Read-option progress tough to gauge

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
9:30
AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Those expecting Friday’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks to give the Green Bay Packers’ defense an idea of how much progress it has made against the read-option might want to think again.

Despite the presence of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ multi-dimensional quarterback, the Packers may not see him run much, if at all. And if he does run, it may be only in scramble situations and not on designed read-option plays.

“I don’t know how much people want to expose their quarterbacks in these preseason games,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “We’ll see. We’ve worked on it in the offseason. A lot of it will depend on how much he wants to pull that ball out of there and keep it.”

Capers said he has seen both of the Seahawks’ preseason games this summer, and “to this point in time, the quarterback hasn’t kept it.”

Wilson and the Seahawks increased their use of the read-option as last season progressed. As a rookie in 2012, Wilson ranked third among NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards (489) behind Robert Griffin III (815) and Cam Newton (741).

After playing Arizona’s Carson Palmer and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford in the first two preseason games, just seeing a mobile quarterback this week will at least get the Packers thinking about their first two regular-season games against the San Francisco 49ers and RGIII’s Redskins.

“It’ll be a great look for us getting familiar with running quarterbacks, somebody that likes to move and throw on the run,” Packers safety M.D. Jennings said. “It will be a great challenge for us going into the regular season, and I think we can get better from it.”

But the reality is that the Packers probably won’t know if their offseason work on the read-option -- which included a coaches’ trip to College Station, Texas, in order to study the concept with the Texas A&M staff as well as daily work in practice against that scheme -- will help them. When the Packers’ defense was last seen trying to defend the read-option, they looked wholly unprepared, giving up 579 yards of total offense (including 181 yards rushing to quarterback Colin Kaepernick) in the 45-31 playoff loss at San Francisco in January.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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