CORTLAND – “We’re going to run some Wildcat with Tim, that’s no big secret.”
But apparently it is.
As much as Jets head coach Rex Ryan tried to downplay the secrecy surrounding the much-hyped scheme, several players – including quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow – gave clipped soundbites when asked about the Wildcat. Others, pretended as if they had never heard the word before.
Running back Joe McKnight feigned ignorance when asked about the team’s Wildcat walkthroughs on Monday. And while Sanchez said he enjoyed the fast-paced tempo of practice and agreed the Wildcat gives the Jets a competitive advantage, he consistently – with a smile, though – deferred all further inquiries about the Wildcat to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
“I think it’s a great scheme,” Sanchez said. “I think coach Sparano really knows how to handle it. And he’s going to put us in the best spots we can possibly be in, give us an opportunity to move the chains and it’s our job to execute.”
But he also explained the importance of keeping gameplans close to the vest.
“I’d say that’s important,” the starting quarterback said. “I mean, it’s part of our scheme and strategy. I can’t divulge those details.”
Tebow agreed that “scheme-related” info should be kept in-house, “but at the same time, we’ve got to go out there and execute and run it. So you can’t be too secretive either.”
In his afternoon press conference, Ryan once again stressed the advantages of employing the Wildcat. “You guys know how I feel about it,” he said. “It takes up a lot of preparation time.”
As proof, he presented Exhibit A – the Jets’ 30-25 loss to Miami on November 11, 2009. Dolphins QB Chad Henne finished 12-for-21 for 112 yards and had an 87.8 quarterback rating.
“We struggled stopping the Wildcat. And then at the end of the day, we couldn’t stop anything,” Ryan said. “That was the day I said the guy looked like Dan Marino.”
Asked how much time he’s spent in the past preparing for the Wildcat, the Jets coach couldn’t give a definitive answer. “I think it takes a lot of your time,” he said. “Some guys say it’ll take 1/3 of the practice, others it will take less than that. I don’t know if it’s that much, but I know it’s on your mind.”