The Seattle Seahawks were at the forefront of running the read option in the NFL. Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune explains what the read option is, and how the offensive scheme made its way from college football to the pros.
"This thing just showed up," said Andy Benoit, a writer for Sports Illustrated and MMQB.com who specializes in NFL schematics. "[NFL] coaches knew about it. They were aware of it. But no one had practiced it. People believed it was a college tactic. But then pro teams started running it with guys who were really good at running it.
At the start of read-option plays, the quarterback lines up in the shotgun or pistol formation with a running back close by. After the snap, the offense leaves one edge defender, often a defensive end, unblocked. The quarterback reads that defender's path then decides whether to keep the ball or hand it to the back. If the QB makes the right read, the isolated defender is in a no-win position.
The Seahawks have continued to use it through the team's successful run with Russell Wilson at quarterback. Wilson is a part of the new generation of players at the position who can pass the ball, but also escape and run out of the pocket. The Seahawks used the read option on a few key offensive plays in the team's comeback 39-30 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week Vensel wrote.
*Before the first play of the drive, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson lined up in the shotgun with rookie running back Thomas Rawls, who has been beastly in his own right while filling in for the injured Marshawn Lynch, standing to his left. *
As Wilson caught the shotgun snap, Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison was allowed to bowl into the backfield. Unblocked, Harrison made a beeline for Rawls, who crossed in front of Wilson with his hands extended to take the handoff. Instead, Wilson kept the ball, stepped around the helpless Harrison and sprinted for a first down.
Scouting the Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks started the 2015 season on the wrong note.
The team was (2-4) in the first six games of the season. Seattle has rebounded winning four of the last five games as the team makes a run to return to the playoffs.
Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune gives a scouting report of the (6-5) Seahawks.
*The Seahawks haven't won more than two games in a row or lost more than two in a row. They have blown fourth-quarter leads in all five losses. *
*• The Seahawks will be without two important offensive weapons. RB Marshawn Lynch will miss a third consecutive game since having hernia surgery, and TE Jimmy Graham tore a patellar tendon Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. *
*• Seattle has given up 30-plus points three times this season, including twice in their past three games. However, the Seahawks have the fourth-best team defense in the league (324.9 yards per game). Their 222 points allowed rank eighth. *
Vikings Compare Wilson to Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is the only NFL quarterback to beat the Vikings at home this season.
Russell Wilson will try to do the same on Sunday. One of the Vikings players classified Russell Wilson in elite company, writes Tim Yotter of Viking Update.
The Vikings experienced the burn of Rodgers' ability to break the pocket, extend the play and hit receivers down the field (or all the way into the end zone). Russell Wilson has that same ability for the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings' opponent on Sunday.
"(They are) a lot similar mainly because of that on-the-run pass," Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. "Him and Aaron Rodgers are the only two that I can truly think of that can throw touchdowns from the 50-yard line on the run and 80-yard bombs whenever he's ready. We've just got to be on our keys and play fast and hard."
Wilson is just one of three players with a passer rating over 99 (he's at 99.5 for his career) since 2012. He has thrown 90 touchdowns, fifth-most in NFL history in a player's first 59 games, and his 42 wins are the most in NFL history in the first 59 games of a quarterback's career.
Eric Oslund of Viking Update writes that Richard Sherman won't dictate plans.
Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com writes that Captain Munnerlyn and Linval Joseph are paying big dividends for the Vikings.