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Shutdown Corner

New York Jets up the Wildcat ante; use garbage cans to improve their passing game

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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(Getty Images)

At this point, it's any port in a storm for the New York Jets' iffy passing game. Tuesday, the Jets brought in former franchise quarterback Chad Pennington to advise Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, and Pennington had a few wise words about the possibilities inherent in the team's new super-secret Wildcat package.

But we'll get to that later. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, the Jets are taking other new and revolutionary steps to make positive gains with the accuracy of their quarterbacks.

(@BrianCoz)

This tweet, which prompted a bunch of comedy from various Twitter wiseacres about the NFL potential of a garbage can in the Jets' passing offense, came after a few discouraging missives from Costello about the exploits of Sanchez and Tebow. Perhaps the Jets' two-headed quarterback rotation can be inspired by the abilities of Greg McElroy and Matt Simms to ping the middle of a Rubbermaid Roughneck. Or, maybe not.

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@BrianCoz

All in rapid succession, too. Yikes.

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Mets pitcher Johan Santana wears a garbage can during 2012 Picture Day; perhaps this was an inspiration. (Gett …

Anyway, on to Pennington, who played for the Jets from 2000 through 2007 before heading off to the Miami Dolphins, and helping the Fins put the first consistent iteration of the Wildcat on an NFL field in 2008. It worked very well for a while, Pennington remembered from Jets camp on Tuesday, and he believes it can work again.

"It's truly about finding an edge as a team. If this can provide a spark and provide an edge for this team," Pennington said. "Whether or not you use the wildcat or not, a team has to prepare for it week in and week out.

"Obviously Tim [Tebow] adds another threat with the ability to do the zone-read concept as well as being able to throw the football. Now they always have to have a free safety in the middle of the field because of the threat of the pass."

Pennington, who was the quarterback split wide for many of Miami's Wildcat formations in 2008 under then-Dolphins head coach and current Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, also understands that just as in college football -- where most of the more creative formation concepts originate -- you sometimes have to scheme it up to overcome a relative lack of talent at a particular position. He also dismissed any notion that taking the starting quarterback from under center on a package basis will disrupt his rhythm.

"Well, I think that's selfish," Pennington said. "If you think as a quarterback that this game is solely about you then I think you're sadly mistaken. This is the greatest team game ever invented."

The Jets had better hope so. And Pennington, who's been retired since 2010, had better hope he can clear out of town before the Jets offer him a tryout.

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