Eagles defensive coordinator on stopping the read option

September 9, 2013
A screengrab from Washington vs. Philadelphia in 2012. Yes, the defensive coordinator was different.
A screengrab from Washington vs. Philadelphia in 2012. Yes, the defensive coordinator was different.

I’m going to give you two options for how to read this blog post.

1) The cheap, gimmicky, headline-heavy, drop-dead-sexy version, in which I take one sentence from Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis’s recent discussion with WIP about Washington’s read-option offense.

“We’ve worked our way through it, where we believe we’ve got a good feel for the read option and how to stop it,” Davis said.

OOOOH USE SOME MERINO SHEEP SALIVA TO AFFIX THAT HOT STUFF TO EVERY BULLETIN BOARD IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY.

2) The more sober, measured, context-laden, fairly lame version, in which I include Davis’s full thoughts and probably everybody ignores it and goes back to scripting the first 73 plays of Monday night’s game.

“The quarterback now comes into play as a runner,” Davis said, breaking down the scheme with WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow. “It’s like the Wildcat. There’s an additional gap that the offense picks up when they let their quarterback run it. So now they’re taking that whole concept, and they are reading and blocking different elements of your edges of your defense. And they’ve got the extra gap, so you have got to work on it, and work on it, and WORK on it. And we have got an advantage in going against it all offseason and making the tweaks, and the players see — oh I did this this time, next time I can’t do that.

“And we’ve worked our way through it, where we believe we’ve got a good feel for the read option and how to stop it,” Davis continued. “Now, stopping it is another deal, because the [quarterbacks] who can really run it well, they’re reading it correctly, [so] it’s tough to be right all the time.

“But the challenge comes, for instance, when I was in Cleveland last year, and we were running a 4-3, and oh, we had one week to prepare for RGIII. Now, he didn’t play, but we spent so much time working the read option. And our players, although they might have known the answers on paper and we went over it in the meeting room, when we hit the field, they didn’t have it down. And it’s about the players having the adjustments and the techniques down, more than the coaches having answers for something.

“And I think that’s what the read option presents to all the defensive coordinators in the league right now,” Davis concluded. “We’ve been fortunate enough to run against it all offseason. So have the Washington Redskins. So the Redskins would have a pretty good feel on how to stop it also, because you practice against it all the time.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · September 9, 2013