There seems to be a lot of cameras at the Jets training camp. This Tebow fella may be responsible for that, or maybe it’s the celebrity sightings, including a celebrity who’s far more famous than her backup boyfriend, and I’ll always remember her as the young daughter who knew how to defend the veer in Remember the Titans (still love you, Hayden).
Or maybe it’s just New York being New York, where there’s a lot of beat writers who have little to do, and a lot of time to do it. Whatever the case, everything that happens with the Jets has been amplified as we conclude the first week of training camp, like when Antonio Cromartie said that he’s the second best receiver on the team and then followed that up with an equally dimwitted comment by saying he “didn’t mean anything by it.” Smooth.
So it’s in this environment that the Jets finally rolled out their wildcat package yesterday, featuring new wildcat maestro Tim Tebow. And lo, it was great, and it featured a quarterback running, and mostly just running. But hey Rex Ryan, how much will you use this new gadget? Surely you’ll keep it reasonable to maintain the element of surprise, right?
Yeah, that novelty won’t fade faster than a pack of Pogs. Nope.
To be fair, it’s quite difficult to make any accurate judgement about the proper level of wildcat usage in the Jets system, because Tebow is a quarterback and he therefore brings the threat of a throw, albeit a poor one. When Tony Sparano’s wildcat was at its height in Miami in 2008, Ronnie Brown was the default quarterback in wildcat situations, and he’s, well, a running back.
So sure, there’s definitely a possibility that Sparano will deploy the wildcat more often with a real human quarterback at his disposal, especially if the opposition is struggling to defend it. But how much is too much? Brown had 916 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in ’08, but he did it while averaging 13.4 carries per game. Many of those carries were conventional too, putting the number of wildcat touches far lower.
Regardless of the situation, more than doubling the wildcat usage seems unwise. If it works one week due to a team’s lack of preparation, it won’t work the next week with the amount of exposure Sparano would be giving his new toy.