Here are the main points of the rule for hitting a QB in read option situations that I think is fair and enforceable.

1. When a QB is facing the defensive line and places the ball in the stomach of the RB or WR with two hands he is giving himself the option of pulling it back out of the RB's gut and keeping it and running it himself. In these cases, whether it is out of shotgun or after an under centre snap, the QB will be assumed to be in "run option" mode and as such is not afforded the protections of a QB who is not in run option mode. It does not matter the running skill or lack thereof, nor the running tendency or lack thereof of the QB.

2. While in "run option" mode, the QB is considered as a RB and can be tackled in the same manner as deemed legal for a RB, however only for an "allowable time", defined as that period that it is reasonable in real time speed for the defender to suspect that the QB does indeed have the ball. Any hits after the allowable time will be issued a penalty as unnecessary roughness.

3. When a QB places the ball in the stomach of the RB or WR with one hand, whether or not he is facing the defensive line in shotgun or under centre snap or has his back to the defensive line in traditional hand off mode or play action, he is not run option mode and shall be afforded all of the protections granted to the QB in the rule book. Under this scenario, he is only deemed to be a runner if he attempts to run with the ball.

4. Once the QB is in a passing position, whether after a run option mode or in standard passing mode, he is considered a QB and he is afforded all of the protections granted to a QB in passing position in the rule book.

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A few notes:

In a standard shotgun hand off, even though the QB faces the defensive line, he holds the ball with one hand for the hand off. Having only one hand on the ball would all but eliminate the option of the QB pulling it back out as the risk of fumble is far too great.

In a standard play action play, as the QB would not be facing the defense, he would not be deemed in run option mode. If he did the "empty hand" fake hand off to the RB, once out of that fake he would either be in passing position and be protected or he would start to run with it, and would not be protected.

If Chip wanted Bradford protected, he would have to execute the hand offs either the QB not facing the defense or the QB handing the ball off with one hand.

These rules should be easy to implement and coach, with the toughest thing being the judgement call on "allowable time". They would be fair, but it may cause us to change our system for fear of getting our skinny legged QB hurt.