IRVING, Texas – The opinions of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin differ regarding the future of the read option.
Tomlin described the read option as the flavor of the month at the NFL Owners Meetings, but Garrett doesn’t see teams like the Redskins taking it out of the playbook.
“It was an effective tool for the Redskins and for some other teams,” Garrett said. “I imagine if you’re in those buildings, they want to continue to grow those systems and continue to do the things they do well and evolve off of that as well, too. It’s really good coaching. They did a nice job of using their players very effectively.”
The Redskins implemented a system specifically to utilize the skills of quarterback Robert Griffin III, and the quarterback ran it to perfection. The tandem of Griffin and Alfred Morris gave the Cowboys fits in both matchups last year.
However, the wear and tear it takes to run that system and put the quarterback in harm’s way means risking injury to a position of need. Griffin’s season ended in the playoffs when an injured knee turned into a serious tear. The Redskins could be hesitant to allow their franchise quarterback to take a beating.
Tomlin said he thinks the read option could go the way of the Wildcat, which has been used less and less the past couple years, and that coaches will figure out how to defend the read option.
“I always take a skeptical approach,” he said. “We’ll see. We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit, because when you run the read option, obviously they’re runners. There’s something associated with that.”
But Garrett saw first-hand the kind of effect the read option can have when run to perfection. Still, he also understands the danger it poses, even if teams like the Redskins run it well.
“I know it was very effective for them and some other teams,” Garrett said. “I do know this about the National Football League, people study what other teams are doing, and they work very hard, defensive coaches work very hard to stop some of those new trends.
“I think we saw that with the Wildcat that was really a very popular, effective offensive tool a few years ago. You don’t see teams doing it quite as much the way they were doing that, now that’s evolved. You can make an argument that wildcat has evolved into some of this read option stuff.”