Over the last two years, the Dolphins’ frequent use of the “Wildcat” offense, which revolves around direct snaps to the running backs, has spread to other teams who now regularly use the formation.
But is it possible the Wildcat is on the way out in Miami?
Head coach Tony Sparano isn’t ready to declare an end to the alignment, but it wasn’t very effective in Sunday night’s 31-23 loss to the Jets.
Sparano called the Wildcat “average” and said it didn’t hinder the offense as a whole. But in the wake of Chad Henne throwing for a career high 363 passing yards and adding two touchdown throws, it’s a fair question.
The Dolphins used the Wildcat package eight times on Sunday, but had only two yards on five runs, an incomplete pass and two penalties for 20 yards.
“I mean, we're not looking for 40-yard plays out of the thing,” Sparano said, per Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald. “It's an efficient run. On a couple of those, [running back] Ronnie [Brown] had two or three efficient runs out of the thing . . . I'm not all stuck on that, not at all.”
One reason the Dolphins may be less inclined to use the Wildcat: the presence of newly acquired receiver Brandon Marshall. The Wildcat was introduced largely as a way to add an element of surprise to an offense that had no big-time playmaking receiver like Marshall.
But it doesn’t mean the formation will disappear from the playbook. It just means that the Dolphins may not use it quite as much now that opposing defenses have had a chance to study it more closely, and Marshall is around to provide more of a prototype passing game.