No matter how much success the Dolphins have with their Wildcat formation, there are always those who are quick to call the formation a gimmick that can’t be used for a team that wins big.
Monday Night Football announcer Ron Jaworski is the latest to weigh in on the formation. Appearing on ESPN radio this morning, an interview helpfully passed along by old PFT friend Michael David Smith of FanHouse, Jaworski said that while the Dolphins run well out of the Wildcat it is still “a gimmick and a gadget” that won’t ever help a team win a championship.
“Clearly, no one does it better than the Miami Dolphins, but I really
believe that at the end of the season they’re going to have to find a
way to get some explosive plays out of the passing game,” Jaworski
said. “It was crystal clear in the Colts’ game, they controlled the
ball 45 minutes but when you run the football that well you’re not
going to score a lot of points.”
While Jaworski isn’t wrong that teams need explosiveness in all phases of their offensive attack, his analysis of the Colts loss seems off base. The problem with the Dolphins in the Colts game was their inability to stop Peyton Manning from driving down the field and scoring points in a manner of seconds, not the fact that they held the ball for 45 minutes and wound up with 23 points.
Think back to Super Bowl XXV when pundits fell all over themselves to praise the ball control gameplan drawn up by Bill Parcells to help his Giants beat the Bills. The Giants held the ball for nearly 41 minutes and only scored
19 20points, but they beat the Bills because their defense held the potent Bills offense to just 17 19points before Scott Norwood missed wide right.
They didn’t use the Wildcat, but isn’t it just splitting hairs to argue that one offensive style is better than another one if it puts your team into position to win games?
Furthermore, on Monday night the Dolphins did make explosive plays in the passing game. Chad Henne hit Ted Ginn for a 53-yard touchdown pass against the excellent Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, the kind of big play that may be more common now that Henne has taken over the reins from the more limited Chad Pennington.
The biggest problem with Jaworski’s lament is that you could say the same thing about any team with one big strength coupled with mediocre or worse play in other phases of the game. Did the fact that the Saints missed the playoffs the last two seasons mean that you can’t win with an explosive passing game? No, because as they’ve proven this season you need a good running game and strong defense as well.
The Wildcat can’t be everything, but to say it can’t be part of something seems quite silly given the evidence the Dolphins have provided over the last two seasons.