Defending the Zone Read Option

Needle here. I thought it was only appropriate that for a blog called Zone Reads, I write an analysis of the Zone Read play, and how teams use it and defend against it.

So I’ve finally gotten to spend some time sitting back and enjoying the spectacle that was Robert Griffin III of 2012. After watching the film, I came to a surprising conclusion: Despite all of the greatness that RG3 showed, the biggest surprise I saw was other teams’ inability to adapt to the zone read.

I, for one, believe in the importance of scheme, and have a lot of praise for coaches who can adjust rather quickly and find weaknesses in certain schemes. For example, the Dolphins rocked the Patriots with the pseudo-single wing scheme that is known as the Wildcat. That kind of team performance had yet to be repeated– until last year, when the new breed of QBs brought the zone read to the NFL. Though I put the Wildcat single-wing and the Spread Offense Zone Read into two separate categories, the concept of using scheme to gain a man advantage in the running game is the same. With that said, I want to look at three teams’ attempts to stop this scheme.

Quick note: While I have watched Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson run their offense, I’m focusing solely on Griffin, as I want to keep this analysis consistent and to the point.

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