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New England Patriots Links 11/04/09 - Wright Ready to Replace Green; Truth About the Wildcat

<em>Patriots versatile sack-leader Mike Wright</em>.
Patriots versatile sack-leader Mike Wright.

Kerry Byrne gives the Cold Hard Football Facts about the WIldcat: None of it matters. It’s all bells, whistles and BS. 

The Wildcat is, at the end of the day, little more than window dressing that shades the eternal truth of pro football over the past 70 years: The team that wins the passing battle wins the game.

The Dolphins of the past two seasons aren’t the exception to this rule, as Wildcat advocates contend. They are the proof of this rule.

The 2008 Dolphins didn’t enjoy unexpected success because they ran the ball so well. The 2008 Dolphins enjoyed unexpected success because they suddenly passed the ball so well. Here’s the proof:

• The 1-15 Dolphins of 2007 averaged 4.0 YPA running the ball — 16th in the NFL.
• The 11-5 Dolphins of 2008 averaged 4.2 YPA running the ball — 15th in the NFL.

So, the much-improved Dolphins of 2008 barely improved over the awful Dolphins of 2007 in their ability to run the ball. They were mediocre running the ball each year.

But take a look at Miami’s passing game from 2007 to 2008:

• The 1-15 Dolphins of 2007 averaged 5.9 YPA passing the ball — 30th in the NFL
• The 11-5 Dolphins of 2008 averaged 7.4 YPA passing the ball — 7th in the NFL.

The much-improved Dolphins of 2008 showed a dramatic improvement in their ability to pass the ball. In fact, this improvement in Miami’s passing game was probably the greatest statistical story of 2008. But it was a story that barely got mentioned in the hype that surrounded the Wildcat.