Colin Kaepernick threw for more than 400 yards and three scores; Russell Wilson more than 300 yards and one score; even Terrelle Pryor nearly led the Oakland Raiders to a road win over the Indianapolis Colts, all in Week 1. The read-option/pistol formation is here to stay.
Increasing the number of ways to attack an opposing defence is too enticing for offensive coordinators to ignore: If there's nowhere to run, pass; if there's nowhere to pass, take off and run; and just when a sack seems inevitable, have your QB inexplicably escape and rumble downfield for a first down.
The deterrent of course is the heightened injury risk for these quarterbacks. There's merit to that – just ask the Washington Redskins about their nervous off-season. But injuries will always be a part of the game, and a lot of today's QBs are built like running backs and should be able to handle a similar workload.
What may be different for read option QBs is how long they can stay effective. Where teams typically expect to get at least 15 seasons out of strict pocket passers (Peyton Manning is in his 15th year, Tom Brady his 14th) read-option QBs may break down after just 10 seasons or so. They could adopt the same expiration date many place on running backs, the dreaded age of 30.
That could be okay though.
First of all, the superstars – the guys that can hurt a defence from the pocket and while on the run – you don't have to worry about them too much. These guys should face less pressure and take fewer hits, theoretically stretching their careers closer to 15 years.
Then there's the second level of read-option throwers. The non-superstars can still give their teams a chance to win every Sunday through their athleticism and creativity, think Pryor with the Raiders.
It's the flaws in their game, typically with their fundamental QB techniques or mechanics that make them easier to replace when they show signs of slowing down. That's what makes this plan work.
Guys like Pryor, a third-round Supplemental pick in 2011, can be found in the draft and should become easier to find moving forward (as much as 70 percent of NCAA teams run some type of read-option or pistol offence).
Not every athlete posing as a QB will work out – if they did, Tim Tebow would still have a job – but there are enough out there that do enough to help a team win. And if you hit on one of those superstars, your offence could be virtually unstoppable.