Jason Avant was in the middle of a dig route when he locked eyes with Alex Smith, who was rolling to the right.
This was Dec. 7, the third quarter of the Chiefs’ 17-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and what happened next — a midplay adjustment that led to what was then the Chiefs’ longest pass of the season — might have been easy to overlook, considering the outcome of the game.
“They had a better defense for that play, and that happens sometimes,” Avant said. “He looked at me during the play, and to me that meant to take it high ... that’s what his eyes told me and that’s what I did, and he just threw it.”
Avant’s resulting 41-yard catch — in which he took off deep and Smith actually threw it up to the 6-foot, 210-pounder in single coverage — was a textbook example of all of Avant’s strengths. Strong hands. Veteran savvy. Good focus.
I am a believer in the read option, but Steve Logan was talking about it the other day and brought up an interesting point.
He talked about when he was QB coach in Tampa with Josh Freeman the offensive coordinator wanted to incorporate the read option for certain situations like the red zone and short yardage.
The upper echelon of the Front Office (either the GM or the owner) stepped in and told the coaches "no". He said it ticked him off that front office was interfering with coaching.
He thinks that is going with other teams as well where they want to run more of it but the guys upstairs are forcing teams to not use it as much. He thinks they feel they have too much money invested in the QBS that they don't want coaches running it.
He then went on the say, in his opinion, QBS are in more danger of getting seriously hurt in the pocket than when scrambling or running
There's a bit of fallacy to this though.
First of all, you don't have to run the read option to take advantage of a mobile quarterback skills. There are other offenses (the West Coast for example) that are arguably more effective.
Second, if you check the stats, you'll find that on pretty much an annual basis, mobile quarterbacks actually tend to get hit more frequently than pocket passers. This has bern true for a while now.
Why? Because the best way to protect yourself isn't to run away from defenders. It's to throw the ball before defenders get close. It's the guys who make the quickest decisions that take the fewest hits, not the fastest runners.
Bottom line though, regardless of whether you have a mobile quarterback or not, when it comes to protecting him the best investment you can make is a solid offensive line.