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Byrd430
01-25-2011, 12:19 AM
I've got a good overall knowledge of football schemes, but I love to learn as much about football as I can. There's one particular aspect I'm having trouble with and that is zone blocking schemes.

I understand what ZBS is and what it is meant to accomplish but what makes prospect A a better fit for it than prospect B? What type of skill set makes for a better fit? What prospects in this year's draft are good fits?

Duffman57
01-25-2011, 12:23 AM
I've got a good overall knowledge of football schemes, but I love to learn as much about football as I can. There's one particular aspect I'm having trouble with and that is zone blocking schemes.

I understand what ZBS is and what it is meant to accomplish but what makes prospect A a better fit for it than prospect B? What type of skill set makes for a better fit? What prospects in this year's draft are good fits?

A zone blocking scheme is much more about angles and getting into position before the "other guy" whereas a team like the Cowboys and the Chargers run Power blocking schemes where it is mostly about driving guys off the ball and getting the big boys moving up field. The reason why smaller guys are better for the ZBS is because they need to get into position very quickly and beat guys to spots to wall them off. Examples of ZBS guys are Hudson and Costanzo (Though costanzo is not limited to this role, he's better fit for it IMO), whereas with a power blocking scheme, you would rather have big mauler types like Carimi or Moffitt in the same positions.

Babylon
01-25-2011, 12:26 AM
^
Tyron Smith, USC. would probably be the top guy for the ZBS.

JHL6719
01-25-2011, 12:31 AM
Teams that employ a ZBS are usually looking for the quicker, more athletic lineman who are often viewed as "undersized" for a man/drive blocking scheme.

Guys who perform well using combination blocks, and excel at getting to the second level to get on the linebackers, etc.

ZBS line coaches will tell you that intelligence and technique are two of the more important aspects required to play in that scheme.

It's a much more complicated system that requires everyone to be on the same page because of so many combination blocks, and both guys having to see the same thing, and both guys knowing which one is supposed to sustain their initial block, and which guy is supposed to peel off to engage in another block.

I think guys like Rodney Hudson, Kris O'Dowd, Anthony Castonzo, James Carpenter, Stephen Schilling, Danny Watkins, etc. fit well in a ZBS.

ellsy82
01-25-2011, 12:32 AM
^
Tyron Smith, USC. would probably be the top guy for the ZBS.

Right. Kind of like scouting 3-4 DEs compared to 4-3 UTs. Same concept, just different position.

TheMorningZoo
01-25-2011, 02:26 AM
Generally as mentioned "quicker" and "smaller" lineman are used for the ZBS, but not limited. Generally in a power scheme your saying "get a hat on a hat" and "my guy will overpower you". Think Gabe Carimi, Marcus Cannon, and Mike Pouncey type of guys. Guys that can envelop D-Lineman at the point of attack and out muscle them. They may not be as quick to play in the ZBS, so are better off one-on-one. The ZBS can take a person like Hudson, Solder, O'Dowd, Tyron Smith-more athletic lineman, and get them in position to block an "area". All the lineman will move in a direction and instead of blocking a player, they block an "area"-so if a linebacker scrapes or a D-lineman stunts to this "zone", it is their job to pick it up. Generally then Runningbacks can read the hole, or cut-back if nothing is there (the garbage gets washed one way). The broncos ran the zone for years under shannahan and utilized smaller quicker lineman, granted they did play dirty and were notorious for cutting and chopping D-lineman at the knees. Lineman that were solid in their system: Mark Schelereth (great player all around), Tom Nalen and Matt Lepsis were great fits for the ZBS, but might not have made it in other systems.

Bengals78
01-25-2011, 02:34 AM
It is about quickness and athleticism.

When looking at a generalization of a ZBS:

// // // // //
LT LG C RG RT

The lineman do not have "assignments" so much as routes, or "tracks."
And in order for the play to work, they have to all get in their tracks and move or else the DL and LB can get down the line to make a play. They have to create the cutback lanes by getting up to the next level as well. So the more athletic and quick the OL is, the better they fit. So a mauler like Andrew Whitworth, while very very good in a power run offense, would likely struggle in the ZBS scheme. And Ryan Clady would likely have some issues in a Power O, while being one of the best ZBS OT.

DBNYDP
01-25-2011, 02:45 AM
And Ryan Clady would likely have some issues in a Power O, while being one of the best ZBS OT.
Clady is scheme diverse. He just hasn't recovered from the injury he sustained in the offseason.

Quailman
01-25-2011, 03:59 AM
Clady is scheme diverse. He just hasn't recovered from the injury he sustained in the offseason.

Slightly Off Topic here but his question has been answered...

Clady isn't good. Ever since Jay Cutler left the Broncos, Ryan Clady has let up 15 sacks in the past two years. And he isn't a good run blocker either, in 2009 the Broncos were 30th in the NFL (3.47) in YPC when the Broncos ran behind the left side of the line and in 2010 the Broncos were 26th (3.7) when running behind the left side of the line. Ever since Shanny and Cutler left the Broncos, Ryan Clady's play has dropped off in a big way. Compare Clady's #s to bottom feeder tackles and they're similar. Ryan Harris despite all his injury issues is better than Clady IMO.

Babylon
01-25-2011, 11:25 AM
Slightly Off Topic here but his question has been answered...

Clady isn't good. Ever since Jay Cutler left the Broncos, Ryan Clady has let up 15 sacks in the past two years. And he isn't a good run blocker either, in 2009 the Broncos were 30th in the NFL (3.47) in YPC when the Broncos ran behind the left side of the line and in 2010 the Broncos were 26th (3.7) when running behind the left side of the line. Ever since Shanny and Cutler left the Broncos, Ryan Clady's play has dropped off in a big way. Compare Clady's #s to bottom feeder tackles and they're similar. Ryan Harris despite all his injury issues is better than Clady IMO.

To be fair some QBs hold onto the ball too long.

Menardo75
01-25-2011, 01:45 PM
Nate Solder is another potentially great ZBS guy in this draft.

PossibleCabbage
01-25-2011, 02:07 PM
One of my pet peeves in football is when people set up a dichotomy of "power-running" versus "zone-running" with the former being associated with, well, power and the latter being associated with, well, finesse. This is false.

The actual distinction is between "zone blocking" and "man blocking" and it comes down to blocking assignments. In zone blocking, an offensive lineman has an area (generally just along a slant left or right) and their responsibility is to block every defensive player that comes into their area. In man blocking, an offensive lineman has the responsibility to block a specific member of the defense. The advantage of the former is that it is versatile and able to get long runs versus a wide variety of potential defensive alignments. The advantage of the latter is that when the correct play is called relative to the defense, very long runs will occur if everybody on the OL wins their individual battle.

There are basically only four runs running plays in the ZBS: Inside Zone Left/Right, and Outside Zone Left/Right. Things like traps, and counters, anything where the G or C pulls... those are man blocking plays.

It's true that zone blocking offensive linemen generally have to be athletic enough to cut backside pressure, and decent enough in space to block linebackers at the second level. But it's not that they are uniformly undersized former tight ends who sacrifice punch for foot speed. If you look to the college ranks, Wisconsin and Iowa are zone blocking teams and nobody would dare confuse either for a finesse running team. Carimi, for example, even though people tend to put him in a "power-blocking scheme" (whatever that means) has a lot more experience zone-blocking than man-blocking.

The Minnesota Vikings in the NFL are primarily a zone-running team, and nobody would confuse Bryant McKinnie or Phil Loadholt for fleet-of-foot ex-TEs.

Honestly, the thing to really look at for ZBS prospects is how quick his feet are. You don't need a guy with a ton of footspeed, but good footwork is important for zone blocking OL. Nobody really wants big slugs on their offensive line to begin with, but man-blocking can make more use of them.

LizardState
01-25-2011, 02:11 PM
Shanahan popularized the ZBS with smaller, quicker OL players about 4 yrs ago in Denver.

Interesting that it's Denver & Elvis Dumervil also ppl. think of 1st when they talk about the new trend of smaller/shorter, quicker d-linemen.

jtice2003
01-26-2011, 12:06 PM
Shanahan popularized the ZBS with smaller, quicker OL players about 4 yrs ago in Denver.

Interesting that it's Denver & Elvis Dumervil also ppl. think of 1st when they talk about the new trend of smaller/shorter, quicker d-linemen.

Exactly why guys like Dwight Freeney are more productive then say julius peppers (im walking a thin line there because both players are probably top 20 in the league today.)