No more Wildcat for Me!

Andrew GallagherContributor IOctober 28, 2008

So, we all know that the Wildcat formation has swept the football world ever since the Miami Dolphins unleashed it against the New England Patriots in Week Three of the 2008 season.

Since then many teams have added it to their playbook. Some teams, like the Ravens, have created plays like it themselves, but instead of the running back receiving the direct snap, they line up with two quarterbacks in Troy Smith and Joe Flacco.

Anyway, after looking at the play carefully, I have noticed some very severe flaws in its execution.

First, the quarterback lines up wide to receive, making one less capable receiver available; also, a quarterback doesn't stand a chance in coverage against any members of the secondary.

Another thing is that the offense has little room for error, because the time that it will take for the offensive line to hold the defensive line shrinks because the offensive line is confused as to how long they should maintain their blocks. Though these problems could be fixed easily by doing the play more in practice and by drafting or signing more speedy quarterbacks.

So this does not solve the many problems that this play gives to defenses; however, there is a way for defenses to stop this play. The first step is for the defensive line to flat out blitz whomever is under center. The next step is for the outside linebackers to position themselves by each sideline at the snap of the ball, to cut off any running lane that the ballcarrier might have.

The third step is for the middle linebacker to act as a QB or running back spy, or whomever is under center at the time. The next step involves the secondary; cornerbacks should keep tight coverage on any eligible receiver, even the quarterback (the mentality that he is only a quarterback would lead the cornerback to believe that he shouldn't have to cover as well, leaving the QB wide open). 

The final positioning step is for the safeties to all out blitz whomever has the ball, unless a corner has trouble in coverage. This defensive play works in waves. Say if the ballhandler decides to run it instead of throwing it and gets past the D-line, then the linebackers who placed themselves on the sideline go to the ballcarrier, depending on which side he ran it to. 

However, if the ballhandler decides to throw, then the D-line and the middle linebacker will be able to put pressure in his face, leaving him confused and incapable of accurate decision-making. The use of these steps should effectively neutralize the "unstoppable" Wildcat formation.

In summary, the Wildcat formation that is currently being used by most, if not all, of the teams in the NFL can be effectively stopped by the defensive play, which I cleverly call the "Wildcat Hunter" or the "Hunter," for short.