The first time Bill Belichick remembers seeing a “Wildcat”-like formation in the NFL was in 1995, when the Steelers employed rookie backup quarterback Kordell Stewart.
Belichick, in his fifth and final season as the head coach of the Browns, was torched twice by Pittsburgh in a three-week span, as Stewart used his otherworldly athletic skills to burn the Browns.
Used in a variety of ways, Stewart completed 3-of-3 passes for 19 yards and a touchdown, rushed twice for 13 yards and caught four passes for 57 yards.
“A player like Kordell Stewart — that can play those positions that can run the ball, take the snap from center and all that — yeah, they add a little bit of a different dimension,” Belichick said. “You have to be aware of what those guys can do, whether it’s halfback passes or shotgun-type plays, where the quarterback now is a running back.”
The Patriots have a similar defensive task Sunday when they host the Dolphins, who make their mark with the Wildcat. The formation calls calls for running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to line up at quarterback and run the ball.
The Dolphins are one of just two teams this season with more rushing yards than passing yards.
Miami has used the unique formation to great effect in 14.3 percent of their offensive plays.