3 Crucial Road Games 2010

@ Minnesota (9/19 after Buffalo on the road and before two key Home Division games - Sunday Night Prime Time home game v the Jets and Monday Night v the Pats)

@ Green Bay (10/17 after the bye and before facing winnable games v Pitt at home and Cincy on the road)

@ Baltimore (11/7 after Cincy on the road and before the very winnable Sunday-Thursday short week combo of Tennessee and Chicago at home)

I expect the offense to be much improved with Henne to Marshall in full swing, but what if we were to steal these crucial road games by taking the NFL by surprise again using a innovative offense that the other team is not prepared for?

I'm talking about the Wildcat, folks, but in a modified form.

I am NOT talking about taking Henne off the field and hoping White can complete a pass to Marshall. YIKES

I am NOT talking about Ricky throwing a pass on the one-yard-line on first and goal. YIKES

I am NOT talking about Ronnie trying to complete a pass to Brandon Marshall with Henne split out wide. YIKES

I am talking about applying Wildcat principles in three crucial road games that could help the FINS catch the other team off guard and steal a WIN at crucial moments of our 2010 season.


I suggest  3 WR personnel with both Ronnie and Ricky on the field at the same time. Best players Best offensive threats on the field at the same time.

Three basic Special Ops (Special Options) FORMATIONS

Formation A : Henne in the pistol formation. Ricky and Davone in the Slot. Ronnie in the tailback position. Fins used something similar to this with Chad Pennington when they won the Jets game in the Meadowlands at the end the 2009 season. The wildcat was run off of the empty backfield. I would modify it by having a back in the tailback position.

BM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ LT LG C RG RT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _BH

_ _ _ DB _RW _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ CH _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ RB _ _ _ _

Chad Henne plays the role of Ronnie in the wildcat, except that instead of running, he can handoff or playaction fake to Ronnie and look to throw to any one of the 3 WR downfield or Ricky or Ronnie.

COMMENT: This is very similar to just having Chad sit in the shotgun except that you get better play action handoffs.  The linebackers cannot see the handoff as well. If there is no wildcat motion from Ricky, Davone Bess and Ricky can do some Pick Setting from the slot like a bunch formation.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Formation B: Ronnie in the pistol formation. Ricky and Davone in the Slot. Henne in the tailback position.

BM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ LT LG C RG RT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _BH

_ _ _ DB _RW _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ RB _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ CH _ _ _ _

Ronnie takes the snap from the pistol formation depth, fakes or gives to Ricky in motion, can decide to run or toss back to Henne for a pass.

COMMENT: Wildcat benefits from the pass threat option back to Henne, Passing game benefits from the Option running threat and distraction/focus on Ronnie. How would you like to have a 6-0 230 option quarterback? Henne can just sit back and pick apart the defense with his vision. Once he catches the ball on the toss back, he already knows where to go with the ball.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Formation C: Ronnie under center. Davone in the Slot. Henne and Ricky in the backfield split backs

BM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ LT LG C RG RT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _BH

_ _ _ DB _ _ _ _ _ _ _ RB

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ CH _ _ _RW

No wildcat motion here (unless you send Ricky in motion from the halfback position and then bring him back across the formation), Ronnie runs the option with Ricky as the trailing back or simply fakes to Ricky up the middle and runs wide with the threat to pitch back to Henne for a pass to 3 WR downfield or dumpoffs to Ricky or Ronnie.

Scenario: If the Fins run a traditional offense against the Bills in the opener, they could catch the Vikes completely off guard with this set of formations. It would do wonders to improve the success of the running game against a tough Minnesota front line and would keep the dangerous Viking pass rush at trying to read run/pass. It would also play to the Fins strength of run blocking versus pass blocking. It would help a young line have an advantage against a veteran line because they would be taking it to the Vikes instead of the other way around.

I believe that the Fins could put these plays back in the vault and beat the Jets and the Pats at home in the next two games simply using a traditional offense, while the Jets and Pats waste valuable practice time preparing for these formations/options (assuming off course that they work).

The Green Bay game follows a bye week where the team would have extra time to get execution/timing down and Green Bay would not have as much time to prepare. Springing it on the Packers, though it would no longer be a surprise, might be the key to keeping their potent offense off of the field and keeping the crowd out of the game with long time-consuming drives.

Put the formation back into the Vault until the Baltimore game (the games in between are winnable without the extra preparation required to run the Special Ops Formations, but the other teams don't know that, so they waste time practicing to defend it.

Bring it out for the Baltimore game against a team with a vicious pass rush and deflate the morale of the crowd if they can continue to baffle defensive coordinators with the options that the Special Ops Formations can threaten. Since you are planning to use the formations in this game, you can spend extra time preparing to put it into play. The key is to have both an effective running game that keeps third downs manageable (using the option attack) and keeps the defense from teeing off against a QB in a shotgun formation, since there is always the danger of Ronnie keeping the ball and running the draw.

Anyway, my best creative attempt to give the Fins an edge in three tough road games and to take the initiative away from some aggressive defenses.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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