579 ... option ... left .. HE'S GOING LEFT GET HIM! GET HIIIIIIIIIIIIM!
The man tosses and turns in his sleep, miles away from his bed and yet yelling in the here and now. The blanket has already been discarded and despite a chilly winter night and a bedside fan, his face is coated with sweat.
Kaepernick ... he's .. Gore? Davis? HE'S RUNNING AGAIN! 579 YARDS! NOOOOO!
This time he snaps out of his reality turned dream as his wife, Jessica, is quick to sit up and do her best to comfort him.
"Shhh, Mike. It's OK, it was just a dream," she said. She'd been through this before, and though this particular instance was, in fact, a dream, it was based entirely in reality. "I'll get the 2010 tape again, OK?"
Mike McCarthy, for that is who it was, nodded wearily. This was yet another in a long line of nights fraught with nightmares and, more accurately, flashbacks. And like every other night, he'd gently get back to sleep watching video of the Super Bowl XLV win that comforts him so.
Tomorrow night would be more of the same, though. He'll be haunted by that game all offseason. He'll be haunted by Colin Kaepernick and the read option.
So I decided to have a little bit of fun with that right there. It's obviously extremely exaggerated, but when I read a quote from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Friday, it was the first thing that came to mind.
McCarthy was quoted as saying that the 49ers' offensive performance that knocked the Packers out of the playoffs last season would stick with him for awhile. If you needed a refresher: Colin Kaepernick ran for an NFL quarterback rushing record of 181 yards and had four touchdowns, two through the air and two through the ground. In all, the 49ers put up 579 yards on offense.
"Five hundred seventy-nine, that's a number that will stick in our focus as a defense throughout the offseason. We're studying the read option, the teams that are doing it in the NFL," McCarthy said at the Scouting Combine, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Right after that, McCarthy said that he's going to send his defensive staff to Texas A&M - where they run a little read option but, more importantly, have to defend an awful lot of it as members of the SEC, as well.
"It's something from an education, preparation standpoint that we will grow as a staff and be better prepared for in the future," McCarthy said. He then went on to sing the praises of Kevin Sumlin, and from his further quotes, it's easy to tell that the Packers won't be looking to run much read option themselves going forward. This trip is specifically to learn how best to prepare for the offense.
Personally, I think it's a really smart move for the Packers to make with the current state of the NFL.
Not just because the 49ers used it to absolutely embarrass the Packers' defense, but because it's going to be a big part of the NFL over the next few years. I don't think we're entering an era of new quarterbacks by any means, I just think we have a few guys who are really, truly amazing at what they do: running the read option.
In the NFC divisional game, it was basically automatic. When Kaepernick took a snap we knew that he was going to take it and turn it into something special. We knew that every pass attempt could have been a fake, we knew that every time he rolled out one way he might pass the other, and we knew that every player on the field was a weapon to be utilized.
It seemed like the Packers didn't know that. I know they have some age on their defense, but they tired out quickly and simply couldn't move from sideline to sideline anymore. It's a shame that the 49ers' defense let up near the end of that game because the final score didn't nearly reflect the kind of beatdown that was administered that day.
Either way, it's pretty cool to see the approach the Packers are taking. It's an offense that has its roots in college, that has been waiting for the right players and the right coaches to really effectively utilize it in the NFL. My intro is, of course, exaggerated but hey, I like to have fun.
The Packers will always be a handful for the 49ers, so Jim Harbaugh will simply need to continue to innovate this offseason so the Packers aren't possibly prepared. There's a definite chance these teams meet again in the playoffs.