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Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't use wildcat too often

Ronnie Brown takes the snap in the Dolphins’ wildcat. Changing coordinators late in camp has limited the Bucs’ use of it.

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Ronnie Brown takes the snap in the Dolphins’ wildcat. Changing coordinators late in camp has limited the Bucs’ use of it.

TAMPA — It might have been the Wild Caddy.

The Bucs experimented earlier this season with the wildcat formation, which was popularized by the Dolphins starting last season. But because Greg Olson did not become offensive coordinator until 10 days before the season, there wasn't enough time to make it a viable weapon.

In the Bucs' version, RB/KR Clifton Smith took the snap and Cadillac Williams was a halfback in motion. Those roles are played by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, respectively, for Miami.

"We toyed with it," Williams said. "But that's as far as it went. We definitely have the personnel and the potential. But at the same time … it's hard to try to do something else when you're trying to still implement your stuff."

Williams said he believes the Bucs' rushing attack would thrive in the wildcat.

"It's a lot of misdirection and a lot of people pulling," Williams said. "It seems … like a simple play. But there's a lot that the defense has to account for on just that one wildcat formation."

Olson said he hasn't ruled out installing the wildcat — most likely next season.

"Not to say we won't do it, but it does take a certain amount of time and preparation," Olson said. "I don't just think you put the wildcat in one week and go to work with it. Obviously, you're limited in reps during the season."

This week in practice, the Bucs' "look squad" has simulated Miami's wildcat.

"(QB) Josh Johnson is a guy who can do that," Olson said. "(Smith) jumped in there and did it (Wednesday). He's a guy who has the ability to throw the ball a little bit."

NOTHING has to GIVE: No matter what formation the Dolphins use, they're going to run the football. And the Bucs likely will struggle to stop them.

The Dolphins have the NFL's fourth-ranked rushing offense at 150.9 yards per game. The Bucs allow 163.4 per game, which is 30th.

"We had some games where we didn't tackle well," defensive coordinator Jim Bates said. "We've had some games where we're not gap controlling and playing with power and getting off blocks. It's a constant process as far as us working on it. But the lack of consistency is just killing us."

INJURIES: WR Michael Clayton (knee) returned to practice on Thursday. However, WR Antonio Bryant (knee) and DE Stylez White (shoulder) did not participate in the afternoon session for the second straight day. QB Byron Leftwich (elbow) did not practice.

If Bryant, who sat out Sunday, can't play, he will be replaced again by Maurice Stovall.

"He's had a week and a half off so far," coach Raheem Morris said. "So we've just got to see where he is and make a decision once we get to game day."

Morris added White's status also has not been determined.

Dolphins injuries: Starting G Justin Smiley, who has had two right shoulder surgeries, saw a specialist because of recurring pain. Details were not disclosed. And LB Joey Porter, bothered for most of the season by a right hamstring injury, missed his second straight practice. Their status for Sunday has not been determined.

Times staff writers Stephen F. Holder and Joe Smith contributed to this report, which used information from the Associated Press.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't use wildcat too often 11/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:37pm]
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