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Golden Nuggets: Does the read option have a place in the NFL?

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Your San Francisco 49ers links for Tuesday, May 27th 2019

Good morning. As I went around checking links to the NFL, something rather interesting crossed my mind: What the hell are the Baltimore Ravens doing? In the latest MMQB (scroll to point 8), they are piling onto Lamar Jackson and brought former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman in as their new offensive coordinator. Why? To run the read option, or an offense similar to whatever the 49ers were running when Roman was in town.

I remember when Colin Kaepernick ran the read option in San Francisco and the Green Bay Packers getting embarrassed. I also remember them clamping down on the same plays a few months later. The read option threw teams off for a time, but the more the 49ers used it, the more the defenses figured it out. I don’t know how angry we were when they ran the read option in 2014 (Harbaugh’s final year) and many of us screaming the 49ers weren’t fooling anybody with it.

Chip Kelly tried doing it and in the 11 games Kaepernick started it wasn’t horrible, but something was missing it felt like.

Well the Ravens are going to try this thing again. It’s rather interesting when you’ve seen how the read option was getting diagnosed that maybe it should be used as a formation or wrinkle instead of a full-on offensive system. But the Ravens are going to try it again full throttle.

I think the read option has its place as an NFL formation and a play(s) but building an entire offense around it might be a recipe for failure.

I don’t have much evidence to support this other than my misguided observations. But it felt as if the read option began crumbling down the more the 49ers did it. Once they realized this and ran it sparingly on games, it still felt like a coin flip.

I’m just wondering if we learned anything from this when the 49ers ran it or if we will continue to try to get the read option implemented. Sure, Jackson is having all sorts of success, but that’s a different division and I wonder if they will figure things out as time goes on.

Of course my observations are moot. Kyle Shanahan has knocked down the idea that defenses figured out the read option. Still, seeing the Ravens get Roman and run that offense, it feels like history is repeating.

Here’s some links:

How Jimmy Garoppolo wins Comeback Player of the Year (Madson)

Familiarity with 49ers brought tight end Levine Toilolo back to West Coast (Branch)

Question marks push 49ers QB situation down NFL ranks (Madson)

Tevin Coleman looks like the clear No. 1 in 49ers’ crowded backfield (Pro Football Talk)

Predicting the story of the season for all 32 NFL teams (ESPN)