PHOENIX — Mike Tomlin isn’t sold on the staying power of the read-option scheme that took the NFL by storm last season, fueled by versatile quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson.
“I think the read-option is the flavor of the month,” the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said during a Tuesday breakfast media session for AFC coaches at the NFL owners’ meetings. “We’ll see whether it’s the flavor of the year. A few years ago, people were talking wildly about the Wildcat. It’s less of a discussion now.
“I think there are coaches in rooms preparing themselves to defend it, there are coaches in rooms also preparing to run it. I think it’s going to sort out on the grass.”
DEFENSES ZERO IN: Read option under attack
Although the read-option schemes are used to varying degrees, the mere threat and attached play-fakes threw defenses for a loop. Even so, Tomlin says the physical risk to quarterbacks may ultimately dictate whether the scheme survives in the NFL for the long haul.
“I always take a skeptical approach,” he said. “We’ll see if guys are committed to getting their guys hit, because when you run the read-option, obviously they are runners and there’s something that’s associated with that.”
In the 2011 season playoffs, Tomlin and the Steelers were eliminated in the wildcard round by the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos, who used the read-option heavily.