clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chip Kelly discusses differences between read option, zone read, handoff

New, comments

It was education time at Chip Kelly’s Thursday press conference.

Chip Kelly wrapped up his media availability for the week on Thursday, and he was able to provide a little bit of education on the zone read, read option, and misconceptions.

The San Francisco 49ers face Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Prescott does run with the ball, but his usage varies. Nonetheless, questions are raised about his work on the ground. Someone asked a question about whether or not the team uses Colin Kaepernick as the scout team Prescott. Kelly said he does, as does Christian Ponder, but it depends on what looks the defense wants to work against, and what the quarterbacks are doing during practice.

However, the question initially was started with, “Does Dak’s read option ...” Chip Kelly interrupted to say “zone-read.” After Kelly answered the question, someone asked him to clarify the difference between zone read and read option. Professor Kelly took over.

“Zone-read is where the quarterback is reading the defensive end whether to give the ball or keep the ball. Zone-read-option would be you read the defensive end and now you’re going to another phase and there’s a pitch back for you. So, then you’re going to option that guy. So, a lot of people say you run the read-option. Not many people do that, take it to the next phase where it turns into a triple-option. Zone-read you’re just reading one defender. If he takes the dive, it’s an either or, give or keep. If you add another phase to it, now I get to another guy and it’s keep or pitch. That would be from that terminology.

And then, I will preface this, not every run out of the shotgun is a zone-read, which is another huge misconception from everybody. There’s a lot of times where there’s a tight end there blocking the defensive end, quarterback’s not reading anybody, he’s just handing the ball off but then everybody says, ‘They run zone-read all the time.’ So, you look at it and say, ‘They don’t run zone-read’ because they’re not reading anybody. They’re handing it off. It’s just, they happen to hand it off from the shotgun as opposed to being underneath the center.”

Someone asked what he would call the last one, and he deadpanned, “I call that a handoff.”

Shortly after the 49ers hired Kelly, Oscar and David used the Better Rivals podcast to break down a little bit of everything with regard to Chip Kelly’s offense. They went into immense detail about the ground game, discussing the differences between zone read and read option. If you’re looking for a Thursday afternoon listen, check this out: