Recently, the read-option has burst on to the scene, because of its immense success last year. Everyone and anyone is writing about it, giving there views on how they feel it should be stopped. Now, I am definitely not as knowledgeable as any of those people, but I decided to input my two cents.
Last year, the Rams seemed to somewhat slow down the read option. Now, I can't look at tape that much, and therefore have to rely on my memory and various clips I have seen. This is what a I gather the Rams did to slow down the read-option.
First, the got pressure on the outside, while keeping the middle firm. Sometimes an extra corner back or safety had to be brought in. Basically, they brought a lot of pressure, trying to fill in all the gaps, preventing no place to run.
Secondly, there linebackers played smart. They read the read-option well, and most of the time, made correct moves to get in the way of it. So while the D-line got pressure, the linebackers would watch the holes that form and look to cover them.
Thirdly, and this is very important, most of the time, the Rams had good coverage. Why this helps is that this effectively takes out the option of throwing, leaving the QB to decide where to run the play. If the QB waited too long, then the D-lineman had their hands on him.
Now, the Rams weren't completely successful, but there are reasons why.
1) The Rams linebacker are not the most athletic group, and therefore, find it tough to run with a QB. They had to be in the right position at all times, otherwise the play would break down.
2) Most long runs came when the D-line missed sacks, allowing plenty of open field for the QB to run. Or when the D-lineman overran there man, to get to the QB. That goes down to the D-lines awareness and ability to tackle.
3) Safety play was sub-par, and at my times, when the read-option was done correctly, the linebackers would need to rely on the safetys to bail them out. Except, on one of the safety knew to tackle, and teams soon found out.
4) No Speed. Yes, we have one or two speed players, but most of the time, when a player gets behind us, our defense can't catch up.
So my solution to the NFC West problem is this.
1) Draft a new safety who can cover, but still has some speed to burn. They also need to be solid tacklers. Cyrian, Elam and Phillip Thomas fit the bill IMO.
2) Get a fast, athletic OLB. We need a linebacker who can cover up for his mistakes and keep up with the QB or RB before they can break off a long one. Zavier Goodwin fits model, and can be a value pick later. Other high pick options are Ezekial Ansah, Barkevious Mingo and Arthur Brown ( yes, Arthur Brown is the least athletic here, but I think he could get the job done) another name could be Margus Hunt, but if he is more of a DE, I don't know.
3) Run a 3-4 look. Now, a lot of read-options work by having one end unblocked, allowing the QB to read him and see make a decision. Or perhaps a TE comes blind side him while the RT/LT seals the inside. Now, if you ran a 3-4 look, with pretty much 3 DTs, then this would not work as well. The player would be off the line, so can't be blind sided as easily, and the QB can't read what he does. The defensive player now can read what happens in front of him, and make the play. Of course, if you keep running this, then eventually the offense will change its blocking assignments, and take out the OLB, leaving a massive hole. Thsi should be run every now and then to unnerve the offense.
I didn't know whether to call it how to stop the read-option or how to stop a running QB. Now, these are my thoughts, and I am pretty sure people will either think they are obvious or that I am an idiot or both. Regardless, I would like to hear what you have to say, and maybe help improve my understanding.