What was once a proud part of Miami Dolphins history has quickly become a contentious topic amongst fans of the Miami Dolphins. We all remember where we were when the Dolphins unveiled the Wildcat for the first time, embarrassing the New England Patriots and quickly becoming a new fad in the NFL.
Since 2008, though, the Wildcat hasn't been nearly as effective - picking up only 3.3 yards per play in 2010. That, of course, has led many to believe that it's time for this team to abandon their infatuation with the Wildcat.
Armando Salguero agrees, writing that the formation has outlived its usefulness and should be put to bed once and for all. He cites that some of the best offenses in the NFL never use the formation. He mentions that the league is now a "pass-happy" league and that the Wildcat is a "distraction."
All valid points, of course. But I can't say I agree with the idea of totally abandoning the Wildcat in 2011 and beyond.
Salguero writes that the NFL has changed since 2008 and that the Dolphins must change as well. Says Armando:
That means if the Wildcat formation enjoys a significant role in new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s plans, when the Dolphins reconvene as a football team following the NFL lockout, it should serve as code to fans. That’s because three years after it was used with great NFL success, the Wildcat no longer is a surprise. Its success is pretty much played out. And teams that use the Wildcat formation do so now mostly as a way of disguising the fact their quarterbacks are not elite.
My problem with this entire argument is that it misses the actual point of the Wildcat formation. The formation isn't a gimmick. And it's not a gadget play meant to "surprise" the opposing defense. It's simply meant to be a short yardage and red zone formation.
The problem is that the Dolphins over-used it, busting it out at the wrong times. Fans, meanwhile, probably expected too much from the formation. But in it's simplest form, the Wildcat is nothing more than a power running formation designed to convert short yardage situations and score from inside the ten.
You might think that it's time to for the Dolphins to abandon the Wildcat in all situations because of how ineffective the formation was last year. But the Dolphins have a couple new parts to plug in that should return some bite to the Wildcat.
No, I'm not saying that Mike Pouncey, Daniel Thomas, and Charles Clay were all drafted because of what they ccan bring to the Wildcat. That idea is ridiculous. But it sure doesn't hurt. Pouncey and his ability to pull. Thomas and his experience both as a running back and as a quarterback. Clay and his versatility to run, catch, throw, and block.
My point here is that the Wildcat is far from dead in Miami. I just hope it's used as it was meant to be used and doesn't become the momentum killer it became in 2010.