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 Is it time to retire the wildcat? 
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Post Is it time to retire the wildcat?
This is another topic which is subject to great debate amongst us fans. We all know how effective it was when it was first introduced in the 2008 season, but, how effective will it continue to be from here on out and should we base some or any of our draft choices on this one play alone?

phin2phin wrote:
Is it time to retire the wildcat?

This is another topic which is subject to great debate amongst us fans. We all know how effective it was when it was first introduced in the 2008 season, but, how effective will it continue to be from here on out and should we base some or any of our draft choices on this one play alone?

Back in 2008, Miami first used the wildcat week 3 in a game against the New England Patriots. During this game this scheme was used 6 times and resulted in 4 touchdowns. The Patriots couldn’t stop us and oh how good it felt to beat the Patriots 38-13 in Foxboro after starting the season with a 0-2 record. We were all sold!

During the 2008 season the Dolphins used the wildcat a total of 88 times for 579 yards averaging about 6.58 yards per play, but most importantly, the wildcat led us to win games. Other teams around the NFL started to adopt the wildcat as well but none of them were as successful as the Dolphins were.
The success of the wildcat certainly came not only from our ability to run it with the players that we had, but also because other teams just didn’t know how to stop it; they either couldn’t or weren’t well enough prepared to. But when we made it to the playoffs the Ravens defense stopped the wildcat cold by allowing only 7 yards to be gained out of the formation the two times it was used. We were dealt a crushing 27-9 loss and out playoff dreams were done.

During the first 6 games of the last season the wildcat was used 59 times for a total gain of 351 yards (5.95 yards per carry) and accounted for approximately 34.34% of all our rushing yards in those games. The next 5 games the wildcat was used 31 times for a total gain of 56 yards (1.81 yards per carry) and accounted for approximately 8.40% of all our rushing yards in those games. This decline wasn’t due to Ronnie Brown injury since he actually played in 3 of those 5 games.
The next couple of games the wildcat failed to make an appearance altogether. Still we managed to average 136.6 yards per game compared to the 153.55 we had averaged in the first eleven when Brown and the wildcat where in full use.

In looking at those stats it's easy to see that the success of the wildcat has diminished and will probably continue to diminish, especially when used against divisional opponents who have had a chance to prepare and encounter it several times by now.

Does that mean that we should stop using it altogether then? No! The wildcat should definitely continue to be a weapon for the offense; it just shouldn’t be the main weapon. If used occasionally the wildcat will continue to be an effective scheme when trying to throw off an offense who has been successful at stopping the pass or when used as an offensive weapon while we are in the endzone. Keeping the wildcat in our playbook will force other teams to spend hours studying film to be prepared to stop it when it comes and it will leave them with less time to prepare for the rest of our offensive plan which should be a lot different next season and should incorporate more passing since we have the weapons to do that now and other running schemes which we have also proved we have the tools to run.

Finally, considering that we already have the personnel that can run the wildcat effectively I don’t believe any part of the draft should focus on building up solely for this aspect; we have too many issues in other areas that need to be addressed during the draft. We drafted Pat White last season solely for this purpose and we all saw how great the wildpat turned out to be.

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Last edited by phins2phins on Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:40 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Most variations of it yes. Without Ronnie Brown then yes. Certain up the gut power formations are still working so we'll see next year.

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Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:01 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
With Ronnnie Brown running it.. I wouldn't mind seeing it 2, 3 times per game...

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Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:08 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Dan wrote:
With Ronnnie Brown running it.. I wouldn't mind seeing it 2, 3 times per game...


I have to agree. With the right personnel (i.e. Ronnie running the play), this is still an effective attack. Keep it in the gamemplan just reduce the amount of plays run during the game.


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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Dan wrote:
With Ronnnie Brown running it.. I wouldn't mind seeing it 2, 3 times per game...


I would up that to 5-8 times per game. With the right personnel, RB, RW and PC, the package was VERY effective this season. It ended up fairly ugly, but 2/3 of the reason why the package works was not there.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I think we should keep the wildcat, but also involve more of a double wing aspect to it to change it up everyone in awhile. The double wing was effective the first time we played the Jests but some how we got away from it after that game. Yet even though the Pat package was ineffective game in and game out we kept trying it.

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Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
eleaf wrote:
Dan wrote:
With Ronnnie Brown running it.. I wouldn't mind seeing it 2, 3 times per game...


I would up that to 5-8 times per game. With the right personnel, RB, RW and PC, the package was VERY effective this season. It ended up fairly ugly, but 2/3 of the reason why the package works was not there.


Actually if you look at the numbers the wildcat's success greatly diminished after week 6 last year and I think part of it was that we were using it too much. I don't think we should retire it I just think we should limit it to use in the endzone and to throw the defense off

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Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:14 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
phins2phins wrote:
eleaf wrote:
Dan wrote:
With Ronnnie Brown running it.. I wouldn't mind seeing it 2, 3 times per game...


I would up that to 5-8 times per game. With the right personnel, RB, RW and PC, the package was VERY effective this season. It ended up fairly ugly, but 2/3 of the reason why the package works was not there.


Actually if you look at the numbers the wildcat's success greatly diminished after week 6 last year and I think part of it was that we were using it too much. I don't think we should retire it I just think we should limit it to use in the endzone and to throw the defense off


If you mean only use it in the redzone, that's probably the one area of the field we should not be running it in.

The field is already so clogged up, now your asking teams to stack the box even further?

I agree with eleaf. 5-8 times a game with Ronnie...0 with PW....but keep it in between the 20's.


Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:18 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
If Ronnie Brown is around, we should keep the wildcat around.


Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:49 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
and we should definitely run it in the redzone, especially inside the 5


Last edited by MTFan on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:50 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I'm sorry I did mean to say the redzone, that's where it has proven tobe the most effective IMO

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Last edited by phins2phins on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:11 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Funny how I said this about a year ago and got flamed.


Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I starting to think that Phins2phins is starting this thread on every Dolphin fan site to run a Ad for his blog (I could be wrong, it happens a lot).

Anyway, I'll just copy and paste my same answer....................


It worked because of the two running backs we had in it. Much like the reason it worked in college was that D.McFadden and F.Jones were running it.

IMO, one big reason the Wildcat started to lose his punch was that we took the Ricky Sweep Option out of it. That is a important part of the formation. It works so well that Ricky made yards even with Pat White "QBing" it.

Mid season our Wildcat became Ronnie taking the snap and just running up in the middle with no other possible play on the table. I never understood why we took the option out of it.

If we get a good back up QB to replace Pat White we could risk using Thigpen in the Wildcat and we would have a real threat to pass. Thigpen is only half the runner Ronnie is but he is 10 times the passer.

Also, if Thigpen moved over to the WR spot, he would be a real threat to catch a pass (he has caught a TD pass in the NFL) or to take a hand off and pass the ball.

But all in all, once Chad Henne came in and started making plays and we were running well out of our normal formations, the Wildcat did not have the same important.
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
anywhere outside the redzone i say it causes momentum to be lost, the power running formations are just hard to stop even if you know whats going on and seem to be more effective in the redzone

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I would have loved to see Thigpen run this play as the QB several times to see if it opened up the passing game from this formation. The one problem I had with the wildcat after Ronnie went down, was the fact that it seemed there were a lot of negative yardage plays from this formation. Also, it seemed to me that it took Henne out of a rhythm. I don't think they should completely retire this play, just run it a couple of times a game. I still get upset thinking about what position of need Miami could have drafted for last year instead of taking Pat White.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I wouldnt mind phasing it out. But please retire the wildpat immediately.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
I agree Finesse. I still think with Ronnie running it, it works....with Pat it's a waste of a down.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Phins Rock wrote:

If you mean only use it in the redzone, that's probably the one area of the field we should not be running it in.

The field is already so clogged up, now your asking teams to stack the box even further?

I agree with eleaf. 5-8 times a game with Ronnie...0 with PW....but keep it in between the 20's.

I thought the WC -[and its variations] was MOST effective in the red zone, as long as we are not passing out of it. With Ronnie running it, the WC can be lethal inside the 30 yard line.


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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
When it comes to the Wildcat, some of you need to remember that "The Wildcat" was something in the back of Parcells mind even before he came to Miami. It will not be dead. The Dolphins just need a back up option to Ronnie Brown if he gets injured. I think the stiff-necked media will be shocked to see it in action next year and will attack it as often as they can.

As far as the WildPAT, I think the Dolphins were trying to have a passing option with a running QB. It's a nice idea, but Pat White needs to bulk up and adjust to the NFL. After watching how little arm strength he had in our last game, I cannot understand what the heck our coaches were seeing in practice. If White could not do it in practice (as was reported numerous times) then you surely cannot do it in a game.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Phin wrote:
Phins Rock wrote:

If you mean only use it in the redzone, that's probably the one area of the field we should not be running it in.

The field is already so clogged up, now your asking teams to stack the box even further?

I agree with eleaf. 5-8 times a game with Ronnie...0 with PW....but keep it in between the 20's.

I thought the WC -[and its variations] was MOST effective in the red zone, as long as we are not passing out of it. With Ronnie running it, the WC can be lethal inside the 30 yard line.


Ehh....from inside the 3 or 4 I don't mind, as chances are Ronnie is going to pick up 2 or 3. But to do it from the 15 or so does not make a ton of sense, IMO. Ronnie is not really too much of a threat to throw it when the field is that small, so teams are going to be able to stack the box even more.

I could be wrong, but since that first NE game, the redzone has not been as effective as inbetween the 20's.


Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:19 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Keep it unless... The motion handoff is the only way the Fins can run outside with the speed of the current running backs.


Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
No Way! You'll love the Wildcat even more when we draft Tebow

My idea is we make him into a fullback, let him apprentice behind Lou, & bring him into split back formations

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Put 20lbs of muscle on Pat White and let him run the Wildcat. Imagine the wildcat with RB, RW and Cobbs on the field with 2 WRs. Unstoppable if they can get Pat to complete a pass once in awhile.


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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Keep we do it better then anyone eles and we have the personal to run it and runit or pass it very well.

Look how many teams wanna use it even the sorry as jets who got seven points off of it today.


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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
The sorry Jets just played in a AFC championship game while winning 2 road playoff games. They have decent personnel to run the wildcat just as we do & also like us it has taken a ordinary offense & given it that element of surprise. Next season when teams will game plan for it , just like us it will not be as effective.
When something works , teams copy it ... I remember when the Cowbays back in the Staubach days were the only team to use shotgun formation ... now every team uses it just as much as regular formation.
I still think the wildcat is a bit of a gimmick but it does seem to have the ability to give a vanilla offense that boost to add the element of surprise & make opposing defenses think to much about it. At least for the first year a team uses it.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Like any offensive formation, you have to have the right people to run it. I guarantee if Miami could throw out of that formation on a regular basis, no team could stop it. Unfortunately Brown is a one trick pony when it comes to throwing the ball.


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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Big Dave wrote:
When it comes to the Wildcat, some of you need to remember that "The Wildcat" was something in the back of Parcells mind even before he came to Miami. It will not be dead. The Dolphins just need a back up option to Ronnie Brown if he gets injured. I think the stiff-necked media will be shocked to see it in action next year and will attack it as often as they can.

As far as the WildPAT, I think the Dolphins were trying to have a passing option with a running QB. It's a nice idea, but Pat White needs to bulk up and adjust to the NFL. After watching how little arm strength he had in our last game, I cannot understand what the heck our coaches were seeing in practice. If White could not do it in practice (as was reported numerous times) then you surely cannot do it in a game.


Eh, he's got the arm strength. He's just not doing something right. I read that they were messing with his delivery? Was this before or after he hit the golf cart? Because you don't just start messing with someone's delivery like that. If it was after the golf cart, then yeah, something's gotta change. Just from watching the one throw he made against Pittsburgh I can think of about 5 technical errors he made.
Feet weren't set, and he seemed to be rocking to the side as he threw it. This is panic...something we saw with Beck. The ball went straight into the ground which means he delivered it way late, or his grip on the ball is too tight...which makes sense if he's nervous.
His shoulder weren't pointing to the receiver, but rather parallel with the sideline.

Too many things wrong with that to correct...he's not a quarterback, and never will be. Convert him to whatever, but for goodness sakes, he's an emergency quarterback not a backup or starter.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
Steve Zissou wrote:
No Way! You'll love the Wildcat even more when we draft Tebow


If we draft Tebow, I think I'll puke. No. I know I'll puke. In fact, I will puke more than any human has ever puked before.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
eleaf wrote:
Steve Zissou wrote:
No Way! You'll love the Wildcat even more when we draft Tebow


If we draft Tebow, I think I'll puke. No. I know I'll puke. In fact, I will puke more than any human has ever puked before.


That would be relative to what you have eaten prior to regurgitating it...but I don't know. If Miami picked Tim Tebow (especially with their first pick) they'd be putting a lot of eggs in one basket. I think he is the BEST man to run the Wildcat...I mean, he tore up team after team with it in college. I think I'd probably puke more if New England picked him.

That being said, don't pick Tebow to keep him away from New England...just don't pick Tebow UNLESS he slips to the third...then I think it becomes interesting. I wouldn't pick him in the 3rd either, but if he falls that far you'd have to think Miami would have some interest in a guy that could run what they wanted out of White.

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Post Re: Is it time to retire the wildcat?
eleaf wrote:
Steve Zissou wrote:
No Way! You'll love the Wildcat even more when we draft Tebow


If we draft Tebow, I think I'll puke. No. I know I'll puke. In fact, I will puke more than any human has ever puked before.


Tebow did nothing to improve his draft standing in the Senior Bowl. Of course, the pass protection was horrible for him. I really don't think we'll see the Dolphins drafting Tebow as Pat White is in the same mold.

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