The thing that is all the rage in the NFL is the Read-Option and many, including myself, were wondering if the QB's who are running an option play are protected under the usual QB safety rules.
NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino clarified this during Sunday night's game between the Vikings and the 49ers. Basically if the QB is pulling back as if to fake the handoff, he can be hit as if he were a running back and the defense in encouraged to take down the QB during Option plays. They will be protected under unnecessary roughness rules but not pocket QB protection.
Makes sense really. If I am a player on defense and I see the QB option the ball, as far as I am concerned the QB is going run and not pass it.
This makes things sticky for teams like New England, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans and Arizona who don't have QB's who can run if needed to. It is just to risky to run a pistol option with Peyton Manning or Tom Brady because the moment they pull back, they can be hit and defenses would love to take a nice shot. For one no one is going to take Manning faking as if he was going to run seriously as he rushed for all of like 6 yards last season.
This has a lot to do with the Chiefs because 2 of the three QB's are capable of running an option play. In all the tape I could find on Tyler Bray from last year, he run an option play once and even the commentator said that everyone knew he had no intention of keeping it. Alex Smith is a very mobile QB and so is Chase Daniel and so the defense has to account for the possibility that they could take off running, Bray not so much.
I am not going to lie, this baffled me that the NFL was going to treat a running QB like a RB during these plays. With all the protection the offense has gotten over the last 4 or 5 years, I thought the NFL would rule it as though the QB was still in the pocket. Then I realized that maybe the NFL may let the teams kill the Read-Option themselves. With as much money these guys are making, teams are going to want to protect their investment.
Does this mean that the Read-Option will be a dead concept? No but I think it will go the way of the Wildcat and either be a gimmicky thing or a situational thing.
I like the ruling as it gives the defenses more freedom in that they don't have to worry about a roughing the passer penalty but I think the NFL has an ulterior motive behind this.