What Is A Jet Sweep In Football?

What is a Jet sweep in American football? A jet sweep occurs when the Quarterback hands the ball quickly to his wide receivers.

Every football team utilizes various strategies for their team to gain the upper hand, whether in offensive or defensive play. The quarterback is in the prime position to call the play and dictate how the play will proceed forward. 

When the offensive side is seeking to gain yards, they have many strategies to choose from. The quarterback can throw in long passes, scramble himself, or put short effective passes. 

One such strategy is the Jet sweep which many Football teams have employed throughout the NFL and NCAAF history.

Jet Sweep In Football

Jet Sweep in American football is a play where the Quarterback smartly hands off the ball to his wide receivers. 

Usually, the running backs are the ones that get handed the ball after the ball is snapped. The WRs run forward on several routes depending on the play style. 

However, the Jet sweep involves the offense deploying wide receivers in such a manner that they start to run parallel to the line of scrimmage before the play is even called.

The QB then calls for the play to begin at the right moment so they can hand off immediately after receiving the ball. The WR will circle the defensive end with the ball and run forward from the sidelines. 

This play can be utilized in various offensive formations and can bring positive results in all of them. 

The Purpose of Offensive Linesmen during Jet Sweep

The offensive line will need to protect the wide receiver since they will run with the ball immediately after it is snapped.

However, the five offensive linesmen will not actively protect the receiver like the QB. They will devise a false playstyle to disorient the defensive team.

When the ball is called into action, the offensive tackle positions will generally go forward and engage with the outside linebackers to block them from the receiver. The Tight end can also help in dealing with the linebackers. 

They can gain better yardage when the WR has no linebacker. 

The Purpose of Quarterback during Jet Sweep

The quarterback will need good time management skills during Jet Sweep. 

The QB will receive the ball, and every defensive eye will be on him. The defenders will start to pile up on them to sack as usual. 

However, the Quarterback has to click two moments perfectly during the Jet sweep.

The first thing is that the QB needs to know when the Wide receiver will come close to him before the snap. The second thing to mind is when to snap the ball so that he can hand it quickly upon getting the ball.  

Having a great pocket presence will also help the QB to focus their view on other sides to maintain the illusion of a normal play. 

Upon perfect execution, the defenders will not have proper reaction time and will make wild chances of tackling the QB, ultimately resulting in an offensive victory.

Advantages Of Jet Sweep

The great execution of the jet sweep will help to avoid many penalties incurred from sacks, interceptions, and QB fumbles.

When the QB hands the ball immediately, the defense is not interested in focusing on them but shifts toward the receiver. This will automatically prevent getting sacked, which is advantage No.1.

The 2nd advantage is that there will be no incomplete passes or interceptions. When a QB makes an inaccurate throw, his ball can get intercepted for a loss of penalty. It also has a chance to score a touchdown by the opposition team.

Conducting a jet sweep means running with the ball, so there will be no risk of interceptions.

The 3rd advantage is that QB will not have fumble now, which they are vulnerable to due to pressure during pocket passing.

Another thing that jet sweep can be used is to throw off the defensive reaction. As the wide receiver runs with the ball, the defenders can get aggressive and even overreact. The offense can use this to their benefit.

However, only a well-executed jet sweep will yield such advantages. This is why coaches and fans need the help of skilled and sturdy linesmen and a well-aware Quarterback to pull off such a fantastic strategy.

Concepts Related To Jet Sweep

The offensive playbook has many strategies like Jet Sweep that they can deploy under any circumstances. 

These playstyles make for interesting and diverse gameplay that ultimately becomes enjoyable to watch.

Jet Sweep vs. Sweep

The jet sweep involves the wide receivers, whereas the Sweep involves the running back. 

When the sweep play is called, the QB passes the ball to their Running back (RB), who will start to run lateral to the line of scrimmage.

Also, the Running back will not run before the snap as the receiver does in the Jet sweep.

Three offensive linemen, the center, a tackle, and a guard from either side will help the RB by blocking the defenders, who will also simultaneously run parallel to rush the Running back. 

If the players organize a strong side sweep, the Tight end will also move in along with the three linemen and get involved in defending the Running back from tackles.

Jet Sweep vs. Fly Sweep

Fly sweep is the mixture of both a sweep and a jet sweep. 

A fly sweep involves the Running back making a run to the field laterally as the wide receiver does in the jet sweep. Then the RB will move in an orbital manner and gain a forward position from the sidelines. 

The offensive linesmen will block like the sweep, where they will also move along the Running back’s position and hold off the defensive ends and outside linebackers. 

Since both the Jet and Fly sweep require the ball holders to run before the snap, the defenders’ eyes can easily anticipate the strategy. So, there is another play that the offense utilizes that has its charm, called the fake jet sweep. 

Fake Jet Sweep

The offense employs the fake jet sweep to throw off the expected move. 

The defense may expect the jet sweep after one or two plays and will look for such a strategy again. However, the offensive side can trick the defenders into rushing for the wrong player with this playbook.

Fake jet sweep entails the wide receiver running laterally to the field and acting like he is coming into contact with the Quarterback. The QB will then make a fake pass and hand the ball to the Running back. 

Since the linebackers and defensive linesmen will focus on the wide receiver, they can slip up while catching up with the RB, who now possesses the ball. The Running back will also have fewer defenders to worry about since most defenders are focused on the WR.

Jet Sweep Reverse

A jet sweep reverse involves the offensive side flowing the entire defense to one side before handing the ball to another player running in the opposite direction. 

The reverse will initiate when the QB passes the ball to his running back, which will then run laterally to the left or right. Another player, particularly the Wide receiver, will sit at the opposite end of the run.

After the entire defense is running along the Running back’s side, the RB will then pass the ball to the opposite-ended receiver, who will then shift the whole defense’s focus to the reverse direction. 

Performing a reverse can lead to the defense going awry and great yard gainage. Moreover, the offensive linesmen will also have time to target the defenders since they expect the defense to shift in the opposite direction.

All these sweep tricks have one big disadvantage: the offensive ball carriers spend considerable time behind their line of scrimmage.

Defensive Guide to Jet Sweep

Defending a Jet sweep requires the defensive side to have two positions: A Force defender and a Near Deep Defender.

A Force defender will be ready to tackle any player out of the pocket. This will be important during sweep plays as the ball carriers will come rushing from the sideline.

The Near Deep Defender will not make any tackles behind the scrimmage line, but they will cover any deep passes on that side of the field. This position will not move forward unless the ball comes over the scrimmage line. 

The Force defender can only utilize his tackling efficiently if he has the Near Depp defender to watch out for any passes. Moreover, the defense has to quickly note who the force and near deep ones are since the sweep plays act quickly.