The Miami Dolphins shocked the New England Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick when they rolled out the “Wild Cat” formation 3 weeks ago. The formation did not have the same statistical results against San Diego, it did help the Dolphins win and provided a score and a couple of first downs.
This weekend the Dolphins will travel to Houston to take on the only NFL team they have yet to win against, the Houston Texans. Sitting at 0-3 against the team, it is of course more than likely that the Texans themselves will see their share of the single wing Wild Cat formation. NFL teams return to work on Monday’s following their games. They breakdown film from their past weekend match-ups and begin prepping for the weekend ahead. On Wednesdays, they hold their main practice session on the field and run the oppositions formations. For teams such as the Houston Texans, that formation is the “Wild Cat”.
On Tuesday night, Sun-Sentinel beat writer Omar Kelly joined myself and my co-host JL on Finsradio.net. The interview was very informative and one thing that Kelly spoke about resonated in my head. Teams are spending time practicing against the “Wild Cat”.
While your first thought may be “yeah, of course they do”, the real issue is not that they will, but that they have to. Spend time that is. See, in a week of work leading up to an NFL game, time is the one luxury that most teams just don’t have enough of and when you have to spend any of that time trying to figure out how to stop something such as the “Wild Cat” your spending less time prepping for the opponents base offense in the process.
Consider that the Texans will spend long nights trying to stop the Miami Dolphins base offense. That as a normal part of any weekly gameplan. Now they have to cut into those hours to stop the “Wild Cat”.
“There are a lot of good things we can do,” safety Will Demps said. “For example, there are other teams, New England and San Diego, they kind of showed us some good things for us to kind of attack it. I’m not going to give out the total keys of how to stop it, but we have a good plan going into it.”
The defense has taken notice of the formation and now they too are being forced to employ new tactics to stop it. The problem of course is that while they try and stop it, the Dolphins can simply modify and change it. While the Texans defensive signal callers are watching the formation and saying, “o.k. let’s do this”, the Dolphins may in fact do “that”. To further complicate it all, the coaches are now spending time fielding the daily questions of the media regarding the formation.
“You’ve got to be really sharp and diagnose and identify formations and those types of things,” coach Gary Kubiak said.” Normally, you’ve got one guy leading the defensive group, but you’ve got to have 11 guys watching how they break the huddle, who comes out and what’s going on, so confusion is an issue.”
The fact that all 11 guys on defense now are being told and taught to watch the Dolphins break the huddle is a sign that the team is spending time on watching the Dolphins break the huddle. Each offensive series and each offensive play the Dolphins run, the Houston Texan defenders will now obviously be watching more intently on how they come to the line. Miami can break in one formation, switch to another, and then even into the WC and 11 guys will be trying to work the same page of a formula that may or may not work, in an effort to stop it.
It gets worse for the opposition. Should the Dolphins once again find success this weekend against Houston and win, the teams following the Texans on the schedule will likely spend more time trying to decipher the play, the formation, and how to stop it. All the while, the Dolphins are simply preparing to stop the oppositions base.
“I don’t think every week they show everything of their offense,” Demps said. “Maybe they are going to show us something new this week…”
In that lies the crutch of trying to prepare for these Miami Dolphins. A young team who doesn’t know they are not supposed to be good, has found a spark, developed an attitude, found the taste of winning, and for the first time in a very very long time, are having fun. Yes, Mr. Demps, I think you hit the nail right on the head…the Dolphins are bound to throw something different at you. The question is, did you have enough “Time” to figure it out without spending too much “Time” on it. See the Miami Dolphins could easily shock us all and use it simply to keep the Texans guessing and nothing more.