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Jets keeping wildcat offense under wraps until regular season

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
We'll get our first glimpse of the wildcat when the Jets face the Bills in Week 1. (Getty Images)

For reasons that remain a mystery, the Jets continue to install the wildcat under a veil of secrecy. The team traded for Tim Tebow this spring explicitly to use him in the wildcat, though the particulars of this new(old)-fangled offense won't be revealed until Week 1.

Despite having yet to score a touchdown in the preseason, starting quarterback Mark Sanchez was even able to joke about it. “There's a lot of suspense,” he said via the Newark Star-Ledger. “Crazy.”

Indeed. How crazy remains to be determined. Coach Rex Ryan said that the decision was made to forego using the wildcat in preseason games and instead run it in practice against the Jets' first-team defense far from the prying eyes of the media and would-be opponents.

“We bounced that back and forth, but we made the collective decision we thought was in our best interest,” Ryan said.

Of course, new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano featured the wildcat for several seasons when he was with the Dolphins coach so it's not like the teams on New York's schedule won't have some idea of what to expect.

“For me to go there and put something out on the field and give somebody a month to prepare for it, I mean, a month,” Sparano said. “Again, I mean no disrespect but you guys (reporters) can figure that out in a month. I might have a chance to figure your job out in a month, okay? It's a month.”

Exacerbating matters: New York faces Buffalo in Week 1. The Bills hired quarterbacks coach David Lee this offseason, the man credited with much of the success of the wildcat in Miami. Ryan mentioned Lee as one of the reasons for keeping things under wraps. And Sparano suggested that, in theory, the formation will account for “100 and something snaps out of 1,100 snaps," which works out to 6.25 snaps per game.

Ultimately, the covert ops won't mean much if the Jets' offense flounders.

"Sure, it can work," Chargers running back Ronnie Brown, who excelled in the wildcat with the Dolphins in 2008, told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge recently. "The success of the wildcat was a culmination of a lot of things. We had the coaching staff that believed in it. We had the players to believe in it. We had the element of surprise. We had the athletic ability. And we had a lot of different guys who bought into the system, working for a common goal.

"I think that's the way they're [the Jets] approaching it in New York. You've got a guy in Tim Tebow who's obviously capable of making plays. You combine that with a hungry football team, and it's hard to stop that. When you have confidence mixed with ability that's something that's hard to beat. I'm sure those guys are working hard. We'll just see what happens."

For now that's all we can do. Let's just hope the Jets' "new" offense doesn't resemble what we've been subjected to during the preseason.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and like us on Facebook. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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