I've been thinking about this for a while and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about conveying it, so I apologize if it sounds like a dump.
I keep seeing the similarities between the 2008 Dolphins and the 2010 Bills. Both teams were coming off a debacle of a season where both the FO and coaching staff were gutted. Both were making a switch to a 3-4 under the new regime. Both teams have an accurate QB with questionable arm strength who rarely goes deep. Both teams have their main offensive strength in their depth at RB. Lastly, both have limited, unproven talent at WR.
I'm not trying to start an argument about how similar or dissimilar the teams are. I understand that it's not a 1-1 comparison, but the reason I bring it up is due to the fact that Tony Sparano looked at his team and saw those strengths and weaknesses and decided to try something different with his team. That's exactly what I think Chan is going to do.
I don't believe that Chan is going to try to copy the Wildcat directly, as most teams have seen it and are now unsurprised by it. I do believe that Chan will try another once-popular college formation: the Wishbone.
First of all, I just want to state that I'm not an expert on the Wishbone by any means, so my understanding of it limited to what I'd seen in old Big 12 games and in Air Force games. Plus, I don't think Chan would risk Trent's fragile head on sending him too far out to start the option. So, It would probably be a variation on the Wishbone, mostly having 3 RB's in the backfield.
Here's how it would work: Marshawn would be occupying the FB position. Depending on the QB's read, he would either hand it to Marshawn up the middle or fake it. Since the FB is less responsible for blocking and more responsible for running up the middle, it would really suit Lynch's strengths. The QB then goes to his second option, which is to pitch it to one of the RB's on a sweep, with the other RB as the lead-blocker. If Trent reads that the safeties are cheating up, he goes to the third option, which is a streaking Evans, who would be single-covered.
That's a really simplified, basic sketch of how it would work, and there are tons of variations on it that I won't get into here. I've just had the feeling that if Chan and Buddy don't seem to be too keen on thinning out our crowded backfield, it's for a reason. I also know he's considered very knowledgeable on the running game and would likely be able to teach and explain this wrinkle fairly easily. This offense would also keep our best players on the field, as we have much more talent at RB than at WR.
I would expect Chan to run it at most 10 snaps per game, as it is somewhat gimmicky. Also there are some definite weaknesses to it. The biggest one is how effective CJ could be as a lead blocker if the pitch goes to Freddie, and vice versa. Also, you run more of a risk of injuring Trent by increasing his exposure to pass-rushers.
The main benefit of running the Wishbone would be to create confusion on the defense. Whenever the Bills have all 3 RB's in the game, the defense would have to sub to stop the Wishbone, even if it just ends up being that CJ splits out to play WR. It would also get Lee a lot fewer double-teams and free him up a bit.
I know this is somewhat far-fetched, as nobody's really tried it in years, but I think coach Gailey could make it work with the right personnel. Let me know what you guys think.