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Some 'interesting' thinking defends Wildcat attack

The Wildcat formation-slash-scheme has been very good to the Dolphins. It has been profitable in delivering victories (New England 2008), it has started a league-wide trend (over a dozen other teams now use it), and it has helped the Dolphins solve a multitude of issues (getting enough blockers to defeat 8 defenders in the box on running plays being among them).

But the Wildcat simply isn't having a good season so far. That cannot be disputed.

The Dolphins have run 16 direct snap Wildcat plays (15 runs and 1 pass) this season and gained 29 yards. That is a 1.8 yards per play average.

So it seems logical anything that isn't working -- be it for reasons of poor execution, poor timing of the play-call, or outstanding defensive play against it -- bears scrutiny. After all, if a certain pass play is failing to produce time and again, I would hope the Dolphins would break down that particular play and decide if it merits remaining in the game plan.

But the Dolphins, for obvious reasons, have an affinity to the Wildcat. And so they protect it like it was something personal between them and those questioning it.

"We haven't been very good with it this year," offensive coordinator Dan Henning said. "We haven't used it that much, but we haven't been very good with it. We studied it. We took it out. We looked at it. We compared it to other times. So we'll continue to try and keep on eye on it to overhaul it so to speak."

Despite this honest assessment of the Wildcat, Henning is among its staunchest defenders. He was asked this week to respond to detractors who believe taking Chad Henne out of the game to use Wildcat takes the quarterback out of his rhythm.

"Who are these detractors?" Henning boomed back. "That's the problem. We all say it's going to take away. It didn't take away when we went to the division championship and we used it and everyone thought, 'Oh, that's great.' It didn't take away from Chad Pennington. Guys come in and out of the game. The only ones that stay in are the offensive linemen and occassionally we change them, too. The rhythm of the game for any player right now is not as important to me as moving the football, getting first downs and scoring touchdowns. And they all know that.

"Here's the popular theory that I hear: The better the quarterback, the more you break his rhythm. But if he's not a good quarterback, you don't break his rhythm. So what's the difference? If you're moving the football with a direct snap operation, then nobody says anything. If you're starting to slow down, and not moving, now we're breaking the quarterback's rhythm. All I care about is moving the football. Their rhythm, that's something we haven't heard about since 1960 -- since the pill."

Ahem ... With all birth control pill references notwithstanding, allow me to interject here.

Detractors was a word used by the reporter asking the question. I don't believe there are haters out there ripping on the Wildcat for the sheer giggles of it. Be that as it may, to defend the Wildcat by saying it worked in 2008 when the Dolphins won a division has no merit. The Dolphins won that division with Justin Smiley starting at left guard and Samson Satele starting at center and with Ernest Wilford on the roster and with Ted Ginn Jr at wide receiver. But deeming those players to be lacking in some fashion or another, the team got rid of them. The team made an adjustment with the changing times. To say that Wildcat must continue because it worked in 2008 is, frankly, a poor argument for keeping it.

Another thing: Henning misstates the so-called popular theory on the Wildcat and quarterbacks. I've never heard anyone say Wildcat breaks the rhythm of a good quarterback but does not do so to a bad quarterback. I have heard and agree with the idea that if you have a good quarterback, you do not want to take him out of the game because, well, he's good.

Peyton Manning does not come out of games. Tom Brady does not come out of games. If you have a good quarterback, you keep him on the field as long as possible. If you have a bad QB, then it doesn't really matter if he comes out, especially if the running back getting the direct snap is a more explosive offensive player. That is the popular theory stated correctly.

And I promise you that if Chad Henne begins to put up numbers like Manning, the Wildcat will be buried without a memorial service. Simple as that.

Henning made the point that several teams -- including the New York Jets -- use a player in Wildcat that is a threat to run and pass. Ronnie Brown is not that big of a threat to pass.

Salguero logic: Why not employ Tyler Thigpen? He is a quarterback. He ran the spread option look in Kansas City and in college.

Henning retort: "Tyler is the third quarterback," he said. "We can't use him until the fourth quarter."

Salguero retort to the Henning retort: Why not make him the second quarterback?

Henning retort to Salguero retort: "We did that against Minnesota," he said.

Salguero retort to the Henning retort: So why not Tyler Thigpen?

Henning retort to the Salguero retort: "Why not?"

Bottom line: I believe the Dolphins have wanted to use Thigpen as a spread option QB for some time but haven't quite gotten to the right moment to spring that yet. I also believe that despite their vociferous defense of Wildcat, the package must produce and produce quickly to remain in the game plan.

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The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise that was written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC Composed of 13 chapters
each of which is devoted to one aspect of warfare The Art of War is said to be the definitive work on military strategies and tactics of its time and Home still believes it is required reading at Harvard business school

The Art of War is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy
It has had an influence on Eastern military thinking, business tactics, and beyond
Sun Tzu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive warriors in that environment
Sun Tzu thought that strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions

Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations

Mark In Toronto
Highly suggest you read this book or even listen to it on cd over and over

Then Home believes U will understand
PASS against the Redcoats


Home,if the Dolphins are not a good running team (as you suggested) then we might as well fast forward until April.

I recently learned that Jack Anderson was a "Flawed" man.

What makes you think I haven't read it? I will laet you know that I am an avid reader.

thigpin can't run like ronnie can. I think they should just put the wildcat to rest.

1st off please quote me correctly
said Dolphins do not have a "great" running game

If you think our #1 Running Back, Ronnie Brown with
199 YDs and 1 TD on 37 attempts is a "Great" Running
game than u need your head examined (lol)

and one of his rushes was long so it misrepresents the true picture

Redcoats much better at stopping the run than the pass with their poor secondary

It`s just that simple

Now Get Your Shine Box!

***** The Dynasty Be Fins! *****

Wow I haven't seen a line of questioning like that since Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. lol

Just tweeted the news that Channing Crowder has been sent to see a specialist.

coach tony Sparano confirmed that during his press conference but provided no other details.

This obviously signals trouble. Stay tuned ...

And freakin' follow me on twitter!

Home, you only show one side of the picture, you say during weeks 1-3, the Pats are pourous agaist the pass and that is how we should attacke them.

However, week 2. NYJ, built very much like the Dolphins, 32 rushes, 136 yards, 4.3 avg.

Week 3, Buffalo, 24 rushes, 134 yards, 5.6 avg.

Cincinnati couldn't run, put brady on the field more and got blown out early.

25 carries, 87 yards, 3.5 avg.


F**K twitter, Channing is going on IR.

I guess it's a case of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. When the Wildcat works,we'll all say it should stay but if the Wildcat is'nt productive,we'll all want it to go.

Personally,i want to give it one last go against the Patriots because they have'nt been able to stop it the last couple of years but after that,it should be a thing of the past.

The reason why we put it in the playbook in the first place was because in 2008,we were 0-2 and needed a sparkle on offense and it took alot of teams by surprise and the fact was we did'nt have any playmakers on offense. Now we've got Marshall,we dont need the Wildcat.

Point being, the team that couldn't run the ball got blown out early.

2 teams ran well, one won, the other is part of a very flawed team and lost by a touchdown.


Dear Charlie:

Now I know why you decided to fill up SO MANY pages of our Blog last spring...

You've read Sun Tzu!

Home, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are not good runing backs and can't match up with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson??

Forget it, now you're just being stubborn.

Home, I'm done with you. You lack the smarts. Buffalo with their piece of shite offensive line would run the ball better on the road than Miami would at home. Imagine!!!

Check out Fred Jackson stats, Mark

Last year over 1000 YDs rushing and over 1000 YDs KR
Believe 1st running back to do so

and that is with a bad O-line

So Yeah Pal that is a lot better

and maybe u should try to tackle the ANGRY Running Marshawn Lynch

get back to your stock reports lol

Lets not forget bout rookie CJ Spiller 95 YD return TD and 1 rushing TD

Would Home rather have CJ spiller than Ricky Williams?


Mark in Toronto (@ 03:24 PM)

No...Channing Crowder is going to get CUT.

This team averages 4.0 yds per carry despite facing 2 of the best run defenses in the league who blow NE's run defense out of the water.

Go back to school boy, you're lacking in smarts. let the adults discuss.

Cut, maybe. If only they had a better option than Tim stinking Dobbins. What's Akin Ayodele doing???

LOL @ Marky in Canada, eh?

Home will be @ the MNF game watching from 17 rows back on the 35 YD line

Freakin Canuck ! lol

South Florida Dolfans for:
PASS against the Redcoats

New England's secondary has been a bit of a disaster. After allowing Carson Palmer to throw for nearly 350 yards, New England saw Mark Sanchez throw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns. And that was just a prelude their struggles last week, letting Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick complete 71% of his passes for nearly 250 yards and two touchdowns. If not for two poor decisions by Fitzpatrick which resulted in interceptions, the Bills might have just shocked the world and knocked off the Pats up in Foxborough.

I hope someone will be there to direct you to the direction of the field so you don't miss the game. I think you need the help.

I had similar seats for Buffalo and will have similar seats for the Cincy game. In addition, i was a season ticket holder despite living in Toronto. What's your point?

Time to activate micah johnson
Clammy might not play for the fins ever again

Manny Fernandez has more Football Knowledge in one of his Sideburns (chops) than all you MOFOs combined!

Go Phins! Vote for Pedro! (Armando)


Buffalo 134 rush yards, NYJ, 136 rush yards. Get it????

Hmmm...Lets see...?

Perhaps Ronnie out of the backfield a little more often ala Faulk and Rodger Craig? Not the checkdown BS but actually designed plays with blocking schemes?

Go Phins! Vote for Pedro! (Armando)


ya, I thought so.

Great! Rahm Emanuel is gone, now who's steerin the ship?

Go Phins! Vote for Pedro! (Armando)

I don't want to butt in on a debate, but history shows that both of you guys are right(Mark, Home) Mark I tend to agree with you, that we should run the ball. In the 17 games that Henne has started we have only won 3 games that he has thrown the ball more then 30 times and won 6 when he has thrown less then 30 times. In Games we have lost, Henne has thrown less then 30 times twice and more then 30 times in 6 games. One of those games that Henne threw it more then 30 times, and we won was against New England(52 times). On Average, if we keep Hennes attempts to under 30 passes, we have a much better chance at winning, any number over 33 attempts, and our chances of winning go down. Now these are just averages over 17 games, but I see an obvious trend. We have to run the ball to win...except against New England.

Mando, great questions to Henning. But the title should have been: Dan Henning exposed. About time a jounalist held a coach's feet to the fire.

If there was any lingering doubt about this moron, his idiotic responses should put it to rest.

Darryl Dunphy, those stats are a bit misleading. In a few games late last year, we fell behind quick and needed to score fast. Grinding the clock down was not to our advantage. We came close, but lost those games.

Kill the Cat!

There is power in the people and the more we say "Kill the Cat" the more likely it is they will bow to the pressures of negative media coverage and actually kill it.

It has run its course...time to move on!

pats and bellicheat will take away marshall. hartline and bess, fasano will need to win this game

Armando, you are getting to be as bad as all the other writers with all this negativity. If you can't find something nice to say, don't say anything at all. This is so tiresome reading all this garbage about what the reporters think is wrong with the team and what they are doing. It's not a perfect world, get some sort of positive attitude when doing these articles. HONESTLY!

ALoco's post at 3;30 is fake but i agree that home is a real smart man.no doubt .

The Only way for the fins to come out with a "W" Monday nite is the first time Mrs Brady drops back to pass is to hit him and hit him hard, That's the only way to slow her down, She remembers a hard hit, You dont want to get into a shoot-out with these guys, Anyone disagree??????

I agree with you 100% Cuban. Getting into a shoot out with the Pats is a losing proposition. You have to be physical with these guys. Physical on defense, physical in the run game, and even physical in the passing game. Going all willy nilly with the pats is playing right into their hands.

agree cuban, just dont say it out loud or people in here will say u arent a real fan

We need to use Thigpen in the "wildcat" every play !!

I'm not sold on our coach and his decisions...We were 2-0 then we got beat by our rival at home. lets look at the two teams we beat..the bills suck and the vikings were hurt and not on the same page.We still need alot of work just wait and see...if we beat the Pats I will eat my words but till then i will continue to be negative.

Ricky .. please dont fumble or stay on the bench..Miami please draft a RB !

Jason Allen... you stay at home and watch..you just suck !

Why am I not surprised.

This is serious stuff people, if it wasn't for my guitar I would be borderline suicidal listening to Henning! I'm so F_cking depressed, it just doesn't get any worse than this.

Henning is actually defending a 1930's style offense by ADMITTING the FACT that he hasn't heard about Quarterbacks having rhythm since 1960!

If that's not complete and utter senile buffoonery, have a closer look at his exchange with Armando:

Salguero: Why not employ Tyler Thigpen? He is a quarterback. He ran the spread option look in Kansas City and in college.

Henning: "Tyler is the third quarterback," he said. "We can't use him until the fourth quarter."

Salguero: Why not make him the second quarterback?

Henning: "We did that against Minnesota,"

Salguero: So why not Tyler Thigpen?

Henning: "Why not?"

I couldn't even make up sheet this stupid when I posted the parody of a conversation between Sporano and Dansby-WTF!!!!

Armando, good job on the story and being a "detractor". Way to go, you asked some tough questions and at least tried to get some answers. It's hard to pin a guy down when his senility has convinced him he's a genius!

Also too, You gotta Remember that the Pats are the "Flagship" of the NFL, so the refs,ESPN,and everyone not from south Fla will be rooting for them, and also look for flags to fly whenever a Miami Defender is in breathing distance of MS. Brady, But you know what, go ahead and get a 15 yd penalty and bloody her nose the 1st time she drops back for a pass... It's the only way for the mighty air breathers to win IMHO....

Lipsin- All stats can be a little misleading. There is a trend though, and I think we all can recognize it, and this was my point. We have a much better chance of winning by running the ball then having to have Henne make a bunch of throws. This is not always the case in every game, and the proof was in the last game against New England(52 attempts) I'm with the folks that think that more balance, with emphasis on the run will give us the best shot to win, but, if there is a week where we have to air it out, this would be a game where we are not put at a huge disadvantage. I'm not saying get in a shootout, but if we can't estabilish the run, we have the ability in the air to get it done against this Pats D

some in here will rip me for saying this cause they get so pissed if everyone doesnt say how great we r every post. but we have to win this game, season is a long shot at best to recover if we go 0-2 at home vs div teams. must win

Good point Cuban, look for some bad calls.

New Blog up about MS. Brady, What a coincidence..

The Dolphins are going nowhere.

The passing threat out of the Wildcat is what was missing last year and this year.

Brown isn't a threat to pass out of the Wildcat so his running abilty is critical.

Thigpen is more of a passing threat than Brown so he doesn't need to be as fast or as shifty running as Brown. Why? I believe the defenses will be more concerned with his passing and actually give him wider running lanes than the lanes Brown gets. He could easily pick up 5+ yards when he decides to run.

Of course he'd have to prove that he can complete passes.

Am i the only one that noticed that the Wild Cat works against our d? Execution, personnel, and timing. Sounds like football, doesn't it?

you know what drives me nuts?!? people and stats.!! yes. numbers dont lie but, which numbers!?!?! when you say we win with X amounts of runs in a game its not handing off the ball 25 times. you dont run to get the numbers, you run because its working!! thats the only way the numbers mean anything. if we cant run( like against the jets) then we have to throw. and teams are going to force that until miami wins a throwing game!!! so let henne prove it and let our D win it for us! otherwise this is going to be the same topic every week until we do!!!!
oh. branndon Marshall for president!!




seriously? are we the only team/media/fans that send time talking about who and when to deploy our 3rd QB? i mean really? REALLY? who cares. We have plenty of weapons on offense now. The argueement before was that we didn;t have real football players on offense so we needed a gimmic just to get by. Now we have all the weapons we need (short of a solid TE). Use the WC as a change of pace, but limit it to 4-5 plays a game AT MOST. If you even need it. Let Henne develop and get in sync with Marshall. Isn't that why he was brought here? Marshall should have an easy time getting by NE's crappy secondary. I'd like to see more than one deep ball thrown Monday Night. But let's stop discussing who the 2nd and 3rd QB is. No one cares.

Most Phin fans hate the Wildcat and it is super easy to build a case right now by looking at the shear numbers (or lackthereof).

I do believe that the players we have running it are not the greatest fit to get the most out of it. I think that until you have a guy at the helm that can run and pass effectively from Ronnie Brown's spot, then the formation won't be even half as successful.

Ronnie is the key player in the Wildcat only because the Pat White experiment failed miserably. Ronnie is a big guy that can often times get 3-5 yards running straight ahead in that formation with the extra blocker. Ricky gets some yards on the sweep action but he is no burner capable of juking fringe defenders for big yards.

The fact that most teams run blitz it and have clamped down on the play a lot is due to the formation telegraphing it's plan. Our OL doesn't seem to be blowing the DEF off the ball as much as some years...at least not right now.

Hmmmm, I wonder how the formation would look with Michael Vick running it? That would be the best of all worlds (run and throw) at the trigger spot. Ahem, back to reality.

I am one of the few people that defend the wildcat to some extent. While I don't think that it should gain snaps I do think it can be good for certain short yardage looks.

I say if they run it 3-8 times a game then it will force teams to still game plan for it and practice against it. If the play works better vs certain teams run it more. If it fails vs certain teams run it less or not at all.

They can get creative in different ways. Maybe don't run it at all for 2-3 games then bring it out for 10 plays?

The formation was born out of desperation and getting our best players on the field all at once (R&R). The formation, while not having the wild success it originally had, has some subtle hidden merits... To help with time of possesion, resting the defense, using up the precious time to prepare by the other team. etc.

I am not blindly enamored with the formation and if they didn't use it at all for the next 6 games I would understand and be fine with it. We got Brandon Marshall and his big salary for a reason but he is coming off a 10 catch game so it's not like they don't throw to him while using the WC.

If I thought Henne was all that and a bag of chips I might be rallying to the "Kill the 'Cat" cause. I like much of what Henne does at QB but I am not convinced he is our long term answer just yet. I hope he continues to develop, grows into the leadership role more, get his progressions down better, loses the radar lock on certain pass plays. He's still a youngster so all these are correctable. Just simply saying he threw for that many yards so he is a stud is wrong in IMHO. We were down 14 points at home and the run game was not going well.

Crap, I'm rambling... Cheers y'all!

PS Good points:
budtki@aol.com | October 01, 2010 at 02:04 PM

If Henning was so such a genius and wanted to stay in love with the Wildcat he should have gotten a QB in the later rounds to experiment with - instead we draft Pat White who is no longer on the team.

Brilliant move FO. The Jets at least have figured out for the wildcat to be productive you need a dual threat and they got one in that QB (not taken in the 2nd round)

I hear ya Jet Hater.

The thing is ALL teams miss. The idea behind the draft pick was fine and with his college credentials who would know his accuracy would be soooo lame?

The player failed badly at making the jump to the NFL. It happens with top 5 picks in teh 1st round.

I want to win on EVERY draft pick just like any fan. I just think most people are plenty smart with their 20/20 hindsight glasses on. Teams take draft picks all over the place compared to when all the draft mags and talking heads say they should go.

NO ONE saw Tyson Alualu going to the Jags so early. He seems to be playing rather well. When the Fins take QB Pat White in the second round it was obviously to try to seriously advance a formation they had success with. They took him in the second round at that spot as they must have believed that he would not even make it to later in the second when we got CB Sean Smith.

Not regarding your post but I hear so many armchair GMs blogging about how Pat White would have lasted until the 5th round etc. I disagree strongly. He had the MOST EVER rushing yards as a QB. He was accurate in college and made throws on the run... sounds like a great "New" Ronnie Brown Wildcat replacement.

Pat White flops very badly and the rest is history. For every Bess they find as a Undrafted FA there be some Pat White's, for every WR Brandon Marshall and LB Dansby they pick up in FA there will be some WR Wilfords and S Gibril Wilsons.

Just the nature of the beast.

I still would have rather had Jahvid Best than Odrick. Our return game woes would be fixed as well as having an electric, take it to the house blazer at RB/WR. If he runs the sweep action on the Wildcat it's a whole different beast...period.

He's too small many said. He is nicked already... so is Odrick, Smiley, and Crowder and they are all big. Injuries happen in the NFL. It's the landscape.

Once again, a failure by the Miami media to strap on a set a of you-know-whats and push the Wildcat question.

Look at WHEN they revert to the 'Cat.
Why is it when we get into enemy territory after we've seized some momentum?

The 'Cat has killed drives being used on 1st and 2nd down after we've developed some MOMENTUM. Not rythm. I see those as two different things. Momentum has the other team on its heels. With rythm, the offense can be clicking for a first down or two and sputter.

And again, you fail to Henning. He can't go back to the first year of the 'Cat when it was new and foreign to defenses AND THE DOLPHINS PLAYED A WEEK SCHEDULE.

And Sparano the other day saying that the 'Cat is for 3 or 4 yards gains. ONE FIRST DOWN? That's what you want?

This coaching staff is awful...except for Nolan.
Ireland can't draft and Parcells is a Lombardi wannabe fraud.

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