End of the Tiger (Wildcat...Seminole)?

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - NOVEMBER 21: Brad Smith #16 of the New York Jets celebrates a play against the Houston Texans during the first half on November 21 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

One thing I have heard lately from both analysts and fans is that the Jets should scrap the Brad Smith Wildcat package because it hasn't been effective the last two weeks. I'm not so sure this is the case.

The Texans and Bengals largely limited its effectiveness, but I think there are other factors at play. It wasn't just the Smith package the Texans shut down. The offensive line consistently lost the battle up front. Gang Green only ran for 3.3 yards per carry. It didn't matter which Jet was running with the ball. There was no room. The Bengals are a bit of a different story. Smith absolutely gashed them last year in Week 17. One can only imagine Marvin Lewis put in a disproportionate amount of time to practice stopping it. It's not deception based. The Jets aren't really trying to fool people anyway. It is execution based, and Smith is plenty able to make big things happen with the ball in his hands.

I would like to see certain tweaks to the way the Jets use Brad. I think the first thing that needs to go are the straight handoffs when he is at quarterback. The Jets seem to view this as a way to keep defenses honest. It doesn't work, though. Gang Green predominantly runs with Smith at quarterback. Defenses are going to sell out on the run. There needs to be an option on the play. When there is the threat of a pitch or another handoff, it leaves one less guy who needs to be blocked because a defender will have to commit to a ball carrier who will get rid of the ball. This also goes for the straight quarterback draws the Jets run.

I also think the Jets can vary their use of Smith more. How about lining him up in the backfield? Maybe get him the ball on stretches and pitches to get him to the edge. They can get him the ball in space using the screen game. There's also the obvious idea to let him throw it. It might be time to let him let it loose again since defenses seem to be selling out on the run. 

Brad creates a headache for opponents game planning. He is a gamebreaker. Even though he only gets the ball a small percentage of the time, defenses have to dedicate a lot of time to stopping him because one failure could be disastrous. Practice time is a zero sum game. Time spent preparing for Smith is time not spent getting ready for Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards.

I say continue lining up Smith at quarterback. Don't quit on the package after the last two weeks. The team can certainly add more to the way it uses him, though.

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