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Jet Sweep Football Clinic-Overview

The Jet Sweep

The jet sweep or speed sweep had been around football for many years. The idea of a back already running fast and getting the ball on a sweep can make things happen on the perimeter in a hurry. The play can be run from under the center as most of the Wing-T teams made popular from the 1990s on. But the jet sweep can also be run from the modern gun creating a little more depth and vision for the runners.

Jet Sweep from the Shotgun.

For the purpose of this clinic, we will refer to the play as "Jet Sweep" or simply as "Jet".

Jet sweep is a great way to get the ball to that receiver who may not have size but has speed, quickness, and moves. If we are only throwing to that guy he may only get the ball once or twice a quarter at most. With jet sweep coaches have the ability to create more touches for such a player. If you have a "good guy" that is faster than everyone else, jet sweep puts fear in the heart of that defensive coordinator.

The play puts extra pressure on the outside linebackers and defensive backs because of the ability to hit the perimeter so quickly. If the defense is playing man coverage, someone must go with that motion man. Zone defenses require adjustments as well as most of the time it means a third receiver is headed for the other side of the field. The motion happens so quickly that the defense often has little time to think and adjust. They must also assume the motion man will get the ball; however at times he will just continue the motion to form trips. The offense forces the defenders to think "speed sweep" and adjust to defend the play every time they see the motion. Thus the offensive coordinator can choose to run jet, runs or passes off the jet, or run any other plays or passes they have in their offense.

Jet Sweep vs Man Coverage-defender must go with receiver.

Jet sweep under the center vs 3 deep zone coverage-OLBs and FS adjust to the motion.

Receiver goes in jet motion but QB lets him go by. QB then fakes zone and throws quick screen to jet back.

Defenses hate to play teams that motion so much. The maneuver requires them to spend much of their practice time just getting lined up and dealing with the motions, whether jet motion or regular motion. This means they spend less time during a game week actually working on the opponent's runs and passes. Just getting adjusted and trying to defend the jet sweep properly is more than enough work for the week. In smaller classifications where teams play multiple players on both sides of the ball and prep time is less on defense, the jet sweep concept can be a daunting problem for defensive coordinators.

Compressed formations such as bunch trips cause additional concerns for defenses that play man to man coverage as picks and rubs can create open receivers. Add speed sweep to those formations and offensive coordinators compound the problem for the defense.

Jet sweep away from compressed bunch trips happens very quickly. The defense will have made their adjustment to the bunch trips, possibly thinking pass to the trips. Suddenly they get jet motion and jet back to the weak side.

To complicate the situation even more, offenses can create more confusion by putting a man in quick motion to force an adjustment and not give him the ball. They can then get that player set for one second and put him in speed motion back the other way forcing the defense to make a second adjustment. Or they may choose to put another receiver in motion back the other way.

Back goes in jet motion but ball is not snapped. The back stops and sets for at least one second. Then he goes in jet motion back the other way.

Offenses also add to the confusion by running the jet sweep out of a no huddle offense and running tempo. Forcing the defense to think quickly and adjust can confuse the great defender and limit his ability.

The jet sweep concept can be run efficiently out of multiple formations. Defenses must come to believe that the play is possible out of every formation the offense uses. Teams have had great success with jet out of compressed formations. High school defenders must be aware of outside in blocks and align properly so that they do not get sealed and allow the ball to get to the outside.

Jet can be run to tight ends as well as tight end and wing sets. Those wing sets also allow the ball carrier to run full speed jet from that closer position. Sometimes the ball has been given to the back before the defense realizes what just happened.

Jet sweep under center to a tight end wing. The tight end reach blocks. The QB hands on the jet and fakes trap to the fullback. The jet back runs to daylight being aware that the play might cutback and he might not get all the way to the outside.

Jet sweep from the wing hits very fast.

Empty sets of all kinds in the jet offense are adjustment nightmares for the defense as the sweep could come from any of the backfield players. If the OC has other offensive plays that can be utilized from empty sets (QB runs, passing game, etc.) the defense can really be in a bind.

Jet sweep out of empty towards the trips. The QB can still give the offense the threat of the inside run.

In today's modern gun offenses, teams love RPOs that allow the quarterback to hand the ball off or give him some kind of quick pass play. The RPO game is fully alive in a jet sweep offense with throws and screens to the backside receivers. Often adjustments by the rest of the defensive secondary will leave the backside receiver in one on one coverage.

When the RPO is attached to the jet sweep, the offense blocks jet while the backside receivers run routes. Here the QB has the pre snap option of handing off the jet sweep or throwing the deep shot to the split end or the quick out to the #2 receiver. There are multiple routes (including read routes) that can be used. When in doubt, the QB hands the ball off.

The jet sweep from the gun is a play that can also be read by the quarterback. The runner may need to slow just slightly, but the "power read" off of jet can force the defensive edge players and inside LBs to have some discipline in their play as well.

The jet can also become a "read" play, as in "jet power read". The QB rides the jet back and reads the "C" gap defender. Here the DE reads the down block by the tackle and squeezes, triggering the QB to give the ball to the jet back and fake the keep.

In this jet out of tight end/wing set, the QB reads the upfield charge of the defensive end (C gap player) and keeps the ball off tackle following the block of the backside guard. The QB may ride the back for two or three shuffle steps while reading.

The jet sweep is a play that can be used in multiple situations, even on the goal line. As teams load the box on a short yardage or goal line play, the threat of a quick play on the perimeter to a shifty and fast runner has to be a concern to the defensive coordinator.

The jet against a goal line defense. With four receivers at the line of scrimmage, the DBs must handle one a piece. The guard still pulls and the offensive tackle reaches the "C" gap. If the man over him doesn't fight the reach, he can seal up, often blocking the LB. The HB leads around, but it is possible to use him to help double the OLB over the slot back. The inside fake of the QB helps hold the LB inside.

Here is the best part of the jet sweep play. It is a complete offense that can cause all of the problems for the defense that have been mentioned previously. Yet it provides a complete complimentary run attack to provide power and misdirection within the box. Too many perimeter players can cause gashes with box runs against undermanned defenses. This is particularly true in the jet sweep out of the shotgun.

One of the best complimentary plays is the QB counter off of the jet sweep. It is normal G-T pull scheme. This certainly slows the pursuit of the defense.

The final nail for the defense can be the play action passing game off of the jet sweep. All of those adjustments and all of that movement with defensive backs who are concerned about defending the jet can lead to big plays in the passing game. Sometimes the defense sees the motion and the play and overcommits to the sweep play, leaving the secondary vulnerable to the play pass. Those play action passes can attack every part of the field. This means that when the receiver goes into jet motion, the defense literally must defend the entire football field, not just the jet sweep play.

Here is a simple flood route to the side of the jet fake. The OLB who has force and flat will attack the jet and then try to get back to cover the pass. The jet back sits wide along the LOS after the fake. Being under the center and turning his back allows the QB to hide the ball very efficiently.

The real key to the jet sweep play is the blocking of the backs and receivers at the edge of the defense. That area is called the 'war zone". It is the philosophy of the jet offense that in the second half when everyone tires, that the offense will be much better at running the play than the defense will be at defending it. The timing of the play and the blocks in the "war zone" must be practiced and perfected throughout spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp. Teams that stay with this offense year after year will find that experienced players that can make the blocks as well as run the sweep effectively are extremely valuable.

Offensive line coaches love the jet sweep play. The play side linemen have simple rules that cover almost every situation that they will see, while the backside guys can use simple backside blocking techniques.

Another great item about the jet sweep play is that it can be utilized in other offenses. Wing T teams, offset "I" formation teams and even Air Raid teams can make the jet sweep an important part of their attack.

In the next few sessions on the jet sweep offense, we will look at jet in the gun and under the center; the RPO game; the complimentary run game; the play action pass game; jet vs. goal line and short yardage defenses; some false scheme jets that cause additional problems for the defense. In this study we will also look at some variations of jet that other creative teams have used over the years.

Finally this in depth look at the jet sweep will look at some basic strategy ideas as you set up the offense to attack the defensive adjustments.

Whether this becomes your offense or you only use the jet play itself, hopefully this clinic will provide you with the knowledge and tools you and your coaches need to succeed. One last thought about the "Jet Sweep". It must be a good play- teams from pee wee football to the NFL have used it very successfully.


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