Thursday, September 23, 2010
Jets think they're ready for Wildcat
By Tim Graham
Not since the Miami Dolphins sprung the Wildcat on the New England Patriots in the third game of 2008 has the unusual offense tortured an opponent like the New York Jets last year.
Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace mocked the Dolphins for needing "that nonsense" to help out their "clown" quarterback, Chad Henne.
And this was after the Dolphins ran the Wildcat 16 times, their most ever, for 110 yards and a touchdown.
The Jets did figure out how to contain it in the rematch, stuffing eight Wildcat plays for minus-3 yards.
Even so, Jets coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine expect to see Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown taking shotgun snaps with Ricky Williams in speed motion Sunday night in Sun Life Stadium.
The Dolphins ran the Wildcat four times for 9 yards in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills and five times for 14 yards against the Minnesota Vikings last week. The Dolphins haven't passed out of the Wildcat yet this year.
"The key is having good eyes because it involves a lot of misdirection," Pettine said. "You have the motion coming across in most of the plays, and there's usually some sort of fake involved in it. A big part of it is making sure you're in a fundamentally sound defense, where all of our gaps are covered.
"What it really does is, by splitting the quarterback out, that gives them the advantage of putting you in a lighter box. They can give you formations that spread the field a little bit more that you have to lighten up. Now that the running back's taking the direct snap, you're basically getting two-back runs against defenses that are only geared to defend one-back runs. That's the advantage of it.
"You really have to look at the math of each formation and try to make sure that the math is right in your favor defensively."