Monday, June 1, 2009

Should The Wildcat Pounce More This Season?

The biggest catch word of the '07-'08 NFL season was "Spygate."

The catch word for '08-'09 was "Wildcat."

The Wildcat offense, a variation of the single wing offense that your grandfather used to run in high school, baffled defenses last season for some long runs and big scores for the Dolphins.

Essentially, Ronnie Brown sets up as quarterback, Ricky Williams stands next to him and Chad Pennington assuming the role of a wide receiver. On the snap, Brown tucks the ball into Williams' gut while reading the line and defense. Then—like any NFL running back would—takes the ball back and tries to make something happen.

There were a lot of potential reasons for this: Maybe Pennington wanted a play from the wide receivers' view or maybe Brown had himself in his fantasy football league.

Whatever the reason, Brown usually does make something happen. No one stopped it until Baltimore did wild card weekend of the AFC playoffs—a 27-9 blowout won by the Ravens at Dolphins Stadium.

It's hard to recall all the downs and distances the formation was used but the simple truth is this; no matter how many times the opposing defense seeing it on tape, they still have to stop it.

But throw in a mobile quarterback, giving him these two offensive horses in Brown and Williams then someone who can find the open spot in the field for a 8-25 yard pass and every play can be a Wildcat play.

The upside to the Wildcat from last year is it put the ball directly into your playmaker's hands. The downside was it took the ball out of Pennington's—the most underrated quarterback in the NFL.

The upside to the Wildcat this year is that you have Pat White who can run this thing and still spread the ball around, However, the same downside happens.

This offense can be effective and the coaching staff knows how to get a lot out of it. I'm leery of the chance to get too greedy with it. Keep it controlled and used more for 4-7 yard off-tackle runs and it won't hurt your team.

The Wildcat can only do two things this year: Be just as productive as last season, or fizzle. I'd be crazy to suggest the later, but I feel the surprise factor is gone so I can't really pick the former.

Only time will tell if the Wildcat should pounce this year.

Bleacher Report


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