Do they run...

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Do they run...

Postby Clinton Portis » Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:36 pm

Any options in the NFL at all?

I'm pretty sure I've never seen an Option...

Is it illegal or something, or just rarely used?

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Postby Smithian » Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:11 pm

No. It just doesn't work.

I saw the Chargers use the option once this year on a third down. I think it verse the Chiefs.
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Postby welch » Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:55 am

It's about as effective in the NFL as the Run & Shoot (aka Red Gun and Fun & Gun). Oh, sorry, I'm overstating...the option is even less effective than the Run & Shoot.

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Postby patrickg68 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:16 am

If the option is never run, how do you know it doesn't work?

You do occasionally see the option run in the NFL, it never works, and it has nothing to do with the defense. The option is a play that takes a lot of practice to be able to execute well. When you do see it in the nfl it simply isn't executed well. The quarterback won't attack the pitch read, the back won't be in good pitch relationship and the whole play just looks discombobulated. If a team really committed to having a complete option package with the complimentary counters and play action passes, and worked on it, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be successful. The option is a well designed play. It gives you the ability to block every single man in an 8 man front, not to mention the fact that by reading a playside defender, that is just one less player that you have to physically move at the point of attack.

There are only two somewhat legitimate arguments against the option, although I don't buy either one. I don't buy the argument that defenses are too fast. Yes they are faster now, but so is the offense. The problem is that the linebackers line up so far off the ball that you would have to really pound the fullback and also be able to hit some quick playaction passes to the tightend to keep them from being too aggressive. I also don't buy the argument that you open the quarterback to undue punishment. When running the option, the quarterback can see the hits coming, and is taught how to handle the hits coming from the pitch read. Quarterbacks can take some pretty vicious hits while standing in the pocket. Besides that, I have never liked the argument against doing something because a player might get hurt. If you are afraid of getting hurt, then football isn't the game for you.

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Postby Hill66 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:24 am

I don't think I've ever said this, but I agree with a Pukes fan.
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Postby welch » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:34 am

- Experience: look up Miami / Nebraska, Orange Bowl. About the year that Warren Sapp was DT. Miami ran a more professional defense, and their attacking killed the Nebraska wishbone.

- Issue is that the offense is running sideways while the defense, as always, attacks. The option / veer / wishbone works only if the defense gets confused and backs away. Otherwise, one fast, mean, hard-charging defender goes for the QB, and makes the pitch a risky play.

- Passing: the wishbone teams never found a good way to run a professional-quality passing attack. Great wishbone / option QB's didn't usually didn't make much of a dent in the NFL. Consider Rick Mirer. The training was different.

- Again on the QB: is your QB a runner/blocker, or a passer? It takes a different type of player, just as the single-wing tailback was more of a runner than a thrower. The option won't be respected unless the QB really is willing to tuck the ball away, duck his head, and slash through the defenders. Bobby Douglass was one the the last guys who could do that (as Casey Stengel said, "Ya gotta look 'im up!") and Douglass was one of the worst passers ever to start in the NFL. I heard that Bears fans cheered when Douglass got hurt.

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Postby washington53 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:39 am

yeah it just doesnt work
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Postby patrickg68 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:46 pm

Yeah, Miami beat Nebraska in 92' and FSU beat Nebraska in 93', however, after that Nebraska became one of the most dominant college football teams of all time, running a mixture of the option and power football out of the I formation (they never ran the wishbone). In 94' they beat Miami in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship, in 95' they were maybe the best team ever and put up more than 60 points on Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. They won 3 championships in 4 years, and I believe from 93' through 97' they lost only like 3 games in those 5 years. That wasn't that long ago. I simply find it hard to believe that the option offense was successful for 30 years and then within the last 8 years defenses have figured it out.

I disagree with your point that the option is only a horizontal offense. One of the reasons that Nebraska was not as successful after Osborne retired (besides the recruiting dropoff) was that they failed to utilize the fullback as often. The fullback in many ways is the key to an option offense. If he is successfull, you open up the outside, and you open up the possibility for the big play. The fact is that if the linebackers have to worry about the fullback, they will not be able to flow to the outside as quickly, thus giving your blockers enough time to get to them. I also disagree with your point about the option being a play that only works if the defense is fooled. The option is an offense. it is not merely a gimmick play like a flea flicker or a reverse. It is based on good execution and sound fundamentals. And option quarterbacks work on pitching quickly with an aggressive defensive end. That is only one of many tactics that the defense can use to try and stop the option, and good option teams practice against all of them.

Option offenses don't need to run a passing attack with the proficiency of a pro style offense. If they can execute the playaction pass well, they don't need much of a dropback game. Remember, the option is a play that can work against an 8 man front. That means that the free safety is going to have to get involved in the running game, and you have one on one coverage with no deep safety help. A pro style running game can be stopped by dropping a safety down, and the defense can still play cover 3 and prevent the big play down field.

As to your last point, there are quarterbacks who can run and throw. Depnding on how much option a team would run would depend on how well their quarterback would need to be able to pass.

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Postby welch » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:02 pm

working upward:

- the QB has to be more like a Clinton Portis or Walter Payton than a passer. So start by imagining that you have to teach Portis to throw.

- QB's are padded and taped differently. A runner is taped up like a battering ram...including his hands. When the SB highlights come around, look closely at John Riggins' hands. As he used to say (repeated by a current player, and discussed on another thread), defenders scratch and claw at anything they can grab. Then consider Joe Montana or Dan Marino or Tom Brady: they depend on their touch...their hands, and on being limber.

- Yes, NFL QB's will run, but no one wants Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Steve McNair (get the drift?), or even Michael Vick to hit defenders unless absolutely necessary.

- Texas began using the wishbone about 1970, as did Alabama and Oklahoma. They did fine against 90% of college opponents, since they had out-recruited and then outmanned them. The wishbone teams (and all the variations) usually crumbled when they ran against a team just as big, fast, and well-practiced. Consider the Oklahoma fiasco aginst Miami in the Orange Bowl: when Oklahoma fell behind, they "opened up" their offense by running more intricate pitches. Against an NFL defense?

- (No, I'm not impressed by "college powerhouse" records. Consider: who had more success in the NFL? Stanford's Bill Walsh, or Florida's Steve Spurrier?)

- The option succeeds when the defense is passive, reacting to the pitch. NFL defenders don't wait and react. They cut through the gaps in the offensive blocking. If the QB is running sideways, it still looks like a sideways play, at least to me. Imagine Testaverde running to his right (OK, I'm joking about Vinny, so imagine my old 3rd baseman, Drew Henson), ball in his right hand, looking left as an outside
LB charges, looking ahead and to the right to pitch to a runner. Henson is even less protected than if he drops back in the pocket...at least that way he might see the rushers.

- If Henson wants to pass, does he run right, stop, turn around, and throw? How does a pocket form? Or does it? At what depth?

- Now imagine that the defensive coordinator is any one of a dozen creative and aggressive coordinators. They will blitz from the corners, or the safeties, or any of the LB's. What does Henson do, out there with a halfback, if <name a good CB> has blitzed and is pinching toward him, while the charging LB comes from his left? Does he risk pitching over the CB? Or is that an invitation to a defensive TD?

- Same conclusion: the NFL has had more than 30 years to look at this offense, and they have ignored it.

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Postby patrickg68 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:09 pm

I disagree with you about the quarterbacks. They don't have to run as well as a running back to be successful and they don't have to be as good a passer as a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Their main job is simply to make the correct reads. If an option quarterback has some athleticism (he doesn't have to be Michael Vick) and can make the correct reads, the option will work. Much like any offense, most of the work is being done by the offensive line.

Again I disagree with you. If you look at Riggins, he actually didn't wear any extra padding. Not even gloves. The backs don't really wear much extra padding. But look at qb's. Do you see any running backs wearing flak jackets?

No one wants Steve Young to get hit, but he was a passer not a runner, and his job was as a passer. An option quarterback is really a running back who doesn't have to be very proficient throwing the ball. Also, an option quarterback would be easier to replace if he did get hurt. He doesn't have to be excellent at any one thing like a pro style qb does.

Texas won won a national championship running the wishbone. Oklahoma won 3. Nebraska won 3 running an option offense. Notre Dame won a national championship, as did Colorado. Alabama won 3 running the wishbone. Did all of these teams crumble against tough competition? They really must have had some amazing talent to win all those national championships with an inferior offense. Yes the option struggles against great defenses, but name any system that doesn't. And option offenses have progressed. Navy's offense is much more complex than the wishbone that Texas was running. They have many more ways of attacking with misdirection and through the air. The option offense is a lot like any other offense. If the defense is stopping one thing, they are leaving somehting else open, find it and attack it.

And you can't use college teams as an example to prove your point, and then discredit them when I use college teams to prove my point. By the way Barry Switzer won a super bowl in the nfl, ironically because the Cowboys were just more talented than everyone else.

Now, please don't discuss the option on a technical level unless you know what you're talking about. It doesn't matter if the defense is passive or aggressive. Actually one technique used by the defense is to have the pitch read play passively to try and string out the play. An option team works on the different techniques that the defense uses. They work on having the pitch read fly down to force a quick pitch and they work on him slow playing it. They work on a technique where the dive read and pitch read exchange responsibilities. If the defense is penetrating through the gaps, the offense adjusts. There are different blocking schemes available to counter what the defense is doing. Qb's are taught to give with the hit as they pitch the ball. That is a much safer way to get hit than to take a blindside hit from a defender running full speed. Not to mention the fact that in the pocket the qb often has guys falling all over his legs thus increasing the likely hood of some kind of knee or ankle injury.

On the playaction there is no pocket. The qb will fake the option then back off the line to gain some depth. There isn't really a pocket formed when a pro style offense runs a play action pass either.

Let me tell you this, option coaches love it when defenses blitz. That just means more big plays. Sure the defense would have a few negative plays thrown in there, but blitzing is a huge gamble against an option team. If you blitz up the middle and the play goes outside, or vice versa, the offense will have a great shot at a big play. Also, if a defense chooses to run an assortment of blitzes against an option offense, it just screws with their option responsibilities. Confusion is never a good thing, but especially not against an option offense. The best plans are always the simplest.

The reason an option offense hasn't been run in the nfl is that first off, no coach is going to get hired if he tells the owner that he will run the option, second, no coach will keep their job if they run the option offense. Owners think that the fans think the option is boring, and above all else, the nfl isn't about winning, its about making money.

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Postby welch » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:24 am

So:

- the QB just has to makes reads, but doesn't have to pass like Marino or Brady. That sounds like no passing attack, or only a feeble passing attack. Which is what the option teams always had.

- The QB has to move his arms. He has to be able to throw. Flack jackets protect the ribs and kidneys, but don't impede throwing. Again, the option QB looks more like an old-fashioned Woody Hayes QB. That is, you take Clinton Portis (or each team's equivalent) and teach him to throw a pass as best he can.

- If, as you say, an option QB is really a running back, rather than a passer, you've given up passing. Defenses became more and more complex after 1960; for details, look into the George Halas / George Allen defense that the Bears ran to win the NFL championship around 1963. With a simplified "last ditch" passing game, how world the option work?

- The point about college football is that most of the games are not real contests. The wishbone/veer/option offenses, like the run&shoot, work in collge when they go against a much weaker team. There is hardly ever the same mismatch in the NFL, because owners and GM's start with an equal chance to get good players. What they do with the players is what decides the games. Some coaches pull their teams together, some don't.

- For the "technical" level, lets assume that the defense plays aggressively, and that the defensive players are every bit as big fast as the offensive players. What happens with that lateral offensive movement when the defense runs through the gaps, and holds their position? My guess is that every play would be fought out three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

- What if the defense is blitzing inside and outside? It still sounds like the option offense lives because its players can react, just as the run and shoot. And that it depends on having bigger faster players. But in the NFL, the defnsive players aim to hit before the offense can adjust. And the defenders are not just heavier, but taller. Pitch through/over/around Jevon Kearse? Fake the option toss with Junmior Seau running you down (to step back ten years) or Lawrence Taylor?

-
The reason an option offense hasn't been run in the nfl is that first off, no coach is going to get hired if he tells the owner that he will run the option, second, no coach will keep their job if they run the option offense. Owners think that the fans think the option is boring, and above all else, the nfl isn't about winning, its about making money.


Where is your evidence? Yes, the NFL is about making money, but for the rest? Were the Packers a razzle-dazzle team under Lombardi? Or the Parcells Giants? Or today's Patriots?

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Postby patrickg68 » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:07 pm

An option offense doesn't need to have a great passing attack to succeed. If the play action game is succesful enough to both keep the defense from being too aggressive and at the same time take advantage of the defense when it is being too aggressive, that is a successful passing attack in an option offense. The passing game doesn't have to be all that complex in a two minute drill because the defense is playing simple coverages.

Where are getting this from that option qb's where a ton of extra padding? For that matter, where are you getting that running backs wear a lot of extra padding? Frankly, I haven't seen it, and I think you're making it up.

Are you forgetting the fact that the run and shoot was a very successful offense in the nfl? It was executed very well by Warren Moon in Houston, as well as in Atlanta with Jeff George where in one they had something like a 4,000 yard passer, 3 or 4 1,000 yard receivers, and a 1,000 yard rusher. You can discredit the option and the run and shoot all you want, but you have to prove it. I have 11 national championships in 30 years by option teams that shows that the option works. The run and shoot has been proven to work in the nfl, and so would the option if it would only be given a chance.

Again, I'm going to say this. You obviously don't have much knowledge of the game on a technical level, so stop pretending you do. Why are you assuming that the defense will always have their guys 3 yards in the backfield? Won't the offensive line have something to say about that? If a defense is being too aggressive, an option offense does the same thing that a pro style offense does, it adjusts. The offense could fake to the fullback and hit the te on a dump pass over the heads of the linebackers. I can promise you that if the defense keeps getting hit with 15 to 20 yerd passes, it will back off.

If the defense is blitzing from both the outside and the inside, who is covering the receivers? The defense not only has to guess right on whether to blitz inside or outside, they also are gambling that the play isn't going the other way.

Also, you may be the first person ever to say that the option and the run and shoot require more talent than a pro style offense. It simply isn't true, and you aren't doing yourself any favors by insisting on debating a topic in which your knowledge is severely limited.

Lombardi and Parcells still threw the ball. Lombardi in fact was actually a very aggressive coach in that he threw the ball on both first down and in situations such as 3rd and short and 4th and short. The Patriots are a very aggressive offense. The come out in empty formations and throw the ball all over the field. You can't compare them to the Packers or Giants.

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Postby BringThePain! » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:29 pm

Welch... save your breath and your fingers... if PG68 said there was no such thing as white filling in twinkies... you wouldn't be able to convince him otherwise.... I'd rather argue with my wife....
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Postby welch » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:42 pm

:lol:

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Postby Clinton Portis » Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:21 pm

I had no idea this thread would become so popular.

I was asking becaue I ran an option offense in NCAA 2005 with my Created School and QB and it seemed cool to me because you could run like 3 yards with the QB then flip it when you got hit. Thus leaving an open gap.

But I understand why it wouldnt work now...it kindof makes the QB position limited and pointless..Less passing and more pitching.

I suppose it would be good to try and option play everyone once in a full moon then, just to catch the NFL off guard.

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