NFL defenses have plan to shut down the read-option

NFL defenses have plan to make read-option quarterbacks to 'pay the price' in 2013

8/23/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The NFL is a constantly evolving league. Coaches and players adapt their schemes and styles to whatever may take advantage of their opponents, while the opposition then adjusts what they do in an attempt to counter-act. One of the most recent adaptations in the NFL has been the read-option - a deceitful running play made effective by athletic quarterbacks, against which the defense has trouble identifying the ball carrier.

Blog Photo - NFL defenses have plan to shut down the read-optionThe read-option was very successful for quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III in 2012, but defensive coordinators have now had an entire offseason to devise a strategy to slow down the play. It appears that the strategy may simply be to take out the quarterback.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "there's a belief among many people in NFL circles that running quarterbacks will pay the price this season, more than they did last fall." This belief comes as a result of how NFL defenses plan to counter the read-option.

The quarterback's job is to hide the ball from the defense so that defenders are unaware of who has it. What defenses plan to do this year is light up the quarterback with devastating hits regardless of whether or not he has the ball. Hall of Fame coach and current co-chairman of the NFL's safety committee John Madden recently said, "Every guy I've talked to is going to go after the quarterback... they're just going to go after him whether he pitches or not." This was not the case last year, as defenders would sit back, trying to figure out who had the ball, but they have since realized that maybe the read-option will slow down if the offense's prized player is constantly getting cracked in the mouth.

If you are wondering why defenses will be allowed to do this to quarterbacks, who are protected against big hits to a fault, it is because the rules are different during the read-option. "The key is the posture of the quarterback," said vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. "What we're seeing in some instances is the quarterback hands off and then carries out the fake like he has the ball, and he's presenting a running posture. In that instance, he's trying to deceive the defense, trying to draw the defense to him, and he doesn't have special protection in that situation. He can be hit until enough time has passed where he's clearly out of the play."

The NFL has not adjusted their rules for 2013 to protect quarterbacks in the read-option.

As a result, defenses will essentially be saying to offensive coordinators, "Go ahead and run the read option, but if you do, we're going to pummel the most important player on your team." Once this starts happening, there is a solid chance that play-callers will significantly dial back read-option calls, as the quarterback is too important to be constantly exposed to potential injury. Massive signal callers like Cam Newton may continue to run it more often, but coaches may be too scared to frequently run the read-option with quarterbacks who have slighter frames, such as Robert Griffin and Michael Vick.

Every new development in NFL scheming and play-calling will eventually be countered by the opposition, and this is the league's counter to the read-option. As of now, it looks like teams will either have to dial back the read-option plays, or let their most important players take a ton of big hits.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

8/24/13   |   mcleodglen   |   32 respect


8/23/13   |   Jess   |   35135 respect

Hmmm...Sure it makes sense on the surface, but I would think this would lead to more scoring plays and open holes for RB's. Let's not forget that the teams who run the read option have a pretty damn good rushing game aside from their QB. Maybe I just don't know football well enough to understand how this will be worth it.