Is the Bootleg Off the Table Against the Jacksonville Jaguars?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Tennessee Titans is sacked by Matt Roth #90 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during their season opener at EverBank Field on September 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The bootleg is a staple of the Jets offense. It usually provides Mark Sanchez with an easy and safe completion for positive yardage. It might not work against the Jaguars this week if their opener is any indication.

The Tennessee Titans tried running a bootleg twice. It worked neither time. The first time was on the first play of the game. Matt Roth snuffed it out, did not overpursue, and got himself an easy sack. Roth started at left defensive end. Bootlegs rely on deceiving the guy at that spot. He goes unblocked as a run is faked to the other side. Roth would be unblocked if there really was a run because the ball is going away from him, and it would not make sense to waste a blocker. If the end recognizes what is going on and does not follow the fake, he has a free shot at the quarterback. Roth is a smart player, and he destroyed the play.

The second element of many bootlegs is sneaking the tight end out into the flat after fake run blocking. The second time the Titans did this, Jacksonville recognized it and had a man covering the tight end. A pass was completed, but it went for a minimal game.

Perhaps this is reading too much into two plays, but the Jets love to bootleg. So far this year Jacksonville's new look defense has been disciplined facing it.

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