Cowboys, Wildcats and Razorbacks

Dallas experiments with their own brand of the increasingly popular wildcat formation

As wildcat fever spreads in the NFL like a professional football version of the “Macarena,” the Dallas Cowboys have used their OTAs to experiment with a different beast -- the Razorback.
In all honesty, though, the beast probably isn’t all that different from a traditional wildcat set; even if it is, the nuances therein won’t be clear for several months.
That is, at this point, Dallas’ experimentation with the set is just that, no more and no less.
Last week, Patrick Crayton got the Lion’s share of the snaps in the formation; this week has seen Tashard Choice take over.
Both players have skill sets that would lend to the offense -- Crayton was a standout quarterback at Northwestern Oklahoma State and Choice has experience with direct snaps from his days at Georgia Tech.
Former-Razorback Felix Jones -- who tormented SEC defenses in a similar set with Darren McFadden -- has also been in the mix.
The surprise of 2008, Choice’s career college passing statistics aren’t bad either: one completion, one attempt, seventeen yards and a touchdown.
While Crayton would give Dallas a better chance to throw from the “Razorback,” Choice’s burst would allow, ostensibly, for the sophomore to cut up the inside of the defense.
He worked in a zone read in college, a sort of option-set, wherein he would sweep wide, read the defense and decide whether to make the pitch or take it himself.
"They are looking at it to see how they like it,” Choice said. “They’ve got to have somebody who can run and throw. Most times it’s a running back."
Again, this is purely experimental, and there’s no guarantee that the “Razorback” will even see the light of day come September.
But when in Rome, you do as the Romans do; when in the NFL in 2009, you work on the Wildcat, or some variation on the wildcat.
Dallas should reap some benefit either way. The defense seeing the set and learning how to best defend it could very well make a palpable difference in 2009.
Philadelphia, who unceremoniously beat the Cowboys into oblivion and out of the playoffs a year ago lined up in a wildcat-like set a few times in 2008; and it appears that it will be back en force in 2009.
There’s no reason to think that the Razorback won’t be ready, at least in some capacity, next season, leaving the most relevant hog-related question: Who is going to lead this charge? Will it be Patrick Crayton, Tashard Choice? Felix Jones?
Or could it be some new and exciting free agent, out of Jacksonville maybe, with a semi-checkered past and a wealth (I believe) of untapped potential?

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