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THE ZONE BLOCKING SYSTEM

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by warhawk, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    The thing that jumps out about it is that not many pro teams go with this system even though it seems to have worked effectively where it has been used.

    Denver and Atlanta both had success with it and now with the Falcons new HC there they are going away from it.

    Here's some things I have observed as to why this is and also how the Pack evolved into this scheme.

    First, it's not easy to change over to personnel that can do what it takes nor is it easy to teach guys that are not familiar with it. It's not like there are Zone Blocking System guards and tackles and centers floating around the NFL. Our many coaches that are familiar with it for that matter.

    The evolution of this system getting installed here has been interesting to watch. It obviously wasn't the direction anybody was thinking when TT first got here. It wasn't considered until MM became coach and Jago was hired at OC who had previous experience with it.

    The fact that Rivera, Wahle, and then Flanny were not retained played right into a faster transition to personnel that had experience playing in this system.

    Fortunately we already had Well's which helped and then came Colledge, Spitz, Moll, and now Barbre. Clifton and Taush have struggled at times but seem to be getting it down with time.

    Normally this would not be an easy transitional type thing and I can see where teams, especially with a veteran line, would not want to go thru it.

    What I do like is that well.....it works. Atlanta and Denver showed how effective it can be once you have guys that know how to run it.

    Secondly, You don't need a L. Tomlinson type running back to have a good running game.

    Third, many colleges DO use the ZBS but not many pros. That makes finding good players out of college easier to find and less competitive to get than more traditional blockers that most the other NFL teams will be after. Same with the RB's that have LEARNED how to be effective in a ZBS in college.

    Last, opposing teams have to figure out how to prepare for it like once a year. Not as easy as preparing for a similar offense to what you saw two weeks ago.

    It may lead to draft picks that make you go "say what?" Jackson for example was curious with other RB's slated ahead of him on the chart. The thing is they don't have seperate charts for blockers and RB's that played in traditional blocking schemes vs. the ZBS.

    It made sense to take him since he showed the strengths a RB needs to be successful in it and he had experience with it at Nebraska who is a team that uses zone blocking.

    Why take a chance on somebody else that's never been exposed to it on the chance he might be good in that system? I understand the pick.

    Hopefully thru this transition we will see the effectiveness of the ZBS like Denver and Atlanta has had in the past. It hasn't been all that easy but probably easier than it would be for other teams due to the timing of certain things that brought an influx of zone blocking type lineman in fairly quickly. A two year change over is about as fast as it could possibly be done after looking back when all this started.

    Which is why we probably won't see many other teams try to do this.
     
  2. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    For those looking for a definition to the scheme... here you go.. and it will maybe help dispell the illusion that any running back can be successful in the scheme. To me the running back needs to have great vision, decisive decision making, instincts and a decent burst to utilize the scheme.

    But Warhawk's point above to me is correct.. you have to have the correct personal to run the scheme, the lineman have to be athletic and be able to make reads at the line. Additionally they have to be able to get out of their stance quickly.

    The running game in football used to be pretty simple. The most complex things you would see for line play were some pulling guards to run sweeps or traps. But then several years ago you began to hear the word zone get thrown around more and more frequently (with the likes of Denver, Atlanta and others adopting it... yes us too) until it's about all you hear anymore.

    In a general overview this is how a zone should be blocked, but I won't pretend to be an expert, but I will try to explain the basics to simplify things a bit. In the offense you and I grew up in, most of the time the running back had a specific point to try to run through, and the OL tried to create a seam right in that spot. Called man or drive blocking, requires more strength and doesn't require as much agility because everything happens in front of you.

    With zone, you don't tell the running back exactly where to go. You direct his first couple of steps, and the point at which he gets the hand-off from the QB, but from there it's his responsibility to find a seam. Hence the "one" cut and go mantra that you hear about from the coaches.

    There are a couple different kinds of zone, two of the most common being the inside zone and the zone stretch.

    The "inside zone" is more of a downhill attack, and is more likely to produce the cutback lane. The back must be able to read the progress of the play and cut and go.

    The "zone stretch" does just what it sounds like - runs more towards the edge, trying to get defensive flow horizontally so a vertical seam can be created, moreso of the drive or man scheme. Big play potential here.

    Blocking the zone is where it really helps to have athletic linemen who can move horizontally with decent power and push. In fact, the OL must be able to move horizontally, all while keeping their shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and while engaging the defense. If they open up their shoulders at all, at can create a seam for the defense to get penetration and disrupt the play before it starts.
     
  3. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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  4. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    Appreciated Pack93.

    I wasn't going to confess a great knowledge of the system itself. I did hear earlier this year the coaches talking about the film they evaluated last year and one overall observation was they have to move the DE out better. They said the system calls for the Tackle or Tackle/Guard or Tackle/TE combo to get the DE pushed out or further down the line and that wasn't done effectively enough this last year.

    I also remember hearing that there were some variations of the running game they did not bring in last year because they thought it would be information overload. I would think some of that could be installed this season.

    I may be the eternal optimist but I can see where the "0" line will be in a whole new ball park now having grasped the offense and knowing the playbook and being able to just "go" now.

    I definately see this resulting in more "big" plays by RB's which didn't start happening until later last year and was surprised to see that MO actually sprung more of those than AG.
     
  5. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    No problem... it is at least what I understand it to be... while I think it would be difficult to not fire out of your stance, playing alot of Oline in HS and summer camps before I got hurt.. one won't think it would be all the difficult to learn this system... but you have to have the agility to pull it off...

    A couple of years ago I was talking to Chris & Joe about this scheme... they both played pro ball... anywho they seemed to think it would be more difficult to adjust to the fact in zone you want to keep the defender more stationary instead of driving them... hence to allow lanes to open up by not pushing the defender into the open cutback lane.
     
  6. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I agree! I'm excited about the possibilities. The guys won't have to "think" so much, it will be more natural for them this year. I have BIG hopes for the running game, which will of course then open up the pass more too.
     
  7. Mortfini

    Mortfini Cheesehead

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    i love the idea that green bay r running a ZBS even if most of the teams r not
     
  8. Lare

    Lare Cheesehead

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    It would be interesting to see what the percentage is of the teams that run the ZBS and have made it to the playoffs and the Super Bowl in recent years, as opposed to teams that do not. As effective as it is, you would think the percentage would be pretty high.
     
  9. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I honestly don't know the stats on that. Hopefully we can accomplish alot this year.
    Heck.......I'm still pulling for the super bowl! I know.......i'm probably dreaming, but hey, why NOT dream?
     
  10. warhawk

    warhawk Cheesehead

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    I think where the zone does fair well is in rushing stats comparing all teams which reflects the effectiveness of that aspect of the offense.

    Having a good run game will certainly help get teams to the SB but they have to have all the other parts of the game working as well.

    History seems to show the zone has held up it's end for the teams that use it. Other aspects of those teams may not have faired as well but running the ball well was not a problem.
     
  11. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Folks - Wikipedia has a great zone blocking page:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_blocking

    I had no idea Carolina will implement it this year. Kind of stupid to get rid of KJ, considering he's one of the best blocking WRs in the NFL.
     

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