In football, there aren’t a lot of one-size-fits-all approaches.
Most of what works best has to do with the kinds of players you have, the opponents you’ll face, and what your team is already comfortable with. That being said, there are still traditional wrinkles you can throw into your scheme with little effort, and today we’re going to talk about one of the simplest of them all:
Coach Bruce Cobleigh talks about the many benefits of running the jet sweep in this video, but let’s discuss a few of them here.
Before we talk about actually handing the football off on the jet sweep, let’s talk about something that’s equally dangerous for the defense: The threat of the jet sweep.
Just by putting a guy in motion from one side of the formation to the other while running a completely unrelated concept and you get defenders to freeze or even stick their nose in the backfield while you run a pass concept deep down the field to a now wide open receiver.
Teams have been pairing up the jet sweep with their more traditional run concepts for decades, and do you know why they continue to do it even after all these years?
Because it works.
Building on the first point, this has as much to do with scheme and preparation as actual play on the field.
This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize that defensive coordinators need to have a plan for every single one of them.
If the defensive coordinator doesn’t have a plan to stay gap sound and keep a hat on a hat for every possible way you have to run the jet, then eventually you’ll figure out what it is and gash the defense for a huge gain.
So many offenses these days are running the bubble screen and have other quick throws to get the football to their speedsters, but the simplest way is to shorten the distance between the quarterback and the intended receiver as much as possible.
The great thing is that you can very easily add this to your bag of tricks without much effort, and the payoff can be massive.
Since the jet sweep is a great way to get the football out on the edge in a hurry, what often ends up happening is that the ball carrier gets matched up on the outside with a single corner or safety having to make a tackle on his own.
If that particular defender isn’t such a great tackler, then a quick hand off across the formation can turn into a huge play just because your guy is better in space than their guy.
Like coaches say, it’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes, and if you’ve got a speedy and agile guy who can make people miss in the open field, then adding the jet sweep to your offense is a great way to manufacture opportunities for your best guy to match up against their worst guy.
When you’ve got a side-to-side threat like the jet sweep presents, the linebackers can’t simply flow downhill to take away a traditional north and south run scheme.
If they can’t flow downhill, then they can’t build momentum to match the big offensive linemen coming at them to seal them off from the play.