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Jaguars 'wildcat' can work with Denard Robinson

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have been running some "wildcat" with Denard Robinson, but this variation should be a lot more dynamic than the NFL is accustomed to seeing.

Logan Bowles - Void Magazine

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in the fifth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, designating him as a running back and predominantly playing him there in training camp. The team has also been lining up in some "wildcat" plays with Robinson, but simply calling it the wildcat is missing what the team can actually do with Robinson lined up at quarterback.


Robinson played in an offense at Michigan that was based around the read-option for much of his career, which is essentially what the "wildcat" is. You have the quarterback in the shotgun with at least a running back next to them and when the ball is snapped you make reads on the defensive line and either hand the ball off or keep it depending on how your reads react to the play.

What the Jaguars are doing with their wildcat package is more a full-on read-option package with Denard Robinson than the standard wildcat NFL fans are used to seeing, which involves a running back lining up at quarterback and predominantly keeping the ball and running it up the middle. There has been virtually zero threat of a pass out of the formations NFL fans are used to seeing, because most of the time the players lining up at quarterback have virtually no passing ability.


It's a bit different for Robinson though, as he was a three-year starter at quarterback for Michigan running read-option. Robinson has experience having to read the defensive end, the overhanging linebacker or having to read the interior of the defensive line depending on the play call from the formation. The biggest key to the play on the read-option isn't just making the correct read, but also making the read as fast as possible while holding on to the ball as long as possible before actually handing it off or tucking it back in and running, baiting the defensive player.


Despite being a rookie, Robinson is going to be a player defenses will take note of because of his explosive ability with the football in his hands. The best thing the Jaguars have done in training camp so far, and will likely do plenty of in the preseason, is show the read-option in a variety of ways.

The Jaguars can't just throw it out to defenses on a whim and expect it to work. They'll need to show it in the preseason a multitude of ways so that defenses have to prepare for it, but prepare for it to result in more than just Robinson keeping the ball and running with it.

Through practice, the team has had Robinson keep the ball, hand it off to multiple players in a variety of ways, as well as pass the ball after faking the handoff. They've shown rookie receiver Ace Sanders coming in motion and take the handoff from Robinson, gashing the defense down the sideline, as well as Robinson keeping the ball on the same look and running a pseudo-draw play up the middle.

The key to making something like the "wildcat", which in the Jaguars case I simply prefer to call a read-option package, is showing variety in the play. That's why the standard wildcat in the NFL is for all intents and purposes dead. Something like this with Denard Robinson however could work, and work well, especially with uncertainty at quarterback for the Jaguars.

The team is going to need a change-up on offense, and the multiple looks Denard Robinson can give them with the read-option can help.

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