The long-anticipated debut of the Wildcat looked more like the Mildcat.
Talked about ad nauseam since a March trade sent Tim Tebow to the Jets, the Wildcat offense was supposed to be an unpredictable new wrinkle in the Jets’ arsenal. Instead, the Wildcat was tame at best in the Jets’ 48-28 season-opening win over the Bills.
Tebow didn’t throw a single pass and had five rushes for 11 yards in running the scheme.
“I was able to go in there and do some good things. Obviously we’d like to have a big play in there,” Tebow said. “But I felt like we had some good looks and will just continue to get better at it.”
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The real star of the afternoon wasn’t Tebow but starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. After a rough start to the game when he threw an interception on the opening drive, Sanchez settled down to go 19-of-27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns.
“He definitely turned it on today,” said wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who caught Sanchez’s first touchdown pass of the day. “There’s always a big target on Mark’s back and I think he likes it. He’s a guy we trust and know what he’s capable of each week. He showed it today.”
Last week, wide receiver Santonio Holmes claimed that Sanchez was “unsettled” by the trade for Tebow, but the Jets’ starter looked anything but. In fact, he seemed to thrive in the dual-quarterback set-up.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got plenty more in our grab bag that is the Wildcat,” Sanchez said. “Tim is an explosive guy.”
The situation and flow of the game may have dictated why the Jets decided to dial back on using the Wildcat as much as many had predicted.
“I felt like we did pretty good [on offense]. I felt we had efficient plays,” Tebow said. “Good communication, good out of the huddle. We were efficient for the most part.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.