• August 14, 2022

How Much Will The Eagles & Skins Run The Read Option This Monday Night?

Michael Vick, Robert Griffin IIIIt’s that time of the year fellas.  Get ready for the NFL season to start on full blast.   The first game will be on Thursday night between the Broncos and the Ravens, check me out on 94-WIP after the game.

All of you Eagles fans who have been dreaming of the Birds being a running offense, well you’ve got your wish.  New head coach Chip Kelly has a lot of new ideas about how to win football games, but he’s old-fashioned in his love of the running game.  This football team will run the ball early and often.  Regardless of what is happening in the game, Kelly will never get away from his running game. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is much the same way, so both teams will be pounding it on the ground.

Next Monday night, the Eagles battle with the Redskins will give both teams a chance to work against themselves in a way.  Both Washington and Philadelphia will be utilizing a zone blocking attack and they’ll each have their quarterbacks executing the read option.  Shanahan has been utilizing the zone blocking scheme for decades now.  He and the Denver Broncos followed the blocking scheme to two Super Bowl titles in the 1990’s.

Last year, the Redskins had then rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III handing the ball off to then rookie running back Alfred Morris and they mixed up the inside and outside zone runs, along with the read option and ran all the way to the playoffs.   It was a dream season for the Skins, but it ended in a nightmare with Griffin going down with a severe knee injury.  He’s hurried back from the surgery, but hasn’t taken a snap in any of the preseason games.  He is on schedule to start on Monday night in front of the nation.

Nobody is sure about exactly how the Skins are going to use RGIII this season, after all the Eagles game will be his first live action since he went down in the playoffs against the Seahawks.  He says he’s ready to go, but the youngster has to be a bit rusty, since he hasn’t played in any of the games.

Will Shanahan cut back on the number of times he lets the second-year quarterback run the read option?  I think he will cut back dramatically on the number of times he lets Griffin carry the football.  Shanahan faced criticism last year when Griffin got hurt because many felt he shouldn’t have been out there in the first place, so I expect the Skins coaches to proceed cautiously.  The Eagles defense had better be ready for everything.

Kelly will have to make the same decision about how much to run the read option.  Michael Vick is a veteran quarterback, who can still run with the fastest of the league’s signal callers, but he’s been able to play only one full season in his career.  Kelly has a bevy of talented running backs in LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, so he doesn’t have to ask Vick to carry the ball at all.  Still you expect to see some read options.

I expect Kelly to use the read option early and often, but he’ll tell Vick to take what the defense gives him.  He will try to get him to get on the ground when

I’m anxious to see if Vick will try to go back to his younger years of playing wide open “do whatever you’ve got to do to make a play” football?  It’s great for the fans and fun to watch, but he’ll be running the risk of turning the ball over or getting hurt every time he pulls the ball down and makes the mad dash for the end zone.

I think Vick should try to be “more Clark Kent and less Superman”.    If he can learn to execute the boring plays, it will make him a much better quarterback.  He should just run the offense as much as he can and get the ball out of his hands.  Vick should think about minimizing the risk of turnovers every time he touches the football.

I expect some of the defensive coordinators in the league to try to punish the quarterbacks, who run the read option, by pounding them whether they have the ball or not when they fake the handoff to the running back.  I expect them to tell their defensive players to hit the quarterback when he puts the ball into the stomach of the running backs.  If you hit the quarterback each and every time he either hands the football off or fakes the handoff, he will eventually be unable to take the pounding.

I will be interested in seeing what the NFL does if the read option quarterbacks start getting pounded.  We may find something out this Monday night when these two teams meet and their athletic quarterbacks get the chance to run the read option.  Each time one of these quarterbacks hands the ball off, keep an eye on whether they get hit or not.

It’s going to be a theme which will play out throughout the league for the entire season.


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  • I think you’ll see very little read option from the Skins and most likely 75% read option from the Eagles. Skins will try to ground and pound with play action before subjecting Griffin to hits.

  • Do the Eagles have any pro bowl talent on defense???

    • Cole

  • RG3 will be the most protected player in football behind Tom Brady! Mark it down now! They yellow laundry will be flying quite frequently come Monday night.

  • bsm….NO! Not even close. Cox and Graham who flashed potential last year will be lost in this scheme change. Cole is finished and the secondary sucks. Kendricks and Barwin will probably be your top defensive players. But they are not PB players or big difference makers. Good solid starters that you can build with. Chung may fit that class as well. I like the young talent on the D line. They also have two good LBs and a decent safety. I don’t think the Bills can sign Byrd long-term or would be foolish enough to franchise him again. So I think he will be our top FA target and I think we will get our man. Then look for an OLB that can rush the QB in the first round next year. If we get both these things, we will be pretty decent on D next year.

    • Wth the 7th Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
      Philadelphia Eagles Select OLB Anthony Barr from UCLA (6-4 250lbs)

      • Paul….do you agree the chances to get Byrd are good? Don’t think the Bills can invest the money that we can in Byrd plus all the Oregon connections and a team on the rise? Your thoughts?

        • Depends if Byrd Stats Healthy and has a good Season, he’s hurt right now and apparently wants out of Buffalo and not sure of his Current Relationship with the new Coach & GM stand and may end up in their “dog house” which could limit his playing time which does not help him work on improving his game ..

      • I would be very happy with Anthony Barr!

  • I hope Redskins MLB London Fletcher does not Play Monday..
    He’s ended about a few Eagle Players Season’s over the Years
    (Westbrook comes to mind…)

    I expect the Redksins Rushing Attempts like This

    RB – Alferd Morris 23 Times and 2-3 Catches
    RB – Ray Helu 10 Times and 6-7 Catches
    QB – RGIII 6 Times on Designed plays and scramble out another 5-6 Times

    If I am the Redskins with a Healthy O/Line, and the looks of a strong Running Game this Season, why would I put the Ball in the Air if my Running Backs can get 5-6-7 Yards a pop and catching safe short/screen passes and marching down the field..

    This first Game will be a real good Test on the Eagles Front 7 to see if they can hold their own.. if they can, thenn the Eagles have a good chance of Winning.. If they fold up like a cheap suit, then the Secondary will hardly get tested for their would be little sense in Shanahan in exposing QB RGIII to Hits,Sacks,Fumbles & Int’s, Penalties unless he’s forced to..

  • I think you will see plenty read-option from both teams. I just don’t think RG3 will pull the ball away from the RB and keep it, regardless what the OLB does.

    I noticed in the preseason games that Vick often handed the ball off to the RB, when the correct read would have been for him to keep the ball. I’m sure Vick was told to do that and it was done to protect him in those meaningless games. I think RG3 will do a lot of that on Monday night.

    It will be interesting to see if teams tackle the QB when he carries out the fake on the read-option plays. I heard Clay Matthews on Mike & Mike this morning say that they plan to take down the QB even if he hands the ball off. He also said that the Packers defense started on the first day of camp working on stopping the read-option.

  • Irish, your right. Zimmer the DC from the Bengals said the same thing. If the QB is going to run or even fake that he’s going to run, these Defenses are going to hit him. You could see the Ravens begin to do this with Kapernick in the SB. That being said and the amount of punishment the QB’s will be exposed to one of two things will happen; the read/option will go the way of the wildcat or the league will continue to impose rule changes that cripple physical play and defense and the NFL will move closer in appearance to arena league football.

    • Everz11,
      I think teams will do that, and I think it will be successful up to a point. It will make teams think twice before letting their QB carry out fakes in the read-option, but it won’t stop the plays from gaining yards.

      It takes a defender to tackle the QB, and if the QB doesn’t have the ball that’s one less defender filling a gap. Hence, the fake worked and the play will likely work.

      In time I think we will see more college coaches coming into the league, and more defensive alinements (e.g. 4-2-5..and 3-3-5) geared to stop different offenses.

      Some guys, like Chip Kelly, are so good at in-game adjustments that I don’t think you can totally shut them down, but you might make him rotate QBs throughout the season.

      • Again, if “hitting the QB every time” becomes the strategy (and it will), then the economics of the game will end the read-option.

        No agent in his right mind is going to encourage any top tier QB prospect to play in a system that will shorten his career and earning potential.

        As the injuries and games missed mount, 2 things will happen. 1 – owners will begin to question why they are investing in the highest paid position only to watch them in the rehab room. 2 – Agents will actively discourage their QBs from going to read-option teams. There are no old running qbs. Why would you sent your client to a team where your guy is likely to have a 10 year career and miss that one last “end your career” fat payday years 10-14??

        • You honestly think the NFL will let that happen?

          • The game will be a fraud if they don’t

        • Co signed

  • I know that possibly the Read option may be hard to defend at first and it will gradually be beaten (the scheme) but i hope Defenses arent losing sleep that that is the only thing they are game planning for because the offense in this case the Skins that play the Read-option can pull out a whole different Scheme that the Defense didnt prepare for and can be thrown off completely.
    Advantage Offenses but if your a genius in Offense you can scheme however you want Advantage CHIP

  • NFL DCs are talking out of their ass. Last year teams didn’t even have to break out all the variations of the read-option that are possible. They stuck to reading
    the d-end and occasionally a linebacker. But you can read any of the front seven defenders. Kelly will constantly change which player the Qb is reading.

    Teams that focus on hitting the Qb still don’t get it. The Falcons and Ravens focused on Kapernick only to be gashed by the RB. The Qb keeps the ball if his defender doesn’t account for him. It’s all about getting numbers to block for the RB, not have the Qb run a bunch of times.

    The Skins and 49ers would put an H-back in the back and have him read the same guy the Qb was reading. If the guy goes for the Qb, the H-back would let him go and block the first LB he sees. The Qb would give and the Rb would have huge lanes to run through. If the defender being read goes for the Rb the H-back would then block him and the Qb could keep or give depending on the movement of other players.

    If teams try to just take a run at the Qb with the unblocked player, they’re going to face vicious wham blocks from the H-back coming across the formation. Soon those defenders will be worrying about getting their own head knocked off and won’t be so aggressive after the Qb.

    Guess where all these teams went in order to learn how to defend the read-option? College. The same place Kelly’s been dominating. He’s used to all the tactics teams will come up with.

    • What you are missing is that no matter if there is a huge hole and the RB runs through it for a huge gain, someone else is still going to plant the QB who is an active member of the run play.

      Those hits add up. They shorten seasons and shorten careers.

      Economically, it can’t survive the long run. Not unless there is a massive change in both roster limits and QB salary structures. This has been covered over and over….the RO can work if you have a $3mill guy and 2 under a million guys like the birds, or other very inexpensive players like Wilson, Kap, or even RGIII under the new rookie scale.

      But once one of those guys gets a $100million deal, you think the owner of the team is going to allow him to run around and get planted 5-10 extra times a game than a traditional pocket passer?

      No f-ing way.

      $$ will kill the read option faster than any defense will.

      • Did you not read the post? I explained what will happen if teams try it. In the SB the Ravens didn’t get a good shot on Kap and they’re purpose the whole time was to hit him.

        Kelly constantly changes the read. Teams have to account for both Qb and Rb with the play-call presnap. Before the snap, if the d-end was being read, and the call was for him to get the Rb and the LB comes over the top for the Qb, the defense is screwed when the d-end gets blocked and the LB flies out to get the Qb to find the Rb running through the whole he left.

        ESPN on Numbers Never Lie showed how RG3, Wilson and Kap barely got hit running read-option. RG3 suffered his injuries on passing plays where he scrambled and tried to do too much and took hits he never had to take.

        It’s actually more dangerous in the pocket, because the Qb is looking downfield and is defenseless while he’s throwing the ball.

        • Skayne please I have had that same argument they especially Vinnie will not grasp the concept that most QB injuries occur in the pocket. However I am not a fan of the read option unless your QB is the size of Newton or Kap. Speaking about QB’s how about the debut of that Winston kid from FSU. Kid looked like he expected to play that way.

      • what you are missing is that in most cases the running back will already have the ball (by the time “someone else” can get to the QB) or the QB will already be taken off. So hit the QB even if the RB has the ball and let him gain another 10 yards? There’s not many times where you have 2 free defensive players getting in the backfield. Yes if the moment presents itself defenses may try to hit the QB…the thing is, when, how, will the moment present itself?

  • There have been a few studies lately comparing mobile QBs and pocket passing QBs and the frequency and severity of injuries.

    Surprisingly there is very little difference – Quarterbacks of both types tend to lose 11 to 14 percent of their starts to injury.

    • I do not believe that this is even possibly accurate. What League. What Level of Play, What percentage of Running QB vs Pocke QB???

      Figures Lie and Liars Figure!

      • Not calling you a liar Irish. Just the study perhapse.

  • Love to read one of those studies.

    If “most injuries occur in the pocket” then why do famous pocket qbs look like this:

    Brady started 176 of 191 potential starts (92%)
    Manning I started 224 of 240 potential starts (93%)
    Manning II started 135 of 135 potential starts (100%)
    Brees started 170 of 175 potential starts (97%)

    While famous running QBs look like this:

    Cunningham started of 113 of 149 potential starts (76%) – not counting the dall/Baltimore business
    Vick started of 101 of 130 potential starts (77%)
    Young started 114 of 138 potential starts (82%)

    The running qbs all just unlucky????? Bad olines I suppose.

    Punishment is cumulative. And its not just hits. It wears on the body.

    Its knees pounding the turm with every stride. Its juking left and right. Its planting and cutting. Ducking.

    All of this is wear and tear on the body that a guy who drops back 5 steps and throws just doesn’t endure.

    Not only do pocket passes often miss less games, they often have longer careers. They not only start more, They have a longer opportunity for more potential starts.

    McNabb done at 33, Cunningham at 32 with a one year return at 35 after 3 years in the ice bath. Young with an 8 year career cut short by a scrambled brain. Vick declining from 31 onwards.

    Bringing up Kapernick as Skane does is ridiculous. He’s what? 24 with 77/8 games under his belt.

    Give him a couple seasons getting hammered 5-10x more per game than the average pocket passer and see how his body feels.

    • You named like 6 total QBs and think that compares to a study? You can’t be serious.

      I mean, I know you’re pretty hostile to objective information, but naming 6 QBs and then thinking you’ve proved you’re point is ridiculous.

      As I said, the read-option is not more dangerous than being defenseless while throwing the ball in the pocket. You name various QBs without actually doing any research to find out whether the hits came while in the pocket or while running .

      Michael Vick got injured against the Skins and Cowboys while running. But he sustained injuries against the Falcons, Giants, and Cardinals while throwing the ball in the pocket.

      • Hmmmm….rip me for ‘only’ naming and providing info about 6 and saying that’s not enough….and how many qbs did you research again?

        Just going from memory about Vick’s (one guy) injuries.

        My point is not ‘where’ on the field the injuries happen.

        Just that running QBs seem to miss more games.

        As I stated 20x, I think this is because of the cumulative affects of sacks, hits in pocket, hits running, runnning itself, planting, ducking, etc etc.

        I believe a running Qbs is subject to more physical punishment and they miss more games. The examples above seem to correlate that.

        Look….those scramblers and pocket passers just the first that came to my head….I have a feeling if I kept looking, I’d find similar results. But if you are so filled with doubt, why don’t you go off and do your own research.

  • No (smart) owner is going to let a $100 million investment run the read-option only to be rotting in the trainer’s room for 20 – 25% of his career.

    • YEEEEEEP!!!

    • Hows the highlands Vinnie?

      • Pretty fantastic over here right now. Living in the ‘borders’ south of Edinburgh. Loved the ‘festival’ (as anyone who enjoys live music would.

        Have to spend a week in London soon, then up to the highlands around the 20th. (haven’t made it up there yet.

        At some point I’ll make it all the way up to Kirkwall!

        • Sweet.

          I once marched with the the Queen’s Cold Stream Guard across a bridge from Scotland to England. (High School Marching Band)

          Good Times.

  • These guys are being quoted all over for this study:


    I hope the link works.

    Football outsiders is working on something too. I’m looking for something else I read recently.

    I know – it’s hard to believe…

  • Do a search for these two guys – Omar Bashir and Chris Oates.

    They did a study that a lot of people are talking about. I also read something else that I can’t find right now.

    • Jeez…I get ripped for only mentioning 6 guys in a post I researched in 10 mins….these guys writing a PHD and only looked at 10 rushing QBs.

      Anyway, of those 10 qbs they used for their stats, Kapernik, Tebow, and Colt McCoy??

      How many starts do those guys have combined in the NFL?? Throwing 3 24 (or so) year old guys with a combined 25 starts (or so) under their belts is probably going to sque the numbers a bit don’t ya think?
      Not to mention other players with very short careers/starts (Young, Garrard)

      Of the only 2 players they’ve used who had any sort of significan careers, Vick and Culpepper, both had/have yearly injury problems.

      I didn’t find what they wrote very convincing based specifically on the players they used – but I’ll admit I’m biased.

  • Doomsday is coming soon for posters like skayne, biiglion, real talk, dag, stevo, when the last chance motel aka Vick sucks again then it’s no more excuses and they will censor themselves as youbwillmnever hear from them

    • Is that what you’re rooting for? Or does somewhere deep down would you actually want the Eagles to have a successful season?

      When the Eagles start winning you won’t be like that guy in Major League who just refused to buy in when the Indians made their run, will you?

    • Umm Jake we’ll be here you see we don’t live or die with our team based on who the QB is unlike others who just can’t bear to watch or like the team because of who the QB is or GM is or who the head coach is that’s just asinine.

      • I support this post!

      • Youth allows for your opinion. Age does not.

        You roll with another 20 years of losing and see how excitedly you root for players who you know have no chance of hoisting championships.

        • Vinnie I am 51 years old my father took me to games at Franklin Field, I have lived through more bad Eagles football than anyone should have to. If your a fan your a fan. I live in Jacksonville, I have two sons 8 and 5 who were born down here they are die hard Eagle fans they were so excited to see them play in person and can’t wait for the Tampa game. So again once you root for a team it becomes a part of you.

      • I don’t doubt your sincerity Biglion, and RealTalk, but if you don’t mind me asking – what was it that first made you become an Eagles fan?

        I don’t think it’s was common 20 years ago (when we were young) for guys in Jacksonville and guys in Virginia Beach adopt the Eagles as their team.

        I’m just curious… and sometimes it’s an interesting story. I had a friend in Jacksonville that became an Eagles fan because Randall Cunningham was his favorite player growing up. And because his father was a Cowboys fan and he would curse Randall… lol

        • How about you Vinnie… what attracted you to the Eagles? You are from Canada, I think… correct? And don’t tell me it was your love for the mobile QBs that have been a mainstay in Philly since RC. lol

          • Lol.

            Actually I used to LOVE scrambling Qbs. Back when I was a kid I had never heard of the NFL. Only professional football (that I knew of) was the Ottawa Rough Riders. With Scrambling future congressman JC Watts at the helm. We used to sit in the open endzones and there would be battle royals for the footballs that fell into the stands after fgs and pats (no nets)

            Typical schoolyard argument with some kid telling me there was the NFL which was better. So turned on the tv one Sunday and saw Eagles vs Rams. 2 things grabbed my attn., the green unis with the wings and more importantly, they were losing….and you should always root for the underdog.

            Soon after that Randall became the QB and I was down. “Ultimate Weapon” Thought he was amazing. Exciting. Awesome D. Never won anything.

            Soon after it was the rough riders heartbreak with JC watts leading the riders to a 19 pt lead in the first half of the Grey Cup, only to watch Warren moon shred the riders in the second half winning that game.

            (again, I’m constantly accused of racism and hating black QBs when the reality is I was watching and wearing the jersey’s of black QBs long before you guys would even let them on the field as qbs….hmmmm. We celebrated Warren Moon as a football hero – well except when he beat the Riders – before any of you were allowed to even know he existed. 5 straight Grey Cup wins. He was, and still is, mythical in my eyes.)

            Anyway, too many years of watching the pocket qb beat the scrambling qb. Every time. So I’m soured on them. It has never been, nor will ever be, a formula for consistent, stable success.

            • That’s an interesting story Vinnie.

              A short time before Randall….that must have been the Rams vs Eagles game in 1983. Vince Ferragamo and the Rams beat the Eagles 13-9. Eric Dickerson ran for 100+ and Jaworski threw 3 INTs. You would have to love the underdog to like that team – we sucked…lol

        • Irish I was born an Eagle fan my dad just raised us that way brothers and sisters he followed all the Philly teams and so did we. My kids have tons of Eagles and Phillies gear. We do Clearwater every spring and travel to the closest Eagles games go Florida. What about you?

          • Yeah, I’m a northeast Philly boy. I was raised in an Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, Sixers house. My old man was a “As” fan too – from the old days of the Philadelphia As.

            I moved to South Jersey as an adult, but I’m still a diehard season ticket holder.

            • I hear you Irish born and raised in Frankford.

        • I’m from Jersey, 30 minutes from The Linc, have lived in Jersey, basically my whole life….Been an Eagles fan since I was 5 years old, so I’ve been an Eagles fan for 27 years….probably before that…Born into a household where the Eagles were the #1 team. The one team I’ve been able to watch consistently over time is the Eagles..The first time I saw pro football live was an Eagles game.

          • Oh, sorry RealTalk…I don’t know where I got the idea that you were from the south. You were born an Eagles fan too then…

      • Ugh tell me about it Big. I grew up in Conshohocken went to my first Eagles game when I was 3. 5 years later I remember crying in front of TV at the end of superbowl 15. I remember Jim obrian died during a blacked out Eagles game a few years later. My whole life has revolved around the birds….My son was even born during the bye week in 2002 two days after the Jacksonville game. Nothing like being an Eagles fan….Nothing at all. My sister married a Redskins fan….He knows better though lol.

        • haha. My son was born Dec 15, 2006 at Abington Hospital and we stayed a while in the hospital. On Sunday the 17th, my wife’s family came in to watch the game with wings and hoagies. Some dude who’s son was born on that day, left his wife and infant son to watch the game with us.

          It was awesome.

          • Haha. I bet his wife was pissed.

          • Funny you mention Abington Hospital bugsy. My son was in a coma in Abington Hospital back in 2008 when the Eagles played the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game. Me and my other two sons watched that game in his hospital room. A week or so later my son came out of the coma and the first thing he said was – “I knew the Eagles would lose”… My kid is fine now and we always talk about that day…

        • I hear you X, I try to explain that to the locals down here and they just don’t get us. LOL they think all Eagle fans are what is reported on ESPN.

          • Shame is out of all the thousands of Eagle fans I have ran into I have never ran into those types of fans. Not at Phillies games Flyer games or Sixer games….In fact I was at the Michael Irvin injury game. First they cheered the play but when they found out he was hurt they didn’t sit there cheering that. Deon came out and started dancing and they booed his crazy ass. Then someone in the 700 level started a cheer up, but it was an eagles cheer. he kept pointing to two sections and they would respond. Just a bad rap for the most part.

  • Looking for Over/Under Rushing Yardage by the Redskins as “Team” versus the Eagkes Defense Monday night
    I am going with 220 Yards between Morris, Helu & RGIII and a couple of reverses by Garçon/Moss or one of there other WR’s..

  • I love how everyone in here is on the RG3 hype wagon, you people really think he is superman and isn’t gonna have no rust. the guy hasn’t taken a live snap since last December and people like pauman think he’s gonna just walk on the field and run n pass all over us, Vick is gonna totally outplay him this game, preseason means more then you can imagine when it comes to being game ready.

    • I do not think RGIII is going to walk over the Eagles Andrew P
      I do believe that Redksins RB’s Morris & Helu will gash the Eagles Defense with RGIII having a few runs too.. I would think the same thing if QB Cousins was playing instead of RGIII.. ..

      • “I do believe that Redksins RB’s Morris & Helu will gash the Eagles Defense..”


        Not the least bit concerned about RGIII – am very concerned ’bout Morris and Helu. Until we show we can stop the run we are going to gt run over. The upside is there defense is just as shitty and will have to deal with Shady. Brown and possibly Polk as well as an equally mobile QB in Vick.

        This game is going to come down to whose defense sucks less.

        • Redskins have the better Front 7 by far,
          Both Secondaries are weak.. Eagles have more experienced CB’s,
          The Redskins with the better Safeties, though not but much..
          Whichever Team can run the ball effectively and then take shots against weak Secondaries will Win..
          Eagles do have an advantage with a healthy and focused QB Vick over RGIII who hasn’t seen live action in 8 months..

  • I agree with Paul. I am less concerned with RG3 than the fact that a strong running team playing against a Birds defensive front that got gashed all pre-season. But, if you ask me which QB I would rather the Eagles face at this point, it would be Cousins. I don’t think that RG3 is neccesarily gonna kill the Eagles, but he is a tougher matchup than Cousins.

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