Before this weekend is over, we very well have read every detail possible about the wildcat. Imagine what the Patriots were thinking when the Dolphins first debuted this offense last season. Bob Gretz talked to the Chief defensive players about the problems the wildcat presents, including Mike Vrabel who was on the field last year with New England.
Vrabel remembers thinking “what is this?”
Suddenly, there was something not quite right with the Dolphins offense. RB Ronnie Brown was lining up in the shot gun behind the center and quarterback Chad Pennington was … was … where the hell was he?
What made this different was how successful the Dolphins were with the new offensive wrinkle, plus who they ran the plays against. There were six direct snaps to Brown in this game and four ended in Miami touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring run by Brown. The Dolphins won 38-13. The outcome ended a 21-game regular-season winning streak for the Patriots.
“It was something that we as players and coaches were totally unprepared for,” Vrabel recalled Wednesday in the Chiefs locker room. “It caught us by surprise. We certainly hadn’t worked on it. They continued to hurt us during that game with those plays.”
Ultimately the trait that makes the Wildcat successful is that it forces the defense to think first, rather than react. That’s what makes the prep so important for the defense.
“We will have our plan and we’ll go over it and review all the keys,” said FS Jarrad Page. “That’s all we can do. If everybody does what they are supposed to do, then it’s just another play.”
So when a running back like Westbrook lines up to take the snap, does the defense view him as a running back or a quarterback?
“A guy like Westbrook, you view him as a running back,” said Vrabel. “If it’s a toss sweep look, then he can obviously throw the ball. He’s going to hurt you a lot more running the ball than throwing the ball.”
And that right there is what makes the addition of Vick to the Eagles offense such a big deal. No matter how you feel about his accuracy (or lack thereof) it can’t be argued any of the Philadelphia non-QB skill position players are a bigger threat to throw the ball than Vick.
If anything the Eagles running plays with Vick out of the wildcat could hit for bigger yardage with the linebackers and safeties unwilling to come up to play the run for fear of getting beat deep.
Yesterday, the Kansas City Chiefs welcomed another New England veteran to practice.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a guest at Kansas City Chiefs practice yesterday.
Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli had visited the Sox clubhouse Tuesday.
“It was a different hour,’’ Francona said. “I wish I could have stayed more, it was fun. It was a different mentality than we’re used to. I really enjoyed it.’’
Asked how it was different, Francona quipped, “Well, they’re 300-pound men trying to kill each other in practice. We’re taking grounders getting ready for a game.’’
Here’s to hoping that some of Tito’s winning ways rubbed off on the Chiefs for this weekend.
No matter what roll he plays on Sunday, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick wants everyone to know that he doesn’t plan on changing the way he plays the game.
”I’m still going to be aggressive. Nothing is going to change on the field. I’m still going to be the same player, trying to be dynamic and not try to do too much and understand that Superman may not be ready to return as of right now, but he will in the future. Like I said, the last two weeks have really helped me recuperate and get myself back into the position where I feel good again and confident.”
Before that period, Vick was overwhelmed at times, both physically and mentally. Now his goal is to transfer those feelings to opposing defenses. There’s no doubt in his mind that he will.
”I’m very comfortable with the playbook and what we’re doing… I think it’s a bit of a surprise [to defenses] when I step out there because you never know what you’re going to get, never know what’s going to happen. We do a lot of different things. Andy and [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] do a good job of coming up with concepts for the packages I’m in. So it might not be what you see in a couple weeks, it might be something different. So there’s just a lot that’s expected out of me, and I expect a lot out of myself.”
I’ll give you a preview of the Players To Watch for Sunday’s game… Michael Vick on the Eagles offense. I’m still surprised people are questioning if he will play a lot against the Chiefs. As long as his conditioning is up to speed, there’s no reason he won’t see 10-15 offensive plays.