The Unleashing Of An Unseen Wildcat

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: September 25, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — I have been saying for years that some form of an “option” style offensive attack could work in the NFL in certain packages/situations.

With a plethora of college and high school quarterbacks running Urban Meyer’s spread-option offense, there maybe a need in the future for the NFL to work towards some running quarterbacks strengths by running some option schemes.

Surprisingly, it was the rebuilding Miami Dolphins and their heady offensive coordinator Dan Henning that found a way to surprise the entire NFL by running a form of the option in their out of nowhere 38-13 road upset of the New England Patriots.

In the win that stopped the Patriots’ 21-game regular season consecutive win streak (last loss was 21-0 loss to the Dolphins on Dec. 10, 2006), Henning borrowed a page from the 2006-07 Arkansas Razorbacks’ playbook by instituting their “Wildcat Offense”.

At Arkansas, the offensive scheme was very successful as Heisman runner-up running back Darren McFadden lined up as a shotgun quarterback and caused all kinds of havoc taking a direct snap while either running or throwing the ball.

The Dolphins used the same scheme to perfection using running back Ronnie Brown in the role of McFadden six times versus the bewildered Patriots.

The ‘Phins churned out 216 rushing yards and Brown (17 rushes for 113 yards and 4 TD’s) was spectacular to say the least as a part-time quarterback.

The former Auburn star set a Dolphins franchise record by running for four touchdowns including runs of two, five, and 62 yards. For good measure and to keep the defense honest, Brown also threw a perfect left-handed 19-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Fassano.

With veteran quarterback Chad Pennington (17-20, 226 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) still leading the team, I doubt we will see the “Wildcat” offense no more than five to seven times a game for the Dolphins… But boy is it fun to watch.

Maybe in copycat fashion the rest of the NFL will join the “Wildcat” movement.