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Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians: read-option a ‘great college offense’

Nov 28, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT


At this point in the year, the Eagles’ offense is firmly entrenched as one of the better units in the NFL by almost any measure. They’re fourth in yards per game, ninth in points. They have the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, the wide receiver with the most catches over 20 yards in DeSean Jackson, and the highest rated passer in Nick Foles.

There are still some people out there though that won’t give Chip Kelly’s system its due. Phil Simms notoriously quipped Philly’s offense was one of the worst units in the league about a month ago. Throw Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians on board as one of the dinosaurs who still think the read-option is a gimmick.

Of course, the read-option isn’t Kelly’s offense, but it’s certainly a big part of what they do. You can see the concept at work on most of the Birds’ running plays and play-actions. They use it, and it works—in the NFL. Apparently Arians doesn’t quite feel that way though, because he dropped the C-word in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Per the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski:

“I still think it’s a great offense. It’s a great college offense when you put a great athlete back there,” Arians said. “But when you’re facing great athletes, with the speed that’s in the NFL who are chasing these guys, unless you’re superhuman, you’re going to get hurt sooner or later—not hurt, but beat up and bruised up, and you don’t want your quarterback feeling bruised up when he’s trying to throw and be accurate.”

Maybe this is cause to bring back to the old 700 Level feature Trash Talk Thursdays. I don’t think we ever featured head coaches though.

Look, not everybody is going to or should embrace the read-option. Arians’ philosophies have resulted in a long career as an NFL assistant, offensive coordinator, and finally now a head coach. That stuff still works too. But at this point, isn’t it becoming a little silly to insist the read-option is only a gimmick?

It’s safe to say the Eagles’ offensive linemen didn’t agree with Arians’ assertion, either. Sheil Kapadia got a few of their takes on Arians’ comments yesterday for the great Birds 24/7 blog.

“I think it’s a great any-level offense, personally,” said center Jason Kelce. “I think anybody who doesn’t think it can be successful at this level is obviously mistaken.”

“That was my first thought not knowing anything about it,” [Evan] Mathis said. “But it’s all in the execution, and it really depends on how you’re doing it. If the quarterback pulls the ball and he’s running, and someone’s about to tackle him, he’s allowed to slide. That’s usually what the guys are taught to do. If he’s trying to break tackles and barrel over people, he’s gonna get hurt. But I think without doing it that much or knowing much about it, that would be a common thought.

The numbers speak for themselves, including the Eagles’ record. If they’re 6-5 using a “college offense,” what does that say about the NFL?

>> Bruce Arians: Read option ‘a great college offense’ [Inq]
>> Kelce Takes Issue With Arians’ Comments [Philly Mag]

  1. 33 - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    I like that it’s week 12 and we’re still seeing stories where people can’t nail down exactly what the Eagles offense is, with the crutch being to oversimplify it.

    • 33 - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:22 PM


  2. Mostel - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Arians is correct that you can’t win in the NFL using a zoo animal system like with RG3&8 and Kaepernitwit.

    • Connor - Nov 29, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      How drunk are you?

  3. BenE. - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Two things make the read-option offense — or any of its derivatives — successful: a QB who makes good decisions and a great offensive line. The Eagles have both. So as far as I’m concerned, if they keep executing every play, every down, the read-option offense will work in the NFL. It helps that we get great secondary blocks from the backfield and the wideouts.

  4. BenE. - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Or in three words, fuck the haters.

  5. Hiccup - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I predicate more running plays than pocket passes this weekend.
    Go Eeagles; lose or not, you as a team have come a long way towards improvement and should be proud as a colelabrative team. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we missed the playoffs this year but next year..
    We’ll beat ‘em this weekend because their egos will do ‘em in.

  6. eaglegreen - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Who cares what Bruce Ariens thinks we gotta just go win this game even if the final score is 3 nothing. No offense is full proof. Case in point Peyton Manning and all his hokus pokus at the line of scrimmage and all his amazing offensive stats but how much superbowl winning has he done????? Once in 19 seasons. So I could care less about bruce ariens assesment bcuz the cardinals suck and they are who think they are so we can’t let them off the hook.

    • eaglegreen - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:29 AM

      Ariens is a career assistant coach until this year. And the always desperate cardinals hired him after being in line hoping for Chip Kelly so of course he’s a hater that this college guy has come into the pro’s and his offense is higher in more stats than arizona and he wasn’t arizona preferred choice at coach

  7. 33 - Dec 1, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Glad to see Ellington is out for the Cards today. Guy is scary if he gets a little space.


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