Aaron Rodgers: NFL 'cyclical'

Updated: January 17, 2013, 11:43 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The read option offense is the buzz of the NFL right now, but Aaron Rodgers said on his radio show this week that he expects it to fade away, just like the Wildcat formation did before it.

Rodgers made his comments after he and the Green Bay Packers were eliminated from the playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards and passed for 263 out of the pistol formation.

Quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton also have excelled using elements of the read option.

When asked on his radio show on 540 ESPN on Tuesday if he'd like to see some of the elements added to the Packers' offense, the reigning NFL MVP said "no," adding that the league is "cyclical" and defenses will eventually catch up with the read option.

"Things have come back around that were being used 20, 30 years ago. But this too, I think, will pass. Some of the pistol, read option stuff will eventually pass … now it might not be for 10 more years," he said.

Rodgers said while he believes the read option will pass, athletic quarterbacks are here to stay.

"The athletic quarterback, I don't think, is going to pass at all. You have seen the trend with more and more guys who can make plays when the pocket breaks down, who can extend plays, who are also good passers. You will continue to see that," Rodgers said.  

"We have seen that the last few years especially -- the year Robert Griffin had this year, his mobility. Russell Wilson is an athletic guy. Andrew Luck, as well, is an underrated athlete. You are going to see more and more of the top picks being big-time athletes as well, like Kaepernick is."

He cited the Wildcat as the most recent example of a formation that took the NFL by storm only to fade away.

"But I think as we saw five years ago with the Wildcat stuff, it had its success and less and less people are doing it. Now it's more of the zone read stuff, reading the end and keeping it or pulling it with a quarterback who has some athleticism. At some point, on some level, they are going to figure out a way to consistently stop that.

"Then that will make its way up to the NFL or enough of these guys who are going to be franchise guys, if they are not already, may take some unnecessary shots or decide that they would rather stay in the pocket and throw rather than rush the ball 15 times a game."

While Rodgers is skeptical of the longevity of the offense, Fran Tarkenton, the NFL's original "scrambler," believes running quarterbacks are poised to take over the NFL. He expressed his views in a column he wrote for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press this week.

"Watching the NFL this season and the playoffs so far, I am convinced we are witnessing a seismic shift at the quarterback position. Teams are embracing the running quarterback like never before, and we finally have a supply of talented, athletic players rising up to meet that demand," he wrote, emphasizing later in his column that a quarterback still has to be able to throw well to win in the NFL.

Not all mobile quarterbacks are on the rise. Tim Tebow came out of nowhere to run and pass the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, but his 2012 season was a disaster. His passing ability has been cited as the main stumbling block to earning a starting job in the league.

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