13.1.13

NORTHERN ILLINOIS NINERS.

Years ago, Northern Illinois University might have been proof of concept for the West Coast offense.  Ideas diffuse in football more quickly these days, with the read-option running quarterback becoming all the rage.
Dom Capers and his defensive players will be left to answer one question the entire offseason: Why couldn’t they stop a quarterback they knew would try to beat them with his feet?

The Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator couldn’t devise much of anything that worked against San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his blazing speed in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park. Capers couldn’t come up with much to slow him down.
The carping from Packer Nation is loud today. I wonder if anybody studied the tape of Florida State's defensive schemes in the Orange Bowl.  According to long-time Packer Charles Woodson, the read-option might have been something a strong mid-major team might use to beat a weak mid-major or Division II team, but at the professional level, not yet, or perhaps next season?
This trend - the read option - may stick around after Saturday.

"I think the NFL is ready for it," Woodson said. "For years, they said it couldn't be done. They said the defenses were too fast. But you see a lot of young, athletic quarterbacks coming in that can run that zone read option. The more athletic guys you bring in, the more coaches you bring in that coach it, it's hard to stop."

Count [Packer outside linebacker Erik] Walden as someone who sees Saturday night as something bigger, too. The option is a “college mentality,” Walden said. But it’s a college mentality this NFL defense could not stop.

[Niner quarterback Colin] Kaepernick, he admits, is changing the position.

“I think so,” Walden said. “Now, they’re doing the recruiting out of high school. If you have a quarterback that’s able to run and able to be in the pocket and make passes, the sky’s the limit for a guy like that.”
A few other things went wrong in that game, including two turnovers in the second quarter, and two Niner scoring drives covering 93 yards.  It was enough for one pundit to declare a new elite team in pro football.

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