Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Mar 2009

Wildcat Widens Roles in NFL

Here's a piece I did for the Washington Post's PreDraft section about the Wildcat, Dirty Bird, Flash, etc., and how different formation ideas in the NFL may benefit players like Pat White. Bonus: Sub-Tanier play diagrams included!

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 04 Mar 2009

3 comments, Last at 09 Mar 2009, 9:00am by Mr Shush


by Independent George :: Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:25pm

I believe the expression is 'champing at the bit', not 'chomping'.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 8:48am

"Champing" and "chomping" are both acceptable, and synonymous, though "champing" is if you like the "original" form. My totally amateur and unsupported-by-evidence guess would be that both are the heirs of one word which was spelt "champ" but pronounced "chomp", as it would be in French. Once a significant proportion of that part of the population who weren't of French speaking stock were literate, they started spelling it phonetically, to the point where "chomp" became the standard spelling for every usage except this one. Disclaimer: the last two sentences are almost certainly bollocks. What is true is that "chafing at the bit" is also used in the same way, though in my experience it is far less common.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 9:00am

Oh, right, and I think it's reaching the stage where there are so many astonishingly talented athletes who don't really have a role in the NFL that one or two teams could run something like the Wildcat or the Single Wing as their base offense. It would only work as long as there wasn't too much demand for the players in question - ie, as long as only one or two teams were running it - but imagine having to try and scheme against a team that could line up with White, Tebow and Young all on the field. Tebow's really the player who tips the balance in my mind: a guy with NFL arm strength and the burst, size and durability to run up the gut 10-15 times a game. I don't think he can read and release quickly enough to quarterback a conventional NFL offense, but in this sort of system it might not matter.