The Jets Are Actually Practicing The Wildcat In Front Of Reporters And Banning Reporters From Writing About ItS

Erik posted a link to Mike Sielski's Wall Street Journal column last night about the Jets' secrecy with their Wildcat formation. The column dropped a "[REDACTED]" in every place where there would have been interesting or identifying information about Tony Sparano's offense, and it was funny, because the Jets have kept their Wildcat under wraps. They didn't run it against the Bengals in their first preseason game, and they haven't talked about it, even though they talk about everything.

"I think it can be a [REDACTED]," Sanchez said. "If we run it the [REDACTED] way, like Coach Sparano will do, we can be [REDACTED] with it."

See? Funny. But because we're stupid, we didn't realize that the Jets truly were holding secret wildcat practices. Here's The New York Times:

CORTLAND, N.Y.—About 9:15 a.m. Monday, at the far end of a dewy practice field surrounded by empty bleachers and only a handful of people who were not wearing helmets or whistles, Rex Ryan engaged in what may have been his most audacious piece of gamesmanship yet.

Just three days before the end of training camp—but 27 days before the Jets' season opener—the Jets practiced their version of the Wildcat offense, for which they had acquired Tim Tebow, the elusive quarterback who, Ryan insisted later, is still the backup to Mark Sanchez. The Jets had earlier placed restrictions on about 20 reporters who were present at the practice that they could not divulge the formations or personnel used in what Ryan later said were "just standard Wildcat plays."

PFT says it's S.O.P. for teams to put gag orders on the media regarding practiced formations. But how standard is it for teams to ban even the slightest bit of discussion? Reporters couldn't say whether Tebow or Jeremy Kerley or Shonn Greene or Antonio Cromartie took snaps, and they couldn't say whether the plays worked or didn't. Would it really be divulging too much to say that anyone who runs better than a 4.8 40 got a chance under center? (N.B.: We don't know that this is actually the case. We weren't invited to the Jets' practice, and, had we been, we probably wouldn't have been able to tell you that we were, and we certainly wouldn't have been able to tell you who was running.)

What do the Jets gain from keeping the Wildcat secret, anyway? An advantage in week one against the Bills? (The Bills whose defense, according to Football Outsiders, ranked no. 24 in the league last year?) Or do they just get a kick out of reassuring themselves that the beat reporters are at their beck and call?

Jets Keeping Wildcat a Secret of Sorts [NYT]