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Mike Tomlin: Read-option is “flavor of the month”

Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Count Steelers coach Mike Tomlin among those who thinks that the read-option offense is less a revolution than a blip on the screen.

Tomlin was asked about the proliferation of offenses that run plays out of read-option schemes in Phoenix on Tuesday and said he was a skeptic because of the amount of hits quarterbacks wind up taking when they run the ball more frequently. Tomlin admitted that his opinion could be proven wrong, however.

“I think the read-option is the flavor of the month. We’ll see whether it’s the flavor of the year. A few years ago, people were talking wildly about the Wildcat. It’s less of a discussion now,” Tomlin said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “I think there are coaches in rooms preparing themselves to defend it, there are coaches in rooms also preparing to run it. I think it’s going to sort out on the grass.”

That last bit is the most important, regardless of whether or not you think read-option schemes will prove to have more staying factor than the Wildcat. The Wildcat stopped working well because defenses prepared for it and stopped it. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t have been a flavor of the month and the same is true of the read-option. It will be in fashion for exactly as long as it keeps helping teams win games.

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71 Responses to “Mike Tomlin: Read-option is “flavor of the month””
  1. tangeuray says: Mar 19, 2013 4:58 PM

    Tomlin is a dolt and watching him wreak the Steelers is painful to watch.

  2. smcgaels1997 says: Mar 19, 2013 4:58 PM

    Sure it is

  3. shaggytoodle says: Mar 19, 2013 5:00 PM

    It may work for a bit, but just as the wildcat it will be gone in a few seasons.

  4. arlingtonsynn says: Mar 19, 2013 5:01 PM

    Maybe…. but WRs on the other hand are not.

    Maybe you guys should be considering that given how much you overpaid Antonio Brown just to show up Mike Wallace.

  5. manilarizzo says: Mar 19, 2013 5:03 PM

    “It will be in fashion for exactly as long as it keeps helping teams win games.”…… and as long as you have the QB to run it.

  6. goldenperspective says: Mar 19, 2013 5:03 PM

    If the read option was being run by bad passers i would agree. The fact is these guys can throw too and you’ll always havr to be aware of the run or pass.

  7. johnnyhambone says: Mar 19, 2013 5:05 PM

    Dick Lebeau has already figured out how to stop the read option. the read option will be yesterdays news.

  8. enochmh2 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:06 PM

    Dunno why so much focus by coaches is on the read option,only about 5 qbs in the league can effectively run it

  9. 15starr says: Mar 19, 2013 5:06 PM

    Wildcat never dominated games like the read option. It was more like a couple of plays here and there. Read option made the packers look like a high school football team.

  10. pdillon1 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:07 PM

    Tomlin is correct. As soon as a defensive coordinator says “screw it” in a game and spends a whole Sunday knocking the hell out of your favorite mobile QB every time he wants to play hot potato with the football whether he completes the pass or not, the Read/option will stop for the most part.

    Teams like Washington, SF, Seattle, and Denver with Tim Tebow (who believe it or not started this trend out of necessity) caught the league with their pants down with this offense and the 49ers almost got a SB ring out of it. It’ll end soon enough.

  11. peytonsneck18 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:08 PM

    read option is IRG3 bread and butter, without that, he just another turn in the redskin toilet bowl…..flush!!!!!

  12. blakeden says: Mar 19, 2013 5:10 PM

    All coaches who have invested in a pocket passer seem to think the read option is a passing fancy….What will be interesting is to see how Tomlin,Fox etc defend the read option……

  13. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 19, 2013 5:10 PM

    What people were talking about the Wildcat being some kind of revolutionary thing? Not anybody whose football opinion that I respected. If Tomlin bought in and gave their words credibility then that’s not relevant to the rest of us that feel they are one step ahead of the game in terms of understanding what schemes work and don’t work.

    Sounds like Tomlin needs to work harder on analyzing the game and come up with some better and more productive things to analyze. He’s caught up worrying about defunct ideas that the weak football minds have, not a good sign. His very commenting on this issue with this tone shows he is willing to give credibility to that which he now has decided to reject.

  14. ravenator says: Mar 19, 2013 5:11 PM

    At least the flavor of the month lasts longer than the steelers chances of competing for a superbowl. This team will be in the basement before October.

  15. teal379 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:12 PM

    Wildcat went away not because Defenses could defend it but because so often the guy running it simply was NOT a threat to pass the ball. Once defenses realized that the guy getting the ball is only ever going to run it or that if he passed, odds were that the ball was going into the dirt- it was easy.

  16. micknangold says: Mar 19, 2013 5:13 PM

    Nobody needs to “figure out” the read option, it’s been around for ages. You need the horses up front to stop it. Defensive coaches are talking up how much time they’ll spend gameplanning for it all offseason but the truth is it’s not that complicated. Figuring out the Wildcat was as simple as “always, always blitz it”.

    Also, if you can physcially block the Wildcat well up front it still works in moderation. 10 guys blocking instead of 9.

  17. killerstiller says: Mar 19, 2013 5:13 PM

    Six games a year he doesn’t have to worry about it. Plus, unless Jake Locker runs it, he won’t have to worry about it in the regular season. And at the rate the Steelers are taking on water, he won’t have to worry about it in the playoffs!
    At least we can still get some soundbites out of him about.

  18. mikelitoris1 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:16 PM

    As popular as the read-option is, it doesn’t even work with all fast quarterbacks. Vince Young for example… there is a reason why no one wants him. He can run, but can he read?

  19. tampaskinsfan says: Mar 19, 2013 5:16 PM

    Yeah, Griffin was horrible with all those INT’s he threw last year. Thanks for your ever “objectionable” opinion Peytonsneck.

  20. mrbigass says: Mar 19, 2013 5:17 PM

    Too bad Vince Young didn’t come out now. When he was drafted they couldn’t wait to make him a pocket passer…….

  21. davikes says: Mar 19, 2013 5:17 PM

    tangeuray says:
    Mar 19, 2013 4:58 PM
    Tomlin is a dolt and watching him wreak the Steelers is painful to watch.

    You’ve got to joking. Let’s see. Tomlin – 6 years as HC, two SB appearances, one championship. Overall winning percentage .656. Very few teams would not trade their record over the last six years for that record.

  22. ninerfan94954 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:21 PM

    It will become part of an overall offense with those teams that can run it. However the sight of your franchise QB collapsing as he tries to pick up a loose ball, a la RG III, due to the injuries they will sustain, will be enough to relegate this offense to spot duty. I pretty much can tell you what every defensive staff is working on during this off season.

  23. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 19, 2013 5:22 PM

    With the exception of Tebow the read offense hasnt even had a full offseason to be figured out. RG3, R Wilson and Kaep are all first year starters and last season was really the first time it was run extensively. It will slow down this year with a full offseason to prepare for it.

    At the very least I like Tomlins approach. Punch the QB in the mouth a few times and see how bad he still wants the ball in his hands.

  24. jwreck says: Mar 19, 2013 5:22 PM

    Historically speaking, the read option is the flavor of the game of football. It’s only in the last twenty years that speed and mobility have become less than essential assets for a quarterback. Elway, Montana, and Young all ran the read option effectively; and looking at the history of the game of football, Manning, Brady, and Marino are really the flavor of the month.

  25. rolltide510 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:24 PM

    If college defenses can stop the read option I’m sure the pros can figure it out.

  26. latchbeam says: Mar 19, 2013 5:28 PM

    I guess that’s better than having no flavor…

  27. tformation says: Mar 19, 2013 5:28 PM

    Hurry up and get a scoop before it’s gone!

  28. 808raiderinparadise says: Mar 19, 2013 5:28 PM

    The wilcat is the read option,
    the triple T wing,
    the pistol,
    the wishbone,

    they are all essentially based off holding the DE and freezing the front 7 by fakes and mis-directions.

    Now the QB’s are just more athletic and better passers (not great)

    pocket passers win in this league.

    Option QB’s/running QB’s last 3-4 years and then lose mobility to injury and defensive shcemes and have ot learn to be a pocket passer after getting away with thier legs thier whole careers.

    blah

  29. nomoreseasontix says: Mar 19, 2013 5:28 PM

    If you’re a linebacker and nobody is blocking you, you’re the read.
    Hit the QB. Every time. Whether or not he still has the ball.
    It’ll go away when the QB is taking that kind of beating and teams get tired of trying to win with the backup on the field.

  30. rickyspanish24 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:33 PM

    I’m going to guess that it was lost on Captain Letterman Jacket that defenses figured out the Wildcat when it dawned on them that the guy taking the snap (get this) wasn’t actually a quarterback.

    I presume Steelers fans are just glad Tomlin isn’t one of those guys in a room smoking cigarettes and breaking down the read option.

  31. shotgunformation5wide says: Mar 19, 2013 5:34 PM

    tangeuray says:Mar 19, 2013 4:58 PM

    Tomlin is a dolt and watching him wreak the Steelers is painful to watch.
    _________________________________

    And watching you “Wreck” the english language is much more painful to watch! :(

    Stop watching football and get an education!

  32. flavordave says: Mar 19, 2013 5:37 PM

    Tomlins flavor is old and stale. No more super bowls for the world class criminal organization.

  33. claymus1 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:37 PM

    Wish you could come to Seattle this season and get your “flavor of the month!”

  34. claymus1 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:39 PM

    P.S. Let folks talk without working them over for improper spelling! Everyone has a right to their opinion!

  35. Nofoolnodrool says: Mar 19, 2013 5:44 PM

    ravenator | Mar 19, 2013, 5:11 PM EDT
    At least the flavor of the month lasts longer than the steelers chances of competing for a superbowl. This team will be in the basement before October.

    Hey professional poster aren’t you cranking your posts out of moms basement? So by your calculations you’ll both be in the basement in October . Sounds cozy.

  36. rodericksilva says: Mar 19, 2013 5:45 PM

    Every offensive formation can be stopped. Every defensive formation can be stopped. It’s all a matter of when you call the play and how well you execute it.

    It’s not the flavor of the month. It’s one of many different flavors that can be used.

    LB can take free shots at QBs on every down if they are willing to take the penalty. That is not the way to stop any offense. That’s the way a DC tells his team he has no answers to the play. Eventually you’ll lose the D.

  37. axespray says: Mar 19, 2013 5:48 PM

    Read Option QBs will get the Michael Vick treatment – hit on every play … passing play – Play Action – HB run – any and every play – HIT THE QB.

    He won’t be running any read option after a few shots…. just like vick, great in 2010 til teams just started hitting him.

  38. gonavybeatarmy says: Mar 19, 2013 5:53 PM

    Neither a Steeler fan nor antagonist. But this guy is just not that impressive. But the media will act like he’s so special for demographic reasons.

  39. larrydavid7000 says: Mar 19, 2013 5:55 PM

    Here we go again this coming from a guy who walked into the perfect situation as a hc. Hey CLOWN try coaching your team for the second year in a row. last year 8-8 this year maybe 6-10. All your talent players gone now try to coach for once and theirs no more riding the coat tails of other peoples hard work before you got to pit.

  40. killerstiller says: Mar 19, 2013 6:04 PM

    Mikey T is doing what he does best…running his damn mouth!
    I’m surprised he has gotten that Tebow “flavor” out of his mouth already! I would have thought it would still be lingering.

  41. bartlettruss says: Mar 19, 2013 6:05 PM

    The “read” portion of “read option” isn’t a gimmick it’s a component that is likely to live on as it’s a real time reaction to the defense. I agree that the “read option” may not last as an offense, but “read option plays” will probably have a place in many NFL offenses ongoing.

  42. citizenstrange says: Mar 19, 2013 6:07 PM

    Still …. it would be cool if your quarterback could score more than six points a game.

    GO STEELERS!

  43. peytonsneck18 says: Mar 19, 2013 6:08 PM

    IRG3 just got depressed after hearing about this news

  44. bleedblackngold96 says: Mar 19, 2013 6:17 PM

    wif the “old” “slow” steelers defense can stop the read option then anyone can. tomlin is absolutely correct. im sick of people bashing on him because most of you guys are fans of one of those teams that has a new coach every other year. im not saying hes the best but hes better than you guys make him out to be

  45. bigblackanvil says: Mar 19, 2013 6:18 PM

    The only reason the Steelers beat the Redskins is because of dropped passes. Lebeau though well respected didn’t figure out jack about the ” flavor of the month”HTTR

  46. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 19, 2013 6:24 PM

    And those fools over in Philly are bringing in Chip Kelly who is the Ben and Jerry of this flavor of the month, to coach that crap.

  47. lovedabirds says: Mar 19, 2013 6:31 PM

    “Elway, Montana, and Young all ran the read option effectively; and looking at the history of the game of football, Manning, Brady, and Marino are really the flavor of the month.”

    Seriously?? Elway, Montana & Young ran the “read option”?

    Elway, Montana & Young all ran a WCO system which is Bill Walsh’s offense which is a variation of Paul Brown’s original system. That isn’t even remotely close to a read option offense. Do you watch or actually know anything about football?

    BTW, RGIII asked Shanahan to incorporate the “read option” stuff he was comfortable with & confident in from Baylor. That’s where the ‘skins got it from.

  48. ch8878 says: Mar 19, 2013 6:38 PM

    808raiderinparadise says: Mar 19, 2013 5:28 PM

    The wilcat is the read option,
    the triple T wing,
    the pistol,
    the wishbone,

    they are all essentially based off holding the DE and freezing the front 7 by fakes and mis-directions.

    Now the QB’s are just more athletic and better passers (not great)

    pocket passers win in this league.

    Option QB’s/running QB’s last 3-4 years and then lose mobility to injury and defensive shcemes and have ot learn to be a pocket passer after getting away with thier legs thier whole careers.

    blah

    ———————————————————-

    To put it in layman’s terms the difference between the read option, and the wildcat is ?

    The read option : the qutarback can run or pass.

    The wildcat : the runningback can run or pass.

  49. vanisle1 says: Mar 19, 2013 6:59 PM

    As a Seahawk fan, I’m happy that Russell Wilson actually prefers throwing from (somewhere in) the pocket to rolling out, and also that he is amazingly good at avoiding contact (slides, runs out of bounds). I agree that the read option can be dangerous for a QB’s health, as RG3’s problems prove.

    As for defenses, smacking the QB whenever possible won’t stop it, but could reduce the number of times teams run it.

  50. ilikesteveyounggirls says: Mar 19, 2013 7:03 PM

    Come visit the NFC West, Kaep and Wilson will be happy show your sorry team just how effective it is. Both teams far better than the Steelers in every way.

  51. sportsfrenzy says: Mar 19, 2013 7:09 PM

    in case everyone forgot the steelers completely shut down the option and made it look like a peewee offense when the redskins tried to bring it into pittsburgh

  52. tampaskinsfan says: Mar 19, 2013 7:09 PM

    People act like the pocket is a bomb shelter that no one can get to all of a sudden. Griffin got hurt on a broken pass play and not a designed qb option play. His injury could have happened to any qb. Ask Joe Thiesman how safe the pocket is. If your qb can’t throw then yes the pistol will be figured out, but if you can be accurate in the pass which RG3 numbers speak for themselves…lookout.

  53. nomoreseasontix says: Mar 19, 2013 7:14 PM

    Mike Vick is the prototype mobile QB.
    That’s all that needs to be said regarding the future of the read-option.
    Great athlete who, in the end, has been nothing more than a few Sportscenter highlights.
    Hasn’t won anything that matters….

  54. phinfan says: Mar 19, 2013 7:27 PM

    Its just a matter of time before its ‘lights out’ for Kaep

  55. liddogg33 says: Mar 19, 2013 8:07 PM

    Tomlin your team is old,slow, and definitely out of touch!! This league has passed you and your jerk of a quarterback!! It’s simply over steeler nation! The train has left you at the station. Russell and the hawks would hang 50 on you using that “flavor of the month”!!!

    Go hawks!!

  56. sourdoughsam says: Mar 19, 2013 8:11 PM

    It won’t be the base play of an offensive attack, but it’s another run play teams will use among a variety of other run plays. It’s a way to deal with an aggressive end man on the LOS. It will be a good call against some teams, it won’t be there at all against others.

  57. EJ says: Mar 19, 2013 8:20 PM

    Just like what happened to the Wildcat, One of these great Defensive-minded coaches will figure out a potent way to stop the Option dead in its tracks. Once one coach figures it out, then through film it will be shared with the rest of the league and you will see less teams running their Offenses with it. Nothing lasts forever in the NFL. Styles of Offense are just revived and dusted off, Taken apart and put back together a bit different. Now Defense stays fairly similar. Only changing slightly to counter new Offensive schemes.

  58. tabais says: Mar 19, 2013 8:44 PM

    I think the read option works well in college because the QBs only run it for 4 years.

    The option can work in the NFL if you have a young athletic QB. I think your going to see the problem with it when you have QBs running it for a couple years in the NFL. Coupled with college and you can have 7-8 years of hits before your franchise QBS is 26. RBs hit a wall at 30. Are teams going to want to shorten the life span of a good QB?

  59. wenellniners says: Mar 19, 2013 8:58 PM

    phinfan says:
    Mar 19, 2013 7:27 PM
    Its just a matter of time before its ‘lights out’ for Kaep

    ——————

    Watch the film, kaepernick can win without running a read option offense. He’s a very good quarterback who happens to be able to run.

    Secondly, Alex Smith took way bigger hits this year than kaepernick did.

  60. chawk12thman says: Mar 19, 2013 9:01 PM

    The fact that teams are having to spend time and energy in building a team and planning to defend it makes it valuable. It isn’t the wildcat…..The QB still has the ball and can pass to WR’s, toss or run. It isn’t as much a gimick as it is a way of running an offense. The West Coast Offense was going to be a fad too…….

  61. allforfunnplay says: Mar 19, 2013 9:01 PM

    amount of hits the QB takes in the read option?

    has Tomlin paid attention to how many hits Big Ben has taken while being a pocket passer?

  62. Deb says: Mar 19, 2013 10:05 PM

    @rolltide510 …

    Nice to see your wisdom on a Steelers thread ;)

  63. sooner712 says: Mar 19, 2013 10:36 PM

    As a history buff of the game of football. They use to say the same thing about “passing” the football over mainly running it. Umm I guess passing became more than the flavor of the month….

  64. yousuxxors says: Mar 19, 2013 11:00 PM

    if the players stay in their positions and dont bite it kills the system. its all about how fast he can do the read, run and how good he can fake people out. when run to perfection, it seems really hard to stop. lets see how it works with people preparing for it. i think the biggest problem with it is the fact that the most important player will be taking hits like a rb probably even harder. we all know how long even the best rbs careers go. helmet to helmet hits are allowed on runners remember. the teams most important player is gonna get killed, look at RGIII.

  65. sandy102270 says: Mar 19, 2013 11:01 PM

    The read option is a great scheme if you have a young QB who is mobile, accurate, and still getting paid on his rookie contract.

    Let’s see how long it lasts when Kaepernick, Wilson, and Griffin all cash in on their success, when getting lit up carrying out a fake can cause years of cap ramifications for their team.

    It’s the same thing that doomed the run-n-shoot…having you superstar QB exposed to big shots on almost every play.

    Even though I’m a Ravens fan, Tomlin’s absolutely right on this one.

  66. thesmartestmanever says: Mar 19, 2013 11:17 PM

    they said the same thing about the west coast offense, the run and shoot and the single back set. football IS evolving mainly because the players are evolving. Randall Cunningham the first true natural running QB shinned a light at what was coming. quarterbacks are bigger, faster and more agile than the traditional pocket passer. shame on Mike Tomlin because he has anything but a traditional pocket passer in Roethlisberger. Ben runs as much as RGIII only he never crosses the line of scrimmage. factor in all the league rules about contact and the mobile QB is here to stay.

  67. blackngold4life says: Mar 19, 2013 11:32 PM

    LOL Seahawks have one good year since the Jim Zorn era with a QB NOne of they fans wanted to start with and they got they chest out!? Take a seat!

  68. blackngold4life says: Mar 19, 2013 11:43 PM

    LOL Seahawks have one good year since the Jim Zorn ears with a QB you lames didn’t even want to start with and they got their chest out!? Take a seat!

  69. dbarnes79 says: Mar 19, 2013 11:50 PM

    I love how everyone is trying to trash the Steelers. You know they have won two Super Bowls in recent years and been to a third right? And I’m not even a Steelers fan.

  70. rgmatson says: Mar 20, 2013 1:36 AM

    Here I spent all this time looking for the RAVENATOR’S post about how BAD the Steelers are and are going to be, and I can’t find it… He must have finally found something else to do. Maybe he does have a life!!! Best of Luck to the RAVENATOR and his new endeavor’s…

  71. lovefootball4life says: Mar 20, 2013 9:46 AM

    Besides divisional opponents the AFCN will play the AFC East and NFC North. There are no read option offenses in those divisions. Some huge passing attacks, really huge, but he doesn’t have to worry about read option in 2013 unless……they make the postseason.

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