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Lions’ Cunningham: Read-option QBs are going to get hurt

Gunther Cunningham AP

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says it’s not defensive coaches who need to be worried about the read-option that’s spreading across the NFL. Instead, Cunningham says the quarterbacks who run the ball in the read-option need to be worried that they won’t hold up for 16 games against NFL defenses.

“The problem is for those quarterbacks, one of these days one of them is not going to walk off,” Cunningham told the Lions’ website. “It’s a lot of pressure on him to physically do that.”

Cunningham has been a defensive assistant in the NFL for 30 years, but he also coached in college football in the 1970s and spent a season as a Canadian Football League assistant, and he says he knows about stopping running quarterbacks and wide-open offenses.

“I think we all understand what the issues are and how to play it,” Cunningham said. “I reflect back on my college days and it wasn’t that hard to remember all that stuff because it put a lot of pressure on me in those days and it does in this league too.”

That’s not to say Cunningham thinks the read-option is just some gimmick that’s easy to figure out. Cunningham said that when the Dolphins ran the Wildcat in 2008, they were running a fundamentally sound offense, and other teams have learned from what the Dolphins said. But the Dolphins were snapping the ball directly to running backs, and Cunningham doesn’t believe any running back can throw the ball well enough to threaten an NFL defense.

“The key is you need extra people to stop the run because they spread you out,” Cunningham said. “So, you end up playing some man-to-man or shorten your safeties down and if the quarterback can really throw the ball, that’s where we get into trouble. Miami couldn’t do that with Ricky [Williams] and the other kid that was running the option [Ronnie Brown]. But their design was as good as I’ve ever seen in my life and then it got away from them for whatever reason. Bill Belichick can tell you they killed them in the first game.”

But snapping the ball to a running back in the Wildcat is different from having the quarterback run the read-option. And Cunningham believes that in the long run, in a read-option offense, it’s the quarterback who’s going to get killed.

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104 Responses to “Lions’ Cunningham: Read-option QBs are going to get hurt”
  1. crs334 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:21 AM

    Isnt this is a known thing? Read option QBs get injured all the time

  2. noeffinway says: Jun 29, 2013 10:22 AM

    Killed??? Gunther did not say “killed”.

  3. doe22us says: Jun 29, 2013 10:23 AM

    He should worry about his own house and how Stafford stunk up the joint last season.

  4. tsizzlesucks says: Jun 29, 2013 10:25 AM

    I think what Cunningham says is the absolute truth. It might not be just one hit, but a cumulative affect of many hits. And what a shame not to see RG3 or Newton or Kapernik be able to play full seasons…they’re a lot of fun to watch.

  5. stillabillsfan says: Jun 29, 2013 10:30 AM

    It all depends on how much it’s used. It still creates enough of a threat if you run it once a quarter, 5 times a game, or ~70 times a season. Plenty of QB’s have held up for 16 games at that kind of rushing clip.

    And the QB is protected in ways an RB isn’t. QB’s need to be coached to slide quickly and effectively. Watch baseball film. If they are smart about it, they can minimize their hits.

  6. geddyn says: Jun 29, 2013 10:31 AM

    If any team knows a thing or two about a quarterback getting killed while running the ball, it’s the Detroit Lions. Scott Brantley saw to that when he destroyed Eric Hipple.

  7. Norcross says: Jun 29, 2013 10:31 AM

    I think he’s right, to a point. I believe the QBs running these offenses will get bigger and stronger akin to a RB. and smart coaches won’t try to run it with a QB who isn’t built to handle it.

  8. MasMacho says: Jun 29, 2013 10:32 AM

    Read: “I can’t figure out how to stop this, so I’ll threaten other teams and offer bounties and see if that works.”

    The fallacy here is that RG3, Kap, Cam are 6′ 5, 6′ 6, 230+. These guys are larger than most RB’s. They are not soft. They are not Joe Montana. They are no more likely to be hurt than any other player of a similar size taking similar hits, like a TE for example.

    Granted the loss is much more significant, but I disagree strongly with the idea that these QB’s are so fragile that a single run risks their season. Unless you’re Vick, that assertion is false.

  9. WatchThis says: Jun 29, 2013 10:32 AM

    Yeah, I think everyone already knows this.

  10. youcantmakemepickausername says: Jun 29, 2013 10:39 AM

    I think what’s he’s saying is true, but still can’t believe he said it. I’m picturing him sitting in his office as the phone rings: “Yes, what is it?”….”Um, Mr. Cunningham, it’s Mr. Goodell on line one”.

  11. faithful209er says: Jun 29, 2013 10:44 AM

    Good thing pocket passers “never” get hurt.

  12. roastbeefsandwich says: Jun 29, 2013 10:44 AM

    Said the guy who has a pocket passing QB made of glass.

  13. thefootballgodssay says: Jun 29, 2013 10:45 AM

    BYE BYE (IR)G3

  14. irishgary says: Jun 29, 2013 10:48 AM

    News flash football players get hurt all the time.

    The Lions are such a dumb franchise.

  15. apkyletexas says: Jun 29, 2013 10:48 AM

    Kill the head, Gunther, Kill the head.

    You must be looking for Mr. Goodell to offer you a 1-year vacation, ehh?

  16. scmems07 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:49 AM

    Hey masmacho, rg3 is no where near 6’6, he may be listed at 6’2 but he is closer to 6’0 and is 215. Plus your argument is pointless, your saying if your that big you won’t get hurt, two grown men running full speed and colliding will hurt anyone on any given day, running the option gives you more chances of being hurt, that is what he is saying. Players like kaep and Newton have not shown they can rely only on their passing abilities consistently yet and until they do, once the defense figures out the option which will be this year, they will not have success. Kaep for instance in the sb got shut down, when he needed to throw it he was inaccurate, missed a few td passes and would have had 2 int if bal didn’t drop the ball and cam, well I don’t have to say much about cam and his accuracy.

  17. pilot2011 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:51 AM

    has Cam Newton ever had an injury in his life?

  18. mrbigass says: Jun 29, 2013 10:51 AM

    All it will take is for a couple read option QB’s this year to get their clocks cleaned and lost for the season and NFL coaches will run, not walk, away from this offense…….

  19. bunjy96 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:52 AM

    doe22us says: Jun 29, 2013 10:23 AM

    He should worry about his own house and how Stafford stunk up the joint last season.

    XXX

    Feel better now that you wrote that because it has nothing to do with the topic?

  20. ozymandias121 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:52 AM

    Kaepernick is prett much the same size as most LBs in the NFL.

  21. FinFan68 says: Jun 29, 2013 10:57 AM

    The way I see the defenses dealing with it is to just hit the QB no matter what. View him as the main threat every time they run it. They may give up a big play or two but those hits will wear down the QB and should make him less effective as the game goes on. The more hits the QB takes, the higher the probability of getting hurt. This is why it worries me that Miami will use the read option more this year. It’s fine as a way to jump-start a struggling offense (like the wildcat was) but if it becomes a staple bad things can happen.

  22. vibesid says: Jun 29, 2013 11:00 AM

    Detroit is the only non-expansion team to NEVER go to a Super Bowl. This makes the Lions coaching staff extremely well qualified to give advice to other teams on what not to do.

  23. vibesid says: Jun 29, 2013 11:02 AM

    Russell Wilson is 5′ 10″ and RGIII is also short.

  24. thehouseofho says: Jun 29, 2013 11:02 AM

    The current risk with the read-option is that QBs aren’t used to getting hit like backs and receivers. Unless they slide, QBs aren’t afforded the same protection as they are when they’re in the pocket.

    You can have all the measurables and try to toughen up, but if you don’t know what it’s like to be hit by a speeding backer or safety all the time, it’s going to hurt and you might get hurt.

    Cunningham makes a good point right now, but once read option QBs learn to slide or learn to take hits better, his comments will become outdated.

  25. sundaymorningwood says: Jun 29, 2013 11:03 AM

    The natural movement of a QB makes them more susceptible to injury. If you start running them around, the percentage of injury just goes up. Flacco gets sacked all the time, but he hasn’t missed a game in his career because he doesn’t leave the pocket.

  26. yahmule says: Jun 29, 2013 11:08 AM

    But I was informed read option quarterbacks were going to change the game forever. Did someone lie!?!

  27. ridgebak says: Jun 29, 2013 11:09 AM

    Must be a wonderful thing to be senile and not remember a thing you say.

  28. wininer says: Jun 29, 2013 11:13 AM

    For the read option to be successful it needs to be used sparingly and cause serious damage when it does. If it can be run that way you can spare your QB because the threat is really all you need.

  29. sourdoughsam says: Jun 29, 2013 11:15 AM

    Sorry, Gunther, but the numbers don’t support your statement. Option QB’s don’t get hurt as often as pocket passers. On option plays, the QB has blockers clearing his path (or at least slowing down defenders) and he’s hitting his running lane before the defense is ready to attack him. On passing plays, if the QB is getting touched, he’s dealing with defenders who have a full head of steam while he’s sitting back there not knowing where his blocks are supposed to be.

    Coaching high school ball, I deal with kids who are afraid of contact from time to time. The most important thing, in my opinion, is stressing to them that it hurts a lot more to be the nail than it does to be the hammer and that they are more likely to get hurt if they leave themselves in a position to bear the brunt of the hit.

  30. fievel03 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:34 AM

    Gunther Cunningham – coaches at NFL level for 30+ years.

    sourdoughsam – coaches high school ball.

    I’ll listen to Gunther, who was talking specifically about the option in the NFL.

  31. skinsfansince71 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:35 AM

    thefootballgodssay says: Jun 29, 2013 10:45 AM

    BYE BYE (IR)G3

    Please come up with something else I have this one copy righted.

  32. shawnc16 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:39 AM

    As long as the Qb is smart and slides and its not over used, the Qb will be in no more danger than any other QB. Taking hits in the pocket can cause injuries to.

  33. loubearkane says: Jun 29, 2013 11:41 AM

    I’m a Bears fan but Gunther Cunningham is the man……………………………………

  34. larrydavid7000 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:43 AM

    here we go again another DC coordinator talking out of the wrong end when the season has not even started. Gunther tell me what have you won if anything at all? Also why do you keep bouncing around the league as a pretend DC coordinator. You a real DC coordinator stays with one team and develops talent and wins games and SB as well. So just shut it up when you have done something at least. Gunther you want to know what a real DC coordinator looks and acts like see RICHIE PETITBON. 3 SB wins countless playoff wins and too many regular season wins as well. All with ONE team about 17 years.!!!!!

  35. martin492013 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:47 AM

    I have seen many QB’s get injured and it can happen anywhere on the field.

    Ask Joe Thiesman’s shattered leg about the safety of the pocket.

    Steve Young got his final concussion in the pocket because a RB blew a blocking assignment.

    Marino blew out his Achilles stepping up in the pocket.

    QB’s can get injured at anytime, anywhere on the field. Football is a violent sport.

  36. sophandros says: Jun 29, 2013 11:48 AM

    And let’s look at some numbers.

    Including kneel downs, designed runs, and scrambles, here are the number of rushing attempts per game and yards per game for some quarterbacks in 2012 (sorted by total attempts, min of 40 “attempts” as defined above in 2012):

    Cam Newton: 8.0/46.3
    Robert Griffin III: 7.9/54.3
    Russell Wilson: 5.9/30.6
    Collin Kaepernack: 4.8/31.9
    Andrew Luck: 3.9/15.9
    Michael Vick: 6.2/33.2
    Ryan Tannehill: 3.1/13.2
    Ryan Fitzpatrick: 3.0/12.3
    Andy Dalton: 2.9/7.5
    Jay Cutler: 2.7/15.5
    Jake Locker: 3.7/26.5

    Clearly, the guys who run the read option as part of their offense don’t use it as often as fans think that they do. Also, there are a lot of times when the team runs it, the ball is handed off and the QB is a decoy.

    When we’re talking about at most 8 rushing attempts per game last season (including kneel downs, scrambles, running out of bounds, etc), the QB isn’t as exposed as much as some think.

    All this talk about QBs being hurt more is an example of perception bias.

  37. pnw51 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:54 AM

    How many of you actually clicked on the link and read the article where Cunningham’s original quotes were included? Cunninham did not say the QB was going to get killed. Here is what the actual context was: “Bill Belichick can tell you they killed them in the first game, came back in the second and beat them worse. So, it’s an issue and we have to be on top of it.” Big difference, isn’t it? Cunningham never said the QB was going to get killed, and Belichich never said they killed a QB.

  38. sakatak says: Jun 29, 2013 11:54 AM

    I think the hardest QB’s to defend are the ones that can make things happen with their feet. Russell Wilson and Fran Tarkenton are exciting to watch and they never seem to get hit. They are also smart enough to know how to avoid the hard hit, which makes them even more valuable.

  39. dirtyharry44 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:57 AM

    Senile old man. This guy needs to thank the Derrick Thomas family for still having a job.

  40. greyhawk9 says: Jun 29, 2013 11:58 AM

    for the amount teams actually utilize the read option……C’MON!!

  41. baymac408 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:00 PM

    Lions fans should be very disappointed.. That team should have made playoffs.. But your coach is a sissy.. And your qb can’t run at all.. Let alone an option.. Lol haters

  42. deathonwings410 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:06 PM

    Just like Stafford….poops, wait.

  43. deelron says: Jun 29, 2013 12:07 PM

    Ironic given how many games Matthew Stafford has missed.

  44. qdog112 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:07 PM

    Cunningham, like most football coaches , is set in his ways. He is still designing schemes for the way football used to be.

    30 years in the game that has evolved and that has passed his ability to keep up, is a problem for Cunningham and the rest of the “good ole boy” recycle machine.

  45. jackdaniels1 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:09 PM

    What he means by not finish a season is one of these guys will end up in jail. Kap has to be a gang member with all them Aaron Hernandez type tats he’s sporting. Book it!!

  46. steviaquinn says: Jun 29, 2013 12:09 PM

    Mike Vick was running that offense years before the Dolphins called it the Wildcat

  47. rajbais says: Jun 29, 2013 12:10 PM

    Is he making that face because he just Made a tackle on a read option quarterback?

  48. dartwick says: Jun 29, 2013 12:10 PM

    Hes kind of right.

    I think the only way the read option is sensible if you have 2 or 3 similar quarterbacks who can run well and throw fairly well.
    Otherwise you have an unusually high risk of losing the QB before the end of the year.

    But not many teams are run in such a way that you treat the QB as a replaceable piece.

  49. trytobnimble says: Jun 29, 2013 12:15 PM

    I believe McNabb was a solid 235 for most of his career. Spent a lot of time in the tub. Being bigger doesn’t help. But to be fair, many of his injuries happened in the pocket.

  50. beerbratscheese says: Jun 29, 2013 12:30 PM

    What does every single team that runs the read option have in common? All the QBs are still in their rookie contract. You’re simply not going to see a team put a guy making $10-15-20 million dollars in a position to take that many hits, because then you are not only losing the season, but that big investment as well.

  51. noeffinway says: Jun 29, 2013 12:30 PM

    hahaha, you haters are a hoot….lmao

  52. drbob117 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:31 PM

    I think Gunther should be more worried that before they get hurt, they’re going to put up about 500 yards of offense /game against that stupid wide 9 scheme. And as an Eagles fan, believe me, I know. Glad Jim Washburn works for Deroit now.

  53. dobberdubinsky says: Jun 29, 2013 12:32 PM

    He’s 100% right. For years NFL O-coordinators didn’t ever even consider running a read option offense for the sole reason of keeping their QB healthy. Players today are bigger and hit harder than ever, that’s the only thing that’s changed in the game. Redskins, Eagles, Panthers, 49ers fans, don’t be surprised if your starting QBs are on the IR by week 4.

  54. stellarperformance says: Jun 29, 2013 12:34 PM

    ozymandias121 says:
    Jun 29, 2013 10:52 AM
    Kaepernick is prett much the same size as most LBs in the NFL.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    True, but a linebacker is only directly involved in a certain percentage of plays that can expose him to injury. And he is the chasor, not the chasee. The play may be run away from him, he may re substituted on passing plays, etc., whereas the QB is exposed at a much higher rate on a per-play basis. Time will catch up to him faster than it will a similarly sized LB.

  55. jamezz23 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:42 PM

    No matter how big quarterbacks are getting they are always going to be softer than running backs. so the argument on that they’re getting bigger doesn’t mean a whole bunch

  56. noeffinway says: Jun 29, 2013 12:45 PM

    Ok, let me try to get this right. What some of you people commenting are implying is that since Stafford was injured his first couple seasons Gunther cannot talk about QB’s??? Get a life losers. lol seriously. And please try to not take things out of context just so that it will fit your own agenda. Now put the keyboard down and go and enjoy this weekend!

  57. cmarsh64 says: Jun 29, 2013 12:49 PM

    The main problem with the read option is that the QB isn’t treated like a traditional QB. He’s treated as a runner first and as such takes bigger hits. Anytime a Quarterback gets outside the tackle box and makes a motion toward the line of scrimage he a runner until and if he slides.Of the 3 QB’s I think Wilson will make it a full season, RGIII and Kaepernik won’tthey both will be lucky to get 10 games in if they are used the same way as last year. Defensees had a full off season to make adjustments and as you seen in the Superbowl the Ravens did contain Colin.

  58. motobus says: Jun 29, 2013 12:59 PM

    Read-option protects the QB when defenses play to stop the read-option. If they attack the QB they get beat.

  59. silentfreedom5 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:04 PM

    Just because your QB is made of glass, doesnt mean every QB is made of glass.

  60. raynitschke66 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:06 PM

    People raving about how big Kaepernick is should just take a look at his legs. Sure, his upper body is massive, but he has toothpick legs. I really can’t think of many NFL players I’ve seen who have skinnier legs than he does. They may help him move really fast, but one good pop to them from a 340 pound NT, and he’s on IR. His legs are thinner than those of the leanest, lankiest WRs in the league, but those guys can count the number of hits they’ll take from the big defensive linemen over the course of their careers on one hand. If he wants to last in the NFL, he’s going to need to add a lot of bulk to his legs, even if it means losing some speed. RGIII is even worse off in that regard, he needs to get bigger just about everywhere if he doesn’t want to end up in a wheelchair before he’s 40.

  61. mtavin says: Jun 29, 2013 1:10 PM

    “Clearly, the guys who run the read option as part of their offense don’t use it as often as fans think that they do.”

    Even clearer, the misperception QBs must or always run when they execute read option.

  62. shlort says: Jun 29, 2013 1:14 PM

    NFL Defenses only have to look at this kind of offense for one more season. I highly doubt anyone will use the read option much after the 2013 season. It will be exposed pretty early on this year.

    Of course the teams that will be using it have not other option than to do so. Some of these players appear to be solid passers on paper, but in the game their ability to run set up their passing game and none of them were deep ball threats aside from RGIII.

    When these guys no long have an easy time running the ball, and are forced to pass, we will see how “great” they really are. Dump off passes behind a defense that is playing close to the line won’t exist anymore and the deep ball threat just won’t be there. Everone who thinks that option BS is the future will be sitting around on Sundays wondering why it doesn’t work anymore. A game of inches, remember than.

  63. newguy925 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:14 PM

    He’s suggesting with the current prevalence and an offseason of film defenses will adjust and the qb in the read option will get tagged regularly. It’s an offense that exposes the qb to an above average amount of contact, I think the message is going to be hit them regardless on the running plays when the qb isn’t protected and see how often he goes back to the option.

  64. luke8512 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:20 PM

    It may not kill them but it will shorten their careers.

    Last year when the redskins played the bengals the skins were making a comeback in the second half when they unveiled their read option with RG3 and Morris.
    It looked unstoppable until Zimmer made the adjustment to have the DE’s focus on RG and hit him even if he handed it off in the option. Which due to him acting as a runner negates him being classified as a qb and there shouldn’t be a flag.
    After RG was popped a handful of time by Micheal Johnson, Shanahan went back to a more conventional style.
    As long as a team plays good, disciplined football a read option will only work as an occasional trick play.

  65. realdealsteel says: Jun 29, 2013 1:28 PM

    Running QB’s don’t win Super Bowls. And before anyone says, ” Steve Young”, …Steve Young learned to pass and check down to the third receiver in the tree of routes.

    He became a real QB. These other running QB’s will always fall back on their running abilities and in a 16 game schedule, you’ll eventually get caught and hurt.

    That’s why teams like the 49ers and Redskins really have no shot of winning a Super Bowl with those
    type of QB’s running the show.

  66. harrisbarton says: Jun 29, 2013 1:35 PM

    A piece of this that is not often discussed is that on read-option plays the defenses will start hitting the QB routinely AFTER he hands the ball off. The rap will be that the defensive player thought it was a fake, and thought he was hitting the guy with the ball. Maybe they’ll get an occasional flag, but far more often than not they’ll get away with a pretty clean shot at the QB (if they don’t overdo it).

    The league will ultimately need to figure out what to do about this, as my strong guess is that knowingly hitting the QB (without the ball) will be a basic part of the strategy that defenses use against the read-option.

  67. skinsfan91 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:38 PM

    Which qb’s were hurt running the read option last year? RGIII only ever got hurt on traditional pass plays where he decided to scram and was hit by a free runner. The read option kind of locks the defense into a fixed position where in the QB decides to run it himself, he knows where everyone is and there aren’t as many free runners. So I believe the read option actually helps protect a qb. The Bengals did start teeing off on RGIII, that’s why after that game he started putting his hands up to obviously show he didn’t have the ball. Sometimes he’d still get hit when he did this, and every time that happened a roughing the QB penalty was called. The read option is sweet, and if your team had a QB that could run it, you’d say the same thing. Run it 4-5 times a game, some games you don’t even run it, the threat is enough.

  68. millertime20 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:44 PM

    But he lions have won championships bitch

  69. mrpolarbear99 says: Jun 29, 2013 1:48 PM

    Kaepernick threw for 300 yards and ran for another 60 in the SB. That’s shutting him down?

  70. txraiderfan says: Jun 29, 2013 2:14 PM

    Not if “God”dell has his way. It’s hard to get hurt in flag football

  71. kylexitron says: Jun 29, 2013 2:19 PM

    How’s not being a read option QB worked out for Matthew Stafford’s injury history?

  72. deelron says: Jun 29, 2013 2:32 PM

    “Ok, let me try to get this right. What some of you people commenting are implying is that since Stafford was injured his first couple seasons Gunther cannot talk about QB’s???”

    No, we’re saying it’s funny. There’s plenty of evidence (of the small sample size variety, since it’s a relatively new trend in the modern NFL) that the read-option QBs get hurt at a similar rate of the non-read option QBs.

    The real truth is that it’s the same as always, the most likely indicator of a future QB injury is the quality of offensive line play coupled with QB awareness (and previous injury), since even NFL read-option QBs spend far more time in the pocket (or running out of it) then they do for the extra half second the read-option takes over the traditional play action pass.

  73. granadafan says: Jun 29, 2013 2:33 PM

    I’m not a fan of him, but if there’s one guy who is adept at avoiding the hits and is big enough to dish it out is Tebow. He’s an awful pocket passer with the worst mechanics in the league history but can pass well enough to keep defenses fairly honest.

  74. sophandros says: Jun 29, 2013 2:46 PM

    Steve Young was the third leading rusher for the 49ers in 1994. He ran the ball 58 times, or 3.6 times per game, or about the number of carries that a scrambling QB would usually have without his team running the read option (see my list above).

    Had the read option been reintroduced to the NFL at that time, Young’s carries per game would likely have been similar that of his best modern comparison: Robert Griffin III.

    So he would have had 3-4 more carries per game. Not much of a big deal.

  75. chunkala says: Jun 29, 2013 2:54 PM

    Good.
    Hopefully.

  76. channer81 says: Jun 29, 2013 2:57 PM

    Cause Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, Joe Montana or Dan Marino never missed a season staying in the pocket..

    Everyone that’s anti-read option probably cheer for teams that don’t run it and are stuck with a crappy QB.

    Everyone says defenses will adjust to it, and in some way I feel they will. But we’re not giving credit to how offensive coordinators adjusted to it and now its being used in the NFL. It’s been in college and has been used successfully for years.

    He should worry about stopping Rogers, and Cutler, and wonder why his pocket QB took a step back last year.

    We’ll see you Sept. 22nd

  77. seattlenative57 says: Jun 29, 2013 3:04 PM

    When properly executed, the read option is about deception. It also demands that the QB “read” the defensive end and defensive back. Smart QBs (ie Russell Wilson) are able to use this deception and avoid contact, or at least minimize contact. Stopping the read-option will continue to frustrate defensive coordinators as long as the QB plays smart.

  78. patriottony says: Jun 29, 2013 3:04 PM

    So alllll in alllll…now lets hear from the PATRIOTS critics for picking up TEBOW…what happens with him in the Backfield next to tom brady..a HOF passer?…if you snap it to him…we all know he is an awesome runner…can he throw enough to keep defenses honest…YUP. If the snap goes to brady you still have the “option” offense on the table as he throws back to going tebow wide…
    With Gronk on the field how do you defense that? You have a LB and safety on Gronk…you have to dedicate a safety or LB to Tebow…that leaves you pretty damn short….

  79. sacaypaga says: Jun 29, 2013 3:05 PM

    I have seen many non-option QB go down.

  80. kerryc21realty says: Jun 29, 2013 3:14 PM

    Griffin got injured while running on a busted play. Griffin is the best option QB, he holds the ball until the last possible second and has the best fakes of any QB. The skins play the lions this season, I can’t wait to see griffin destroy his weak defense

  81. pgilbert15303 says: Jun 29, 2013 3:31 PM

    Sophandros, nice research. It’s refreshing to get a someone with stats instead of being a blowhard.

    As a blowhard, go Niners!!!!

  82. scoregasmic says: Jun 29, 2013 3:50 PM

    Seriously? People are calling for Goodell for this statement? He’s just saying exactly what everyone is thinking. And he’s right if you leave the pocket you are fair game for linebackers and linemen to do what they want to you. In the pocket you have your linemen in front of you. A QB that runs the ball will get hit and will get hit a lot. It’s simple math, more hits = more injury risk.

  83. vaphinfan says: Jun 29, 2013 3:56 PM

    I wonder if he had said qbs will get lit up i stead of hurt if he’d get suspended.

  84. swaggyy says: Jun 29, 2013 4:23 PM

    First off, never by the Lions D. Second, you’re a terrible defensive coordinator. Third, maybe RG3 or Keep will. Someone like Wilson won’t get hurt because he rarely even run the read option. Most his runs are scrambles and he’s too smart to even take a big hit. Sorry Gunther just retire you incompetent moron.

  85. swaggyy says: Jun 29, 2013 4:24 PM

    Kaep *

  86. jayhawk777 says: Jun 29, 2013 4:28 PM

    What makes Russell Wilson so effective and he didnt get hit hard once last year is his awareness and minor league baseball prowess and knowing when and how to slide. Plus, it’s the THREAT that makes him dangerous. The read option will freeze the weakside DE and Will which opens up enough gap for marshawn “beast mode” Lynch to plow through. That is why its so effective in Seattle. The awareness and chameleon eyes of RWill and the outside threat which makes it difficult to defense. Hawks go play actipn from the read pption, too n how Hawks roll offensively. Add Percy Harvin and D-cos r ready for nightmares.

  87. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 29, 2013 5:07 PM

    Gunther shouted, “Read option quarterbacks are going to get hurt. If they don’t get off my damn lawn!”.

  88. immafubared says: Jun 29, 2013 5:30 PM

    I agree that one of these days one of these guys are going to get planted and break a shoulder or something. Used to be teams did not allow QB to run because he was so instrumental to the team success and they had running backs who could do that.
    We’ll see. All I know is guys like Wilson will not do what they do for long. Defenses figure this out and then its pow pow pow.

  89. lks311 says: Jun 29, 2013 5:35 PM

    Okay, enough Stafford glass comments. He’s started 32 straight games.

    As for the frequency of the read option, people don’t get it. It doesn’t matter how often it’s run, the way it will be defended is that the LB spies the QB and hits him…whether he has the ball or not. Perfectly legal when your QB commits as a runner.

    That’s how you change behavior folks.

  90. jomochiefsfan84 says: Jun 29, 2013 5:41 PM

    Either way you wanna look at it whether you think the QB will get hurt or won’t get hurt, defenses are going to figure a way to stop it & won’t be nearly as effective as it has been in the past.

  91. sdelz says: Jun 29, 2013 6:33 PM

    coaches are paid millions, too, and in order to keep their jobs they will find ways to slow down and even stop the read option…arguably the best read qb of the bunch had a serious injury last season and I’d guess there will be more injuries rather than less this year…shanahan makes it a given that griffin will be injured again this year…his overuse of star players is a historical fact

  92. pamiho32332013 says: Jun 29, 2013 6:34 PM

    Astute point! Albeit, everyone and their dog has been stating pretty much the same thing since Michael Vick electrified the NFL as a member of the Atlanta Falcons (no, I don’t mean with his illegal dog bouts). The bottom line is mobile QB’s such as RGIII and Cam Newton bring a lot of excitement to the Worlds Greatest Game. Excitement will sell tickets and put eyeballs on the tv screen! Mine are firmly glued, even in the off season.

  93. bluntsmokinskinsfan says: Jun 29, 2013 6:46 PM

    You get hurt playing football. It’s part of the game. Running QB’s know they’re going to take hits. Hopefully they learn to slide and get out of bounds to protect themselves.

  94. nickster31 says: Jun 29, 2013 7:48 PM

    If I was coaching a defense against the read option, I would tell my DE or OLB to destroy the QB EVERY TIME they ran it.

    And I dont just mean hit him, DESTROY him. It is legal and a free shot on a QB.

    At some point, teams will stop running it against you.

  95. albinorhino49 says: Jun 29, 2013 7:50 PM

    Propaganda for his agenda. I would rather my QB run for it than stay back to take a huge blind side hit. Run for it…Run for it… RUN!

  96. lostsok says: Jun 29, 2013 8:46 PM

    The issue isn’t just getting injured. A QB that runs gets worn down, and a few hits can affect mechanics. Try throwing a football…they try again once you’ve had a charlie horse from getting thumped off the turf.

    QBs should, in a perfect offense, be like a distributor cap. They deliver the ball to the spark plugs. If the QB runs, the play has failed. If you send a QB on purpose more than 2-3 times in a game: you’re risking production on the OTHER plays.

    The read-option is a fad, because once a couple guys get rocked and it messes up an offense, teams will scrap it.

  97. jimmyjames65 says: Jun 29, 2013 8:52 PM

    RG 3 is done. Teams better think of getting a real NFL QB.

  98. bison4me says: Jun 29, 2013 8:54 PM

    “Thanks for the heads up Gunther. I’ll be sure to remember that when I come across your stationary QB with the gimpy shoulder.”

    -Patrick Willis

  99. harbaughownspete says: Jun 29, 2013 9:43 PM

    Lets See Kaep has 181 yards rushing in his first PLayoff game ever and Broke an NFL record in his first try at a post season game…… You Dont think GB wanted to Kill the QB.. the Read Option had been on film for the for over 2 months.. They still couldnt stop it… The Next Week.. The Falcons in the NFC championship game Sold OUt Trying to stop Kaep and “Kill the QB”and FRank Gore and LaMichael James absolutely killed them while the DE was busyi Crashing Down trying to Hurt the QB… The Pistol isn’t a Fad and it isn’t a Entire “Offense”.. its a freaking Formation… I love DC’s spending there every waking moment trying to stop One Formation… Makes alot of since.. Kaep Throw for over 300 yards on the Ravens in the SB and only Ran for 60 while they Piled up over 468 yards of total offense… He can do it both ways… in the words of Mike Tyson after the Buster Douglass fight… “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth”.. it sounds good in the offseason until the games matter .. as a 9er fan i hope every team over sells on Kaep.. That Means Gore,James and Hunter will be killing them up the middle again…Good Luck with that

  100. jimmylions says: Jun 29, 2013 10:03 PM

    As a rookie in the run-and-shoot, Rodney Peete used to like to run the option. The Lions first win that season came when was Peete running the option and scored a TD on our frequent nemesis, Tampa Bay.

    But … QBs aren’t built to take the kind of hits that get dished out in the NFL. Bobby Douglas (a name some of the old Bears fans will remember) and Tim Tebow are exceptions to that, but in both cases we’re talking guys who were runners first and passers second.

  101. taintedlombardis says: Jun 29, 2013 10:07 PM

    The plan is to hurt QBs on read option plays with illegal hits. These losers can’t stop it.

  102. taintedlombardis says: Jun 29, 2013 10:18 PM

    The RG3 hate is so cute. He’s better tha you.

  103. Fantasy Football Delivery Man says: Jun 29, 2013 10:42 PM

    This is an obvious risk for any running QBs.

  104. bigtimebrownie says: Jun 29, 2013 11:17 PM

    The more things change, the more things stay the same. We’re talking a variation of the “single wing” here, except we’re focusing on a QB who can AND pass. You’ll notice the “Wildcat” hasnt produced much since the Dolphins 1st year of using it. It still comes down to blocking and tackling. If everyone wins their battles, you win the game.

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