Sports

NFL HALFWAY: Is read option changing the game or a fading fad? Defenses haven't stopped it yet

  • FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2014, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football against the Green Bay Packers in Miami Gardens, Fla. While Tannehill haven't missed a start since the beginning of his rookie season in 2012, risking the quarterback's health remains part of the read-option debate. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2014, file photo, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football against the Green Bay Packers in Miami Gardens, Fla. While Tannehill haven't missed a start since the beginning of his rookie season in 2012, risking the quarterback's health remains part of the read-option debate. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2014, file photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scrambles in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Seattle. Wilson is averaging 49 yards per game and 7.6 per carry, both career highs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2014, file photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scrambles in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Seattle. Wilson is averaging 49 yards per game and 7.6 per carry, both career highs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera watches the action during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Charlotte, N.C. Rivera has been instrumental in the resurgence of the read option. He sees the danger as minimal because of today's restrictions on tacklers, making the quarterback keeper a safer proposition. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2014, file photo, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera watches the action during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Charlotte, N.C. Rivera has been instrumental in the resurgence of the read option. He sees the danger as minimal because of today's restrictions on tacklers, making the quarterback keeper a safer proposition. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)  (The Associated Press)

Ronald Reagan, who was pretty good at debates, could offer an argument as to the staying power of the read option.

Some dismiss the package as a fad already fading from the NFL. But Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he watched the read option in the 1940 movie "Knute Rockne, All American," which including Reagan as triple-threat halfback George Gipp.

Rivera has been instrumental in the resurgence of the read option by taking advantage of quarterback Cam Newton's running ability.

And midway through the 2014 season, running quarterbacks continue to make an impact.

Russell Wilson of Seattle, Colin Kaepernick of San Francisco and Ryan Tannehill of Miami are all on pace for career highs in rushing yardage while averaging more than 5 yards per carry.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine