re even doing any of this stuff and when we’re going to do it and how we’re going to do it. Just because we have a player in the building here that has some history running the football, not really in the Wildcat by the way, doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s exactly what we’re going to do. All that being said, we know there’s going to be some version of something, I think that’s been said. With that being said, we just had a good discussion about it. We talked about the pros and cons, putting it out there or not putting it out there. If it is something that we’re going to do, should we put it out there? If it’s not, why waste time putting it out there?”
Sparano was asked whether the secrecy has anything to do with the fact that former Dolphins quarterbacks coach David Lee, who helped devise Miami’s Wildcat, now works in that same role with the Bills.
“No, listen with David Lee, if we were going to do the whole thing, I mean shoot, David, he knows it,” Sparano said. “They’re going to do some version of it. There’s no question about it. They have Brad Smith and David Lee, they’ve got some parts. They’re going to do some version of it. David knows what’s going on. It’s not a secret.”
But it is a secret. And it’s a secret because the Jets want to keep people confused, so that they waste time getting ready for stuff they’re not even sure they’ll be facing. Though Sparano opted to talk in circles, Ryan was more direct.
“[P]art of the thing with the Wildcat is, quite honestly, their quarterback coach was with Tony in Miami,” Ryan said. “So, he’s very familiar with the Wildcat. But still, there’s no sense in putting it out there on film [in preseason games]. Let them guess and hopefully it messes them up.”
Ryan also said that the Jets haven’t used it in the preseason because they believe they’ve done enough with it in practice. “[W]e feel pretty comfortable about it,” Ryan said. “It’s not something that Tony never did, because Tony, he knows, maybe not the exact approach in Miami, but we feel good about being able to run the Wildcat effectively.”
Of course, no update regarding the Jets’ Wildcat (or whatever it will be) would be complete without some input from Tim Tebow, who was asked on Tuesday whether he even calls it the Wildcat.
“I call it whatever Coach Sparano wants me to,” Tebow said. “In high school and college I called it ‘our offense.’ I don’t know. It has always been based on play.”
Regardless of the Jets’ efforts to keep everything quiet, the reality is that plenty of Jets already have been cut and 22 more will be sent packing on Friday. The Bills would be wise to claim one or two of those guys on waivers, hoping to pick their brains about what the Jets will be doing.
That’s a common dynamic as rosters get cut. It will take on an even greater level of importance this season, for the Bills and for other teams the Jets will be facing early in the season.