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Bruce Arians calls the read-option “a great college offense”

Bruce Arians AP

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians doesn’t think the read-option is going to last in the NFL.

Arians’ team is preparing to face the Eagles, whose coach, Chip Kelly, was one of the masterminds of the read-option at Oregon. But in Philadelphia Kelly’s offense has been at its best with the immobile Nick Foles, and Arians says that’s because the read-option isn’t an NFL offense.

The defensive coordinators in this league are too good. I think once they went and studied it . . . it’s still a great offense, a great college offense, when you put a great athlete back there,” Arians said, via PhillyMag.com. “But when you’re facing great athletes with the the speed that’s in the NFL and they’re chasing these guys, unless you’re superhuman, you’re gonna get hurt sooner or later. Or not hurt, but beat up and bruised up. You don’t want your quarterback feeling bruised up when he’s trying to throw and be accurate.”

Eagles center Jason Kelce did not agree with that assessment.

“I think it’s a great any-level offense, personally,” Kelce said. “I think anybody who doesn’t think it can be successful at this level is obviously mistaken.”

Michael Vick, however, said Arians had a point.

“There is merit to what he said,” Vick said. “A lot of coaches don’t want to put their players in harm’s way. You have to pick and choose your spots. [The read option is] primarily in this league for the running back, to get him on inside zone runs or outside zone runs, and if the defense crashes down you just pull it. You don’t see [quarterbacks] having 15,20 carries in the NFL.”

And now that Vick is out and Foles is the Eagles’ starter, you won’t see the quarterback running much at all in Philadelphia.

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49 Responses to “Bruce Arians calls the read-option “a great college offense””
  1. iamapatsfan says: Nov 28, 2013 7:06 AM

    Vick has it more right than Arians. It’s not about whether it works because of speed and athleticism in the NFL. It’s about money and the Franchise QB getting hurt. They don’t have to worry about that as much in college, because the College QB career is only 3-4 years long.

    That’s why it’ll always be a part of the offense, but not the whole offense.

  2. wryly1 says: Nov 28, 2013 7:22 AM

    The way WAS tried to run in last year with Griffin, it looked like a neighborhood pickup game – with the fastest, most athletic kid improvising on his own. Zero, zip, zilch, nada to show for it – other than some SportsCenter highlight reel footage. Now Griffin can’t run it anymore and his coach will get the axe at season’s end.

  3. azjam says: Nov 28, 2013 7:29 AM

    Its a gimmick that is already being phased out in the NFL. RG3 & Kaepernick are prime examples. Neither have been successful this year.

  4. 6ball says: Nov 28, 2013 7:31 AM

    .

    Like the wildcat it caught some teams off guard. However, once you give the defensive coordinators an off season plus half of a regular season to see your looks, they can successfully game plan against it.

    Defenses often benefit from the schedule. You’d like to play a team that has just faced a Belichick, Rex Ryan, or Dick Lebeau because you get to see what they did successfully and implement it yourself.
    .

  5. dartwick says: Nov 28, 2013 7:35 AM

    Vick and ariens are both agreeing – you need a superaltive athlete to make it work in the NFL – but hes going to get hurt enough that it isnt worth it.

  6. bennyb82 says: Nov 28, 2013 7:35 AM

    It is a good 12 game offense. When 12 games is up the QB is either hurt or defenses pretty much have it figured out.

  7. historyisyourfriend says: Nov 28, 2013 7:42 AM

    NFL season is too long and the hits these guys take add up pretty quick. If I am an Owner and I invest big time into a QB, I don’t want him running around getting blasted. Period. If my Coach pulls a “Shanahan” and runs my star QB into the turf like he did last year with RGIII, said Coach gets fired. I can replace a Coach and his salary pretty easy. Same can’t be said of a franchise QB.

  8. tg1896 says: Nov 28, 2013 7:43 AM

    All you have to do to make the read-option a viable NFL offense is eliminate PEDs. Once you no longer have a 380 lb. lineman that just missed qualifying for the Olympic 100 meter squad and can bench press three cars, you’ll be okay.

  9. neilandblow says: Nov 28, 2013 7:57 AM

    Bruce Arians must have missed last week when Nick Foles out-rushed RGIII. He also picked up some key first downs on the ground against the Packers. Foles is deathly slow but even with him the read-option can work. If the defense gives it to you, take it.

  10. raiders85 says: Nov 28, 2013 7:58 AM

    Love me some Bruce ariens such a great offensive mind said it when the colts didn’t just promote him to head coach Indy made a huge mistake that punk strong stuff was cute but this is the NFL sorry but when Indy needs a new coach after luck takes another step back next year people will understand good stories don’t make good coaches and chuck isn’t a good coach sorry but truth is the truth

  11. bmore44 says: Nov 28, 2013 8:00 AM

    Yes it is. That’s it !

  12. zappaisgod says: Nov 28, 2013 8:03 AM

    Arians took a job with the Bidwells.

  13. flavordave says: Nov 28, 2013 8:11 AM

    From what Ive seen of Chip, hes a great offensive mind that can make adjustments. Hes not just a read option guy. He finds mismatches and adjusts to take advantage of them.
    Its why one week Shady goes off, and the next week its all Foles. He allows you to pick your poison then he administers the dosage.
    Time will tell but so far turning a weak WR like Cooper into a stud receiver is about the most amazing thing Ive seen. Its the type of thing you always see Belichik doing. Turning nobodys into somebodys based on usage in the system.

  14. PFT=crap says: Nov 28, 2013 8:14 AM

    1. Foles out gained RGIII on the ground when they played against each other, without taking any big hits. Not that Foles typically keeps it himself, but the defense wasn’t staying home and he took what they gave him.

    2. Read-option doesn’t automatically mean RB dive or QB stretch. On many sets Foles has the option to pull it back and kick it out to a bubble screen or quick slant.

  15. nitro276 says: Nov 28, 2013 8:16 AM

    Hey Coach Arians, nice 40-11 win last weekend. Arrogant comments like these set your team up for a 40-11 beating at the Linc this weekend.

  16. joetoronto says: Nov 28, 2013 8:23 AM

    He’s absolutely right, even the “great” Russell Wilson is only passing for 200 yards or so a game.

    Just another fad.

  17. pflynn20 says: Nov 28, 2013 8:32 AM

    Too bad he couldn’t find a good offense when he coached at Temple

  18. demstinkinbums says: Nov 28, 2013 8:49 AM

    There is nothing to figure out… It was obvious from the onset. Regardless who has the ball have the DE or OLB go destroy the QB EVERY play.

    That’s why Arians is correct. Once teams started using that philosophy then the read option became a package to use, but will never under the current rules be a viable full time offense. QB’s are not able to sustain such constant abuse and then turn around when asked to throw and still be consistently accurate.

  19. oldbyrd says: Nov 28, 2013 8:50 AM

    Great debate! Time will tell. My thinking is if the off. line can dominate.

  20. cunninghampeetemcnabbvick says: Nov 28, 2013 9:10 AM

    He’s missing a big point and that is that the read-option has already evolved in the NFL. Just watch Philadelphia, Buffalo or Carolina and you’ll see they have passes using the read-option, where instead of the QB taking off and running it they might throw a screen or wheel-route instead.

    I think he’s right in that you can’t have your QB running to the extent some QB’s did last year, but to think it’s going to disappear all together is wrong.

  21. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 9:19 AM

    so, how many QBs have been hurt this season bcuz of the read option? brian hoyer, jake locker, aaron rogers or jay cutler or sam bradford running the read-option? mike vick hurt a hamstring running out of bounds. can we blame that on the read-option getting QBs hit?

    also, has anyone noticed that nick foles is averaging 40 yards/game rushing, running it 8-9 times per game? seen him take any big hits? how many times are Cam, RG3, Kaep. and Wilson running it?

    if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that no defense has figured this out and no one is “shutting it down”. the teams who’ve run it are leading the league in rushing! teams have become more cautious, but they did that last year too (except for RG3) until the end of the season/playoffs. my guess that’s what you’ll see again this season and suddenly bruce arians and all of these other old heads are gonna get ambushed when the games really count.

  22. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 9:25 AM

    demstinkinbums said:
    There is nothing to figure out… It was obvious from the onset. Regardless who has the ball have the DE or OLB go destroy the QB EVERY play.

    ——-

    really, demstinkinbums? that sounds very macho, but does it actually happen? which QB in which game has been destroyed on any play, let alone every one? and why don’t the DEs and OLBs blow up every play in the backfield then if doing this is so effective? you seem to have forgotten that there’s a very big obstacle to this plan: it’s called the offensive line.

  23. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 9:33 AM

    joetoronto sais:

    He’s absolutely right, even the “great” Russell Wilson is only passing for 200 yards or so a game.

    Just another fad.

    ————–

    not sure what wilson’s passing yardage tells us about the effectiveness of the read-option: it’s a run-based offense. and what’s seahawks record?

    also, how’s the conventional offense working in Indianapolis with the “great” Andrew Luck? No one wants to admit it, but he’s been absolutely abysmal. Completion % below 60% and anemic offense.
    how many yards is andrew lu

  24. jbeagles23 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:04 AM

    The qb running 20 times is a college thing. What the cardinals are about to see is way different.

  25. macjacmccoy says: Nov 28, 2013 10:07 AM

    Wow I cant believe football coaches, bloggers, and players dont know what the read option is. The read option doesnt mean the qb either hands the ball off or runs with it himself, and it certainly doesnt need a mobile qb to be ran effective.

    The read option is just that, you call a play then you read what the defense is giving you and then you pick one the options drawn up in the play. That’s it, it has nothing to do with qb carries.

    Yea you may have an option to run but that’s just 1 out of a possible 4 options you can choose from on any give play.

    For example:
    If you have an advantage up front you could hand it off. If you see the defense is overloaded to one side the qb might keep the ball on a bootleg the opposite way. If the box is full and you have an advantage outside you might throw a wr screen. Or if your TE has a mismatch you might attempt a seam pass. On these plays everyones assignment stays the same. It is up to the qb to read the defense and pick the best option.

    It isnt an offensive system that needs a fast qb it is an offensive system that needs a fast acting and fast think QB. If you dont have those 2 things it doesnt work. If he doesnt think and act fast penalties stack up for illegal down field blocking b/c on r.o. plays linemen run block. iIts the qb’s job to make sure that doesnt happen.

    Maybe with a less mobile qb you dont get long 40 yard runs but you dont need to. If you run it the way its suppose to be ran your skill position players will do that for you. Even so it is built in such a way that a guy who had the worst 40 yard time during the combine last year(Nick Foles) can successfully gain a 1st down on nearly every running attempt if the play is read correctly.

    So I dont know where the myth of the read option qb needing to be mobile came from, but Nick Foles has ran the read option this year just as many times per game as anyone has over the past 3 years and has had plenty of success doing so.

  26. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 28, 2013 10:17 AM

    Broken quarterbacks inhibit winning.

  27. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 10:20 AM

    arians is going to be calling the read-option his daddy by sunday night.

  28. drbob117 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:27 AM

    Never a bad time to give Chip and the Eagles bulletin board material.

  29. cdaluni86 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:28 AM

    Even the most ardent Tebow fans forget that after the New England playoff game that the Broncos lost, Tebow was so banged up he couldn’t have played the next week if they had won because of all of the hits he took. Read option is a gimmick like the wildcat. Good for situational stuff, bad in the long term for the QB.

  30. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 10:34 AM

    cdaluni86 says:
    Even the most ardent Tebow fans forget that after the New England playoff game that the Broncos lost, Tebow was so banged up he couldn’t have played the next week if they had won because of all of the hits he took. Read option is a gimmick like the wildcat. Good for situational stuff, bad in the long term for the QB.
    —–
    broncos never ran the read-option. i guess we’re starting to see the depth of football knowledge supporting the anti-read-option movement.

  31. dhragonn says: Nov 28, 2013 10:35 AM

    People talk about the read option like it’s the only scheme a team will run, it’s ridiculous, it’s one of many schemes. If a team has the personnel there is no reason to eliminate a scheme where at the right time to be used can be advantageous.

    The read option isn’t leaving, but it’s not going to be a main scheme.

  32. jbaxt says: Nov 28, 2013 10:36 AM

    I see your read option and raise you “the wildcat”… You know that thing where they have a running back in the backfield and the entire defense thinks it’s a pass… Oh wait, no, they don’t think that, it’s a run all the way and they all crash the line.

  33. macjacmccoy says: Nov 28, 2013 10:36 AM

    Also dont understand the myth of qbs getting hit to much running the read option. The only qbs that get hit a lot in that system are the ones to stubborn to slide. Its why you havent seen Foles or Wilson take many hits. They get down. Its also why on the opposite end guys like Vick and Griffin get hurt. They selfishly try for that extra 2 or 3 ego yards. Which gives the defense free reign to lay into them.

    Kap and Cam learned. Originally they always went for those extra hero yards, but after being drilled on numerous occasions they smartened up and started protecting themselves. Now you rarely see them take a big hit either.

    Whoever tells you that the read option is dangerous doesnt know what the read option is. Its not the system that’s dangerous its the QB’s decision making process that is.

  34. edawg7l says: Nov 28, 2013 10:42 AM

    Let’s not pat the defensive coordinators on the back too quickly. These “genius” coordinators have much better athletes on the field. When everyone on your defense can run a sub-5 40 vs. 2 or 3 athletes in college, it’s a lot easier to shut down that offensive gimmick.

  35. thesmartest1 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:45 AM

    Right or wrong it’s a stupid time to say it.

  36. pflynn20 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:52 AM

    Lol. People in here crack me up. People in here think the QB runs the ball 20 a game in Chips offense. Hardly the case.

  37. shlort says: Nov 28, 2013 10:52 AM

    In 20 years someone will bring it back again and a few college coaches will move to the NFL for a couple seasons with the system. It is not like it has never been tried before. It has and it turns out that throwing the ball with an accurate passer is what wins games. Teams that win championships have one of two things. A great passing offense or a great defense.

    The reason we see QBs in that system in the NFL is because that is what colleges are running. College programs are not bringing up talent that can play in the NFL at the QB position. The lack of decent QBs is evidence of that.

  38. youngbloodsfibula says: Nov 28, 2013 10:54 AM

    eepobee says:

    not sure what wilson’s passing yardage tells us about the effectiveness of the read-option: it’s a run-based offense. and what’s seahawks record?

    also, how’s the conventional offense working in Indianapolis with the “great” Andrew Luck? No one wants to admit it, but he’s been absolutely abysmal. Completion % below 60% and anemic offense.
    how many yards is andrew lu

    ——-

    Your completion % is worse the Luck’s.

    The problem with the Colts is the O-line, not Luck himself. Reggie Wayne was covering up for a lot of problems with his ability & veteran expertise. Now the problem combo of bad O-line & no Wayne is falling on Luck.

  39. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 28, 2013 10:56 AM

    Eagles fans chirping. First real defense since facing the Giants. Heard this same babble from Washington fans before Monday.

  40. vusnu says: Nov 28, 2013 10:56 AM

    I suspect Chip Kelly agrees with a good deal of what Arians says. When Kelly was first hired by the Eagles, he said that one of the most important attributes of his starting QB is that he stay healthy.

  41. MostlyRight says: Nov 28, 2013 11:01 AM

    All I know is I’m very excited to see what happens when this offense meets this defense. #1 rush vs #2 rush D. Jackson covered by Peterson. The read option vs Dockett and Campbell and Abraham and most importantly Daryll Washington and Dansby. Will be the most interesting game this weekend IMO. Also curious to see if AZ can keep improving on offense.

  42. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 11:02 AM

    shlort said:
    It has and it turns out that throwing the ball with an accurate passer is what wins games. Teams that win championships have one of two things. A great passing offense or a great defense.
    —–
    Wow, that’s pure genius! So last year’s Super Bowl contestants – niners and ravens – didn’t know they had great passing offenses, but apparently, based on your surefire recipe for championship, they did.

  43. greeneblitz says: Nov 28, 2013 11:03 AM

    Vick and Arians are both right, the read option is a garbage gimmick offense that has always been every bit as doomed as the Wildcat, not only that, but any team that runs it has a deathwish for the most important player on their team, who, sooner or later will be out with injury.

  44. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 11:30 AM

    For the record, the Ravens had the 15th-ranked passing offense and the 17-ranked defense last year. Correlation between those 2 elements and winning a Super Bowl seems low.

  45. FinFan68 says: Nov 28, 2013 11:39 AM

    macjacmccoy,
    That was a good breakdown but the read option involves reading the defense during the play rather than pre-snap reads. That’s why the QB holds the ball extra long during the handoffs. He’s reading the defense’s reactions and sometimes pulls the ball back.

  46. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 11:49 AM

    greeneblitz said:
    Vick and Arians are both right, the read option is a garbage gimmick offense that has always been every bit as doomed as the Wildcat, not only that, but any team that runs it has a deathwish for the most important player on their team, who, sooner or later will be out with injury.
    —–

    and the collectively-low IQ of the anti-read-option representatives drops a few more notches…

    please, greeneblitz, provide us with one shred of evidence that running the read-option leads to more injuries than your conventional any other type of offenses?

    i’ll make it easy for you with a checklist. here’s the QBs that have been injured this year. put a check next to all that are running a read option:

    aaron rodgers ___
    jay cutler ___
    mike vick ___
    blaine gabbert ___
    sam bradford ___
    brian hoyer ___
    jason campbell ___
    jake locker ___
    ej manuel ___
    christian ponder ___

    by my count that’s 2 and vick’s injury was non-contact related. explanation?

  47. weekendatberniemadoffs says: Nov 28, 2013 12:38 PM

    i argue, at least in cam’s case, that the read option allows him the choice of being hit by who and when rather than staying in the pocket and getting blindsided. he’s a big guy, has yet to miss any starts and has taken just as many hits as any qb in the league. that’s a fact.

  48. eepobee says: Nov 28, 2013 2:07 PM

    The truth is the read option is never going to be easy to stop bcuz it just puts u at a disadvantage no matter what u do. The only criticism that can be made is that it puts ur QB at risk of injury.

    But the injury argument doesn’t hold water. Did Vick get injured running? Yes. Did mike Vick get hurt running conventional offense? Yes. Injury prone players (Vick, Gabbert, locker, cutler) will get injured no matter what type of offense they run and those that aren’t (cam, Kaep, Wilson, Brady, Eli) won’t.

  49. macjacmccoy says: Dec 8, 2013 4:50 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    Nov 28, 2013 11:39 AM
    macjacmccoy,
    That was a good breakdown but the read option involves reading the defense during the play rather than pre-snap reads. That’s why the QB holds the ball extra long during the handoffs. He’s reading the defense’s reactions and sometimes pulls the ball back.

    I get what your saying but actually its both. You read alignments before the play and if what you saw pre snap ends up being correct you follow through. Alternatively if you read something before a play and its ends up just being a fade by the defense you can read and react to that 2.

    Its never as simple as saying its one thing or another. In all systems pre and post snap reads come into play.

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