AFC East: Wildcat offense

The New York Jets are expected to have an extensive Wildcat package this season. New York acquired former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who has experience with the read-option offense in college and the pros.

New Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano unleashed the Wildcat on the NFL several years ago with the Miami Dolphins. Sparano used two running backs – Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams -- in Miami, and he talked about the differences this week with using Tebow, a quarterback, in New York.

"With Ricky (Williams) and Ronnie (Brown), the reason that we had to do it in Miami at that time was those were really our two best players at that point, and part of the philosophy was to get the two best players on the field at the same time. And in doing so, we created some matchup problems that way. I think the difference (with Williams and Brown) is there was very little element of pass involved in that, where obviously with Tim, that's a different element. So if we decide to go down that road, the element of being able to throw the football out of that brings a complete different dynamic into the picture here."

If effective, Tebow is expected to take some pressure off starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and add a unique element to the running game. Tebow averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2011, and has the athleticism and toughness to move the chains.

Many feel there is a brewing quarterback controversy in New York. But Sparano thinks Sanchez will respond fine with fewer snaps. Tebow could get anywhere between 1-20 plays per game, depending on the game plan and opponent.

"I'm not concerned about that, no, I don't think so," Sparano said. "I think with all the work that we'll be doing between now and the time the season starts and all the steps, I think we have to remember that Mark, he's been under center here for a lot of games, for the three years that he's been here, and I think that between now and training camp and through training camp (with) all the snaps that Mark will get, I think we'll be in good shape."

Thoughts on the Jets and Tony Sparano

January, 11, 2012
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The New York Jets dropped two bombshells late Tuesday night with their offensive coordinator position.

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Sparano


First, the Jets announced that Brian Schottenheimer informed them he will not return in 2012. Then, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that Schottenheimer's replacement would be former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano.

Here are some thoughts on Sparano taking over the Jets offense next season:
  • It's an interesting hire to say the least. On the plus side, Sparano is very well-liked and well-respected by players and coaches. That is much-needed in New York's locker room, as tensions brewed and chemistry dwindled down the stretch. Sparano is good at handling personalities and that skill will come in handy with the personalities in New York's locker room.
  • On the minus side, Miami's offense was too conservative at times under Sparano. That was something Schottenheimer was criticized for this season. Sparano's offenses in Miami got progressively worse during his four-year tenure. The Dolphins were ranked No. 22 in 2011, No. 21 in 2010, No. 17 in 2009 and No. 12 in 2008. Sparano's success the first two years, in large part, was due to the Wildcat offense. Once opponents figured out the Wildcat, Sparano's offenses were never able to equal the early success.
  • Finally, can Sparano develop Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez? That will be the most important factor in whether Sparano succeeds or fails as New York's offensive coordinator. Sparano tried to develop a young quarterback in Miami -- Chad Henne -- and it didn't work out. Now, he will try again with Sanchez. New York's former first-round pick has some tools Sparano can work with. But Sanchez needs to take a big leap forward next season to prove he is the long-term solution at quarterback in New York.

Defenses will need new manual to stop Fins

September, 23, 2008
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AP Photo/Winslow Townson
Ronnie Brown ran for four TDs and passed for another against the Patriots on Sunday.

Bill Belichick's library is believed to contain the world's third-largest collection of football books behind only the Library of Congress and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His collection of more than 500 titles is housed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where Belichick's father coached 33 years.

While his New England Patriots use their bye week to regroup from Sunday's incredible 38-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins, this might be the perfect occasion for Belichick to get away and center himself.

On a shelf somewhere in Ricketts Hall he likely will find "Winning Single Wing Football: A Simplified Guide for the Football Coach," written by Dr. Ken Keuffel, who played for Princeton in the 1940s.

At the top of the book's cover is a testimonial:

The principles of single-wing football are enduring, and they're all covered by Ken Keuffel. Every coach in football can profit by reading this book. -- Bill Belichick


Had he reacquainted himself with Keuffel's book while preparing for the Dolphins, Belichick might've gleaned a tip or two on how to neutralize an unusual offense that gave the Patriots fits.

At least by NFL standards, there was nothing by-the-book about Miami's fascinating victory Sunday in Gillette Stadium.

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