Saturday, September 7, 2013

What the New Read-option Rules Mean for NFL QBs

The read-option offense will have to overcome more than just an offseason of film study to be successful in 2013. The NFL rules committee has decided that the read-option quarterback will no longer be protected under the rules that
keep pocket quarterbacks safe from harm.This season, defenses will be allowed to hit the read-option quarterback even if he's not the ball-carrier. The read-option could be very different this season.

Many applaud the rule change because it makes playing defense easier. Defenders won't have to decide if a player has the ball or not before making a tackle.  Past rule changes like roughing the passer, illegal contact after five yards, and protecting defenseless receivers have only made playing defense in the NFL more difficult.  It's also an interesting change because the NFL has become infamous for protecting the quarterback. This is one of the first rule changes that puts the quarterback at increased risk.

While the rule change might not be curtains for the read-option, it should make head coaches think differently about gambling with their franchise quarterback in an offensive system that has become more dangerous than it was a season ago. General managers may question the necessity of a franchise quarterback in a read-option scheme.

If teams are going to be successful with the read-option they are going to need a minimum of two quarterbacks on the roster that can handle the job in event that one of the guys goes down. The Washington Redskins are a model for all other read-option hopefuls as Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins both proved to be capable signal callers in the read-option scheme last season.

Some people may think this is a nightmare scenario for NFL owners who will be forced to shell out big bucks to keep two capable read-option quarterbacks on the roster.  This is short sighted. The nightmare scenario already exists,m take a look at what's going on in Baltimore.  Joe Flacco became the NFL's 120 million-dollar man, by cashing in on a magical playoff run that many see as unrepeatable. 

Keeping two read-option quarterbacks could affect quarterback salaries in the same way running back salaries were affected when teams switched from a featured back to a running back by committee. Organizations would never feel forced to pay two read-option quarterbacks that share time anything close to Flacco's contract.  This would give read-option teams a financial advantage over teams that have to pay a featured quarterback boatloads of cash as well as a depth advantage at the quarterback position. Despite the rule changes, the read option may be more than just a passing fad.

RabbleRabble: The read-option may be the frugal future of football.         

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