The Read Optional

Oliver Connolly
Smart Football. Explaining Why. NFL Newsletter and Podcast.
Created 06 May 2021
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  • A Thank You
    14 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read • 2 0
    Can you believe that it’s already Week 10? The season is steaming along. And it has been such a joy to be able to bring The Read Optional to you, unfiltered. Writing about the league and the sport in ...
  • Podcast: The Midseason Hot-Seat Update
    11 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read
    On the latest podcast: I’m joined by the great Conor Orr (Sports Illustrated) to look at a weird coaching landscape: Who, exactly, is on the hot seat? Will anyone go one-and-done? Will Rodgers and Hac...
  • What Jordan Love's debut tells us about quarterback development
    11 Nov 2021 • 10 min read • 1 0
    I had not planned on writing about Jordan Love this week. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it served as a nice example of quarterback development – the difficulties of blending a yo...
  • The Ravens defense is officially a problem
    09 Nov 2021 • 14 min read • 1 0
    The Ravens defense has officially become a problem – and not in the fun way. Sunday marked the third time this season that Lamar Jackson had led the Ravens to a win after his side trailed by double-di...
  • Podcast: The Evolution of the Seahawks Defense
    04 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read • 1 0
    On the latest podcast, I’m joined by knower of all things Seahawks Matty F. Brown (Seahawks Maven) to discuss: How and why the Seahawks have shifted defensive philosophies since the Legion of Boom Wha...
  • One number you need to know for every AFC team: Part II
    04 Nov 2021 • 3 min read
    We are now eight weeks through the season, which is as good a time as any to take stock of where the league is at. Modern analysis is flooded with all kinds of nerdy numbers and metrics – metrics that...
  • One number you need to know for every AFC team: Part I
    02 Nov 2021 • < 1 min read
    We are now eight weeks through the season, which is as good a time as any to take stock of where the league is at. Modern analysis is flooded with all kinds of nerdy numbers and metrics – metrics that...
  • It's Time For The (somewhat) Halfway Awards
    29 Oct 2021 • < 1 min read • 2 2
    The latest podcast is an MCFS special. Tom and I hand out a whole bunch of awards for the first seven-and-a-bit weeks of the season. Including: MVP The Most Miserable Franchise The Old Guy’s Still Got...
  • Making it Rain: How Defenses 'Option' The Blitz
    28 Oct 2021 • 12 min read • 1 0
    When we think of ‘option’ football, we primarily think of the offensive side of the ball. We think of the you-go-here-I-go-there designs that teams run in their RPO packages or through the quarterback...
  • The Bengals and the art of post-snap movement
    26 Oct 2021 • 2 min read • 1 0
    The Bengals are good. At this point, that is less an opinion and more a statement of fact. And while a whole bunch of the attention is — rightly — being dumped on Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, let’s r...
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