At one point during his press conference with the Miami media Wednesday, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was asked one question about the wildcat package. Then another question about the wildcat package. And then he got a little annoyed.
“Why the infatuation with the Wildcat?" Del Rio grumbled.
And that leads me to this: "Why the infatuation with the Pat White spread option?"
I have been no fan of this package throughout the season but I've been biting my keyboard, trying not to speak against it, deferring to a coaching staff that obviously believes in it because they see it in practice. So I've been waiting for it to, you know, actually work.
But after what we saw last week during the New England game, the thinking here is the so-called WildPat or PatCat or Spread Option or Direct Snap or whatever you want to call it needs to go away. Please!
So what happened last week?
In case you didn't see the game or the replay Wednesday night on NFL Network, you missed another step in quarterback Chad Henne's maturation process. For the first time this season, the Dolphins put the game on his shoulders, asked him to win for them, and he did.
Yes, he won the first meeting versus New York with some timely passing. But that game was won primarily by the Dolphins running up and down the field on the Jets.
Sunday's 22-21 victory over New England was won because Henne threw 52 passes and completed 29 of them for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Henne outplayed Tom Brady in that game.
Henne also didn't have to concern himself with shuttling in and out of the game a dozen or so times while the team ran the Wildcat and the Spread-Option-Direct-Snap-Mumbo-Jumbo.
The Wildcat was on the shelf. And White ran two plays out of his package -- one on which he tossed wildly to Ricky Williams for a fumble and a 15-yard loss, and the other for which he had no gain.
So White's stats this game was two rushes for zero yards and a fumble that resulted in a 15-yard loss. But the stats are not what we're concerned about right now. The point is that as Henne was finding himself, the Dolphins asked him to leave his position twice.
And is that important? Only to Henne, who agreed Wednesday he plays better when he gets into a flow, a rhythm of the game.
“Yes. You definitely do," Henne said. "The more you throw the more I guess consistent (you get). It really puts you in that rhythm and you just feel comfortable out there, you know bang I am going to hit that throw and on the next play you get another pass play and another opportunity. You definitely get in that rhythm.”
Understand that Henne is not complaining about being taken out. He would never do that publicly and probably not privately at this stage in his career. But the fact is taking him out and putting another QB in can be counter-productive. That's not just a reporter telling you that. Coaches say it. Players say it.
The Dolphins have ignored all that this year because they have that conviction that White adds something to the offense. But -- and here is where statistics come into play -- that fact is White has actually added precious little.
He has thrown three passes this year -- one against Atlanta, one against New England in the first meeting, and one against Tampa Bay. He did not complete any of those throws.
He has rushed 14 times in eight games this year for a total of 50 yards. That's not terrible, except when one considers 45 of those yards came in that first New England loss. In the other seven games White has carried the ball, he's rushed eight times for five yards.
Eight times. Five yards.
That is not production worthy of playing time. In fact, that playing time is starting to feel like stubborness on the part of somebody that is expecting White to bust loose more often for the type of gain he had in that first New England meeting.
In that first game against the Pats, White had a 33-yard run. That singular run is the only reason I can see for continuing to use Pat White while shoving aside Chad Henne.
I can, meanwhile, give you 335 passing yards worth of reasons why White should not be on the field any more. He should either be replaced by Tyler Thigpen if the Dolphins want to continue running the Spread Direct Snap, or shelved altogether along with the package that hasn't been working.