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Tennessee Titans: Titans Should Run the Zone Read

The Zone Read is the new fad in the NFL and the Tennessee Titans should utilize it with Jake Locker and Chris Johnson.

The Titans need an identity, they need to find something that they can do offensively and do it consistently. Enter the Zone Read which is run out of the spread offense. Anyone who has watched some college football has seen the Zone Read. In the NFL, if you’ve seen the Redskins, Panthers, or 49ers then you’ve also seen the Zone Read. RGIII tore up the NFL this year running it with the Skins and against the Green Bay Packers this weekend, Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards. Yes, a QB ran for 181 yards in a playoff game using the Zone Read.

What is the Zone Read?

The Zone Read is basically a play that is employed out of the spread offense. The best thing about the play is that it is relatively simple to run, yet hard to defend. The play is run out of the spread formation where the running back goes in the opposite direction of of the QB (towards the line of scrimmage). The QB reads the back side DE or LB to decide what to do. If the DE or LB sinks in to tackle the RB, the QB keeps the ball and takes the edge. If the DE or LB plays the QB, he hands it to the RB. Simple yet effective.

Why Should the Titans Run the Zone Read?

So why should the Titans try running it? It is a simple and effective offensive tool and philosophy. The Titans also have the skill players in position to run it effectively. Jake Locker runs a 4.6 40 and he has the benefit of having Chris Johnson in the backfield with him. They may not want to run it all the time, but they could easily run 20 snaps a game using the Zone Read.

If the Titans can run 20 or so snaps a game out of the spread utilizing the Zone Read and be effective, I think it will help develop Locker as a passer. Why? Did you see RGIII this year with an effective Zone Read running game? Defenses got shredded. If the Zone Read is effective the the play-action passing game can really flourish.

This play out of the spread is very well suited for Locker and CJ. Locker is a good runner and CJ can take it to the house any time he touches it. Once they establish the run then you hit the defense on the play-action.

Why This Can Help the Titans Offense?

For a young QB who has struggled with his accuracy, Locker needs coaches to help make the game easier for him. One way to make the game easier for a QB is to have a good running game so you can then incorporate the play-action game. The field opens up more, you can eliminate some of your reads which hopefully will make a young QB think faster.

One thing is for sure, the Titans must figure out how they are going to use Jake Locker and do it. I’ve heard for two years now how they want to take advantage of his ability to throw on the run and it hasn’t happened.

This is just an option but I think that it is a very good option to open up the offense.


What say you?


Shawn Eagle


You can follow me on twitter @RS1Eagle

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Tags: Chris Johnson Jake Locker Tennessee Titans

  • Andraus

    Great observation! I actually called in to the Mike Munchak show and suggested the implementation of more of the zone read option into the playbook. we have GOT to start playing to the strengths of all of our weapons and utilizing them much better than we are now

    • Shawn Eagle

      Thanks. Yeah we definitely should be more open minded on both offense and defense. Last year we heard about how we were going to be a passing team….didn’t work. Using the zone read for 20 plays wouldn’t hurt

      • Justin Stewart

        No kidding. Makes me nauseous thinking about this last season…

  • josh gunnels

    I dont know. Locker didnt run that offense in college did he? We should have run it with Vince but not sure about Jake. Did you see him pitch to CJ on 3rd and 1 in the Jets game!? Only time they ran the option all year and it was a major fail. I know the zone read is different from the standard option but without a history of running it i don’t know how quick he would pick it up. I also think the nfl defenses are going to adapt to it next year as well.
    Maybe it could work but i would rather him use his running ability to extend plays and take off on breakdowns.

    • Shawn Eagle

      No he didn’t in college. We def should have run it with Vince, but Fish was too rigid to change.

      The best thing is that its not a very hard play to have to learn.
      Using his running ability to extend plays and take off on breakdowns will still leave him out there to get hit.

  • Brandon Paille

    Jake ran a spread offense in Washington, this shouldn’t be too hard to add as a wrinkle to our offense. However, we just don’t have a good offensive scheme in place, as you pointed out.

    • Justin Stewart

      Yeah. I’m excited/nervous to see this offense in 2013. Should have been great in 2012, but it just didn’t happen. Who knows what we’ll see this year.

    • josh gunnels

      the hang up with the offensive scheme this year was the over complication of the routes. Jake held the ball too long waiting for the receiver to break, because he wasn’t sure which way they were going to go. it made everyone look bad.

      • Brandon Paille

        Agreed. I like Loggains, even though I’m in the minority. These coaching hires to fill offense assistants I think are looking really good.

  • Joshua Huffman

    I’m interested in seeing how defenses respond to this in 2013. They’ll have an offseason to study it. May as well add some of that into the offseason, see how it works.

    • Shawn Eagle

      if anything it will add flexibility to the offense. There are different variations of the same play you can run. There are different play action passes you can use as well.

      The most important point for me is that it diversifies us as an offense.

  • Jason Peters

    Jumping in late, but I gotta say, I definitely like the idea. I do agree with what Josh said, though, which is that this whole thing may be moot once defenses study and practice against it for a year. There was a reason the option wasn’t a viable scheme before, and I think once defenses figure it out, it won;t be as effective. Still, give Locker all the tools in the world. He needs to find success one way or another in 2013.