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Nice primer on "the wildcat" and some interesting words from The Dark Lord.
It's going to be real interesting to see what Sparano and Rex come up with. Hopefully, it'll be a lot more than just copying what was done down in Miami.
Tim Tebow's Jets Wildcat: What exactly is the Wildcat?
Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 1:54 PM Updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 1:56 PM
Jimmy Kempski, NJ.com By Jimmy Kempski, NJ.com
In 2008, Tony Sparano's Dolphins started off the season 0-2, and were coming off a bad loss in Arizona to the Cardinals, in which they were outgained 445-236 in a 31-10 drubbing. Per Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated in his great book "Blood, Sweat and Chalk" (which details how the great all-time coaches built the NFL that we know today), frustrated with consecutive offensive showings through the first two weeks of the season, Dolphins QB coach David Lee pitched the idea of running a similar version of the University of Arkansas' Wild Hog formation to offensive coordinator Dan Henning. The following week, the Dolphins merely dipped their toe into the "Wildcat" waters. The Dolphins ran their brand new "Wildcat" offense just six times against the Patriots that day - and it went for TDs four of those six times.
After the game, Bill Belichick was asked about the formation that had just destroyed his defense that afternoon:
"We knew this stuff was out there. We knew somebody was going to try it. But you've got limited practice time, and you just can't waste any of it preparing for something that a team hasn't shown yet."
The Wildcat is nothing new, and is a variation of the Single Wing, which has been around for more than 100 years. In the wake of its overwhelming success against the Patriots, Tony Sparano was the first NFL coach to fully commit to the Wildcat. The premise of it is fairly simple. It gives the offense an extra blocker on running plays. Belichick explained in Layden's book, "When you put a QB under center, you lose a blocker... you basically play with 10 men on offense. But when the QB is one of those runners... the defense runs out of people to defend you."
To the right is a diagram of the first Wildcat play the Dolphins ran that afternoon in New England. A few things to note:
- The offensive line is in an "unbalanced" alignment. This is typical in the Wildcat formation. Left tackle Jake Long moved from his spot on the left side of the line all the way over to the right side, next to RT Vernon Carey. They also lined up a TE behind the two side-by-side offensive tackles for added beef.
- Pre-snap, the flanker, a role played by Ricky Williams that season, went in motion.
- The QB was Ronnie Brown, who is typically a RB by trade.
- When the ball was snapped, Brown faked the handoff to Williams, who ran around the edge, taking the attention of defenders with him. Meanwhile, left guard Justin Smiley pulled across the formation into the hole between Long and Carey, and Brown walked in for the easy TD.
After the game, Rodney Harrison said (via ESPN's game recap), "I don't know why in the world we couldn't stop that play. They just came in and beat our butts." The reason was simple. The Dolphins won the numbers game, in terms of blockers vs. defenders.
The Wildcat was never a mystery to NFL coaches. It was simply something they didn't prepare for. The above example is a basic "meat and potatoes" type of play, but there are a whole slew of creative looks you can give from that formation. Opposing teams will have to prepare for it against the Jets this season, but of course, as our Jenny Vrentas reported, it is still a mystery how the Jets will deploy their version of the Wildcat.
One other interesting nugget from Layden's book, which was published before Tim Tebow entered the league, was Belichick's prophetic take on Tebow:
"There aren't many players that can run and throw. Tebow obviously, is a special one. But you've got major questions, because if you run him 15 times per game, how long will he last before they break him in half? But he is obviously special, and it's going to be very interesting to see what happens when he comes into this league. Do you run your regular offense and let him scramble when he scrambles? Do you put in a few plays just for him? Or do you really build an entire new offense around him?"
I think all of that could potentially be on the table with the Jets this season. We probably won't begin to find out until Week 1 against the Bills.
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Tebow, I call it the "Later Gator".
That being said, copying and pasting the response you get from the ignore feature wholly defeats the purpose of it - which is to avoid unnecessary nonsense between you and whoever you are ignoring.
Don't do it again.
I hope we're not simply going to see the same wildcat package that Sparano ran in Miami with Tebow taking the place of Ronnie Brown. I don't see that being particularly effective.
I hope they run more of a read-option offense like the Broncos ran with Tebow last season.
I'll admit, I'm excited to see this. We don't have a lot of talent on offense so if this new wrinkle can move the chains and produce some big plays I'm all for it. And we all hated Schitty's offense anyways
Well, no doubt the Wildcat surprised the Patriots the firs time around since it was the first time Miami ran it....didn't work too well against the Pats after that though.
Even given Belichick's acknowledgement that defenses need prepare for the Wildcat, aren't Jets fans concerned that the Jets will send a disproportionate time preparing on the offensive side relative to the opposing defenses?
One can almost presume that the amount of intentional press coverage that was supposedly on the QT today was more smokescreen than situational preparedness.
Just a respectful question of curiosity.
Thus far, it hasn't been the focus at all. If today was "wildcat" day, that's not a disproportionate amount considering the regular reps the guys otherwise get.
Crash- when the Phins demolished the Pats it was one of the all-time WTF games I have ever sat though (almost as bad as a playoff game two years ago).
Miami came into Foxboro in week 2 of the Matt Cassell season, and unleashed lightening in a bottle against a completely unprepared Pats team. It wasn't as though the novelty wore off, the effectiveness wore off.
One other question- didn't Rex say he was going to have much more of a say in the offense this year? Everything seems to be all about Sparano. New cult, different personality?
I don't see why there couldn't be plenty of options to throw the ball from that basic wildcat look. You have two tight ends, a wide out, and two flankers. The left one could be Kerley who can throw the ball pretty well, or run a screen. The flanker in motion could be Santonio, or Powell, who could take the hand off or could run a wheel route. The TEs could pass protect, chip then disengage into the flat, or run a post depending on how they cover it. Seems to me that it would be very hard to defend with a very good passing RB like Tebow. If they throw out of this formation at least 30% of the time then they would have to respect that, and it would give Tim some really open spaces to run in. I mean the way we defeated the wildcat was to ignore the pass and run blitz the QB. I always wondered why we never threw the ball with Brad Smith, but I'll bet Sporano will with Tebow. We always have the option of going to a spread option at any time since we still have the personnel to do it without huddling. Then we could put Sanchez back in and I'll bet the defense will be totally gassed, and in disarray. I really think we could do some things with this as long as we do it right. Like after we start a drive deep in our own territory, at like 2nd and long (As people know, I hate running plays on 2nd and 10 or more.), and not just throw it in the middle of a drive where Sanchez and the conventional offense is moving the ball the way Heimer did it.
Remember what I said about running on 2nd and 10. A real good run still leaves you in 3rd and 5. Odds of converting that, are probably 20%. I'd always rather take 2 shots passing for 10 yards, yet most teams still seem to run most of the time on 2nd and 10. I would like to run that wildcat on 2nd and 10 or more, especially in our territory.
Last edited by NY's stepchild; 08-14-2012 at 11:54 PM.
any type of offense can be stopped. the patsies stopped the doltfins because the wildcat is all they had. if the wildcat team can't pass then the defense stays at the line and will win the numbers at the point of attack.
the jets should be able to not only play the wildcat better but also be able to run a conventional offense better. the key word is should. couple that with their defense and it could be really interesting this season.
The game planning for the defenses will be impacted far more.