Will the New York Jets Continue to Utilize their Wildcat Formation in 2011?

The Wildcat formation has found its way into a lot of teams’ offensive playbooks around the NFL in recent years.

The premise, essentially, is that a skill-position player (a non-quarterback) takes the snap and runs the football or hands it off to a teammate to run the football.

With no quarterback on the field, it usually leads to an extra blocker for a runner, (although in some formations, the quarterback lines up at wide receiver and feigns a block) which can lead to big plays.

The Miami Dolphins took the league by storm in 2008 when they introduced their Wildcat attack for the first time, but last season it was the Jets who had the best Wildcat, which I wrote about last month here on the site.

The Jets have used the Wildcat, or Seminole as it’s sometimes referred to in their playbook after originally being designed for former Florida State Seminole Leon Washington, more often in the last few years, thanks to the talents of Brad Smith.

Over at theJetsBlog this week, in one of their more recent analysis posts by Bent, the Wildcat and its impact are explored. While going through the numbers, it appears that the Jets’ success with the formation is even more pronounced than expected.

Bent looked at all facets of the formation, and found that not only did the Jets tend to have more successful drives when they used a Wildcat/Seminole play at least once, but it also seemed to have no negative effects on the rhythm and success of quarterback Mark Sanchez.

So where do the Jets stand now, in regards to that part of the playbook? That remains to be seen.

Specialist Brad Smith excelled as the quarterback in those formations, but he is gone now, having signed a four-year deal with the division rival Buffalo Bills a few weeks ago.

Maybe the Jets dial down their Wildcat without him. Perhaps they will try to work on a new version of those plays with rookie fifth-rounder Jeremy Kerley.

All of that remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, though. This part of the Jets playbook is very potent and very effective. It would be wise for the offensive coaches to try to continue to implement it in some capacity in 2011.


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