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Jets to Install Read Option Package for Geno Smith?


Rex Ryan says the Jets might install a package of read option plays for Geno Smith, even if Mark Sanchez begins 2013 as the starting quarterback.

Jets coach Rex Ryan left open the possibility that the team could run a package of plays, including read-option, for Smith where he would come off the bench and replace Mark Sanchez. Last year, the Jets tried to do something similar with Tim Tebow and it failed miserably, but Ryan won't rule out doing it again.

"I know what everybody's thinking if we did that – didn't we try that last year?" Ryan said. "I think certainly that's a possibility. To probably make assumptions now probably isn't the thing to do but we'll let this thing work out and pan out and we'll see."

Of course, this is widely called a Wildcat package. Jets quarterbacks coach David Lee was actually the guy who came up with the idea to run this for the Miami Dolphins back in 2008. The Dolphins were not the first team to run the package, but they are widely credited with making it a mainstream NFL weapon. I know many will cringe at the thought of more Wildcat, but the Jets might struggle to move the ball with a conventional offense so they will have to throw in a few wrinkles to have success.

This actually intrigues me the most if Geno is the starting quarterback. Last year, Washington and Seattle both used designed quarterback runs extensively in their offenses. This helped their rookie quarterbacks thrive. It gave the teams an extra weapon they could utilize to gain yardage while minimizing the throwing workload of their quarterbacks. It punished defenses who overpursued running backs on handoffs. The quarterback could pull it out and run to the area vacated by overaggressive defenders for big gains. It also forced defenses to sell out against the run, opening passing lanes for the quarterbacks and receivers.

It is unknown whether how effectively Geno can be as a runner. There were not many designed runs in his college offense. He was timed with surprisingly fast 4.5 speed in the 40 before the Draft. To me, though, he did not look that explosive in college. He looked more like a guy with functional mobility than game breaking ability like Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have. If Geno looks like a 4.5 guy on the field as a runner, it gives the offense a necessary extra dimension. Then again, the Jets are not exactly flawless when it comes to envisioning wrinkles like this.