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Read-option will harm QBs, Gunther Cunningham says

Plenty of the NFL's defensive coaches believe the read option can be stopped.

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in March the attack would be slowed with study, and everyone from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Giants have deployed their assistants to college campuses to crack the code.

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Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says it won't be defenses that put an end to the read-option offense, but injuries to NFL signal-callers.

"The problem is for those quarterbacks, one of these days, one of them is not going to walk off," Cunningham told the team's official website. "It's a lot of pressure on him to physically do that."

Cunningham, who's been coaching since the 1960s, went on: "I think we all understand what the issues are and how to play it. I reflect back on my college days and it wasn't that hard to remember all that stuff because it put a lot of pressure on me in those days and it does in this league, too."

Fair point. The pistol formation is a newer beast, but the read-option attack didn't emerge in a vacuum. Coaches and players league-wide have faced it for decades at the college level. It's fair to expect NFL teams to improve against the option in 2013, but offenses will continue to adapt, too. That's the chess match that makes football a pleasure to watch.

But the subtext of Cunningham's comments bear some truth. Landing a franchise quarterback is akin to unearthing the Ark of the Covenant in NFL circles, and putting that treasure in danger never will be in vogue.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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