The Rundown: Not Another Wildcat Shoehorning

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Another year another discussion about whether the Jets newest quarterback can run the Wildcat?

It could be, but we sure hope not.

Tebow in 2012, which ended like this.

Geno Smith last spring

While the Jets have used their backups in similar capacities before … could they do it again with Tajh Boyd?

“We’ll see as it gets going,” Ryan said when asked if Boyd is locked in as a quarterback. “Certainly, he’s got the running skills that we saw in college that you might consider doing different things with him.”

Boyd is a threat as a runner, having rushed for 26 touchdowns — a huge total for a passing quarterback — in four seasons as a starter at Clemson. That figure included 10 rushing TDs in each of the past two seasons.

[…]

“If it happens, I guess I’ll make the most out of it,” Boyd said of possibly playing a non-passer role. “But I just really can’t see that happening.”

It might be that the Jets practiced some of those formations over the weekend, but not being there makes it hard to say.  Play calls and formations are an area reporters are not allowed to write about, but if players talk about it?  That’s another thing.  Theoretically, could Tajh Boyd handle such a role in an September NFL game?  It’s possible, but it doesn’t seem plausible or likely from my perspective.

Boyd did show some wheels in college, where he was more a pocket passer who benefited from his supporting cast when throwing, but he also benefited from those same receivers when be would take off running.  Make no mistake, Tajh Boyd is no Brad Smith redux.  Boyd ran a pro-style offense while the Jets 2006 pick Brad Smith quarterbacked an option-heavy offense at Mizzou.  Smith also ran a blazing 4.46 40 yard dash at the Combine.  Boyd ran a 4.84.   For comparison, Tebow ran a 4.72.  Boyd doesn’t have that open field burst like Smith did … but he does have a better arm.

Even so, what if the Jets were to use Boyd as a Wildcateer?

Maybe it could work best in the red zone.  Boyd’s rushing touchdown totals in college indicate that he was a pretty serious red zone threat as a runner.  Of course I’m sure having Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant helped.  While Boyd’s average yards per run isn’t impressive (2.3 YPC) keep in mind that college doesn’t remove sack yards from the rushing equation, like the NFL does.  In that case his numbers are closer to five yards per carry, but it’s still less impressive than Geno’s were coming in a year ago.

Even if we were to somehow get past all this, the luxury of activating a third quarterback for gameday to run a few Wildcat packages is a bridge too far.

Tajh Boyd is likely going to have both Mike Vick and Geno Smith ahead of him on the roster.  Both of whom are better NFL quarterbacks already and both are well-equipped to run the ball when necessary.  Geno Smith demonstrated those skills during the 2013 season and Mike Vick has always been known for his ability to create yardage on the ground.  Why activate a third quarterback for at most three to five plays per game when the backup (be it Geno or Vick) might get better results?

In the end, Boyd and his new team need to worry about rounding Boyd into an NFL quarterback first and foremost and grooming the former Clemson star into a long-term backup.  SportsOnEarth’s Mike Tanier came to this conclusion about Boyd not long ago.

Boyd’s best NFL opportunity may come as a designated backup … [c]areer backups have different skillsets than top prospects. They need ever-ready work habits and a spark-plug playing style. Boyd has both. He can take his name off the free fall list and put him on another list, one that includes Shaun Hill, Bruce Gradkowski, Josh McCown and Seneca Wallace: professional middle relievers who can hang around the NFL for a decade. Boyd can emerge a winner after all.

[…]

The Senior Bowl, his pro day and the combine keep pointing in the same direction: toward Day Three of the draft, the chance to give a coach a firm handshake and stake out a career as a spot starter and pepperpot. He could have Andy Dalton playoff runs in a Maserati offense and/or a dignified McCown late career. It’s all about expectation management: his, his team’s and ours. Boyd can emerge from his free fall as a useful, well-compensated NFL player.

The Jets have struggled to find a competent long-term backup who can be ready at a moment’s notice and could steer the team through some tough times while the team’s starter can’t play.  Boyd can be a useful part of this team for a long time, if he is allowed to focus on what he needs to … which is becoming an NFL quarterback and not a gadget player.

Boyd’s dismissal of running the Wildcat is what we hope the Jets are thinking too behind closed doors.  Boyd could be the right player to provide a valuable player that every NFL team needs.  That is if the Jets focus on the right things.




26 comments
NYCPEinGermany
NYCPEinGermany

They should talk about it so that opposing DCs perhaps spend a few minutes thinking about it, but in the end not bother with smith & vick ahead of him.

SackDance99
SackDance99

Vick is only the best running QB in NFL history. Yet, we're to believe that Boyd would be brought in to run the wildcat? Makes no sense. Smith can run, too. Just put read option plays in and let the starter run them. Breaking offensive continuity to bring in a very raw rookie QB, who would also take up a game day roster spot is silly.

HarthorneWingoStarr
HarthorneWingoStarr

Am I the only one here that hates seeing Richardson line up in the backfield. Obviously he's effective but all I keep seeing is a shattered knee from a low tackle. The guy is much too valuable for this crap. Sign a real fullback or a back that can get you a tough yard inside. Oh wait, we've already got one and his name is Chris Ivory.

will898
will898

I hate the timing of when the wildcat was called. It seems like it was called after Sanchez or Smith threw 3 straight completions and was developing a rhythm.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

The Wildcat to me is a dumb play, it's pretty much an option play, why not just let the starting querterback do it, especially if he's mobile?  I rather have the college option play because you can do 3 things, Pass, keep it and run or hand it off, or a combination of run and toss or run and pass.  The wildcat isn't fooling anyone, all a defense need to do is stack the box, rush the WildCat QB, because they know he won't be handing it off, and they know they need to get to him before he sets his feet to throw, and seal the edge. Just my opinion.

Floyd Toucanet
Floyd Toucanet

Why has it been determined that Boyd cannot be a great starting QB? The guy hasn't even been on the practice field a week in the NFL and people are already stating as a fact that he cannot be a successful starting QB. Ridiculous.


Marty Luc
Marty Luc

why do the jets need a 3rd string QB to run the wildcat when the 2 guys that will eventually battle for the 1st string QB are just as good with their legs and are better passers than the 3rd string guy??

juunit
juunit

Never really a good idea to run your backup QB out there for anything but being the QB. Though I'm sure if he has to play for whatever reason, they will run some options with him. 


I would also like to point out that many of Boyd's carries in college were designed runs up the middle, often from heavy formations. While I'm not trying to tell anybody that Boyd is a burner, his coaches weren't setting him up for 20+ yard scrambles either. I wouldn't compare his running to other QBs. There aren't many other QBs who run between the tackles like Boyd did at Clemson.

WW85
WW85

We have the greatest running QB in modern history. Vick should be under center on lots of short yardage plays. The NFL is too uptight about who the starting QB is--QBs should be interchangeable based on their skills

kniff
kniff

Hey in all fairness, trick plays can work...remember last year we had Josh Cribbs throwing the football? We had some success with Brad Smith as well...

bradysucks
bradysucks

I don't think this is a story....



Jets have Boss Hogg in the backfield for trick plays....


If they do use the wildcat you do it with Jalen Saunders and Kerley.......If you give Boyd a wildcat formation it is most likely done with Boyd throwing deep as an option (something he does well)


I don't see the Jets using the wildcat that often now that they have Vick and some legit weapons.....the wildcat is a gimmick

@denzilland
@denzilland

The last time we really effective ran the WildCat was when Brad Smith was here. When Tebow was here he ran it well too. I think it's time to cage that WildCat.

Bent
Bent moderator

@SackDance99  As I said below, Marty used the wildcat when Vick was his starter in Philly, but he didn't use Vick, nor did he use Vince Young - a running QB.  He used Maclin, McCoy and Bryce Brown as the "quarterback".  This suggests it's just a different way to get the ball into the hands of a playmaker and who the QB is makes little difference.  With Boyd not being that kind of player, I doubt this will be much a of a consideration for him.


He did, however, run some designed runs with Vick, just like he did with Geno last year.

D
D

@will898 I agree, almost seems like they were getting to "cute" at times.   Its a good call to get a first down and that is it really.

jetlife
jetlife

@Floyd Toucanet  Rex said on Friday something along the lines of "There's obviously a lot of work that needs to be done there." He had the best WR in the country bailing him out a lot as well.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Marty Luc  Right - when is the #3 even active?

a57se
a57se

@WW85  

So we can now use three QB's and Kerley in the Wildcat at the same time! 

Bent
Bent moderator

@bradysucks  Well, Bassett's post is essentially saying "this isn't a story" is it not?


"I don't see the Jets using the wildcat that often now that they have Vick and some legit weapons.....the wildcat is a gimmick"


It's worth noting that when the Eagles had (a) Vick (b) some legit weapons - Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy and (c) the same offensive coordinator the Jets do now they DID still use the wildcat.  However, when they did, Vick would go to wideout and the person taking the snap was not a QB (even when VY was there) but would be Maclin, McCoy or Bryce Brown.


This leads me to conclude that (a) the wildcat is something Marty will use sparingly and (b) the playmaking ability of the person taking the snap is more influential than their QB skills.  I agree, you're much more likely to see Kerley take the snap than Boyd.

High$ocietyJet
High$ocietyJet

I don't get why the "wildcat" is such a dirty word if use correctly at the right time it can be effective maybe 10 or so times in the season.

Bent
Bent moderator

@JETS_ @will898  I agree that this was happening with Sanchez, but we had a different OC back then.  Don't recall it happening as much with Smith.

bradysucks
bradysucks

@Bent @bradysucks  


Brad Smith wasn't an accurate passer and we almost never saw him throw out of the wildcat. Tebow threw a beautiful deep ball out of the wildcat that was dropped by a wide open Jets WR (forgot which one). 


It seems to me that Boyd is a far better passer than Smith or Tebow and would be much better at presenting a passing threat to a defense defending the wildcat (than either Brad Smith or Tebow). Obviously Smith and Tebow were better runners.....


The guy who intrigues me if the Jets were to run a version of the wildcat would be Jalen Saunders who has very quick acceleration and can easily be a scoring threat if the o-line opens up a hole for him.....


The wildcat is interesting to me......mainly because the Jets now have QB's in Vick and Boyd who can BOTH run and throw.....(Smith & Tebow were strictly running threats)

bradysucks
bradysucks

@Bent @bradysucks  


Screw the wildcat.....Lets just hand the ball off to Boss Hogg 25 times a a game and throw it to Amaro the rest of the time........That ought to wear down any defense....


lol

Bent
Bent moderator

@bradysucks @Bent  "Brad Smith wasn't an accurate passer and we almost never saw him throw out of the wildcat." 


More evidence that he was in there for his running ability rather than to throw the ball.


"Tebow threw a beautiful deep ball out of the wildcat that was dropped by a wide open Jets WR (forgot which one). "


If, by "beautiful" you mean "slightly underthrown" then I believe it was Chaz Schilens who failed to make the catch on his back shoulder.


That wasn't a wildcat though, just a read-option, as most of the plays involving Tebow were.  However, I do understand that "Wildcat" has become the brand name for any play where the starting QB isn't the guy taking the snap.