Wildcat Woes

As has been the case way too often this season, all of the focus in the Dolphins locker room after their practice on Wednesday was on the receiving corps. Make no mistake, it's a group that has not performed up to par so far this season, but there's something just as troubling happening with the offense these days. Maybe even more troubling.

The Wildcat, excuse the lame analogy, has been de-clawed.

When New Orleans shut it down on Oct. 25, it could have been seen as an aberration. When the Jets followed that by shutting it down even more on Nov. 1, a little red flag had to go up.

But now there's major cause for concern after New England made it three in a row last Sunday.

Just look at the numbers: Not counting the opener when the Dolphins used the Wildcat only once, the average per Wildcat play the next four games was 8.9, 6.0, 6.4 and 6.9. That's pretty impressive stuff. The last three games: 2.1, 0.9, 2.0. Ouch!

Rushing averages out of the Wildcat have read: 8.9, 6.0, 6.4, 6.4, 2.3, 1.0, 2.4. Again, ouch!

Now, this wouldn't be such a big deal if the Dolphins didn't rely so much on the Wildcat. But the truth is they do. And the uglier truth is they have to.

Really, take away the Wildcat, and you have a team with a solid offensive line, two really good running backs and a promising quarterback, but a team that won't do much damage on offense.

And that's where the problems at wide receiver come back. We don't need to go over them again because that's a subject that's been beaten to death, other than say there's not a whole lot the Dolphins can do until the offseason because the problem in the passing game is a lack of personnel.

Maybe the Dolphins should think about throwing rookie third-round pick Patrick Turner on the field and see if he can produce, but we have to trust the Dolphins coaches here and think that if Turner really was going to be an upgrade, he would have seen his first NFL action already.

One thing for sure, if there's even a shred of doubt as to what kind of impact Turner could make, get him in there. The Dolphins need to try something.

Right now, Chad Henne just doesn't have enough options in the passing game because of problems with dropped passes, underachieving, or lack of speed.

The Dolphins have done a lot of good things in terms of personnel the last two years, but they dropped the ball by not addressing the wide receiver position this past offseason.

Anyway, back to the Wildcat. The Dolphins clearly can't completely drop it because if they do, it spells big trouble.

Maybe the answer is throwing the ball more often out of the formation to keep opponents for bringing so many defenders close to the line of scrimmage the second they see Ronnie Brown in the shotgun formation.

Sunday's game against Tampa Bay represents a great opportunity for the offense in general -- and the Wildcat in particular -- to get healthy. The Bucs have been terrible against the run all year, and the Dolphins really should rack up around 150 yards on the ground in this game.

But another bad game for the Wildcat, and it just might be time to panic.


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