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The Only Option On Sunday: Read-Option

Posted by Stephen Czarda on September 26, 2013 – 2:16 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

Unlike the Wildcat craze that swept through the National Football League a few years ago and then disappeared back into the wild, the read-option appears to be a more permanent fixture in playbooks.

When the Raiders tapped former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor to be the starter, they tinkered their offense to suit his physical traits—6-6 and reported 4.3 speed.

The Raiders inserted foundational aspects of the scheme into their playbook and going into Sunday’s game, Pryor (198 rushing yards) and Darren McFadden (186 rushing yards) have dumbfounded opponents through the first three weeks.

Before they ever unveiled their new offensive preference though, they spent countless hours dissecting the Redskins offense’s success last season and realized just how potent the attack can be when executed to the utmost.

“We studied them,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of the Redskins. “We studied some of the things that Carolina was doing, and we studied some of the things that the 49ers were doing.

“We took a look at a lot of that stuff because we knew going into the season that we’d want to have a package of plays for Terrelle and as he’s become more prominent in the offense, we’ve tried to expand those plays.”

(This looks familiar.)

(This looks familiar.)

So far the Raiders have seen a previously stagnant offense predicated on drop back passing open up. But will they see the same results against a team that sees the read-option in practice daily?

The Raiders first three games were against the Colts, Jaguars and Broncos—teams with stationary quarterbacks that will rarely break a defense’s will with their legs.

Robert Griffin III without question poses the biggest threat to their defense in terms of athleticism. Last week he was more mobile than he had been at any point during the first two games.

If Pryor does indeed play, then it will be there first time the two top five dual-threat quarterbacks from the class of 2008 face off in the professional game.

“Me and T.P., we know each other,” Griffin III said at his press conference on Wednesday. “We got to see each other grow, him at Ohio State and me at Baylor. I’m glad he got a shot there in Oakland, but like I said earlier today, once we step on that field, it’s not about me and him. It’s about us versus the Raiders and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

So will the granddaddy of the NFL’s version of the read-option win out or will the jumpstart take over?

We’ll find out on Sunday.

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