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Jets vs. Broncos: Discipline Is Key to Stopping Option Based Attack

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The Denver Broncos have shifted to an option based attack with Tim Tebow at quarterback. They ran the ball almost nine of every ten plays last week. What the Jets need more than anything to shut them down is to stay disciplined. Option attacks do their best when the defense overpursues the ball and forgets assignments.

Everybody has a specific role defending an option play. Some options have the quarterback taking the ball outside with somebody running outside him waiting for a pitch. One defender is responsible for the quarterback. One is responsible for the pitch guy. If the defender on the pitch guy overpursues and tries to tackle the quarterback, the quarterback will pitch it to the outside guy, and there will be no defender to stop him.

If a defender is responsible for the back side of a play, he needs to stay there. If he overpursues to try and tackle the quarterback, there might be a receiver in the space he vacates ready to catch a shovel pass and take it up the field.

Defensive linemen need to treat every fake up the middle like it is a live handoff. For some option plays, the first option is a dive. If defensive linemen go too far up the field trying to get to the quarterback, he might hand it off.

I think the Jets have a big edge defensively in this game. They have excellent run stoppers. They can also trust their cornerbacks with virtually no help and have their safeties load the box. I would not be surprised to see a lot of looks with no safety deep under the theory the Jets' corners can handle their receivers alone, and the incredible inefficient Tim Tebow likely will not be able to make them pay even if they do somehow break free. If the Jets approach it like this, there will always be a defender unblocked on run plays. There are only ten potential blockers on a play since somebody has the ball. The only way Denver will have success will be for somebody to blow an assignment.