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Tony Sparano defends the Wildcat package

The Wildcat isn't working very well anymore, folks. At least it wasn't working against the Jets to the point it seemed misplaced within Miami's play-calling.

But coach Tony Sparano today defended the use of the scheme that two years ago led to an improbable upset of the New England Patriots and last night seemed to contribute to Miami's downfall.

Sparano said the Wildcat's production was "average," and then he was asked if he believes the package was at any time a hinderance to the flow of the offense?

"No," Sparano said succinctly.

"I would tell you we ran reverse that was a minus play. We probably ran two or three others that were four-yard plays, which is what we're looking for," Sparano said. "I mean, we're not looking for 40-yard plays out of the thing. It's an efficient run. Ronnie had two or three efficient runs out of the thing. He threw a pass out of one of them that, to be quite honest with you, we threw down the field to Brandon, but if we threw the wheel route, it might have been a 30-yard gain. I ain't all stuck on that. Not at all."

The official game book didn't paint quite as rosy a picture of the Wildcat as Sparano did, however. Bottom line, the Dolphins ran out of Wildcat eight times by my count. It gained seven total yards. It accounted for one incomplete pass. Of the eight plays, four accounted for no gain or a loss of yardage.

The plays according to the game book:

Second quarter

First and 10 from the Jets 18 yard line:Ronnie Brown loses one yard.

Second and 11 from the Jets 19 yard line: Brown gains four yards.

Third quarter

Second-and-15 from the Jets 35 yard line. Brown has no gain.

Two plays later on first-and-10 from the Jets 20: Brown gains 5 yards.

On second-and-five from the Jets 15: Brown gains four yards.

On the next possession:

First and goal from the Jets 7 yard line: Brown gains one yard.

On the following possession:

First and 10 from the Miami 24 yard line: Brown throws incomplete to Marshall.

Fourth quarter

First and 10 from the Jets 36: Cobbs on the end around loses six yards.

It should be noted Brown gained 14 yards on five Wildcat carries. His carries out of the base formation accounted for 40 yards on six carries.

So that seems to build a case against Wildcat. But you must remember, the Dolphins lately are using the Wildcat package to even the odds on run plays. Seems most teams on early downs are stacking the box against the Dolphins on run downs. That means Miami is always at a one-man disadvantage in that with the QB under center, the defense always has one more defender than Miami has either blocking or running.

With the QB out of the way in the wildcat package, the Dolphins even the odds. So,yes, Wildcat is a downhill running offense.

Of course, that begs the question, why the reverses to Cobbs or Marshall.

By the way. The Dolphins seem to like Wildcat. Still. They get the only votes on the matter. Everyone else is kinda out-voted.


Sparano was asked the reason cornerback Jason Allen was on receiver Braylon Edwards much of the night -- a matchup that Allen lost -- rather than using superior cornerback Vontae Davis on Edwards. Coach said it was because coaches thought Allen's size made it possible for him to compete better with Edwards.

That didn't excuse Allen's tough outing.

"Jason would tell you he needs to do better," Sparano said.

Jason, by the way, doesn't need to tell me. I saw it. He needs to to much, much, much better to stick Randy Moss or Wes Welker or Brandon Tate next Monday night.


Ah, hidden yardage was no friend of the Dolphins Sunday.

Sparano said the Dolphins yielded 140 yards on special teams. That is the equivalent to a touchdown and then some.


Ricky Williams fumbled once (officially) but had another moment in which he also lost his grip on the ball early enough that it was ruled a fumble before being overturned. Williams has three such losses of the ball in two weeks, although the ball has actually changed possession only once.

That's is enough for Sparano.

"Yes, it concerns me," he said.

Williams needs to keep both hands on the ball unless he is fine with not playing in the fourth quarter of games as he did Sunday night.


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micah and charles grant could tackle. alot of our guys can't. where was the contain? shouldnt do that in our house without getting punished. too bad cris clemons pulled off that big hit over the middle. it mighta sent a message. we never even made a kick returner pay. way too soft. lacked the big hit.

why exactly is anyone shocked that the dolphins fans are bailing on jason allen?
the whole world know that 90% of phin fans are spoiled little whiney babies that want to cry about anything and everything.
Honestly, i'm sure even half the dolphins PLAYERS hate you nancy b1tch3s.




I think the tone of this game was decided in the first two possessions. The Jets moved the ball with ease on the opening drive and we looked tentative and scared on our quick three and out. How does that happen? Were we not prepared? Were we tight playing in front of a National audience? The Jets were missing key people in Revis, Jenkins, Pace, Holmes and Edwards for a quarter. This was a MUST WIN game for them and we let them off the hook. Disappointing! I'm hoping, having a young team as we do, that some good lessons were learned and I'm also hoping to see a different team show up against the Pats. I also don't think we have the troops to get into shootout games with other teams, so I would like to think next week against the Pats we get back to a ball control offence.

We lost the game for many reasons last night including jason allen a bend and break defense as well as total abliss on special teams returning or covering!!! But all TRUE fin fans that WATCH the games know it has been and is henning's scenile, idiotic, moronic whatever term you want to use playcalling!!!! Using the wildcat when henne is in a rythm and only inside the 20 yard line hmmm!!! Until last night basically REFUSING to pass downfield at the fear of interceptions for 2 plus years hmmm!!! Getting cute with senseless reverses and wildcat plays when we are moving the ball on offense in REGULAR OR NORMAL sets hmmm!! Im just scratching my head here and NO ONE but parcells better ever try to defend henning because you are also a moron or BLIND if you do period.......

exactly craig, jets were missing 3 of their best players. im still pissed

Jets go down in flames against the bills

I don't get paid to coach football, but whenever I see the wildcat formation latley I cringe. Just like a holding penalty, it's a drive killer and what bothers me is why don't the guys that get paid to know this stuff realize it?

I'm tired of Sparano and his hatchlings. I've seen this same crap since Jimmy Johnson. Put the team and the QB in a hole and then they let the QB throw after they put him behind. They did it to Marino and last night they did it to Henne.And as for Jason Allen, the guy was out of position all game long. You can't polish a turd.

we got a real young team that really doesn't know how to win yet. we gotta protect our home field. usually a team has several vet leaders who show the young guys whats expected. we don't have that. its been up to the coaches and they are just learning too. my hope is we get better as the season wears on; both the players and the coaches! it seems to me our guys are thinking instead of reacting. if your thinking you're not at "game speed" in the NFL.

Craig M, Trent Edwards is hopeless. 2007 qb draft class = John Beck, Trent Edwards, and Kevin Kolb. Ewww



The dolphins will become a an above avg CONSISTENT team when we:
1. Fire Dan Henning he is old and out of touch with todays nfl reminds me a lot of how mccain was during the election honestly old and out of touch!!!
2. Scrap the wildcat it is a drive killer, not productive, it pulls henne out of the game, no threat of pass from it and finally we just dont need it anymore we can get three yards in a basic run set!!
3. Our defense has to get better at COVERING PERIOD... Maybe I have been spoiled all these years with surtain and madison but I have NEVER seen a worse covering secondary that knows it sucks but still sucks game in year out with no improvement.. If those three things happen we are improved without adding anything new about 50% in my opinion but im just a life long fan what do i know?

Jamarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, and Drew Stanton were also in that QB draft class. Pure merde

The biggest reason for the loss = no pressure at all on the Jets OB. If there had been the ball would have been all over the place and a Miami victory. period!

Actually, I think the most useful one other than Kolb was Tyler Thigpen picked in the 7th.

Special teams is garbage
Watch for ben tate to avg 40 yds on returns
Better onside kick every time

Good point
Sanchez never broke a sweat
Whats happened to genius Nolan?

we probably need a few big hitters on defense who will make the receivers think abouts the plays over the middle. the opponents tight ends have owned us in that space. they gotta get killed in that area by our safetys or lb's who drop in coverage. kellar is only the latest to gut us.










Why does everyone have high quality Te and we have below avg talent at that position?

i say this based on situations and game play up till now. the steelers are the best team in the NFL. when rapelisberger comes back they are going to be a very hard team to beat. that is a stifling defense. they have a solid back, 2 really good WR's and a great TE. i'm a dolphin fan living in pittsburgh so i've taken a lot of crap over the years and hate the steelers but they re as solid as it gets!!

dobbins is terrible. and it was wakes side not misi's that all those outside runs went to. starks is not to heavy to play end so hopefully odrick will be ready soon.allen's fall down was't bad, but him not jumping routes when there was help over the top was BAD and him not getting his head back to the QB on the interference was bad. but any pennington talk should be gone after this game. henne was great. i think collinsworth would be a better OC than henning. henning doesn't make in game adjustments. it's like he scripted the whole game. collinsworth pointed out the jets couldn't cover marshall when he was in motion. he was right. so why not do it at he most critical time???


morono being a morono

im shocked

heat training camp starts!

Mark in Toronto,

You were at the first game of the season. Did Edwards REALLY look that bad to you? It's the same thing over and over with the Bills. No offensive line. Rob Johnson got killed 'cause the line couldn't hold up (granted he did hang onto the ball too long). Same with JP Losman. Supposed to be the next great QB. Athletic and accurate. He got killed, cause he had no time to react. Same thing with Edwards. They can keep drafting QB after QB but if you have no offensive line to play behind you are dead. Everybody knew that was their weakness going into the draft and what did they do? They waited until the 4th round to draft an offensive lineman. They will draft another QB with a top 5 pick next year and it will be the same results. Just watch!

JUSTIN, great post .new item...we have 11 starters this year ,i didn't know that .

Guys, the Jets offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. There was no pass rush all night. Where was Wake, Misi and Starks all night? Did Misi even play? Losing last night was not necessarily a bad thing. The good teams learn from their mistakes and it will be interesting to see what the team takes away from last night. There were some good signs last night, such as good use of Hartline, Bess and Marshall and our offensive line did another good job last night.

Guys, I know I will be in the minority here but if you listened to a lot of the experts they will say that we are a very well coached team. Now that opinion may not agree with what you guys think but I think the experts know more about it than you or I. I'm not a big fan of Henning and I would like to see a change in OC in the off-season but Henning is not the reason we lost the game, so get over it guys. He opened up the playbook, something you guys have been screaming out for weeks. Henne was in a groove last night and Henning kept going back to the pass with him. I'm just not sure we can open up the game and get into blowouts with other teams. I'd like to see the return of the run game next week as we control the clock and try and keep Brady and company off the field. To e successful I think we need to play 17-14 kind of games. Disagree all you want but that's when we're at our best.

Craig M. I think Edwards must have been shell shocked which would explain his release today. He's just scarred. Against Miami, Dansby smokes him on the first drive, then Starks makes him crap his pants. Buffalo had open receivers all day on Miami but Edward had no patience and couldn't wait to get rid of the ball. The one play where Buffalo scored on the slot receiver on 3rd and 11 was there all day. There were many times when Miami left a receiver uncovered and Edwards never found him. He's completely useless now. Good move by the Bills, he was unsalvageable. Once you start looking for the pass rush, your career is over.

Got out coached a little, players made allot of mistakes but we had more then our share of chances to win that game and we clearly had a performance by some that was awful and most likely not going to be repeated. We are getting there, games like this happen were you throw up on yourself and the ball doe not bounce your way, put it behind and focus on the Pats.

I agree with you Craig, the only way the Pats can beat the Dolphins is if you give Brady and Co. time to do it. The Patriot defense stinks. You can run on them, you can pass on them, do whatever you like to them. (Known a few girls in my time like that too). But Miami has to keep the ball, keep their pass rushersw fresh, run RONNIE run!

There was an awful lot of players slipping last night. I haven't read anything much from Armando on this but I'm wondering how good a job the crew did on putting the replacement turf down over the dirt infield for the game. Can we learn anything from this and use it to our advantage against the Pats next week?

can everyone plz shut up alright plz ur hurting my eyes with this nonsense. Can u ever just give the jets a good clap for a good game we simply got out played. As a dolphin fan i kno we are not perfect no team is so stop bashing every player on the team. jesus its only week 3. were still tied for first. Like what u though we would win every game? come on plz lets be real. We lost in a great tough game to lets face it a good team. I have played rep football for 10 years and i now start in university at Corner and coaches always want a size match up. Do u honestly think vontae would of stoped that td pass in the jump ball? NO. Listen the dolphins played the best ball i have seen yet our only problem honestly was contain on the sweep and allen understanding that he has a safety over top to help so to kno hes not superman. And i agree with the last 30 secs. I say we should of ran a draw personally. But if miami keeps it up we will get more wins. Every team has a bad game and today our coverage and containment did.

The Wildkat is not so much of a threat anymore since last year because no one was doing it. Now lots of teams are doing so they are practicing these plays on offense but also on defense making them more ready to stop us. Follow me on twitter.

Jeez we have a bunch of whiny fans. Its one game, gang. Nothing to start crying about. Bad things happen, thats why there has only been one undefeated team EVER. We played like crap AND almost won the thing. There were some positive take aways as well. For example, Chad Henne showed that he can make the throws, and next week we'll see if he can be consistent. Secondly, the defense showed a great ability to adjust and shut down Keller in the second half (something the dumb jets were unable to to with Brandon Marshall). We were one blown play away from winning that game, and its really a shame that the damn infield has screwed us once again. I expect a great showing next week against the dumb Pats, and Im not even the least bit worried about our season at this point.

we dont do the wildcar enough. just like the hating on henne, this hate of the wildcat is so ridiculous

Dont get me wrong I still love the wildcat.

btw im Canadian to and Ottwa is french speaking and im from the toronto area. Trust me i kno the french r idiots lol. Crowder will be back and then our te coverage will be better trust me. Cuz then dansby and crowder can flip for the coverage like how they were used in pre season. No one understands that our back up ilb is playing dansby cant do it all. Misi and wake r rookies essentially and had a learning curve and experience today so if u kno football and can read a game then u should see and kno the progress happening in this team

CAN the dolphins hire a decent crew to fix the field ,

hire some of the fans , nj pfin fan and bobbyd12.

why hasnt a bigger deal been made about rex ryan having a player fake a cramp to give his defense a rest? even the announcers saw it. am i alone here? its a big deal that cant go unpunished.

R.I.P. George Blanda, Admired your game when I was a kid

Some keys to the next game:

1. Stop the TE pleazzzzz

2. Run the ball (control the clock)

3. Stop the run

4. Special teams no more errors

5. Continue to use wildcat but dont stop the momentum

Follow me on twitter.

I see that Jacksonville released Ernest Wilford again today. Big surprise! Could be that they are opening a spot up for Trent Edwards. I still think he can play in this league. He's not any worse than guys like Alex Smith, Bruce Gradkowski, Matt Leinart or Jake Delhomme. Seriously, let's see this guy play behind an offensive line.

And what the heck was with all the negativity on here last night during the game. I had to sign out. You guys are supposed to be fans and all you did last night was rip the team and rip the coaches. To the morons on here who said the game was over when the 'Phins went down 14-0.....your a JOKE!! You're not true fans and you don't matter one bit in the grand scheme of things. You think Steelers fans rip their team way. I think not!

i love the wildcat, and i think if we do it more, especially against the pats, we will have so much success. its just the timing of the wikdcat playcalls yesterday were atrocious. thats all. if we wildcat twice when we were on the two then we win the game most likely. imho

bill_cnnrs is so full of it. 1/3 of the Stadium was Jests fans? In 15 years of going to the Stadium thats the least Jests fans I have EVER seen. I dont know WHAT Stadium Bill went to or what drugs he ingested before going but thats a straight up B/S post.

I don't know why there is a big fuss about Henning now. He has been terrible for three years. It's very obvious what plays the Dolphins are going to run once they are lined up. If I can figure it out, and I'm just a video editor, I'm sure a defensive player and coordinator can figure it out.
The Wildcat shouldn't be abandoned completely. It still can be ran effectively, IF they run it correctly. They have changed it a lot over the years and the new looks aren't working as well. They do need to be a little more smart when using it though. When Henne is on a roll, you CANNOT take him out of the game.
Ronnie Brown needs to get a lot more carries than Ricky. I think the coaches have a little bit of a man crush on Ricky and like seeing him in there.
Patrick Cobbs should not be our returner. He will NEVER break one.
Jason Allen made a few mistakes last night. He should have stayed underneath Edwards on that and he might've had an int. On Brad Smith's 16 yard run, JA was just kind of standing there and waiting for the pitch instead of attacking Smith. He could have been stopped well before the 1st down marker. I'm assuming he'll start again next week and they'll keep lining Moss up on his side.
They NEED to have Vontae shadow the best receiver. It's just bad coaching that he isn't. Either that or the coaches though way too highly of Jason Allen.
Sean Smith needs to step up his game and not bite on the first move. He does it EVERY TIME. I thought our DBs were going to be solid this year, but it looks like Vontae is the only one. Hopefully Nolan Carroll or someone will step up soon.
Henne played really well. It makes the coaches look kind of stupid for not letting him play that way the previous two games and treating him like a rookie. He always over throws Hartline by 2 feet when they go deep.
Hopefully they can beat the Pats.

One thing im very pround of was the offense having rythm in the second half and a large part of it was due to the wildcat and the deep passes to build the confidence. Lets not forget here we made arguably the best d in the league not blitz us and run on their heels instead in pass coverage so dont rip the fins u fucks, Plus the wildcat is a change up which is good and keeps the d honestly guessing if brown made the pass marshall would of been gone cuz he had a step or two on cromartie on that pass

I am really concerned about the two TE package the Pats can throw at us next week. I'd be targetting guys like Dobbins and even Allen over the middle with Gronkowski and Hernandez all day and underneath with Welker. If we don't get some of this stuff figured out Brady will have a field days with us. And then of course, perhaps they will us Moss on Allen. We have to hope Davis is the one covering Moss next week.

The problem is not the Wildcat, the problems are when they use it and what they run out of it.
There should never be any trickery out of the Wildcat, maybe twice a year when you are up and you want to put a nail in the deal. Another way is maybe on the goal line when you have more than one down or when you want to run out the clock. The ways and places they are using it just are drive killers. I know Tony and the others that think this game is of geniuses, they don’t think we know what we are talking about. I would say 50% of the fans know football pretty well and I think it is loud and clear, Wildcat is not working.
I am actually disappointed in much of the play calling. 2nd and goal and they call two pass plays. The results were 2 footballs on the ground and a three point attempt. DESPERATE is what we looked. The Offense and the Defense looked scared and bewildered. I think Henne will be fine but he needs a running game behind him and an OC that isn’t falling asleep in the middle of a drive, and snoring out, Wildcat formation.

Craig M: I like your post, but running a slow, time-consuming game plan works best if you are in the lead in the 4th quarter. Too many times have the Dolphins ate up the clock, only to end up punting. Those slow running games are momentum killers for QB to get into a throwing rhythm. I remember the Titans had the same game plan years ago (except they score regularly). But that's no longer the case. They evolved. We, too, can't be a one-dimensional run-first team. There are too many elite teams that can air it out and score quickly to make up losses or pound it in you early. And that was the Jets game plan: score quickly so we ended up playing catch up all night. And I was very pleased to see the offense build back up quickly after being down 14-0. So I would prefer to see Henne air it out to Marshall more - stretch our offensive capability.

Let me start by saying im no guru on football on pretend to know everything either, but reading some of these comments are crazy!!
im gonna start with the offense!!!=we kept beating ourselves last night with the wildcat! i like the wildcat but only if we start the drive using it! we cant continue to get on a roll and then put the QB in long distances b/c it dont work!! we finally threw a pass after like 100 run attempts between the last pass! love to see that henne is capable of throwing passes like last night but he is still to stiff and lock on to one wr to often! can we please get ronnie brown like 20+ carries a game!! i miss seeing ronnie smile after carrying the ball!! we sorely missed jerry last night too!

DEFENSE will be okay when the following things happen-get dobbins and carpenter off the field!! between the 2 of them,maybe 10 tackles TOTAL in 3 games played each!! im not gonna break it down no more b/c im already on record with this and last nite was for the world to see!! do you ever wonder why the bolt included him in the trade, with no regrets, and bobby got cut by the rams( NUFF SAID)!!!!!! to much loyalty in the nfl to washed up never been players! for those who are down on allen, you the same fools who probably said moss just beat him as if he's the only one getting beat by moss! the man slipped on the td!! had a mental lapse on the 3rd and 10 catch by edwards!! the PI was a call that the ref shouldnt have made(dont be the one to decide the game ref)!! the jets wrs had maybe 5 catches the whole game(get off allen)!! sean smith would have still been trying to stop somebody as i type!!!! teams are attacking dobbins and carpenter every chance they get!!! all the big run came on their side of the formation!!

special teams=garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
block punt,kicks out of bounds,player in a foot race to the endzone with jets returner(SAPP), no blocking on our own returns(im still waiting on lex to make contact with somebody on kickoff returns!! why is nolan carroll active if he's not return kicks(cobbs to F'ing slow)

the sad part about this game is we had them motherfunker bout to tap out in the 3rd qtr! and that one slip gave them life! not to mention the fact we never tried to run the ball in critical spot during the game!! for once we actually lost out identity as a run first team!!!
i think we will be okay b/c we have the offense to put up the point as long as we fix a few small things,same for the defense(get dobbins and carpenter off the field), BUT SPECIAL TEAMS IS BE OUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS!!!


i dont know the total yrd for jets but they didnt show nothing on offense that say 31 points(yes we lost) but for godsake, sanchez had 15 completions, im sure the rushing yrds wasnt that huge either for the wets!!! we need to tighten up b/c their offense is actually worse than our and we still lost!! their defense didnt look that strong with or without revis(we beat ourself by not focusing the whole game)!! keller had 1 catch in the 2nd half(that was a plus) wish it was that way the whole game!!

hats off to wets but we will get'em next time!!!!!!!! write it down!!!!

Okay. I don't see how that makes an argument FOR the Wildcat. Now, the stats that really matter: What did Henne do in the two plays following the use of the Wildcat (when he was yanked as he was moving the ball well)?


I agree with some of what you say. I don't want this team to be one-dimensional either. I loved that they went deep, I think to Hartline, on the first play of the game. You need to keep the other teams defence honest. But I also think we play our best when we are playing 'grind it out' football. This needs to be the plan next week. If we are planning to get into another shootout with the Pats next week, we are dead. The Jets dictated the style of play to us in their first series last night and we were slow to recover.

And for all you so-called 'fans' last night who were saying 'Henne sucks' and 'he should be reaplced by Pennington' and 'we'll never win anything with Henne', you guys should be barred from the site. Your not fans but bandwagon jumpers and whiners. This kid is basically finishing up his first season in the league (I think he's played 16 games) and he's still growing. He showed a lot of heart last night and he almost drove us to the tying points at the end of the game. I think if we had ran some plays towards the end we would have scored another touchdown and after that who knows. There aren't that many QBs in the league I would rather I have and he's a lot better than what's going on in Carolina, Jacksonville, Cleveland, San Francisco, Oakland, Buffalo, Tampa, Arizona and a whole host of other teams in the league right now, so give your heads a shake guys.

HENNE at 600,000 is better than 3/4 of the QB'S IN THIS LEAGUE .


craig M sounds like Henne's agent defending him. This guy had one good game now he's the Man. I wish they would bench him and put experienced Pennington in there.

You can't win having that Marc Anthony fool and Fergie doing her best Jessica Simpson impression doing the National Anthem.

Go Phins!

can someone please explain to me why we still have the same special teams coordinator, our special teams have been terrible for the past 3 years......

good comment Jason I agree with you.


Pennington has reached the point he will be retiring soon .

what do you KNOW about football to say henne isn't good when he ran for more than 363 YARDS last night ?

its not bout henne!!! its bout personnel and playcalling!! im no big henne fan but the guy can throw it!! he looked good enough to win the game and that all i ask week in week out!! i also noticed he must have been in a real nice groove last night b/c in the second have his head was on a swivel looking for targets!! im sure he wish he had that run back late in the game(probably would have scored if he ran more right than up the middle)!! its little things like that that make you elite!! once the oline tighten up he should be picking teams apart!! hartline is constantly getting behind fast CB, the kid got sneaky speed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love that




aloco, henne "ran" for more than 300 yards? awesome, we need a good running back :)

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