Wildcat in Seattle?


There was an interesting bit the other day on the rumor mill – courtesy of ESPN.com – about the Seattle Seahawks becoming the next team to employ the Wildcat formation on a regular basis. The Wildcat rumor was derived from an article featured in the News Tribune that profiled new Seahawk Isaiah Stanback.

The article, written by Dave Boling, explores the possibility of Isaiah Stanback as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation. This scenario became more than just a possibility when head coach Pete Carroll commented on Stanback’s versatility and ability as a passer:

"“He can offer some help to do some things if we needed it at the quarterback spot to salvage a few situations,” Carroll said, adding that he was “anxious to see what he offers us.”The Hawks already have three quarterbacks on the depth chart, but Carroll’s comment suggests that he might see Stanback as a possible “Wildcat” quarterback on occasion."

I love Stanback’s athleticism and versatility too, but didn’t we already go through this experiment with Seneca Wallace?

If you remember, Wallace spent more time running out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage than making a positive play with his feet or arm. A few of Mora’s trick plays – most specifically designed to exploit Wallace’s talents – resulted in positive gains, but the Wildcat formation was never regularly used during the regular season.

Maybe it was a result of poor play on the offensive line, but I thought Wallace in a “Wildcat” role was rather unimpressive. Why should we expect more from Stanback, who is far less proven in the National Football League than Wallace?

Despite hesitant support for Stanback in the Wildcat, I do like the idea of the Seahawks implementing the formation on a somewhat-regular basis. I wouldn’t mind developing the next Ronnie Brown in Seattle to run the Wildcat formation. I just don’t think Isaiah Stanback is the best option.

What about Golden Tate?

I know Golden Tate doesn’t have the passing experience that Isaiah Stanback has, but he is a better playmaker with the ball in his hands. Ronnie Brown would never excel as a quarterback, but he is more than effective in Miami’s Wildcat.

Golden Tate is an extraordinary player with a unique set of skills. He may not be the fastest receiver or possess the best hands, but his ball skills are above average and he excels after the catch.

Tate is similar to a player like Percy Harvin, who excels at multiple skill-positions despite a smaller frame (around 5-foot-11, 200 pounds). Like Harvin, Tate has played at both running back and wide receiver. Both players have exceptional abilities when they have the ball, but neither player is a traditional NFL-receiver.

Following the NFL draft, SI.com’s Peter King wrote that Pete Carroll is well-aware of Tate’s unique skills:

"When Carroll called him to welcome him to the Seahawks, he told him to be ready for anything – receiving, returning, rushing … and yes, Wildcatting. Golden Tate might play Ronnie Brown in Seattle."

It appears the Seahawks will employ a number of different formations to exploit the talents of different players. Stanback may be one option for the Wildcat or a similar formation, but don’t forget about Golden Tate, the Top Pot Bandit.

Don’t believe in Tate’s skills? Check out this video that mostly highlights him running out of the Wildcat:

Shaun Dolence: dolencesm@gmail.com
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