The reason why the read option has success is simple numbers. On "normal" running plays it basically comes down to the offense trying to block 11 guys with 10. The QB very seldom blocks anyone. However in the zone read the dynamic shifts.
Firstly, all 11 guys have to be accounted for since the QB himself is a threat. Now this evens things out to 11 guys against 11. But it gets even more favourable for the offense. They basically leave the play side end unblocked and "read" him. Now it has gone from 10 guys blocking 11 to 11 guys against 10.
What it takes to defend the read option is true gap discipline. The play side end cannot crash down or else the QB will keep it and take off around the edge. However if the end doesn't crash then the QB will simply hand it off to the back. In this case you basically hope the guys inside can read their keys and fill gaps to limit damage.
This is the type of offense people said would not work because the type of guys who ran this in college weren't passers. They were runners who could throw against college defenses. What we are seeing with Newton, RG3 and Wilson is guys who are passers who can run this offense. In fact Wilson didn't run this type of thing in college and only started in the pros.
Why it has success from a passing standpoint is because defenses have to show their hand. Against a team like the Skins who had nearly 3000 yards rushing you would be foolish not to bring extra guys into the box to stop the run. What that leaves is single high coverage and one on one matchups on the outside. If teams are going to play single high coverage with off man then a guy like RG3 will eat up those quick 3 step slants and WR screens that he did all year.
I have no doubt that defensive coordinators will adjust to this in the next few years. How, I am not sure but that is why I'm not a defensive coach.
The issue with this going forward, and people talk about Manziel as an example of a guy who can do this is, if your QB isn't built like Cam Newton then they may not be able to withstand numerous hits. Even Russell Wilson has a good build. He's less than 6 feet but he's 225lbs. It also depends on what type of runner you have. A shifty elusive guy like RG3 is more likely to leave his knees susceptible than a straight line battering ram like Newton.
Another thing that bothers me is when these offense get in 3rd and long situations they tend to break down. When left in those situations most teams are forced to employ a "standard" NFL offensive set and if the guy can't drop back and move the chains in these situations then IMO long term will be very hard to come by
BoneKrusher killing it with the sig
Last edited by AntoinCD : 01-07-2013 at 12:11 PM.