NFL.com ran a story on comments by Packers star LB Clay Matthews speaking on what he thought is the answer for stopping the read option in an interview leading up to this weekend's game between the Packers and the Niners: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000237687/article/clay-matthews-green-bay-packers-plan-to-hit-the-qb According to the critics, the read option and pistol offenses are on their way out the door after one season with the consensus feeling being "defenses have film on it now and can scheme against them better." I spoke on this before and am a firm believer that neither of these so called "gimmick offenses" are going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because the QBs who are running them are not one dimensional players confined by the perceived limitations mentioned by said critics.
As a football fan you'd have to be as blind as Stevie Wonder if you think Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and RG3 are inept at running a conventional offense. All three have done more than enough to prove so. Kaepernick led the Niners to the SB in his 1st season as a starter and came within 7 yards of winning it all. The kid is only going to get better. He didn't put up the kind of numbers running the ball that he did against the Packers, but he was very productive leading the Niner offense from the pocket in both the NFC championship game and SB.
While Clay Matthews and the rest of the Packers defense focus on stopping Kaepernick from running wild the way he did in the playoffs against them, what's lost in translation is Kaepernick's ability to see the field as well as make all the big time throws from inside the pocket. I hear people all the time refer to RG3 and Kap as "Run first QBs" who are "one hit away from a career ending injuries." The thing that baffles me is how the actual numbers these two players put up from inside the pocket are ignored. So will "hitting the QB" actually keep teams from using the read option? I don't think so. If anything, it will open up more running lanes for the RBs who play on teams utilizing it as well as open up the passing game even more. If you over commit against either the QB or the RB in a read option set you are basically picking your poison because you won't be able to stop both when facing an athletic QB like the three mentioned above. You also will be leaving the other elements of the offense unguarded. Defenses aren't the only thing that can "adapt" to a scheme. Offenses have the ability to do so as well, and the men who designed these "gimmicks" have the ability to "evolve" plus expand their offensive schemes just as much as the opposition they face.
It wasn't that long ago when Bill Walsh introduced the "west coast offense." After the 1st year it came into the league people said "Now that we have film on it, it won't be as effective as it was before and won't last in the NFL." 3 decades later that system is still dominating the league. Although teams run different variations of it, it's still the "west coast offense." Even Pep Hamilton's "no coast" scheme is a hybrid form of the west coast offense, and it even has elements of the pistol & read option in it. In fact, I'll go as far as saying the "no coast" will be the next hot commodity that gets copied around the league. The truth is when it comes to stopping any scheme, it all comes down to one thing: "Do you have the personal to match up with your opponent?" The Cowboys of the early 90s didn't use any type of "trickery" in their day, but even when teams knew what they were gonna do on offense they couldn't stop them because very few teams could match up with Dallas personal wise. The same goes for stopping the read option. If you don't have the personal to match up with teams that run it, you aren't going to make it go away. The NFL is evolving, and it will continue to look more like the college game than it has the status qua.