As we all know, or probably at least should know, Miami's resurgence as a playoff contender last year was at least in part due to their willingness to adapt their offensive scheme to the players they had on their rest. Thus the "Wildcat" made its appearance, taking advantage of a really underrated offensive front as well as a pair of talented backs and a very unselfish quarterback. It worked well, and has continued to do so.
Our Broncos ran this offense last week in New England, with the added wrinkle of Orton moving under center after having forced the defense into showing their look pre-snap. We didn't go back to it late in the game, nor did we use it against the Chargers. After the jump I'll talk about how I hope to see us utilize this formation throughout the rest of the year!
To begin with, I'd highly suggest that anyone interested in football go read this article on SI.com: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/dave_hyde/10/21/wildcat/index.html
It's a good read, and I think it suggests some very good arguments about the evolution of football and puts to rest some of the silly complaints we've seen. I'll be the first to admit that I dismissed Miami's offense as fluky and gimicky last season, but I'm fully convinced now that I was mistaken to do so.
Regarding our Broncos, however, the article raises a couple very interesting points that probably merit closer thought. The first is sort of funny: Ricky Williams plays Madden, as Miami, and runs a running play out of the Wildcat in EVERY third-and-short situation he encounters. The second is simply that football is a game that is constantly evolving, and that the Wildcat has hardly been explore to the extent to which it can and surely will be.
First, third-and-short. Coach McDaniels admitted in his long bye week interview today that third-and-short has been our "nemesis" this season. It really has! It's a pretty rough situation to struggle with too, as it's a huge momentum boost for an opposing team's defense to get off the field in short yardage situations and, obviously, because failed third down conversions kill most drives and, effectively, turn the ball over to the other team. Why not give our "Wild Horses" formation a chance in these situations? Because of the misdirection inherent to most plays run out of Wildcat-like formations, and because even without misdirection the play can really go anywhere, Miami very rarely is stopped for negative gains. As opposed to a classic dive play, which is often easy to read and where the defense can crash the middle, the Wildcat forces them to stay more honest in their pre-snap reads. Even if they know we are running--and motioning Orton under center on third-and-short might not be a bad idea either--I can't help but shake the feeling that the chances of success would rise compared to what has been our approach so far.
Honestly, it's probably a bit of a long shot to hope that we see too much of it, but I have been very impressed with Coach McDaniels' methods so far, and would not be at all surprised to see it again some time this season. This speaks to the second point I mentioned above, and something I am sure Coach McDaniels would readily agree with: football, both offensively and defensively, is constantly evolving as coaches try new things, players become more and more athletic, and different fads move in and out of the NFL. I'm not sure I'd ever be comfortable with running 100% of a team's plays from one formation, whether it's the Wildcat or anything else, but just like the shotgun spread seems to have found a place in pretty much everybody's playbook, I'll be shocked if the Wildcat doesn't do the same over the next decade or so, especially if Miami continues to succeed with it.
Although I've been reading MHR avidly since this tumultuous offseason took off, this is my first fanpost, so be gentle on a poor newbie! I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about the Wildcat, Wild Horses, and our 6-0 Broncos!