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Wildcat doesn’t make much sense for San Diego


With renowned Wildcat quarterback (except when he’s improvising) Ronnie Brown now a member of the Chargers’ backfield, it makes sense for San Diego to dust off the alternative attack.

And as Ganttt (hell, if one “t” is silent, why not add another?) pointed out in his first effort at the one-liners (I gave him only an “A-” so he won’t get cocky), the Chargers practiced the formation during Wednesday’s OTA session.

As reported by Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, Brown, receiver Eddie Royal, running back Ryan Mathews, and receiver Micheal Spurlock each took snaps in the Wildcat.

But while they’ve used it sparingly in the past, it doesn’t make sense for the Wildcat to become a staple of the Chargers’ offense, for the same reason it doesn’t make sense for any other team that has a true franchise quarterback to use it more than once every few games.

True franchise quarterbacks, like Philip Rivers, rarely if ever should come off the field.  When the Dolphins began using the Wildcat extensively in 2008, thanks to the efforts of offensive coordinator Dan Henning and quarterbacks coach David Lee, they didn’t have a franchise quarterback.  Any team that ever has used the formation as anything more than a one-shot, out-of-the-blue gimmick play didn’t have a true franchise quarterback.

That’s ultimately why former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb bristled at the use of Mike Vick in that role during his first season in Philly.  Franchise quarterbacks rarely, if ever, should play anything other than quarterback.  And so by using Vick regularly in the Wildcat package, the Eagles implicitly were letting the world know that they no longer viewed McNabb as a true franchise quarterback.  (And, the following year, he was no longer with that franchise.)

If a team has supreme faith in its quarterback, it shouldn’t want to move him away from center, ever.  And so if the presence of the Wildcat at practice is anything other than an effort to get the Chargers’ defense ready for teams that may use it against them in 2012 (like the Jets or the Chiefs) or simply a way to keep the defenses they’ll be facing guessing, the Chargers are making a big mistake.

Unless, of course, they no longer believe Philip Rivers is a true franchise quarterback.

If that’s the case, there are plenty of other teams that would embrace him as one.

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14 Responses to “Wildcat doesn’t make much sense for San Diego”
  1. sj39 says: Jun 14, 2012 9:23 AM

    Philip Rivers is a true franchise QB? When did that happen?

  2. joetoronto says: Jun 14, 2012 9:27 AM

    “Unless, of course, they no longer believe Philip Rivers is a true franchise quarterback.

    If that’s the case, there are plenty of other teams that would embrace him as one.”

    With AJ Smith at the controls, anything is possible. Just look around the league, it’s full of ex Chargers starting for other teams.

  3. rasalas says: Jun 14, 2012 9:31 AM

    What doesn’t make much sense is your reasoning. When Ronnie Brown first ran the Wildcat offense in Miami — when it was most successful — the Dolphins had Chad Pennington at QB. He might not have ended up being a franchise QB, in that he didn’t last long with the Dolphins due to injury, but he did turn in one of the best performances of his career that season and the best for Miami since Dan Marino’s retirement. Effectively, he performed as well as a franchise QB.

  4. cuda1234 says: Jun 14, 2012 9:34 AM

    The wildcat came from Arkansas where David Lee had Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis and wanted to get them all on the field together. Same thing in Miami where they had no qb but three good backs in Ricky, Ronnie and Patrick Cobbs. It was purely an act of desperation, not an effort to revolutionize the NFL (or to revert to 1093’s style of offense).

  5. cush2push says: Jun 14, 2012 9:39 AM

    The wildcat package is a short yardage package if it can pick up the 3rd and 2 3rd and 3s i wouldn’t care if i had tom brady get them 1st downs

  6. claydefayette says: Jun 14, 2012 9:42 AM

    Mathews and/or Ronnie Brown have to at least be able to release the ball quicker than Rivers’ jacked up motion.

  7. neer music says: Jun 14, 2012 9:55 AM

    could be a good role for lt if he’s interested in a light workload for a competitive team that he’s familiar with. the guy can toss it, and he protects the ball..

  8. citnetter says: Jun 14, 2012 9:57 AM

    I know it’s the boring offseason, but this sure is a lot of blabber about nothing more than a team practicing a few plays in mini-camp. Who says they’re going to pull Rivers off regular basis? Sheesh…

  9. citnetter says: Jun 14, 2012 9:58 AM

    I know it’s the boring offseason, but this sure is a lot of blabber about nothing more than a team practicing a few plays in mini-camp. Who says they’re going to pull Rivers off on a regular basis? Sheesh…

  10. rajbais says: Jun 14, 2012 10:09 AM

    It does make no sense because they used the same formation under a different name “The Wild Frog” because it was for LT, the former TCU Frog.

    It’s a bullcrap formation and should only be used by teams with no offense, quarterback, or competence at head coach or offensive coordinator!!! Why else did the Dolphins go down the toilet????

    San Diego, this is what you get for keeping a jerk like A.J. Smith and Norv Turner!!!! You’re not going to the playoffs this year!!! You’ll win 7 games with a good offense, no defense, and no depth because Smith is just riding off Philip Rivers’ talent and drafting okay at best!!!

    Plus, look at San Diego’s gradual late season trends under Turner:
    2007: AFC Title Game.
    2008: Kick Peyton Manning’s ass in the Wildcard Round and just go to the Divisional Round at 8-8.
    2009: Lose the Wildcard playoff game.
    2010: Miss the playoffs at 9-7 with bad special teams play.
    2011: 8-8, No playoffs with a bad defense!!!

    2012: The likely outcome will be 7-9, good passing offense, underperforming defense because there are no players on that side of the ball: the inconsistent Antoine Cason, Larry English, no inside linebacker to Stephen Cooper, and no scary 5-techniques or nose tackles since a healthy Luis Castillo, Igor Olshansky, and Jamal Williams!!!

    The Chiefs and Broncos will fight for the AFC West!!!

    Chargers fans, don’t go to the games this year because you are being served by bad organization leaders!!!!!

  11. teamocil19 says: Jun 14, 2012 10:21 AM

    So, the Chargers installed the Wildcat. That doesn’t mean they are planning to make it a “staple” of their offense.

    To even suggest they might “no longer believe Philip Rivers is a true franchise quarterback” is ridiculous. Just an OTA installment. Nothing more. Classic overreaction here from Florio.

  12. thcnote says: Jun 14, 2012 11:39 AM

    Nobody cares about the Chargers. The window is closed and they will be middle of the road for the rest of Rivers career.

  13. byrnes11 says: Jun 14, 2012 5:20 PM

    Chargers are non cox

  14. lance19 says: Jun 14, 2012 6:38 PM

    I love how rajbais skips the
    Chargers’ 2009 record. 🙂

    Why avoid it? To deceive.
    Because the team improving from
    8-8 to 13-3 kind of (read: TOTALLY) undermines the claim of a consistent slide.

    The Chargers are far from perfect…but they’ve also NEVER won as much over a 7 or 8 year span
    as they are currently doing…
    (how many NFL teams haven’t had a losing season since 2003?)

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