After Colin Kaepernick finished rushing for 181 yards in the San Francisco 49ers’ 45-31 playoff victory over Green Bay, the Packers realized they had a problem.
They were woefully prepared to defend the read option and the pistol. Some called for defensive coordinator Dom Capers to lose his job. But Capers stayed on and the Packers have gone to school on the latest fad in the NFL, one some fear might stick around for a little while.
The Packers pledge to be ready this season, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They’re going to need to be as they face the Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins in the first two weeks of the regular season.
So, the Packers coaches have spent time studying the offense with the coaches at Texas A&M. Capers spent a full day with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Other members of Capers’ staff were involved talking with more college coaches.
“We're going to do more,” Capers said, according to Dunne. “We're going to do more than we have because we know the first two teams we play run it. There will be a number of teams that have a little element of it in. How much it takes off, I don't know. It's like everything else. Things go in cycles. Over 28 years, I've seen a lot of cycles in the league.”
Stopping the option requires discipline and the key is defensive ends and outside linebackers are trained to track down the quarterback in the pocket. Rushing the passer is the key to defenses in the NFL. The read option takes advantage of that.
Capers said the 49ers had not run a lot of read option before that game. He believes his defense will be better prepared for it this time around.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune