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Rex, Quarterbacks Talk a Little Wildcat

For the Jets, this morning's closed practice in Cortland was somewhat different than those previous.

The players practiced their usual amount of time, stretched the same way and performed mostly all of the same drills.

However, something new was introduced.

The new item on display: the Wildcat offense.

"If you have a team that's built to run the football, there's no reason you can't run the Wildcat," head coach Rex Ryan said.

For months now, Ryan had repeated that his team would run the Wildcat this season. Yet besides one goal-line drill early on in camp, the Jets hadn't practiced the offensive formation until today.

"We put a couple of Wildcat plays in there today and that was good," Ryan said. "I was kind of excited to see that."

The Wildcat offense was popularized in the NFL in 2008 under Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano when he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

During his time in Miami, Sparano had success running the Wildcat with featured running back Ronnie Brown leading the charge. Ryan noted that Brown was tremendous running the football in the Dolphins' scheme, but believes his backup quarterback, Tim Tebow, is more of a threat in the Wildcat formation due to Tebow's running and passing ability.

Tebow, the former Heisman trophy winner, is familiar with the Wildcat and many expect the Jets to be effective using it with his combination of size and speed.

"It's something that I've had so many reps and gone through that so many times, especially at the University of Florida and even in high school, too," Tebow said. "So it's something I'm very comfortable with."

Fourth-year starting quarterback Mark Sanchez is supportive of the new offense and feels it could be a potent weapon.

"I think you run it the right way, like Coach Sparano will do, we can be explosive with it," he said. "We have some great athletes and we want to use all their talents."

At Ryan's news conference following practice today, he discussed how the Jets used to use former backup quarterback Brad Smith in some Wildcat packages and that the main issue when implementing the Wildcat is the large amount of preparation it requires.

"It takes a lot of your time," he said. "Some guys say it will take a third of your practice."

The team may not put the Wildcat into use during its next preseason game against the New York Giants. But they will down the road.

"I trust Coach Sparano with it and however he thinks the best way to use it, that's what we'll do," Sanchez said. "I know the entire offense has full faith in him and we're excited about the scheme."

Tebow added that Sparano is "someone that is extremely creative and extremely passionate. He's going to do whatever it takes to win. It's not same old, same old with him. He's continuingly talking about new things, looking at new things, and I think that's the sign of a great coach."

Will installing the Wildcat translate into a magical season for the Green & White? Time will tell.

"It could help us a lot and hopefully it does," Sanchez said.

And for Tebow, the expectations and demands this new offense carries with it don't look to affect him. Instead, they should help him thrive, just like he's done up to this point in his career.

"We're just out here trying to execute the plays that they call," Tebow said. "Hopefully I can add something to this team. I feel like that's why I'm here. Whatever I can do to help, I'm going to do it with all my heart."

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