In 2010, Michael Vick returned to a starting role in the NFL after spending two years in prison and seemingly destroying his career. At the end of that 2012 season, Vick was an MVP-caliber talent once again, he got a fat $100 million contract from the Eagles and defenses were once again tasked with having to figure out how to stop him.
In 2011, they figured out how to stop him.
The point is, fads in the NFL don’t last long — just look at the Wildcat. No one takes the Wildcat seriously and the only reason it made news last season was because it involved Tim Tebow. Defenses have evolved and once hey see something enough, they tend to figure it out and nip it in the butt.
That’s exactly what Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers thinks will happen to the read-option, a style of offense that bounced him and his Packers out of the playoffs last week and has the San Francisco 49ers a game away from the Super Bowl once again.
“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 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.”
Rodgers may be biased, because he tends to be recognized as a pocket passer in the NFL, but he might have a point when it comes to the latest offensive fad in the NFL. In fact, Rodgers too cites the Wildcat as evidence the read-option will eventually stop working and offenses will go back to more traditional approaches, i.e. what he does.
“I think that as we saw five years ago with the wildcat stuff – it had its success and less and fewer 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.”
However, while Rodgers thinks the read-option will go way, he doesn’t think athletic, multifaceted quarterbacks will.
“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…”
Rodgers has a reason to be hating on the read-option after the way it destroyed traditional quarterbacking last Saturday. Rodgers isn’t the only one who thinks the read option is a fad that will fade but as long as it’s popular and as long as guys like Colin Kaepernick are doing it well, teams like Green Bay are going to have a lot of free time to complain about the package.