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Direckshun
01-01-2008, 01:56 PM
Wanted to get a jump on understanding this, since there's a rumor the Chiefs may shift to it next year.

From what I understand, non-zone run plays that most teams run involve a specific route intended for the RB. The team blocks appropriately to clear that specific hole, and only sometimes does the play offer the RB an "option 2" to go to in case the first falls apart.

Zone-blocking, correct me if I'm wrong, is nothing but options. Every OL blocks their zone and supplies the RB with a series of holes that he can choose from.

The most successful team doing this, easily, are the Broncos, and they typically feature an intelligent but undersized OL.

What else am I missing here when it comes to zone-blocking? Any help would be appreciated.

BigRedChief
01-01-2008, 02:18 PM
By Bob Davie
Special to ESPN.com

The key to good offensive football is having a balanced attack with equal amounts of running and passing. With the emphasis on the passing game and the evolution of 8-man fronts and zone blitzing defenses, it has become more and more difficult to be able to effectively run the football. Over the past few weeks, we have had a lot of questions regarding zone blocking and exactly what that means. In this week's class we will try to explain zone blocking by the offense and why it has become a common scheme used to run the football.

What is zone blocking?

Zone blocking in the running game is when two or three offensive linemen work in tandem as opposed to each offensive lineman having a specific, predetermined man to block. Zone blocking involves the center, guard, tackle and tight end working in combination to block an area with an emphasis on double-teaming the defensive linemen who are aligned on the line of scrimmage.

The concept is for two adjacent linemen to come off in unison and attack a defensive line to the play side or to the side the ball carrier is going. The advantage, as opposed to man blocking, is that you create a double-team with two players blocking one defensive lineman. This allows the offensive linemen to be aggressive because he knows he has help if his defensive lineman was to pinch inside. It also provides movement at the point of attack, which can open creases for the running back.

Zone blocking initially starts out as a double team at the point of attack on the down defensive linemen, but the beauty of it is that one of the offensive linemen will leave to attack the linebacker while one stays to take over the defensive lineman. The key is for the two offensive linemen working in unison to double-team the defensive lineman to decide who and when one of them will leave to block the linebacker. In the diagram below, we show the offensive line starting the initial double team on the defensive lineman.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_1.gif

It appears that they have doubled the defensive end and defensive tackle and allowed the linebackers to go free, but both offensive linemen on the double team have all four of their eyes on the linebacker while the double team is taking place. One of the linemen will come off the double and block the linebacker.

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_2.gif

There are several keys to this technique:
1. The linemen stay hip to hip.
2. The linemen keep their shoulders square.
3. Most importantly, all four of their eyes are on the linebacker.
4. Knowing when and who takes over the defensive lineman and who leaves to block the linebacker.
In the next diagrams, we show the technique of going from the double team to taking over the linebacker. If the end pinches inside, the guard will take over and the tackle will leave for the linebacker. (See below)

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_3.gif

If the end stays outside, the tackle will take over and the guard will leave for the linebacker. (See below)

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_4.gif


Difference between man blocking and zone blocking

Zone blocking first started to take place back when teams ran an old slant and angle defense. They would line head-up on an offensive lineman then slant the defense one way or another. It is easy to show this problem in man blocking and the best way to illustrate it is to show the defensive end pinching inside. If you are in man blocking and the tackle is assigned to the defensive end, he not only misses the defensive end pinching, but the DE knocks off the guard and keeps him from going to the linebacker.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_5.gif


There are different kinds of zone plays and you will often here the term the outside zone. In the figure below, we show the landmark of the back in the outside zone. It is obvious that at the angle the back takes the ball there is very little opportunity for the back to cut back behind the center. This affects all of the linemen's techniques because it is predetermined where the ball is going.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_6.gif

The inside zone is another term you hear. On the inside zone, the back's angle is more to the inside leg of the offensive tackle. Because the back is headed in a more straight-ahead angle, there is now the ability for the back to cut back behind the center. It is important that the back gets into the heels of the offensive linemen before he makes the cut. The offensive line can't allow penetration.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_7.gif


Pass blocking
Zone or Man
Zone-locking or man-locking principles may also be applied to pass blocking. Offensive linemen, when facing twisting defensive linemen, can also either lock on man-to-man or pass it off in a zone concept. When passing it off, or zone blocking, the key is to stop the penetration of the defensive end. In the figure below, the offensive tackle must stop the penetrating defensive end before passing him off to the guard. The offensive tackle then takes the defensive tackle looping around.

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_8.gif


Conclusion
Zone blocking was created to handle moving defensive linemen. It is a simple concept, but it takes a lot of practice because it involves offensive linemen working in unison and decisions have to be made while the play is taking place. In zone blocking, you don't have a lot of different assignments, but you have a lot of techniques. It takes many repetitions to get the feel of working together as a unit. The diversity of zone blocking comes by the back running different angles and by the offense using different formations to confuse the defense.

Ugly Duck
01-01-2008, 02:18 PM
Part of the Donkey way is to cut the defender down by diving at his knees or ankles, then rolling at him while whipping his legs out at the guy. The defender has to jump out of the way as much as possible to avoid damage to his knees & ankles. That gives the RB time to squirt into the zone created by the battle to save the defender's bones, tendons, and ligaments.

The Oakland offense sure as heck improved after going to ZBS. Last season we were #29 in rushing at less than 95 ypg & gave up 72 fuggin sacks. This year we're #6 at over 130 ypg & surrendered only 41 sacks. Huge improvement.

B_Ambuehl
01-01-2008, 03:26 PM
The zone blocking talk described in that above article is what the chiefs run now. They used to be very good at it. It is not the same as the zone blocking rumored to be installed as that should better be called a "cut blocking" scheme.

Easy 6
01-01-2008, 03:48 PM
By Bob Davie
Special to ESPN.com

The key to good offensive football is having a balanced attack with equal amounts of running and passing. With the emphasis on the passing game and the evolution of 8-man fronts and zone blitzing defenses, it has become more and more difficult to be able to effectively run the football. Over the past few weeks, we have had a lot of questions regarding zone blocking and exactly what that means. In this week's class we will try to explain zone blocking by the offense and why it has become a common scheme used to run the football.

What is zone blocking?

Zone blocking in the running game is when two or three offensive linemen work in tandem as opposed to each offensive lineman having a specific, predetermined man to block. Zone blocking involves the center, guard, tackle and tight end working in combination to block an area with an emphasis on double-teaming the defensive linemen who are aligned on the line of scrimmage.

The concept is for two adjacent linemen to come off in unison and attack a defensive line to the play side or to the side the ball carrier is going. The advantage, as opposed to man blocking, is that you create a double-team with two players blocking one defensive lineman. This allows the offensive linemen to be aggressive because he knows he has help if his defensive lineman was to pinch inside. It also provides movement at the point of attack, which can open creases for the running back.

Zone blocking initially starts out as a double team at the point of attack on the down defensive linemen, but the beauty of it is that one of the offensive linemen will leave to attack the linebacker while one stays to take over the defensive lineman. The key is for the two offensive linemen working in unison to double-team the defensive lineman to decide who and when one of them will leave to block the linebacker. In the diagram below, we show the offensive line starting the initial double team on the defensive lineman.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_1.gif

It appears that they have doubled the defensive end and defensive tackle and allowed the linebackers to go free, but both offensive linemen on the double team have all four of their eyes on the linebacker while the double team is taking place. One of the linemen will come off the double and block the linebacker.

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_2.gif

There are several keys to this technique:
1. The linemen stay hip to hip.
2. The linemen keep their shoulders square.
3. Most importantly, all four of their eyes are on the linebacker.
4. Knowing when and who takes over the defensive lineman and who leaves to block the linebacker.
In the next diagrams, we show the technique of going from the double team to taking over the linebacker. If the end pinches inside, the guard will take over and the tackle will leave for the linebacker. (See below)

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_3.gif

If the end stays outside, the tackle will take over and the guard will leave for the linebacker. (See below)

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_4.gif


Difference between man blocking and zone blocking

Zone blocking first started to take place back when teams ran an old slant and angle defense. They would line head-up on an offensive lineman then slant the defense one way or another. It is easy to show this problem in man blocking and the best way to illustrate it is to show the defensive end pinching inside. If you are in man blocking and the tackle is assigned to the defensive end, he not only misses the defensive end pinching, but the DE knocks off the guard and keeps him from going to the linebacker.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_5.gif


There are different kinds of zone plays and you will often here the term the outside zone. In the figure below, we show the landmark of the back in the outside zone. It is obvious that at the angle the back takes the ball there is very little opportunity for the back to cut back behind the center. This affects all of the linemen's techniques because it is predetermined where the ball is going.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_6.gif

The inside zone is another term you hear. On the inside zone, the back's angle is more to the inside leg of the offensive tackle. Because the back is headed in a more straight-ahead angle, there is now the ability for the back to cut back behind the center. It is important that the back gets into the heels of the offensive linemen before he makes the cut. The offensive line can't allow penetration.
http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_7.gif


Pass blocking
Zone or Man
Zone-locking or man-locking principles may also be applied to pass blocking. Offensive linemen, when facing twisting defensive linemen, can also either lock on man-to-man or pass it off in a zone concept. When passing it off, or zone blocking, the key is to stop the penetration of the defensive end. In the figure below, the offensive tackle must stop the penetrating defensive end before passing him off to the guard. The offensive tackle then takes the defensive tackle looping around.

http://espn.go.com/media/ncf/2002/1003/photo/bd_8.gif


Conclusion
Zone blocking was created to handle moving defensive linemen. It is a simple concept, but it takes a lot of practice because it involves offensive linemen working in unison and decisions have to be made while the play is taking place. In zone blocking, you don't have a lot of different assignments, but you have a lot of techniques. It takes many repetitions to get the feel of working together as a unit. The diversity of zone blocking comes by the back running different angles and by the offense using different formations to confuse the defense.

Good stuff BRC, this is how you go to school.

HonestChieffan
01-01-2008, 03:55 PM
Its all a moot point with Herm. Never forget he said before this season that there are "Only 5 running plays in the NFL"

If his depth of understanding of the run game is at that level, imagine his zone blocking approach...

Coach Mac
01-01-2008, 04:11 PM
There is a common misconception regarding zone-blocking and how it is implemented. Zone-blocking can be with EITHER small, intelligent linemen (ex. Denver Broncos), or it can be used with an overpowering, mauler type linemen. The prime example of using a zone-blocking run scheme with an over powering offensive line is the Dallas Cowboys of the early-to-mid 1990ís.

The key differences are the use of the full back and if the linemen chose to cut block on the backside of stretch zone plays (ex. Split zones). Just because a coach chooses a zone-blocking scheme doesnít mean every play will be a zone, nor is the zone scheme the same from team to team.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have turned zone-blocking into a science on the college level.

Hope this helps.

Coach

macdawg
01-01-2008, 04:22 PM
I've heard its ideal for zone blocking linemen to take two steps to the direction they want to zone block before making contact with a defender, hence they need to be faster in this system and is why zone blocking teams like Denver usually field smaller linemen.

DanT
01-01-2008, 04:25 PM
Part of the Donkey way is to cut the defender down by diving at his knees or ankles, then rolling at him while whipping his legs out at the guy. The defender has to jump out of the way as much as possible to avoid damage to his knees & ankles. That gives the RB time to squirt into the zone created by the battle to save the defender's bones, tendons, and ligaments.

The Oakland offense sure as heck improved after going to ZBS. Last season we were #29 in rushing at less than 95 ypg & gave up 72 fuggin sacks. This year we're #6 at over 130 ypg & surrendered only 41 sacks. Huge improvement.

As long as the blocker is not clipping the defender, I have zero problem with the blocker diving at knees and ankles. Similarly, I have no problem whatsoever with a pass catcher executing perfectly legal blocks on defensive backs, something that the Broncos complained that the Chiefs were doing to them.

Steamboat Springs
01-01-2008, 05:54 PM
Alex Gibbs was with the Chiefs from 1993-94, you guys should already be familiar with zone blocking.

BigRedChief
01-01-2008, 09:36 PM
Good stuff BRC, this is how you go to school.
Or do a goggle search.:)

cdcox
01-01-2008, 09:45 PM
I think we are going to the Denver scheme since we are also supposed to be adopting the bootleg passing game.

FAX
01-01-2008, 10:12 PM
With this group, think "total confusion at the line of scrimmage".

FAX

BigRedChief
01-02-2008, 06:01 AM
With this group, think "total confusion at the line of scrimmage".

FAX
We will move Waters to Center and McIntosh to RT. They will be good there. We will draft a stud LT and LG for them to grow together. We will sign a FA as the RG. Bates will come in and set up the zone blocking play action bootleg offense.

We actually have hope now.

the Talking Can
01-02-2008, 07:55 AM
good thread

everyone take 5

StcChief
01-02-2008, 09:51 AM
GB has moved to ZBS a few years back.

Rausch
01-02-2008, 09:54 AM
We will move Waters to Center and McIntosh to RT. They will be good there. We will draft a stud LT and LG for them to grow together. We will sign a FA as the RG. Bates will come in and set up the zone blocking play action bootleg offense.

We actually have hope now.

Wait, wasn't it Waters that we moved away from center because he kept ****ing up the snap with Trent?

So long now I can't remember... :hmmm:

el borracho
01-02-2008, 10:02 PM
Good stuff BRC, this is how you go to school.

why in the world did you quote that entire article to say, "Good stuff?" That is completely unnecessary.

Easy 6
01-02-2008, 10:17 PM
why in the world did you quote that entire article to say, "Good stuff?" That is completely unnecessary.

Uhhh, maybe some people here should read it twice... :shrug: ...lol.

I suppose there could have been another way to say thanks.

Point taken, thanx for catching that...

the Talking Can
01-02-2008, 10:31 PM
yeah, how does ZB change what we want in a LT?

or does it....

OnTheWarpath58
01-02-2008, 10:38 PM
One thing I dont remember anyone mentioning:

Sam Baker is a perfect fit as a zone blocking lineman.

Unfortunately, he's not a perfect fir as a Top 5 pick, and we'd likely have to fall to the last 10 picks of the first to get him.

Unless by some act of God he was there in the 2nd, but I doubt it.

FAX
01-02-2008, 10:39 PM
yeah, how does ZB change what we want in a LT?

or does it....

Based on my research, it means we need a LT who can flail like a madman in space, Mr. the Talking Bong.

FAX

Direckshun
01-02-2008, 10:39 PM
You can find good zone-blocking tackles later in the first day.