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The Broncos Oline - Late 90s

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  • The Broncos Oline - Late 90s

    The Broncos of the Late '90s

    The line of Gary Zimmerman, Tom Nalen, Tony Jones, Mark Schlereth, and Brian Habib was a big reason running back Terrell Davis was such a success. They were also instrumental in providing quarterback John Elway with enough time to pilot the Broncos to two straight Super Bowl victories.

    Hall of Famers

    Tackle Gary Zimmerman was inducted into Hall of Fame as a great blindside blocker, and center Tom Nalen was the best center in football for over a decade and could soon join Zimmerman in Canton.


    I know it does little to reminisce too much, but imagine a Broncos team with that kind of Oline again! It was a treat to watch them!

  • #2
    We sent a lot of draft picks to teams for Zim and Tony Jones.

    WORTH IT!
    Time to build on the win and grow the team from some solid play higher level of play

    Comment


    • #3
      Zimmerman and Nalen led the way, but the combined 5-some had:
      - 15 Pro Bowls
      - 11 All Pros

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by CanDB View Post
        The Broncos of the Late '90s

        The line of Gary Zimmerman, Tom Nalen, Tony Jones, Mark Schlereth, and Brian Habib was a big reason running back Terrell Davis was such a success. They were also instrumental in providing quarterback John Elway with enough time to pilot the Broncos to two straight Super Bowl victories.

        Hall of Famers

        Tackle Gary Zimmerman was inducted into Hall of Fame as a great blindside blocker, and center Tom Nalen was the best center in football for over a decade and could soon join Zimmerman in Canton.


        I know it does little to reminisce too much, but imagine a Broncos team with that kind of Oline again! It was a treat to watch them!
        Mike Shanahan's contribution to offensive football was to marry the WCO passing attack to Alex Gibbs' Zone Series rushing attack. Vince Lombardi used zone blocking. He called it zone, area or do-dad blocking. Can't find reference to it before him. He may have invented it. Bill Yeoman incorporated Lombardi's zone blocking concepts into his Veer Offense at the University of Houston. Most subsequent college option attacks use zone blocking.

        Gibbs' Zone Series was either five plays or one play with five possible results. The O-Line he coached at Denver was light, quick and smart. They read the defensive front and blocked them on the move, and the back had to read their blocks. It was a 100% pure zone blocking rushing attack; no angle blocking.

        Mark Schlereth told a story about SB XXXII. OC Gary Kubiak put a new play in for the game, Trap Pass. At the end of the 3rd quarter, having just gone up 24-17 after a Terrell Davis TD, Denver got the ball back at the +22 after Green Bay fumbled the KO. Kubiak called Trap Pass and it was intercepted and returned to Green Bay's -15. After a five play drive, Green Bay tied the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Denver went on to win 31-24.

        After the game when the Broncos were getting on the bus, Schlereth said he spoke to Kubiak. He told him that before running Trap Pass, he must run Trap first. Trap is an angle blocked play and Denver didn't use any angle blocking then, so whatever steps they tried to sell Trap didn't work as play action, resulting in the pick. After he had pointed that out, Schlereth said Kubiak walked away muttering to himself.
        "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by samparnell View Post
          Mike Shanahan's contribution to offensive football was to marry the WCO passing attack to Alex Gibbs' Zone Series rushing attack. Vince Lombardi used zone blocking. He called it zone, area or do-dad blocking. Can't find reference to it before him. He may have invented it. Bill Yeoman incorporated Lombardi's zone blocking concepts into his Veer Offense at the University of Houston. Most subsequent college option attacks use zone blocking.

          Gibbs' Zone Series was either five plays or one play with five possible results. The O-Line he coached at Denver was light, quick and smart. They read the defensive front and blocked them on the move, and the back had to read their blocks. It was a 100% pure zone blocking rushing attack; no angle blocking.

          Mark Schlereth told a story about SB XXXII. OC Gary Kubiak put a new play in for the game, Trap Pass. At the end of the 3rd quarter, having just gone up 24-17 after a Terrell Davis TD, Denver got the ball back at the +22 after Green Bay fumbled the KO. Kubiak called Trap Pass and it was intercepted and returned to Green Bay's -15. After a five play drive, Green Bay tied the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Denver went on to win 31-24.

          After the game when the Broncos were getting on the bus, Schlereth said he spoke to Kubiak. He told him that before running Trap Pass, he must run Trap first. Trap is an angle blocked play and Denver didn't use any angle blocking then, so whatever steps they tried to sell Trap didn't work as play action, resulting in the pick. After he had pointed that out, Schlereth said Kubiak walked away muttering to himself.
          Good story!

          Comment


          • #6
            And when Zimmerman was gone "T-Bone" Tony Jones moved to left tackle and they brought in Harry Swayne who played right tackle.

            Big, strong mobile players and they all had a bit of a nasty attitude!

            Comment


            • #7
              Denver's starting O-Line for SB XXXII averaged 6'4" 290lb. For SB XXXIII they averaged 6'4" 286lb. They were well conditioned. The way they blocked Alex Gibbs' Zone Series challenged the conditioning of the opposing D front. In SB XXXII, Gilbert Brown was gassed at least the second half as he was running a gasser about every four or five run plays. I think the Broncos had the lightest O-Line in the league back in those days.
              "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by East Coast Fan View Post
                And when Zimmerman was gone "T-Bone" Tony Jones moved to left tackle and they brought in Harry Swayne who played right tackle.

                Big, strong mobile players and they all had a bit of a nasty attitude!
                IMO Tony Jones may be the most underrated Bronco of all time. At RT in the Super Bowl Reggie White, who some consider the best D player of all time, had a tackle on the second play of the game. That was his only tackle.

                Then he moved to LT and that was the year TD ran for 2000 yards.

                Also...on the game winning drive with the Elway helicopter, we tend to forget that something like 6 straight plays before that we ran TD behind Zim and Stink to drive down the field. GB couldn't stop it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I miss the days of having an awesome O-line that could create easy holes for anyone to run through.

                  I feel like the 'magic' of the O-line died once Alex Gibbs left.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Peerless View Post
                    I miss the days of having an awesome O-line that could create easy holes for anyone to run through.

                    I feel like the 'magic' of the O-line died once Alex Gibbs left.
                    It seemed like for a period of years we could put anyone in the backfield and end up with well over 1,000 yards.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by samparnell View Post
                      Mike Shanahan's contribution to offensive football was to marry the WCO passing attack to Alex Gibbs' Zone Series rushing attack. Vince Lombardi used zone blocking. He called it zone, area or do-dad blocking. Can't find reference to it before him. He may have invented it. Bill Yeoman incorporated Lombardi's zone blocking concepts into his Veer Offense at the University of Houston. Most subsequent college option attacks use zone blocking.

                      Gibbs' Zone Series was either five plays or one play with five possible results. The O-Line he coached at Denver was light, quick and smart. They read the defensive front and blocked them on the move, and the back had to read their blocks. It was a 100% pure zone blocking rushing attack; no angle blocking.

                      Mark Schlereth told a story about SB XXXII. OC Gary Kubiak put a new play in for the game, Trap Pass. At the end of the 3rd quarter, having just gone up 24-17 after a Terrell Davis TD, Denver got the ball back at the +22 after Green Bay fumbled the KO. Kubiak called Trap Pass and it was intercepted and returned to Green Bay's -15. After a five play drive, Green Bay tied the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Denver went on to win 31-24.

                      After the game when the Broncos were getting on the bus, Schlereth said he spoke to Kubiak. He told him that before running Trap Pass, he must run Trap first. Trap is an angle blocked play and Denver didn't use any angle blocking then, so whatever steps they tried to sell Trap didn't work as play action, resulting in the pick. After he had pointed that out, Schlereth said Kubiak walked away muttering to himself.
                      It can't be one play, just because the o-line steps are different for each. On inside zone the linemen take a small zone step towards play side, but the focus is more on getting vertical push with the double teams and making the double teams splitting to get the LBs easier. Whereas on stretch the o-linemen (especially on the play side) need to take big zone steps towards the sideline because you're trying to get the defensive line flowing to the sideline opening up seams.

                      Also with the RB landmarks and tracks, it would be impossible for it to be one play. With stretch the RB needs to be almost sprinting to his landmark which is 1 yard outside the TE (either real or imaginary), the cutback on that is putting his foot in the ground and getting up the field. With inside zone the RBs landmark is the outside hip on the PS guard, and this is the play where you see the cutbacks that go all the way back through backside A.

                      I just can't see any way to marry the various aspects of the plays to have 1 play with 5 different outcomes. Although you can marry them somewhat, in Super Bowl XXXII the Broncos ran a toss play that had inside zone blocking. TD took the toss steps, but after catching the ball he put his foot in the ground and went through the middle of the line. I would almost describe it as a counter play for the zone series because of the way they made it look like a stretch through the RB, but he was really reading and aiming for play side B to backside A.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can't post, because he uses salty language, but there are several videos on Youtube with Gibbs talking about the zone plays. I think he only used two, he called them wide zone and tight zone. Which I believe would be stretch and inside zone. I know there are more that have developed like outside zone which is more of an off tackle play.

                        Also after watching some of his videos it's easy to see why players and other coaches wouldn't care for him. There's one video where he is just awful talking about his players as he uses cut ups to go over plays.

                        EDIT: Whenever I've taught zone plays, I've only ever used two, with 4 possible outcomes between the two. On Inside Zone you're looking play side B to backside A. On Stretch you're looking wide, but as soon as you see a vertical seam, you put your foot in the ground and cut up.
                        Last edited by Butler By'Note; 10-01-2020, 04:41 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Peerless View Post
                          I miss the days of having an awesome O-line that could create easy holes for anyone to run through.

                          I feel like the 'magic' of the O-line died once Alex Gibbs left.
                          I miss the days of having the ball 1st and goal at the one and at least being able to punch it in without trick play pass! One measly year! Pathetic. WEAK! The worst NFL line in the NFL by far!
                          sigpicoh YEAH?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Axemaster View Post
                            I miss the days of having the ball 1st and goal at the one and at least being able to punch it in without trick play pass! One measly year! Pathetic. WEAK! The worst NFL line in the NFL by far!
                            Sadly it's not though. The Texans are giving up pressure on somewhere north of 70% of their pass attempts. Surprisingly Baltimore has also been bad in pass protection.

                            It's not like Denver has a great o-line, not even close. But Cincy, Houston and Washington are equally bad. The NFL is in an era of poor o-line play. Personally I blame Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft (along with their crying hug) for the deal they agreed to in 2011 which severely cutdown on the amount of contact teams could do in both training camp and practice. You don't want to beat your guys up, but o-lines needs contact in order to get better.

                            Here are the rankings from Football Outsiders.

                            https://www.footballoutsiders.com/st...sive-line/2020

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Butler By'Note View Post
                              Sadly it's not though. The Texans are giving up pressure on somewhere north of 70% of their pass attempts. Surprisingly Baltimore has also been bad in pass protection.

                              It's not like Denver has a great o-line, not even close. But Cincy, Houston and Washington are equally bad. The NFL is in an era of poor o-line play. Personally I blame Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft (along with their crying hug) for the deal they agreed to in 2011 which severely cutdown on the amount of contact teams could do in both training camp and practice. You don't want to beat your guys up, but o-lines needs contact in order to get better.

                              Here are the rankings from Football Outsiders.

                              https://www.footballoutsiders.com/st...sive-line/2020
                              And Tennessee lost their big name RT and have drastically improved. Olinemen are about as big of a crap shoot as QB is now. The lack of contact in practice hurts but it only compounds the issue that olinemen are coming into the NFL without ever doing anything that’ll translate. Outside of physical development there is very little difference between HS and college.

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