One of the few bright spots in last Sunday's loss to the Titans was the successful use of the 'Wildcat' formation by Buffalo's offense. Though they ran only three plays out of the formation against Tennessee, the offense made the most of it. With all the other struggles the offense has experienced this season it seems almost certain that more Wildcat for Buffalo's offense is on the horizon.
Buffalo first made use of the 'Wildcat' this season against Houston, but ran just two plays out of the formation gaining one and four yards on two carries. Sunday they ran three plays with rushes of one and five yards and a 27-yard touchdown pass from Fred Jackson to Lee Evans that put the Bills on the scoreboard first.
"Just being in the Wildcat I had never thrown a ball so we knew defenses weren't going to be keying on my being able to throw the ball down the field. It was something that we had worked on," said Jackson. "Lee (Evans) is good at getting downfield on the safeties. The way we had been running the Wildcat I had been keeping every ball and we knew that they would be aggressive. We were able to go out and execute it and get some points out of it."
There's no debating that Buffalo has some dynamic weapons at wide receiver, but with the inconsistent play at the quarterback position all season, maximizing those talents has been a supreme challenge. But the Bills also have two dynamic talents in their offensive backfield in Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Making more direct use of them out of the 'Wildcat' formation might be the last straw the Bills have to draw to make the offense more productive this season.
"It'll go as far as Marshawn and myself take us with it," said Jackson. "If we're able to go out and make it effective, we're going to be able to do some things with it. The more opportunities we get with it, the better we'll be able to see what we can do."
It's clear that the coaching staff has put their faith in Jackson, as he serves as the primary ball handler in the 'Wildcat' similar to Miami's Ronnie Brown.
Even Trent Edwards, whose job status as the starting quarterback is tenuous at best, admits the 'Wildcat' formation has a lot of potential for Buffalo's offense.
"I think that when Fred and Marshawn are back there it's one of the best offensive sets we have and if there's a way we can continue to do that we'll have answers off of that and keep defenses off balance," said Edwards. "I think it would be a great benefit for our offense. Fred made a nice throw (Sunday) and he had a couple of great runs and I think Marshawn had a couple of nice runs too. So I think it's a different personnel setting that we can use to our advantage."
It's unlikely that in two short weeks coming off their bye that the Bills coaching staff will make the 'Wildcat' the primary identity of the offense, but with quarterback play as spotty as its been it's not unreasonable to think that Buffalo could soon be splitting their offensive plays down the middle between their base sets and the 'Wildcat.'
"They let us know that they have the confidence in calling it and I think that's one of the reasons we put it into the game plan," said Jackson of the offensive staff. "They have the confidence in us to go out there and make it go."
"I would say there's not too much that we can't do out of it. It's going to keep defenses on their heels and I think that's going to help us whenever we're in that formation to be able to run the ball. I think we can expect to see more of it down the line. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do next."