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Saints are getting credit for blue print to shut down wildcat


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Lets give them credit for everything..Best team ever ..wtf did the Dolphins gain yards against us on the wild cat

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Posted about 2 hours ago 2 Comments 1 Recommendation E-mail <h1 class="removeformobile">Saints might have provided blueprint to taming the Wildcat</h1> jason_lacanfora_HS_09_SM.jpg By Jason La Canfora | NFL.com

There was much for any football fanatic to savor in the Saints' thrilling comeback win in Miami last Sunday. The game could not have been more entertaining to an impartial observer, and the offensive fireworks and tug-of-war nature of the game made it an instant classic. But, as has often been the case this season, some of the best work of New Orleans' vastly improved defense went overlooked.

Beyond the interceptions and two defensive scores, the Saints' thrived at something few teams have this season -- shutting down the Wildcat. And, with Rex Ryan's Jets getting their second shot at the Dolphins this week (after getting shredded by Miami's offense in the first meeting) there are lessons to be learned.

New Orleans took an overly-aggressive approach to the Wildcat, according to those who broke down the game film, perhaps establishing a template others will follow. Miami, which came into the game dominating opponents on the ground and in terms of time of possession (with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams both on pace for well over 1,000 yards from scrimmage), averaged just 2.2 yards per play in the Wildcat, and primary Wildcat field general Ronnie brown gained just 48 yards on 16 carries. Of their 15 runs from the Wildcat, the Dolphins were stopped for negative yardage four times and eight of those runs went for fewer than 3 yards.

The results were even more striking considering the Dolphins rode a lead for much of the game, with the standard thinking that once the Dolphins get up they become one of the toughest teams to rally against, as they slam their power running approach down your throat. So, how did the Saints do it?

A lot of it had to do with team commitment, pristine execution and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' willingness to attack the ball carrier on virtually every down. According to someone who scouted the game, New Orleans came with pressure on 62 of its 74 defensive snaps, often bringing corners and safeties to run blitz. "Miami had no answer for it," the scout said.

Many teams approach the Wildcat with a two-gap mentality, trying to play it laterally, worried about getting gashed. The Saints remained very tight and compact in the middle of the field, and did everything they could to force the ball carrier to make a decision in the backfield, sticking nine defenders in the box (sometimes 10) and daring Chad Henne to beat them (especially with super-safety Darren Sharper playing at an All-Pro level and feasting on young QBs).

The Saints are a team that often stunts in the run game, but they discarded that for the most part, especially in the second half. If the Dolphins had been able to get their Wildcat game going with the lead, it would have been lights out, even for a team as offensively gifted as the Saints. New Orleans made some mistakes -- particularly on a pitch to the outside and one long pass play -- but the attention to detail stood out against the Wildcat.

Saints players say their coaches made stopping the Wildcat a portion of special-situation practice sessions going back to spring OTAs and minicamps. With so many teams embracing elements of the scheme now, it was something the Saints studied. Not every team has the personnel to be as effective as New Orleans was last Sunday, but the approach bears duplication.

Both Gregg Williams and Ryan are disciplines of Buddy Ryan, Rex's defensive-minded father, but Rex's 3-4 defense with the Jets is coping with the loss of nose tackle Kris Jenkins for the season -- a huge loss -- and one the Dolphins will surely look to exploit. And while Henne was negated by the Saints' defense, he had a marvelous outing against the Jets a few weeks back.

As for the Saints, they have proven they can win on both sides of the ball. Much attention is going to their scoring pace, superior to that of the record-setting 2007 Patriots, but much of that also has to do with the defense, which leads the NFL with 34 point scored, 20 more than any other team. The Saints lead the league with 18 turnovers and 72 points off the miscues (New England had 103 points off turnovers in all of 2007). The Saints already have seven interception returns of 20 yards or more -- tops in the league -- including a league-leading four returned for touchdowns.

Those type of plays change games and alter field position, giving a boost to an offense that usually won't need it anyway. If this keeps up, Sharper is going to be in the running for Defensive MVP. He's thriving in that deep, deep safety role Sean Taylor used to man for Washington under Williams, and is responding to Williams' tough love in the same way. Sharper's ability to goad the quarterback, anticipate and react has given the team an element it sorely lacked before, while Williams is also giving veterans like Sharper latitude to gamble and make pre-snap checks and calls based on what they see.

Thus far, it's been a perfect marriage. Just ask the Dolphins.

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We didn't shut down the wildcat. We are just being whiney now. The Dolphins only attempted it 4 or 5 times figuring we were looking for it.

The new QB had an easy touchdown but missed the throw under zero pressure. I personally wasn't impressed or unimpressed with our effort. We just didn't see the wildcat. Miami was poorly coached for not trying it more imho.

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We didn't shut down the wildcat. We are just being whiney now. The Dolphins only attempted it 4 or 5 times figuring we were looking for it.

The new QB had an easy touchdown but missed the throw under zero pressure. I personally wasn't impressed or unimpressed with our effort. We just didn't see the wildcat. Miami was poorly coached for not trying it more imho.

They did it 4 or 5 times because they wasn't getting anywhere...plain and simple.

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