Football Basics: Breaking down the Read Option

Colin Kaepernick

In today’s Niners vs. Packers game the story lines have been centered around the arctic temperatures in Green Bay and whether or not the 49ers will be running the Read Option. Kaepernick and the Niners have faced Green Bay twice in the past calendar year and Kaepernick ran for a record of 181 yards in the first outing and passed for 412 in the second. Talk about a dual-threat QB. It is uncertain whether or not the 49ers will be running the Read Option in the 3rd meeting with the Packers so just in case. . .let’s break it down.

In the Read Option, the quarterback has two options when he takes the snap. He can keep the ball or pitch to his running back. The quarterback decides where to go with the ball depending on the intentions or read of the middle (sometimes called Mike) linebacker. Depending on what the linebacker does, the quarterback decides who gets the ball. Meaning, if the linebacker decides to cover the running back, the quarterback will keep the ball. If the opposite happens (the linebacker covers the quarterback), the quarterback will pitch to his running back. Read Option simplified.

So whether or not we will see the Read Option with Kaepernick and the Niners in today’s game (I think we will), one thing is certain. . .be glad you’re not in Green Bay. The game is being billed as the coldest in NFL History. Ouch. And if you’re in Green Bay for the game, I hear they are giving out free coffee and hot chocolate!

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