In a cyclical league, defenses are doing a better job defending read option plays this year. Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday that the success of the Redskins, 49ers and Seahawks forced the opposition to take notice.
"When you have something that was that successful ... guys are too smart," Shanahan said of defensive coordinators. "They are going to work all offseason and find a way to stop it. And when that happens you got to better at the other stuff. And I think we do have other stuff. And I think we're getting better at it."
Shanahan noted that defenses committed to stopping the read option will open up other possibilities for the Redskins' offense. Option plays are going to be part of the Redskins' attack, but the surprise factor largely is gone.
"The thing about last year: A lot of people weren't ready for it at all," Shanahan said. "It was easy at times. Now, it doesn't mean that it doesn't work. You just aren't shocking people like you were last year."
Griffin's health is a factor, but defensive coaching also is a factor in slowing down the read option. Teams had the entire offseason to drill technique with their players, so they are executing better.
This hardly means that option plays are dead in the NFL. Like Shanahan said, it's just time for offensive coordinators to adjust right back.