Steelers-Jets play of the week: Wildcat Fake Jet Sweep Power
As quick as the wildcat came in, it was gone.
Miami dusted off the rarely used formation five years ago with great success against New England (six plays resulting in four touchdowns), spawning a league-wide trend that had half of the league using a wildcat by year's end.
Within a couple years, the wildcat — an offensive formation that involves a running back lining up as a quarterback with the choice of running, throwing or handing off — disappeared and was replaced by the read-option.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is bringing it back.
Through five games, the Jets have used the wildcat with mild success — 14 carries for 59 yards — but it has proved to be consistent. Of the 14 times they've used it, eight have gone for 3 or 4 yards.
The Jets' favorite way to use the wildcat has been with fake jet sweep action.
The offensive line is in a “tackle over” set where tight end Jeff Cumberland lines up on the weak side of the formation next to guard Vladimir Ducasse, with left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson flipping to the strong side next to right tackle Austin Howard.
Tailback Bilal Powell is 6 yards behind the center as the wildcat quarterback, with fullback Tommy Bohanon up tight to the strong side of the formation in between Ferguson and Howard. Wide receiver Stephen Hill is in the slot to the right, and quarterback Geno Smith is on the outside with Jeremy Kerley in the slot to the left of the formation.
The key to the play is the speedy Kerley.
He comes in motion left to right at full speed at an angle where he passes just inside Powell at the snap so he can take the handoff around right end or fake doing so.
This is an important aspect because the play happens faster than a normal sweep or outside zone play, and if the defense doesn't react quickly or doesn't have a defender in position to make the tackle, it will result in a big play.
Kerley has taken the handoff only once this season, but that might change against the Steelers because of different personnel. With the Jets' receivers hurting and the return of running back Mike Goodson from suspension, the Jets could use Goodson instead of Kerley as the jet-sweep action guy.
However, the Jets ultimately want the play to go to Powell.
At the snap, Powell fakes the handoff to Kerley/Goodson and takes a counter step to his right before following a pulling Ducasse in either the A or B gap on a power run. Bohanon doubles the left defensive end with Ferguson to create a seam.
The Jets use the wildcat in other unique ways as well.
Against Buffalo, Powell took the snap out of the wildcat, ran to the right end and flipped the ball to Smith, who threw the ball deep downfield.
Twice against Tampa Bay, Smith walked up to the line like it was a typical offset-I formation before sprinting to the right to line up as a receiver and have Powell run the wildcat.
“They mix in enough of (the wildcat) in that you know that when you step into a stadium, you better be prepared to deal with it,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Bryant suspension opens doors for other Steelers’ receivers
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in preseason loss at Bills
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Steelers safety Thomas excels despite anxiety of replacing Polamalu
- Steelers ink QB Vick, new teammates OK with signing
- Starkey: Steelers stopping themselves with suspensions