Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Is the Wildcat a poor fit in Philly?
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I'm anxious to hear from Eagles coach Andy Reid this afternoon. He's normally pretty dry during news conferences, but lately his devotion to the Wildcat formation has caused him to display biting sarcasm and varied facial expressions. He realizes that the critics -- Parcells called them "laymen" -- are worried that the fabled "Michael Vick Wildcat" could disrupt the flow of the base offense. But Reid scolded the media Monday for not even being able to identify at least three Wildcat formations. I'm told you could hear maniacal laughter from his office each time he retold the story of how NFL football reporters weren't able to distinguish the unbalanced line from the jumbo package.
But now Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford had the nerve to once again question Reid's favorite new toy in a public forum. For good measure, Ford took some potshots at Vick's dogfighting past, but we won't dwell on that.
The point Ford makes is that the Wildcat formation loses any element of surprise every time Vick comes jogging onto the field. Once the Dolphins break the huddle and Ronnie Brown lines up for a direct snap, it's too late for a defense to make substitutions. That's certainly not the case when No. 7 shows up on the scene. He's probably the easiest player on the roster to identify.
Here's how Ford summed up his column this morning: "Then there is the question of why it makes sense to use the Wildcat at all when (Donovan) McNabb is playing. This is an offense that was invented to cover the flaws of quarterbacks who can't throw as well as McNabb. Turning McNabb into a wide receiver and placing someone who isn't as good at the quarterback position may be exciting and different, but eventually it will get you beat."
I'm headed out to Valley Ranch for a couple of hours. I'll check back in later this afternoon with reports on Justin Tuck, Donovan McNabb, Marion Barber, Brian Westbrook, Aaron Ross, Kevin Dockery and anyone else you might be worried about.