Offensive coordinator Todd Haley unveiled a wrinkle in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense last week against the Baltimore Ravens when he had rookie running back Le’Veon Bell lined up in the Wildcat formation a few times.
While the formation had some success against Baltimore, picking up a couple of first downs, you have to wonder if it will be a fixture in the Steelers’ offense going forward.
It won’t be if you ask quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, who lined up at wide receiver on the few plays that Bell ran the Wildcat, reportedly isn’t a fan of the formation and wouldn’t mind seeing it scrapped.
“I don’t like to go over and just be split out wide and take a chance that a (defensive back) is going to come up,” Roethlisberger told 93.7 The Fan Tuesday during his weekly radio show. “I don’t think we’ll see a lot of it.”
However it’s not just the fact that Roethlisberger is standing on an island and could get lit up by a defensive back, he has other concerns as well, as he has some concerns about Bell handling a direct snap.
“To take a shotgun snap, even as a quarterback, there’s a chance of fumbles and things happening and we do it all the time,” Roethlisberger said. “So I think your chances of something bad happening goes up when you do that Wildcat stuff because it’s just unnatural, things that (running backs) are just not used to doing. It makes you nervous but it did good things for us.”
However, just because the franchise quarterback isn’t a fan of the formation, it doesn’t mean the Steelers will quit using the Wildcat.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said he is keeping his options open as the Steelers prepare for the Oakland Raiders. Tomlin noted that the plays are fairly easy for everyone to run and don’t require much preparation.
“The play themselves aren’t new. The window dressing is,” Tomlin told ESPN’s Scott Brown “It doesn’t require a bunch of work from a practice standpoint in that regard. Some of the formations and pre-snap movements is walk-through, classroom-type work so it’s not as intensive of an endeavor as it appears to be.”
Whether the Wildcat stays or goes will likely be up to Tomlin and not Roethlisberger.
I guess we will find out Sunday if Big Ben will get his way or if Tomlin will go with what seems best for the team.