- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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The success of young quarterbacks running the read option led to a handful of teams visiting with college programs to study it.
The Houston Texans were not one of them, avoiding what might have been an overreaction by some teams.
"We know about the college game," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "We’ve been seeing that for a long time. I’ve gone through the wishbone, the option, the veer option, all those things. As football evolves, you have to keep yourself up with things. Both (linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) and VJ (defensive backs coach Vance Joseph) coached in college and coached against that option. It’s not something new. It’s something new in our league, but it’s not something new or something we haven’t seen before. I believe Carolina ran it when we played them a couple of years ago. We’re starting to see it, so it’s something you have to be aware of."
"Obviously I have the ability to run the ball and all that, but I’m not trying to run," Wilson said. "I’m trying to drop back in the pocket and, every once in a while, get outside of the pocket and make the throws too as well. I’m not trying to take any unnecessary hits."
Smart, given what happened to another read-option quarterback in Robert Griffin III. Also smart given what Griffin's offensive coordinator told the Washington Post this week. The element of surprise is gone and opposing defenses have adjusted.
And Wilson has been great with his pass-first mentality. His QBR this season is the second highest in the NFL, only behind Peyton Manning.
Some other numbers from ESPN Stats & Info on Wilson:
• Over 38 percent of Russell Wilson’s pass attempts this season are play-action passes, the highest rate in the NFL.
My input: This used to be a major strength of the Texans', but it hasn't been this season. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub isn't in the top four among players with the highest percentage of play-action passes this season.
• Wilson has thrown a touchdown pass against at least five pass-rushers in 10 of his last 13 games after failing to do so in his first eight career starts. No team has used such pressure more than the Texans since Phillips took over as defensive coordinator (49 percent of dropbacks). Wilson has completed 72.7 percent of his passes against five or more rushers this season and has 9.5 yards per attempt against five or more rushers in the last 13 games. During that span, he's also thrown 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in those situations.