Like a child with a toy, the Miami Dolphins appear to no longer be interested in runnning the Wildcat.
A formation popularized by the Dolphins two years ago and that usually entails a direct snap to running back Ronnie Brown, the offense has run the Wildcat just 20 times this season after employing the tactic more than 170 times in the previous two years.
Coach Tony Sparano pointed out that Miami has not needed to implement the Wildcat due to the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall and the development of quarterback Chad Henne and wide receivers Davone Bess and Brian Hartline.
"These people all have kind of gotten a lot better right now from where they were a year ago," Sparano said in a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. "They've taken tremendous jumps. So I think a year ago when we started this thing or really two seasons ago when we started this thing, it was largely due to the fact that we needed to get our playmakers on the field at the same time. That was Ricky [Williams] and Ronnie and trying to get them involved together. Right now, we feel like there's other people that can make plays on this team rather than having to go to that package. We use it more right now as something that if we've seen it on film and it's really clear to us we'll do it. If not, there's really no need."
Brown, who has been most impacted by the declining use of the Wildcat, agreed with Sparano that the offense has evolved. That, however, doesn't mean that the offense has eliminated that possibility from its playbook.
"I don't think there's as much of a need for it," Brown said. "At the same time, it's just another one of those formations that is an opportunity for our football team, and we're able to jump into it like jumping into a no-huddle situation. Unfortunately, we haven't used it a lot, but at that same time, we still have it there every week."
"They started it, so why wouldn't you see it? I think you've seen it in every game that they've played in," he said. "You just have to stay in your gaps. Just play disciplined. Nobody try to do something that they shouldn't be doing because if you do, you never know if a pass is going to come out of it or if Ronnie Brown is throwing the ball out of it and things like that. So you have to be conscious of what's going on. Just hit your gaps and keep the ball funneled inside, and that's pretty much one way to kind of slow it down."
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