Tony Sparano was the head coach who showed the NFL how successful the Wildcat offense can be with the Dolphins, then was the offensive coordinator who showed the NFL how dismal a failure the Wildcat offense can be with the Jets. Now Sparano is the assistant head coach and offensive line coach of the Raiders, and he doesn’t want to talk about the Wildcat.
Sparano talked on Wednesday about how excited he is about what the Raiders’ offense can do with running back Darren McFadden. Specifically, Sparano noted that when he was the head coach of the Dolphins, his quarterbacks coach was David Lee — who was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas when the Razorbacks used to use McFadden in the Wildcat. But Sparano stopped short of saying he thinks that’s what the Raiders will do this year.
“I’ve known of McFadden for a long time,” Sparano told reporters. “My quarterback coach at the time in Miami was a fella by the name of David Lee. And David Lee was at the time the coordinator at Arkansas when they were out there and they were running McFadden and Felix [Jones] and that group of guys, doing some different things with them. I don’t want to say that word, you’ll bring it up soon enough. They were doing some different things with him obviously, I got a chance to watch him and study him and get a chance to learn.”
It’s not surprising that Sparano doesn’t want to use the word “Wildcat.” After the disaster that was the Jets trading for Tim Tebow last year, allegedly because he could run the Wildcat in Sparano’s offense, Sparano probably views the Wildcat as a millstone around his neck.
But before the Wildcat became a millstone in New York, it was cited as an example of the creative way that Sparano got the most out of his offense in Miami. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Sparano help the Raiders draw up some plays in which McFadden takes the snap. Just as long as it’s clear that McFadden is more like Ronnie Brown than Tim Tebow.