Cowboys Should Stay Away From The Wildcat

With the NFL being the copycat league that it is, the Wildcat formation became a league-wide craze last season when the Miami Dolphins used it to inject a little juice into an otherwise less than special offense. I, like many other Cowboy fans, have had my fair share of daydreams about Isaiah Stanback or Patrick Crayton lining up behind center. But the more I think about this whole Wildcat thing, the more I personally would prefer the Cowboys leave it alone entirely. 

Of course the Wildcat sounds like a ton of fun, especially considering the Cowboys personnel. But one quote from an owner who has had a great deal of success began to sway my opinion. When asked if his team may have interest in signing Michael Vick to run a little Wildcat, Patriots owner Robert Kraft made a ton of sense in one sentence:

"Why would we ever want to do anything to take Tom Brady off the field?"

Tony Romo isn't Tom Brady, but if you have a top level quarterback, why would you want to take the ball out of his hands? The Miami Dolphins had to be creative because they had marginal talent at the quarterback position (and on the perimeter). Even in the midst of a Wildcat tidal wave last season, it seemed that the good and secure offenses denied temptation, and just continued to do what they do. We didn’t see any Wildcat from the Colts, Patriots, or Giants. The Eagles whipped it out once, and scrapped it after a Desean Jackson red-zone interception. When you are efficient, and confident in what you do, you are best served to go with what got you there.

A lot of people make the argument that the Wildcat is worth having in the playbook because it forces opposing defenses to spend valuable practice time preparing for it. Sure, but doesn’t running the Wildcat take away from your practice time as well? I’m just not a fan of taking reps away from standard personnel, in favor of putting in a gimmick offense that we may not even see once a game.

Washington Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn on the Wildcat:

"…the next time you run it it’s a two-yard gain. And for as much work as you’ve had to do in practice to get your running back to catch the direct snap, to fake an option and run…you could have just run a regular play."

I know that the majority Wildcat plays are runs, but you have to throw it some to keep the defense honest. I definitely have no interest in seeing anyone else chucking the pigskin except Romo. Ever. I don’t have a problem with taking the pressure off of Romo, but with Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice on board, conventional running plays should be enough to keep from hanging the entire game on Romo’s arm.

I think that the Wildcat is a phase and like all phases, it will soon pass. Everyone will copycat it to death, and the formation will quickly lose it’s mystique and surprise quality. After last season, do you think you are going to catch anybody off guard with the wildcat? Playoff caliber defenses were smothering the Dolphins wildcat in the latter part of last season.

Former Super Bowl winning head coach Brian Billick on the Wildcat:

"I don’t think there’s any future for that in the NFL…It was fun. It was a great changeup. I give them (Miami) credit for doing those types of things. But against a really good team, it got stuffed."

If the Cowboys had gotten into this Wildcat business last season when teams were still figuring out how to defend it, it would have probably been beneficial. But now that everyone is ready for it, I really don’t see the point of offensive plays that do not involve Tony Romo. Ultimately, I think that the Wildcat formation will quickly go by the way of slap bracelets, Tommy Hilfiger overalls, and Chia Pets. If the Cowboys install the Wildcat this season, they would be getting on the bus a bit late.

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