Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The football world is buzzing about the Jets and the triple-secret wildcat practice session they ran at training camp yesterday.The NY Daily News said the session was hidden in a “cloak of secrecy,” and Jets running back Joe McKnight refused to acknowledge that the wildcat even existed when he was asked about it.
It’s exciting, because when you hear “secrecy,” you assume that the reason the Jets are being secretive is that they’re hiding something big.
And on paper, they have the necessary parts to run a truly radical offence that they wouldn’t want getting out before the season began.
But the problem is this: There’s no such thing as radicalism in the NFL, so the chances that the Jets are really practicing an experimental offence behind closed doors are slim.
Pro football, while inherently exciting, is plagued by a lack of offensive variability — every team pretty runs the same stuff within a very narrow pool of plays, and there are exactly zero teams trying to go far outside-the-box. Compared to the extreme offensive philosophies that different college football teams have, NFL offenses are monolithic.
Yes, they change and evolve, but in baby steps.
The most radical piece of offence we’ve seen in recent years is the so-called wildcat. And even that is basically just a direct snap, which has been around for a while and is fairly easy to stop.
The pipe dream for the Jets is that they somehow create a system where they have two quarterbacks on the field at the same time — where Tebow nominally plays running back but is used as a passer sometimes and a runner other times. Tebow may not be a great traditional QB, but he has a unique skillset. And if the Jets found a way to use that skillset creatively, we would see an experimental offence that we haven’t seen in the NFL before.
But given the NFL’s reluctance to experiment, it’s unlikely that this will happen, even on a small scale.
The last time we had a situation where a team with an entrenched QB signed a unique, dual-threat backup QB was the Eagles with Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick. If there was ever a team that would try and invent a radical two-QB system, it was that team with the creative Andy Reid at the helm.
So while it’s intriguing to hear that the Jets are secretly practicing wildcat-esque plays, we shouldn’t assume that this will be anything we haven’t seen before. It’s probably way more banal than tweets like these make it sound:
Teams in all sports run closed-door practices all the time. This one just made headlines because the potential for the Jets to run something super-experimental is there.
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