Commentary

Film Notes: Fins finding Wildcat success

Originally Published: October 15, 2009
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
After breaking down film, here is Scouts Inc.'s take on what to watch in the NFL this weekend.

The Miami Wildcat

The Dolphins continue to own this offensive scheme, even though almost half the teams in the NFL have it in their playbook. Ronnie Brown is brilliant at taking the direct snap and running between the tackles, and Ricky Williams is terrific when he motions out of the slot for the threat of a wide play. The Dolphins have more versatility with their Wildcat package than any other team in the NFL. Against the Jets in Week 5, five different players took the direct snap, including three players on the last drive, and rookie QB Pat White took three snaps on the night. The total production was 110 yards against the aggressive Jets defense. Miami's offensive line did a great job of picking up the blitz -- especially center Jake Grove against inside pressure -- and Chad Henne never got sacked or really pressured. We are used to seeing a lot of Brown running inside and Williams running outside, but now there are new wrinkles being added to this scheme. Miami is starting to pass from the Wildcat (five attempts versus the Jets), and that really freezes defenses from attacking the run. As mentioned, multiple players can now switch positions, but the toughest thing for a defense facing the Wildcat is getting the right blocking reads before the snap. Defensive players are trained to read keys. If an offensive player pulls it can lead you to attack the hole or it can be a trap block. If you see a double-team block in front of you, that's a key to step up and fill. However, the Wildcat gives all sorts of false keys. The Dolphins will pull guards in the opposite direction of where the play is being run, and there are a lot of influence blocks designed to move a defender out of the hole. It is a nightmare scheme for a defense to defend and Miami runs it to perfection.

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Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.