Aaron Rodgers not convinced of read-option staying power


The Packers have every reason in the world to believe in the power of the read option, after watching 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick dismantle them in the playoffs.

But Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is willing to take a longer view, that the suddenly hot system isn’t going to be a staple of NFL offenses forever.

I think the league is cyclical and things can come back around that were being used 20, 30 years ago. But this too will pass,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com. “Some of the pistol read-option stuff will eventually pass. Now, that may not be for 10 more years.

“The athletic quarterback I don’t think is going to pass at all. I think you’ve seen a trend of more and more guys who can make plays when the pocket breaks down and extend plays, who are also good passers. I think you’re going to continue to see that; we’ve seen a lot of that the last few years especially. . . .

“But I think that as we saw five years ago with the wildcat stuff – it had its success and less and less people are doing it and now. It’s more of the zone-read stuff – reading the end or keeping it and pulling it with a quarterback who has some athleticism. At some point, on some level, they’re going to figure out how to consistently stop that, and then that will make its way up to the NFL. Or, enough for these (quarterbacks), who are going to be franchise guys if they’re not already, may take some unnecessary shots or decide that they’d rather stay in the pocket and throw it then rush the ball 15 times a game. And then you can kind of see it gradually go in the other direction, I think.”

Rodgers is certainly athletic enough to run when he needs to, but the Packers are smart enough to know that the best use of their resource is to keep him throwing the ball rather than running. The knee injury suffered by Washington’s Robert Griffin III is a concern for anyone considering such a move, as the quarterback is at more risk than one who stays in the pocket and throws.

But with Chip Kelly taking the Eagles job — and the success of the 49ers and Redskins and Seahawks — the number of teams incorporating spread and read-option elements is only growing. And that puts the pressure on NFL defenses to adjust, and they’ll certainly spend the offseason doing so.

39 responses to “Aaron Rodgers not convinced of read-option staying power

  1. He’s right. It’s a fad. The read option is just the wildcat with a better throwing RB at the helm.

    You can’t win when your starting QB is on the sideline hurt. Right Mike Vick? Right RG3?

  2. Sure, it adds another dimension to the game for the defense to worry about. Rodgers himself is pretty good as a runner. But no matter how many times he takes off or how many yards he gains, as a defense, I call it a win every time Rodgers doesn’t throw the ball…

  3. Still think it would be a good idea for Arizona to sign Tebow and run the option offense. He would be tough to defend in this kind of offense.

  4. Give Defensive Coordinators an off-season or two and they’ll figure out how to stop or at least limit the pistol, spread, read, etc. Just like the Wildcat offense, it’ll pass. Defensive players in the NFL are too fast for any of those offenses to be sustainable.

  5. I’m not so sure it won’t be around for awhile. Teams are taught as far back as peewee football that the best way to stop the read option is to dedicate one defensive player to hit the QB each and every time regardless if he hands off, runs or pitches. Sooner or later, the QB will choose to stop taking the hits and handoff/pitch prematurely. Now, with Goodell’s assault on defenses and his overprotection of QBs, he has hamstrung defenses to properly defend the read-option. Result…more boring 45-40 games with moderately talented (but quick) QBs running free through a slower defense. Just another example of how Goodell is totally ruining the game.

  6. I hope Aaron realizes that he was not even close to being the better quarterback on the field that day, which nowaday is all that really matters. Excuses are for qb’s that are one dimensional.

  7. The long term durability of guys running the read option is a potentially serious limitation. If your QB’s start wearing out as fast as your RB’s do, then it’s really not a sustainable strategy.

  8. If you are going to run an offense with read options and option pitches you’d better have two mobile QBs who can actually run the offense effectively.

  9. “The knee injury suffered by Washington’s Robert Griffin III is a concern for anyone considering such a move, as the quarterback is at more risk than one who stays in the pocket and throws.”

    That knee injury had nothing to do with the read-option. That injury was on a pass play in the last drive of a must win game. I think more QBs who run the read option are smarter than Griffin about when to slide or not.

    I will agree, though, that we probably won’t be seeing this type of offense in the NFL in 5 years.

  10. the read option does work. If it’s not suitable in the NFL, you’d think they figured it out by now… They have not.
    Rodgers is not convinced because he can’t run it!!!! How about getting embarrassed by a 2nd year qb (well rookie pretty much since he didn’t play a real NFL game last year)???

  11. The only thing I am convinced of is Rodgers is a d bag and needs to shut up cause they got pounded by it because they have no speed on defense.

  12. He’s right, but the same argument applies to pass-heavy offenses. Defenses adjust and figure out how to stop it.

    Balance is the key to everything.

  13. The problem with this whole discussion is how black and white everyone makes it.

    Two things can be equally true: You can use read-option AND you don’t have to build your entire offense around it.

    There is plenty of in-between positiveness when you’re talking about scheme philosophies.

  14. Next season will be the key for the read-option. I see some on here are willing to have a discussion about it, while others just want to be morons.

  15. Pretty obvious statements by Rodgers. Everyone thinks that the read option is the new way. It will probably always be around and a few teams will use it. Why just a few teams? Well, here is why. The NFL is seeing 3 or 4 guys doing good with it starting at QB now. It just so happens that these are the only 3 or 4 guys that can make it work. They can actually throw well enough to open up the offensive attack. Where are 32 teams going to find running backs who can throw? They wont, so they will stick with what has been time tested and proven. There will always be 2, 3 or 4 teams using it. Like usual. Nothing has changed, just so happens that a couple teams are good enough at it that it gets them to the playoffs (their Defenses were lights out too, and that never hurts).

    What will ultimately be the demise of the system is the lack of available operators. These guys will only last a few years on average and wont be able to sit in the pocket and be productive when the Defense doesnt have to have a guy on them all game. When these schemses stop working well enough to get teams to the payoffs consistantly, it will be all but finished until there is a superstar born in College again, then it will start again. There will never be anyone using it consistantly because they wont be able to keep a fresh supply coming up from college.

  16. Hope to see Fisher break out some of that old school 46 defense from back in his Chicago days. That’s one way to slow down the read option.

  17. Once pro defenses figure out how to stop it it will fade away , everybody believed the wildcat would take over the NFL . The difference is this new group of QB’s can throw the ball as well which helps but the decision making needed to be a pure passer isn’t as high as their athletic skill so should they face injuries that slow them down has running backs they won’t compete for long against guys like Rogers and Brees and Brady who are known for the decision making and quick reads on the field .These new guys are truly exciting to watch though and make it fun to see how they change games but once defenses get a whole season of film they will figure out how to take it away

  18. read option will stay in the playbook for teams like Seattle San Fran Washington etc. They don’t run it every play like its college and these guys can throw very good which kinda makes it a roll out play action pass also. its just the beating they can take. but Wilson and Kape understand the slide. RG3 needs to understand to slide and he will be fine.

  19. Rodgers is right. Sure…there will be some success, there always has been….as in past tense.

    Kordell Stewart
    Daunte Culpepper
    Vince Young
    Steve McNair
    Donovan McNabb
    Randall Cunningham
    Michael Vick

    Just wait until Kaepernick gets blasted a few times. He’ll stay at home in the pocket a lot more.

  20. I can’t believe people are trashing Rodgers for saying something that logical. NFL history is littered with running QBs that were supposedly going to “change the game” only to become average, below average or out of the game entirely once they lost their legs.

  21. They need to give defenses a break. If QB’s are going to start running all over the field like running backs they need to get rid of the no contact if they slide rule.

  22. Rodgers is right because these guys will put up great numbers until they get hurt. If this is going to become more than a fad, then average career span of quarterbacks will be reduced to close to that of running backs.

  23. Defending it should be easy really! EVERYTIME they run this play you drill/hit the QB hard bring him to the ground EVERYTIME even if he hands off. Just like defending the option, you hit the qb whether he pitches or not. Those hits add up and eventually it won’t work, or hes hurt! Simple high school defesne stuff to stop it.

  24. liquidalfa says:
    Jan 17, 2013 3:27 PM
    They need to give defenses a break. If QB’s are going to start running all over the field like running backs they need to get rid of the no contact if they slide rule.

    The problem with your logic is that ANY player is allowed to slide to avoid being hit….not just quarterbacks.

    Adrian Peterson won’t slide but Kaepernick will…and they both put up big rushing numbers.

    I guess you can call him names like “pansy,” or “scaredy-cat,” and goad him into taking a hit. But you’re right. It would almost be worth it to take a few penalties and lay him out once in awhile.

  25. Success ???
    Correct me if I’m wrong … Has read option QBs ever won a Super Bowl?
    When they do win their first one then you can call it success.

  26. New offenses come along, catching other teams off guard. The west coast offense, for example, was almost unstoppable at first, then defenses learned how to adjust. Now it is the ultra mobile Quarterback. DCs will figure out how to play against it, they always do.

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