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Chargers see wildcat as more than gimmick

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]

    Turner: Team has players to pull it off

    By Chris Jenkins
    Friday, November 20, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – The wildcat's out of the bag. Way out.
    A year ago, the Miami Dolphins turned the NFL on its ear with its variation of the old single-wing offense, the direct snap to the running back in a strategy designed to make football a truly 11-on-11 game. When they used it to beat San Diego, too, you should've known the Chargers would be appropriating the “wildcat” for their own purposes.
    Them, and seemingly half the NFL.
    “My son (Scott) ran a version of it when he was a high school coach,” head coach Norv Turner said. “They ran a version of it and he sent me some film of Arkansas running it. I just looked at it, but obviously, I never thought in terms of running it in this league.”
    Understand, Turner is considered one of the more clever and open-minded head coaches when it comes to offensive football. But it took Miami's success to convince him and others that the throwback offense wasn't just a gadget for desperate teams with nothing else going for them and nothing to lose.
    “The way the thing's evolved, somebody was going to start running it,” Turner said, “and when you have guys like we have who can handle it, it's worth doing.”
    So far, it's been worth a touchdown and a critical first down to the Chargers, and they've run their version of the wildcat only thrice.
    Heck, by the time they broke it out with LaDainian Tomlinson's 6-yard TD burst through the befuddled Oakland Raiders defense on Nov. 1, the Chargers had been practicing it since unofficial workouts in May.
    Ostensibly, the Chargers offense began running the wildcat in drills for the benefit of its defense, given the prospect of another game with the Dolphins and copycats this season. Then osmosis went to work.
    “We've run it so much,” said wide receiver Legedu Naanee, “that it's become something matter-of-fact to us.”
    Crowds certainly love it, if only for the novelty, the odd sight of quarterback Philip Rivers lining up as a wide receiver. A way-wide receiver. Visions of a Tomlinson-to-Rivers pass went dancing through 60,000 heads at Qualcomm Stadium.
    Then again, Naanee's eminently qualified to make such a throw as well, and he was the one who took the direct snap in the first quarter last Sunday. A former high school quarterback who first went to Boise State on the strength of his passing skills, Naanee read the reaction of the defensive end and opted not to hand the ball to Tomlison, keeping it instead for 10 yards and a first down that led to a TD.
    Later in the game, Tomlinson took another direct snap for a 5-yard gain. In the process, the Chargers have given the Denver Broncos something they hadn't seen out of San Diego before, including their first game at Qualcomm on Oct. 19.
    “Miami's very effective running it a lot and does so many things with it,” Naanee said. “But with us, I think the less we use it, the more effective it is for us. With the team and the talent we have, when you can just sprinkle it in here and there, they don't know whether we'll run it this week or who'll be the guy running it.”
    The element of surprise is a much-valued, and extremely rare, commodity in the NFL. The Chargers actually were among the first to experience the wildcat, and a pleasant experience, it wasn't.
    “First time I saw it, it was preparing for Miami right after Miami'd sprung it on New England,” cornerback Quentin Jammer said. “My first instinct? Man, this stuff don't really work. And then you see Miami running it to perfection. It catches you off-guard, but by now, it's branching out to other teams. Others have their version of it, but it's not the same.”
    The focus of the wildcat is on the recipient of the snap, but perhaps the toughest adjustment is on the guy delivering the ball. When a quarterback is in shotgun formation, the center usually is snapping the ball while beginning his backpedal into pass protection. With the wildcat, though, the center generally hikes the ball and fires forward as a run-blocker.
    And then there's the height factor. Rivers is 6-foot-5, Naanee 6-2. Tomlinson is 5-10.
    “I'm not so much concerned about blowing up my defender as I am getting the ball back right,” said center Scott Mruczkowski, whose hike on Tomlinson's touchdown was about facemask-high. “LT's a lower target. First time I heard the play called, I got nervous, because the last thing I want to do is fire a snap over LT's head.”
     
  2. Bergo23

    Bergo23 BoltTalker

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    I really want to see Nanee throw one to VJ out of it for a TD. The only downside to the formation is Rivers is not a very good decoy :)
     
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    I'd prefer that Rivers not even be on the field for that formation. Makes me nervous that someone will level him.
     
  4. TheLash

    TheLash Well-Known Member

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    why, just because he runs like he's wearing logging boots?:lol:
     
  5. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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  6. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Yeah lol- he starts to run then is just like screw this :lol:
     
  7. RipTheJacker

    RipTheJacker Well-Known Member

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    exactly what i was thinking
    Whenever we run the wild frog, we should take rivers out and put in volek or whitehurst, no reason to get our 100mil QB hurt on a gimmick play
     
  8. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Nanee pitch to LT, option pass to VJ or Gates and Sproes in the slot..

    Rivers cheers from the sidelines
     
  9. Holy_Bolt

    Holy_Bolt Well-Known Member

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    "In Rivers we trust!" Not sure why we do the wildcat. I guess it is simular to the halfback pass...but Rivers is such a great weapon...got to have him on the field!
     
  10. Airw0lf

    Airw0lf BoltTalker

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    Agree. But at least he won't do something boneheaded like a crack back (Brett Favre.)
     
  11. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    The crack back block was a bit much, but speaking in genaral terms I have tons of respect for Brett Fave with the way he plays after he doen't have the ball anymore.

    I know it's sacrelidge to say anything good about Brett Favre these days, but who cares? Most QBs hand the ball off and take the rest of the play off. Favre's up front throwing blocks, even as a 40 year old banged up QB.

    Yeah, he threw an illegal block in the preseason, shame on him, but I don't fault his dedication when making it. He just shouldn't have gone with the crack back.
     
  12. bigmike.x.09

    bigmike.x.09 Well-Known Member

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    because it gives the defensive coordinator another thing to worry about.
     
  13. Holy_Bolt

    Holy_Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Rivers gives them enough to think about...IMHO.
     
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Very Senior Member

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    I don't have a problem with Brett Favre the QB, but I do have a problem with the off season drama queen Brett. :abq1:
     
  15. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    Same here.

    It pisses me off more because it tarnishes his reputation for his real contribution to the game.

    The guy's a gamer, one of the best the game has ever seen. But people care more about his offseason shenanigans.
     
  16. HollywoodLeo

    HollywoodLeo Well-Known Member

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    I'd be bothered by it for the same reason as you if they did it more often than three times in a 9 week span. :icon_shrug:

    Once in awhile as a gimmick play to throw the defense off is not a big deal to me.

    But I do agree that if they are going to do it they should just get Rivers off the field out right. He's not fooling anyone standing at a WR position so why risk getting him hurt?
     

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