With offseason work time limited like never before, teams have to be focused on what they can install during the offseason.
So when a day is devoted to one thing, it’s obviously important.
The Falcons have been careful to study college defenses as they work up a plan to counteract the pistol and read-option stuff they’ve seen in the past from the Panthers and 49ers and others. Coaches studied with the Clemson staff, and began sending out instructions to players.
“We’ve already put one day in the books, where it was pretty much just about the way we are defending the read-option,” Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re heading in that direction.”
In addition to two against the Panthers and Cam Newton, the Falcons will also play against the 49ers, Seahawks and Redskins, all of whom employ some degree of the system.
That’s 30 percent of their schedule, which is why the time spent is necessary.
“We’re definitely crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s because the league is kind of coming to that, with these athletic quarterbacks,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s kind of becoming a little bit like college in that aspect and some teams are multiple [threats]. They do the regular, traditional-style offenses as well as going to the pistol and the read-option. That’s something that you really have to focus on.”
How the read-option is able to last (or not) where the Wildcat did not will be one of the intriguing storylines of the coming season.
But rest assured, if it continues, it won’t be because opponents are unprepared.