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Old 09-06-2013, 10:00 PM    (permalink
phlysac
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Default "Read-Option" Protection Rules

Alot has been made of the NFL stating that a QB can be hit as long he's in the "posture" of an option hand-off. All QBs whom utilize their legs might be concerned about the gray area in these rules. The likes of Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, etc. have been under the microscope regarding this.

Here are Jim Harbaugh's comments...

Quote:
But I believe that when a quarterback is handing a ball off or faking a ball, in the read option case he’s reading on an option play, he’s as defenseless as a quarterback who’s in the act of throwing. And I’m not advocating that they don’t hit the quarterback if he has the ball, but when he’s in the pocket I believe there should be a strike zone. The same strike zone that is given to the quarterback when he’s in the pocket and throwing the ball. I feel like you give a license now to players to hit quarterbacks at the knee or in the head, and it just seems to be a flip-flop of what the league’s trying to get accomplished. Players safety, I’ve heard [Falcons President and CEO and Competition Committee Chairman] Rich McKay talking about the Competition Committee looking into ways to reduce chop blocks or a player is getting hit at the knee and now you’re really opening up a door and giving a license to defensive players to say, ‘I couldn’t tell if he clearly had the ball or not, so now we can hit him in the knee or the head.’ It just, it doesn’t make sense.

"Yeah, once the quarterback has indicated that he’s going to be a runner, then I believe that he is a runner and should be treated like a runner, but when he’s in the pocket in that vulnerable position, in that reading position, then I believe he should have the same protection as a quote unquote ‘throwing quarterback.’ And then how do you decide? Who makes that determination that a quarterback is making a fake whether he’s under center faking to a tailback or he’s in the shotgun faking a running back to a tailback. By definition a fake is a deception, it’s a deceptive maneuver. The quarterback that makes a fake and then waggles out on a bootleg, he’s a runner or a thrower. Now are they opened up to be hit in the head and the knees, treated like a running back? So, that’s how I feel about it. It seems simple, it seems like they would have more of an appetite to look at that and they’ve said they don’t have an appetite to look at it any further. So, that’s where we’re at.”
http://www.csnbayarea.com/49ers/harb...snt-make-sense

Thoughts?
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:13 PM    (permalink
jth1331
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Is he saying an option play, Kaepernick runs and then pitches it to Gore, and then Kap gets creamed, coaches think that should be a penalty?
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:14 PM    (permalink
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DC's aren't actually going to coach their EMOLs to blindly hit the QB give or not on a high frequency of plays. It's counter-intuitive to defending the play unless you are trying to injure the QB. Not to mention how easily he can evade a guy coming at him 6 yards deep after an easy quick read.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:26 PM    (permalink
phlysac
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No. The "new rule" is that a QB can be hit "like a runner" as long as he's in the "posture" of a read-option.

I'm trying to download the official explanation. It's seems very vague and might discriminate against "running" QBs.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:30 PM    (permalink
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I can't get the NFL media file to work properly. Here's the link.

http://media01.nfl.info/NFL/Media/20...o_09-05-13.wmv

Here's a written excerpt...

Quote:
NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino says that read-option quarterbacks can be hit like runners, even if they don’t have the ball. If a quarterback who handed off or pitched the ball is still carrying out a fake in a running posture, he can be tackled the same way he would be if he still had the ball.

“He is still treated as a runner until he is clearly out of the play,” Blandino said. “The quarterback makes the pitch, he’s still a runner — he can be hit like a runner until he’s clearly out of the play.”

Blandino noted that if the offense is running a play designed to keep the defense guessing about who’s getting the ball, it’s only fair for the defense to be allowed to tackle both players who might have the ball.

“The quarterback and the running back, they’re both treated as runners. We don’t know who has the football, we don’t know who’s going to take it, so both players are treated as runners,” Blandino said.

For all the talk of the league office protecting defenseless quarterbacks, Blandino made clear that quarterbacks are only considered defenseless in certain situations, and running the read option is not one of those situations.

“The basic concept is, the quarterback position is not defenseless throughout the down. It’s the posture he presents that will dictate his protections,” Blandino said.

Still, that doesn’t mean defenders get unlimited free shots on quarterbacks on all read-option plays. If it’s obvious that the quarterback doesn’t have the ball anymore, he can’t get hit: The rules say that if a defender drills a quarterback after he has handed off or pitched the ball and isn’t taking a running posture anymore, it’s unnecessary roughness.

“If the quarterback is out of the pocket, he’s clearly out of the play, he cannot be unnecessarily contacted,” Blandino said.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:35 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phlysac View Post
No. The "new rule" is that a QB can be hit "like a runner" as long as he's in the "posture" of a read-option.

I'm trying to download the official explanation. It's seems very vague and might discriminate against "running" QBs.
Because it's a subjective call, like it or not. When is it a handoff and when is it an option? It's too ambiguous to have any rule that isn't vague in nature.

But it isn't going to matter. No one is going to game plan to hit the QB on every R/O look. That just doesn't make any sense. Maybe once in a while if a team is running it like crazy they'll take a shot.

I'd be surprised if this flag is thrown more than 10 times all year.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:36 PM    (permalink
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If part of the QB's style is to run the ball, with deception, then he's going to risk getting creamed.

A lot of NFL defenses studied this in the off-season, went to college teams who defended the read-options well, and one of the methods with success were to simply have the first guy free go right at the QB and pummel him each and every time.

Everyone else behind him, around him, would know to go after the RB.

And the QB would get what WR's call "alligator arms".
Nobody likes to get hit.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:42 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Mike88 View Post
If part of the QB's style is to run the ball, with deception, then he's going to risk getting creamed.

A lot of NFL defenses studied this in the off-season, went to college teams who defended the read-options well, and one of the methods with success were to simply have the first guy free go right at the QB and pummel him each and every time.

Everyone else behind him, around him, would know to go after the RB.

And the QB would get what WR's call "alligator arms".
Nobody likes to get hit.
In lies the intrigue. You and gpngc are stating opposite thoughts. He stated that they absolutely won't gameplan to hit the QB and you state they absolutely will every time.

My issue is the after pitch determination... "clearly out of the play." That's incredibly vague.

And like Harbaugh alluded, if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning run a stretch play-action with a waggle, why aren't they considered runners? It's still a boot-option.

I'm not up in arms by any means, but it does seem peculiar.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:44 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Mike88 View Post
If part of the QB's style is to run the ball, with deception, then he's going to risk getting creamed.

A lot of NFL defenses studied this in the off-season, went to college teams who defended the read-options well, and one of the methods with success were to simply have the first guy free go right at the QB and pummel him each and every time.

Everyone else behind him, around him, would know to go after the RB.

And the QB would get what WR's call "alligator arms".
Nobody likes to get hit.
This is 100% unequivocally not true. lol.

That makes it a quick, easy read, the QB then acts as a blocker by successfully taking out the backside contain right away on a zone run (where cutbacks are not only possible, but encouraged).
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:45 PM    (permalink
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And I've seen it myself. They spotlighted it in the 3rd 49ers preseason Game. They showed the plays where the defender ran directly for Kaepernick. On a couple of occasions Kaep stepped backwards and the announcers said "see, he's avoiding the hit. That step back means he's not running the deception part of the option as aggressively."
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:47 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phlysac View Post
In lies the intrigue. You and gpngc are stating opposite thoughts. He stated that they absolutely won't gameplan to hit the QB and you state they absolutely will every time.

My issue is the after pitch determination... "clearly out of the play." That's incredibly vague.

And like Harbaugh alluded, if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning run a stretch play-action with a waggle, why aren't they considered runners? It's still a boot-option.

I'm not up in arms by any means, but it does seem peculiar.
The pitch option isn't going to become a trend. It's the third phase of some specific option plays, but if that's the part you're worried about - don't bother. On pitch options, it's prudent for the defense to hit the QB for a bunch of reasons... which is one of the reasons why the option (not the zone read, the traditional pitch option) is all but extinct aside from some creative zone-read third phase stuff (only a handful of plays leaguewide last year I'd guess).

As for the second bold, that's where the term "posture" comes into play. Zone read looks one way, playaction another. There's some grey area, but not enough for any discrimination as Harbaugh describes. The fact is that on a stretch PA, the QB does not intend to run the football. In a R/O, he 50% intends to run the football based on the EMOL.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:50 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpngc View Post
The pitch option isn't going to become a trend. It's the third phase of some specific option plays, but if that's the part you're worried about - don't bother. On pitch options, it's prudent for the defense to hit the QB for a bunch of reasons... which is one of the reasons why the option (not the zone read, the traditional pitch option) is all but extinct aside from some creative zone-read third phase stuff (only a handful of plays leaguewide last year I'd guess).

As for the second bold, that's where the term "posture" comes into play. Zone read looks one way, playaction another. There's some grey area, but not enough for any discrimination as Harbaugh describes. The fact is that on a stretch PA, the QB does not intend to run the football. In a R/O, he 50% intends to run the football based on the EMOL.
I don't disagree, but I'm not just speaking about the pitch (although that IS what I said.) It also effects the handoff. The QB can be creamed "as a runner" while handing the ball off. He can also be creamed "as a runner" if it was a fake read handoff into a dropback, because he isn't "clearly away from the play." This rule could potentially create different protection "in the pocket."
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:52 PM    (permalink
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I've got no qualms with the ruling. After seeing Manning light up the Ravens for 7 tds last night partially due to the rule changes that have skewed the game in favor of the offense over the past 5-6 years, the league finally throws defenses a bone.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:53 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phlysac View Post
And I've seen it myself. They spotlighted it in the 3rd 49ers preseason Game. They showed the plays where the defender ran directly for Kaepernick. On a couple of occasions Kaep stepped backwards and the announcers said "see, he's avoiding the hit. That step back means he's not running the deception part of the option as aggressively."
Think about that for a second... lol. Re-read what you wrote.

The whole idea is for him to deceive that EMOL into believing he has the ball, thus taking him out of the play (effectively, blocking him). It takes away backside pursuit if the run goes to the frontside, AND gives the back a huge cutback lane. AND, Kaep wasn't touched because he easily avoided the hit.

The play worked it that instance. And Kaep didn't get hit. Win for the offense.

Blindly trying to quickly punish the QB on every play is not a good strategy. Blanket strategy. If you want to send him at the QB in certain spots that's one thing, but if it was as easy as "hit the QB every play" then this thing wouldn't be a staple of modern football and surely pro DCs would have implemented this strategy successfully by the playoffs last year...

It's a great play. The real problem for the QBs isn't getting hit in the backfield, it's when defenses let him keep it, gain yards, but then he's taking RB punishment with 10-12 carries a game because the option key doesn't allow the RB to get anything when the QB hands it off.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:00 PM    (permalink
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A quote from Bill Polian...

Quote:
I think the way to stop [read-option] is to hit the quarterback on every play, and, after a while, he's gonna get tired of being hit. And, he's gonna say to the coach, don't call that anymore.
Mike Tomlin...

Quote:
We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:03 PM    (permalink
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Eh. Again, the QBs are going to take punishment when they keep the football as runners. DCs aren't going to punish them relentlessly after they hand it off. It just doesn't make any football sense to do that on every play or even 50% of the time.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:06 PM    (permalink
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I agree with you gpngc that rushing the QB like that will result in big plays for the offense. But it only takes one hit. And the rules now, won't protect against it.

I'll trust Nick Saban's appproach...

Quote:
People getting up the field to pass rush is what it’s all about because of the type of quarterbacks — the Tom Bradys of the world, Drew Brees, that’s what you’ve got to stop. You’ve got to put pressure on the quarterback. Well, that’s just what you don’t want to do against [read-option quarterbacks]. You have to play on the line of scrimmage just like old option football.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:07 PM    (permalink
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Eh. Again, the QBs are going to take punishment when they keep the football as runners. DCs aren't going to punish them relentlessly after they hand it off. It just doesn't make any football sense to do that on every play or even 50% of the time.
I get what you're saying. My point is that the rule states that the QB can be hit "as a runner" even after he hands it off. Meaning high, low, wherever. Even if he's in the pocket.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:08 PM    (permalink
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Yup. You can't declare your intentions early either way - that makes it way to easy for the offense. I read a great article about it and there was a better descriptions than "quick read" or "declare." I forgot the verbiage the coaches were using.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:11 PM    (permalink
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I get what you're saying. My point is that the rule states that the QB can be hit "as a runner" even after he hands it off. Meaning high, low, wherever. Even if he's in the pocket.
Oh you mean physically where on his body? Oh, yea.

Again, the more teams run this play the more the QB is going to take a punishment - on all parts of his body. It's flirting with a disaster, and should only be a wrinkle, UNLESS you believe you have the horse that can take it - a true unprecedented beast whose body and mind can take on the punishment of a RB and the mental/physical workload of a QB.

I'd trust guys like Kaep and Cam in terms of staying healthy one season at a time (their bodies are built to withstand hits in the short term), but if they consistently ran R/O there's no question their careers would be shorter than if they didn't run it.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:12 AM    (permalink
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I think Harbaugh is absolutely right. The issue I have is refs just dont give scrambling qbs the same protection that they do pocket qbs. just because a guy is a threat to run doesn't mean he shouldnt get the same protection as any other qb.

if a qb hands it off and then fakes like he has it, a defender can hit him and say oh he faked me i thought he still had it...but if a pocket QB who doesnt have that threat does the same fake, theyll throw the flag every time if he gets hit. so harbaughs right the rule is biased against mobile QBs, it makes it so you have a license to hit them because they have the ability to run.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:41 AM    (permalink
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I think Harbaugh is absolutely right. The issue I have is refs just dont give scrambling qbs the same protection that they do pocket qbs. just because a guy is a threat to run doesn't mean he shouldnt get the same protection as any other qb.

if a qb hands it off and then fakes like he has it, a defender can hit him and say oh he faked me i thought he still had it...but if a pocket QB who doesnt have that threat does the same fake, theyll throw the flag every time if he gets hit. so harbaughs right the rule is biased against mobile QBs, it makes it so you have a license to hit them because they have the ability to run.
Agreed. This is such a bullsheet rule.
Because a QB fooled a defender with a ball fake, he should be allowed to hit a QB who doesn't have the football behind the LOS??
That's just crap.

IMO if a defender hits a QB behind the LOS, he better be damn sure he has has the football.

If LBs start keying in on hitting the QB on read-option plays no matter what, you're going to see more read-option RBs rushing for 200-250 yards in games this season.

This built in penalty against mobile QBs makes me sick.

I don't care what defenses try to do, the read option's main goal in the pros is to freeze safeties for a split second because they can't tell if it's a run or pass.
That's not going to change.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:44 AM    (permalink
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In lies the intrigue. You and gpngc are stating opposite thoughts. He stated that they absolutely won't gameplan to hit the QB and you state they absolutely will every time.
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A quote from Bill Polian... "I think the way to stop [read-option] is to hit the quarterback on every play, and, after a while, he's gonna get tired of being hit. And, he's gonna say to the coach, don't call that anymore."


Mike Tomlin... "We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit."
As I said, that's exactly the approach I would take.

Look, these types of QBs, these plays, are using deceit, trickery. They are acting as runners. And too they still could pull out the fake and run, or pass still. But defenses have split seconds to act or react, and as this stuff evolves, there's no doubt that defenses are going to pummel these QBs any chance they get. Look at how the Rams defended Kaepernick last year in St Louis.

A couple things I noticed: heavy pressure on Kaepernick. Still allowed him some big spaces on some late runs. Bradford imitating Colin. Cheap shot by DaShon Goldson not a surprise. LegZilla.


And with these public interpretation of these rules, the runners are going to be in the cross hairs more and more.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:04 AM    (permalink
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Eh. Again, the QBs are going to take punishment when they keep the football as runners. DCs aren't going to punish them relentlessly after they hand it off. It just doesn't make any football sense to do that on every play or even 50% of the time.
Except it makes complete sense. No head coach (maybe Mike Shanahan) is going to consistently run the read option if they're franchise QB is going to get smacked every time they do. The majority of the time the QB doesn't actually take the ball from the read option, because if he does it means he's probably going to get hit. If the read option means a guaranteed hard hit on you're QB, obviously these head coaches, who try to limit the amount of times they're QB gets hit, isn't going to use it as often.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:05 AM    (permalink
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It isn't just that he fakes like he still has the ball. QBs do that all the time in a traditional play action fake. The rule comes into play if the QB threatens with run action of his own. If I watch play action vs read option to me it is pretty clear in which case a QB is threatening to run.
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