New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Jets' Calvin Pace now a Wildcat convert
CORTLAND – Calvin Pace was forced to eat his words Wednesday.
The Jets linebacker once was a self-proclaimed hater of the Wildcat. But now that Tim Tebow’s come to town, Pace finally is a believer.
After Tony Sparano’s Miami Dolphins defeated the Jets, 31-27 in Week 5 of the 2009 season, Pace voiced his feelings about the formation.
“I can’t respect that stuff, all that Wildcat,” he said at the time, despite the 110 yards the Dolphins gained on 16 Wildcat plays. “We’re in the NFL. Don’t come here with that nonsense.”
Though Pace perceived the Wildcat as a gimmick, the formation has been a part of the Jets’ game plan in recent years. Brad Smith – a former quarterback at Missouri – was their main Wildcat threat before the wide receiver signed with Buffalo before the 2011 season. Former running back Leon Washington also assumed the role for the Jets.
Of course, Tebow’s Wildcat has the potential to be very different from anything Jets fans have seen before.
Or Pace, for that matter.
“Yeah, I guess I’m going to have to eat my words on that one,” he said with a laugh. “You know, that was a stupid comment by me, we got our butts kicked.
“At the end of the day, it’s still the same running schemes, you just have to count the quarterback, you have one extra blocker, so I think it’s good. We’ve had our success with it with Brad Smith and I think we’ll have the same success with Tim. How much they’ll run it? I don’t know. When they’ll run? I don’t know. I’m sure Tony has some things brewing. Even if they (the offense) don’t run a snap of it, I think people will have to prepare for it. The more a defense has on their plate, I think it helps the offense. We’ve had to deal with it. Teams who you think will run the Wildcat, they might run it twice. You’re spending a certain amount of time working on it when you could have been working on something else.”