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-   -   Option (http://www.draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55146)

DBNYDP 01-07-2013 10:41 AM

When we saw the read option starting to get used by the Broncos a lot of us scoffed at the thought of it succeeding at the next level. It was deemed that defenses were just too good at this level for it to work. We saw that while it didn't have lucrative success (in part because of the pieces in Denver) there were definitely some promising moments for the option. Coaches clearly saw the potential and several teams definitely hopped on the wagon this year.

For the most part we saw the success of the option. Most notably the Redskins were able to use it to power one of the best running games in the league and set up a dirty play action pass. The respect that defenses needed to show on the outside and on the inside on those plays became a reason that both outside and inside runs were more successful. In addition its ability to confuse defenses and force them to freeze just helped these offenses even more. The advantages it provided are hard to ignore and a major reason as to why some of the offenses that used it had the success that they did.

That being said I think there is a big problem with it in the NFL right now, and that's the use of starting QBs in it. In a league that is so QB centric the option is extremely risky. We saw it with RG3 this year with the hits he's taken, that have maimed him and if continued could potentially cost him years of his career. It isn't just injuries though. A QB getting hit a lot in a game, especially a young one isn't good at either. Against the Broncos when the Panthers tried to use the option, Newton got hit hard multiple times and was very clearly shaken. Even some of the hits that Wilson took today should make a coach and a franchise worried. Realistically even the most physical of QBs cannot take the pounding of NFL hits, especially the vicious hits that defenders reserve for QBs.

Something has to change, teams invest too much in these guys for them to be consistently be put in those positions. It might have some success but in the long run all it takes is one hit for the core of a franchise to be shattered. Maybe start just using backup athletic QBs in option looks or just two different backs? I'm not really sure but I'd like to hear some thoughts.

LonghornsLegend 01-07-2013 10:50 AM

Cam has been running plenty and being used as a goal line RB and I think he's yet to even be on the injury report if I remember correctly. Everybody is built differently. RGIII is built like a track star and Cam is built like a tank.

Also some of it is how smart the QB is. Look at Russel Wilson. How many times have we seen him get blasted? He knows when to slide, when to run out of bounds, when to throw it away, and they do a good job not making him run the ball too much. It can be done, you just need to be smart about it and know what type of QB you have.

jrdrylie 01-07-2013 10:53 AM

Defensive coordinators will figure the read option out this Summer. Seattle and Washington will try to run it again next year with much less success. By the 2014 season, the option will be almost completely phased out of the game.

It's similar to the Wildcat offense. Miami ran it well for a year because nobody planned for it. But when teams had an offseason to figure it out, it died. I guess the read option is a little better since the quarterback actually has the ability to throw, but you aren't going to win if your quarterback is out there running around, getting the snot kicked out of him. All Super Bowl winning QBs are guys who beat you in the pocket.

AntoinCD 01-07-2013 11:08 AM

The reason why the read option has success is simple numbers. On "normal" running plays it basically comes down to the offense trying to block 11 guys with 10. The QB very seldom blocks anyone. However in the zone read the dynamic shifts.

Firstly, all 11 guys have to be accounted for since the QB himself is a threat. Now this evens things out to 11 guys against 11. But it gets even more favourable for the offense. They basically leave the play side end unblocked and "read" him. Now it has gone from 10 guys blocking 11 to 11 guys against 10.

What it takes to defend the read option is true gap discipline. The play side end cannot crash down or else the QB will keep it and take off around the edge. However if the end doesn't crash then the QB will simply hand it off to the back. In this case you basically hope the guys inside can read their keys and fill gaps to limit damage.

This is the type of offense people said would not work because the type of guys who ran this in college weren't passers. They were runners who could throw against college defenses. What we are seeing with Newton, RG3 and Wilson is guys who are passers who can run this offense. In fact Wilson didn't run this type of thing in college and only started in the pros.

Why it has success from a passing standpoint is because defenses have to show their hand. Against a team like the Skins who had nearly 3000 yards rushing you would be foolish not to bring extra guys into the box to stop the run. What that leaves is single high coverage and one on one matchups on the outside. If teams are going to play single high coverage with off man then a guy like RG3 will eat up those quick 3 step slants and WR screens that he did all year.

I have no doubt that defensive coordinators will adjust to this in the next few years. How, I am not sure but that is why I'm not a defensive coach.

The issue with this going forward, and people talk about Manziel as an example of a guy who can do this is, if your QB isn't built like Cam Newton then they may not be able to withstand numerous hits. Even Russell Wilson has a good build. He's less than 6 feet but he's 225lbs. It also depends on what type of runner you have. A shifty elusive guy like RG3 is more likely to leave his knees susceptible than a straight line battering ram like Newton.

Another thing that bothers me is when these offense get in 3rd and long situations they tend to break down. When left in those situations most teams are forced to employ a "standard" NFL offensive set and if the guy can't drop back and move the chains in these situations then IMO long term will be very hard to come by

DBNYDP 01-07-2013 12:06 PM

I mean Tebow is a pretty solid guy and is a technically good runner but even he had to miss a few games. And I'm skeptical about Wilson, I feel it is just a matter of time. Manziel too, I just feel he won't be able to juke everyone here and one hit here/there will lead to concussions/ribs/etc.

Jughead10 01-07-2013 12:13 PM

Bad breaks, freak injuries can happen on any play. What should be concerning is the constant pounding they take. All these guys are 1 or 2 years in the league. What happens when they are 6 years in the league and their contract is up and they are looking for 100 million?

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