Option Read, Back to the Future or Wildcatish Fad

Looks like the National Football League has a new old thing. The Option play, of all things, or the Spread Option to be more precise. The Saints will play at least one quarter of the regular season against varying types of this offense, so we should take this dead time to familiarize ourselves Chronic style. Sorry that does not involve any thing 420 related Hans.

First things first. Why is it making a comeback? I have two reasons, I'm sure there are more, but that's what the comment section below is for. The first is the rise of this offense in the college game, limiting the number of pocket passers in the draft, this is big, but not the biggest reason in my opinion. I think it's here to take advantage of the league's new anti-concussion rules, in particular rules dealing with quarterback safety. Yes, the slide rule.

"Spread Option, Option Read, Zone Read", what the heck is it anyway? An overly simple explanation is, the Spread is a branch of the Option tree, the Option Read or Zone Read, as it's sometimes called, is a play with many variations on that branch.

An Option Read play must have two elements, first "the Option"; post snap, the running back or backs must telegraph their intentions (dive, Pitch, and so on) to the defense. This leads to the second part, "the Read"; based on the reactions to the telegraph the quarterback must "pull it" or "keep it". It can be run from shotgun and pistol(Cam Newton) formations, with two or three threats or "options".

The burning question, is it just like the Wildcat craze that swept through a few years back? Is it another gimmick to help smooth over quarterback deficiencies great and small, or should I go all "Jon Gruden" in saying it's the future of the NFL?

How defenses fair against it now that it's on the radar will determine it's longevity , but I think coaches will try to do what they always do, hit the quarterback, in the new era of football it's going to be harder, but I have faith someone will use the grey area between the pocket and 3-4 yards from the line of scrimmage, that short window from the QB declaring himself a runner to where he can safely hook slide to light him up.

It appears to me, the Saints will try to trick the Reader. Making him hold on to the ball just a split second longer than he wants to. Is Will Smith the defensive end, or linebacker, is JR.G the defensive end, or linebacker, that sort of thing. Plus the lighting him up stuff, I hope.


This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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