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Monday, September 27, 2010
Tony Sparano stands behind Wildcat

By Tim Graham

Amid criticism it's time to abandon the Wildcat, Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano defended their signature offensive feature.

The Dolphins called eight Wildcat plays in Sunday night's 31-23 loss to the New York Jets in Sun Life Stadium. The plays were not only ineffective, but also seemed to disrupt the rhythm of the Dolphins' offense when they were driving.

Chad Henne threw for a career-high 363 yards, but the Wildcat essentially removes the quarterback from the equation because the ball is snapped directly to a running back.

The Dolphins gained only 6 yards with the Wildcat. One play was a Brandon Marshall run for minus-1 yard. Ronnie Brown threw an incomplete pass intended for Marshall. A 1-yard run was nullified by a holding penalty.

In the fourth quarter and trailing by four points, the Dolphins had a first-and-10 situation on the Jets' 36-yard line. They called a cute Wildcat reverse to Patrick Cobbs, who linebacker David Harris dropped for a 6-yard loss. The Dolphins eventually kicked a 50-yard field goal.

"We probably ran two or three others that were 4-yard plays, which is really what we're looking for," Sparano said at his Monday news conference. "We're not looking for 40-yard plays out of the thing. It's an efficient run.

"Ronnie had two or three efficient runs out of the thing. And then we threw a pass on one of them that, to be quite honest with you, we threw the ball down the field to Brandon, but if we threw the wheel route, it might've been a 30-yard gain.

"So I ain't all stuck on that. Not at all."