Posted September 05, 2013

NFL: Read-option quarterbacks can be tackled without ball

NFL
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh sought clarification on rules regarding hitting read-option quarterbacks. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh sought clarification on rules regarding hitting read-option quarterbacks. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Whether or not read-option quarterbacks like the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, Redskins’ Robert Griffin III or Seahawks’ Russell Wilson should be hands-off after handing off to a running back has been debated since the offensive scheme came into vogue last season. Jim Harbaugh even sought clarification from the league office on whether defenders could hit or tackle Kaepernick after he had handed off the ball on a read-option play.

On Wednesday — the day before the 2013 NFL season opens with the Ravens at the Broncos — NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino informed all teams and media via a video that read-option quarterbacks can indeed be hit like ball-carrying running backs, even if they don’t have the ball — especially if the quarterback carries out a fake in a running posture.

KING: NFL’s read-option knowledge gap

In the video, Blandino explains:

“He is still treated as a runner until he is clearly out of the play,” Blandino said. “The quarterback makes the pitch, he’s still a runner — he can be hit like a runner until he’s clearly out of the play.”

The league believes a running a play specifically designed to keep potential tacklers guessing makes any player who might fake carrying the ball should be fair game.

“The quarterback and the running back, they’re both treated as runners. We don’t know who has the football, we don’t know who’s going to take it, so both players are treated as runners,” Blandino said.

Blandino emphasizes that, while quarterbacks retain the ability to protect themselves by sliding to the ground, they are not granted the same protection while running the read-option.

“The basic concept is, the quarterback position is not defenseless throughout the down. It’s the posture he presents that will dictate his protections,” Blandino said.

Blandino points out that quarterbacks are not fair game for defenders when it’s obvious he no longer has the ball.

“If the quarterback is out of the pocket, he’s clearly out of the play, he cannot be unnecessarily contacted,” Blandino said.


45 comments
Jobey
Jobey

Here is another answer to protect franchise QB's. If a defensive player hit a QB who after review it is determined was not running the read option. let's see the NFL slap $80,000 fines on them for going blatantly after franchise QB's.

Jobey
Jobey

To all these comments about the rule being racially motivated and/ or not being racially motivated. Why don't the NFL just let all QB's be hit if they have the ball or are faking like they have the ball and eliminate the slide rule. The rule should read if you cross the line of scrimmage with the ball you, at that time become a running back and leave it at that. Now the question is why would the NFL not do this. Then it comes down to why?

MandikaTheWarrior
MandikaTheWarrior

I swear  listening to people complain about this rule is funny. The idiots saying the rule  is racist are idiots. We need less rules on hitting the QB and hitting period. If these QBs want to run the ball or act like they are running they deserved to be blasted. Silly fans of the Skins, 49ers, and Seahawks are being selfish if they think their precious QBs deserve kid glove treatment on plays in which they run or run fake.

ineedataxi
ineedataxi

this race baiting is nonsense Doug Williams won the super bowl years ago

x72
x72

More proof that the refs go out of their way to help the GB (fudge) Packers.

Ryan42
Ryan42

Let these millionaires smack the hell out of each other. Its what they signed up for, what they get 'guaranteed money' in contracts for and will generate the drama and headlines the NFL wants to promote their business. It creates ridiculous scandal like 'this is racist' or team-specific grumblings that get thousands to sign in and argue with each other amongst dozens of ads for jerseys and ticket providers. So if a quarterback wants to run around the guys designated to protect him to get bigger stats and more money, then by all means he earns the right to get knocked out. In the NFL -everything- comes down to generating MORE. Money, Drama, Attention etc.

jinxster247
jinxster247

I THINK HArb wanted clarification and wanted GB to think they are going to run the read play  allot duren the game. look people BG did not touch Kaep all that much last year do you really think things will change. they di dnot go get anyone on defense to make any changes.


if kaep sees a hole he will run and slide or run out of bounds. the read option plays will be limmitted they do not run it as washington does. that game they did it what 30% but the rest of the playoffs less then that. the niners do not need to run the read all they need to do is make it a weapon meaning use read formations but dont run the read just doing that will make defenses honost

BudPhyte
BudPhyte

I hope we're not going the route of college QB's  deliberately getting blasted on every option play even when they clearly don't have the ball.

redddawg16
redddawg16

I'm African American and 57 years. I remember well when African American quarterbacks were taboo - think Warren Moon exiled to Canada for 5 years. But, this rule has not been created to hold back African American Quarterbacks. The NFL is about MONEY!!! RGIII, Russell Wilson, Colin Kapernick...these guys are among the leagues brightest stars and biggest draws (which means money). That is the bottom line. And, their (potential) ascendance to greatness takes nothing away from the obvious greatness of Manning (or did you miss the display of greatness he put on last night), Brady, Brees... There are and will continue to be multiple ways to win in the NFL. Just like in business, every company has a different strategy, it's the execution that counts!  

El Chupra Dustor
El Chupra Dustor

This is no different than play action passes.  If the QB is still in the play on the play action and it is clear that the QB doesn't have the ball then it is a penalty, the same goes for the read option.  I do not see what the issue is rather than someone trying to get there 15 minutes of fame.  And to say this is a passing fad is crazy.  As long as Colleges continue to run the spread, quick strike and read option offenses that is the talent that will be entering the NFL and it will have an effect on the NFL for the next decade until a new wrinkle is introduced or an old one is reintroduced. 

joe6647
joe6647

ruh-roh coach Harbaugh

aaron.schlesinger
aaron.schlesinger

Its not surprising.  You see more of these read option QBs coming out because the QB is such an offensive tool in the college level as another runner. As someone else put it in the thread, the fad will go away in a few years as more quarterbacks get their legs knocked out under them.

Its a good rule change.

dfo8131
dfo8131

This rule is clearly targeted towards black QBs. They want to slow down the progress of the black QBs and preserve the white QBs plain and simple.

eliar3
eliar3

Wow - I hit a nerve, didn't I?  For the record, just to show how ignorant some of you are (due to making idiotic assumptions), I believe RGIII has been a breath of fresh air to the NFL.  A GREAT athlete is one thing.  Solid character traits and a genuinely honest ethos makes him a definite role model for all.  Frankly, I believe he has the tools to succeed as a "traditional" QB.  As for all of the "new breed of QB" statements, I'd like to remind everyone of Fran Tarkenton, who truly revolutionized the position and showed that the QB could be trusted to move and create opportunities out of the chaos that erupts for 5-7 seconds of actual gameplay.  Remember the "Run-and-Shoot" schemes of the 90s?  Those didn't last either.  The QB is too valuable to throw out there as a "Throwing RB" almost every play.  NFL schemes ebb-and-flow but always seem to come back to the basics more often than so many "geniuses" here believe.  A typical 2 wideout set with a TE, RB, FB (or slot receiver) has been the go-to norm for DECADES.  Poll the GMs about which QB they'd rather have for 5 years...RGIII or Luck?  RGIII probably is the pick.  10 years? Luck, by a HUGE margin.  Some of you need to lower your dose of HGH and steroids - your online Roid Rage is really misplacing some anger.  But, I guess it's better here than in your trailer park.  I jest - just to show you how foolish it looks in scripted form.  Really.  Have any of you had an actual DISCUSSION (online or otherwise) that was not centered around insults and ignorant assumptions?  

eliar3
eliar3

RGIII was hurt at the end of last year.  When Wilson and/or Kaepernick get hurt, organizations will either stockpile QBs like RBs or ditch the fad as too costly.  Furthermore, until one wins a Super Bowl, this offense will forever be a college staple adopted as an NFL gimmick.

PaulSharpe
PaulSharpe

If the QB is gonna be a runner, he's gonna take the hits...  This dumb fad will fade in a year or 2...

DnYng
DnYng

@x72  "GB (fudge) Packers"?  Yeah you're worth having a conversation with....

donald5
donald5

@x72 So the QB should be able to imply that he just might still have the ball but can't get hit.  I got it.  Sounds like the 49ers want the refs to go out of their way to protect their QB while he pretends to have the ball and is threatening to run

Ryan42
Ryan42

Ha! Team-specific grumbling not 3 minutes later! Called it :D

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@BudPhyte they won't as he cleary states once they are out of the play they can't be targeted and we know that any quarterback out of the play or player not involved on a change of possession, just can't be blasted

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

@dfo8131 I thought they had the Wonderlic test to hold back black QBs, until someone went and drafted Vince Young and his single digit score.  I don't know what they use now.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@dfo8131 You're clearly too stupid to realize how racist you are. The only ones impeding 'black progress' in anything are morons like yourself.

donald5
donald5

@eliar3 There are not a lot of OLD good running QBs. There are a lot of OLD good pocket QBs.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@ElvisHitler The sooner you stop blaming others for your problems the sooner you'll be free, fool.

PWINGS
PWINGS

@eliar3 If you wouldn't draft your QB and play him as a running back, why would you run this option offense 12 - 15 plays / game and subject him to the same risks as a RB? I certainly wouldn't give him franchise QB money and expect to get my money's worth over the next 8 - 10 years. None of them are that durable and RGIII has already had an blown ACL on the same knee twice. As for stockpiling QB's like RB's, there aren't enough QB's in the NFL who can be truly regarded as starters. There's always 5 or 6 teams either in a QB competition or just waiting to draft one of the next year's crop of rookie QB's. Having two QB's who could start is a wealth of riches almost nobody has. Of course, my previous argument would explain why Shanahan drafted Cousins after he drafted RGIII. He wasn't convinced RGIII would last the season without serious injury. 

Question: What happens when RGIII blows that knee out a third time? Not wishin'. Just askin'.

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

@eliar3 

Question...  how many read option QB's has there been in the league at anyone time??? So to say how many Superbowls is just stupid and even worse you are repeating garbage you hear from no knowledge sports shows.  If you had 16 RGIII's and Kaep. style players vs 16 Brady, Manning types under same conditions same talent around them... Guess who wins 90% ... Sorry you may not like it but a team is better when one of their best  "FOOTBALL PLAYER"  has the ball in his hands majority of the time... And to call it a gimmick just shows how much you know... The Wildcat is a gimmick because there was never the threat of passing, when the ball is in the hands of Kaeps or RGIII the defender has to be ready for all sort of scenarios.... unlike a Brady or Manning the D-line has one job, get pass the O-line before they throws it... Watch any game with them, either they have all day to throw because of the O-line or it's a dead play.  To call it a gimmick makes you sound bitter because your heros of past looks silly compare to the new Generation of QB's everything else improves over time, so why not the QB position also.

The last time i saw Brady in a big game, it was his receiver taking the blame and not the bad pass. Have you notice when the Pats "team" is not good they do not win, other that get getting fat off the bottom feeders in the east what has the Pats done recently. Kaep lost that superbowl bowl because instead of being true to himself on the 5 yard line he reverted to a pocket player.

Coming off paying a billion for player safety that rule will change when the NFL notice how silly it is to hit a player standing in the backfield without the ball... almost as dumb as the tuck rule Because you cannot defend something that is no reason to take cheap shots at the opposing QB's, after Brady broke his leg it did not take long before that rule was changed.  

CCUinMTL
CCUinMTL

@eliar3 RGIII wasn't hurt running a read-option. Get your facts straight.

donald5
donald5

@Joebuckster @dfo8131 His comments mean that the rule makes perfect sense but idiots like you apply a racial element to it.  Idiots like you keep blacks down because you are telling all black people that even if a logical rule applies to you and may prevent you from having an undeserved advantage, it is instead a racial conspiracy to keep blacks down.  You blame everything on whites keeping blacks down.  It is never just the fact that those are the rules without any regard for the color of the player it applies to.  You teach blacks to never accept that their limitations or failures are their own fault.  It is always someone else keeping them down.  The QBs are trying to make the defense question which one is the runner up until the last second.  Sorry but if you are not going to let the defense know, they are going to assume they have it.  

dfo8131
dfo8131

@Joebuckster Your comment make no sense and anyone with an iota of intelligence can read the comments and see that in fact you are the racist here. Your attempt at reverse psychology is an epic fail. If you know anything about the history of the QB position in the NFL you will clearly see that my comment has merit. Pointing out racism doesn't make someone a racist Stupid. 

Charles58
Charles58

@friendly--neighborhood--scrawler @eliar3 Brady and Manning don't have "all day to throw," the pocket usually collapses around them in 2-4 seconds, and they have to have made at least the first couple of reads in their progression by then. What makes both Brady and Manning so good is their ability to read the defense at the line and change the play to create better options, their uncanny field vision, and ability to throw accurately. They also seem to have almost a 6th sense in sensing pocket pressure and sliding away from the pressure to buy another second of time to throw the ball. Some of these traits are genetic and can't be taught. Maybe athletic running QB's like RGIII, Wilson and Kap use their athleticism to run when the pocket starts collapsing rather than give the called play a little more time. I can guarantee that throwing the pass will cause a lot less wear and tear over a season then running the ball frequently. I am skeptical that the pistol or read option offensive schemes are going to be a long term trend in the NFL - defenses are too athletic and will develop strategies to take away the read option.  Time will tell.

donald5
donald5

@CCUinMTL @eliar3 Injuries build up.  Repeated hits to the body set you up for a future injury.  The more your body gets hit, the less likely your muscles will support your joints when the big hit comes that "technically" causes the injury.

dfo8131
dfo8131

@Ryan42 @Joebuckster: Ryan between you and Joebuckster i dont know who is more dumb. Did a say anything about "black people"? the response from both of you say that you both are either in denial about your own racist ways are you are just plain stupid. I said the rule is clearly targeted towards the black QB b/c they are the only ones running the Read-option. And no they did not say 'Golly gee fellas, we really gotta stop black people" but they sit down and said QBs running the Read-option can be hit without the ball "wink, wink".

Ryan42
Ryan42

@dfo8131 As is making -everything- a race issue. OF COURSE the commish and his people sat down and said 'Golly gee fellas, we really gotta stop black people." Please don't reproduce. Plain and simple.

jinxster247
jinxster247

@Joebuckster @Charles58 @friendly--neighborhood--scrawler @eliar3  brady nor manning can run very fast. the read option is not a gimmick it makes the defenses honest. it elliminates rushers since the defense does not know what the offense will do. so the defense needs to play gaps and man up. longer the play last the advantage goes to the offense at  that point. QBs gets hit as much in the pocket as they do running the option as long as the qb is smart