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  • Zone Blocking vs. Man Blocking

    Zone Blocking vs. Man Blocking
    Brian Hook / FootballOutsiders.com
    Posted: 1 hour ago

    Denver running backs seem to remain Denver running backs for life — possibly because they have a nasty habit of suffering devastating injuries while a Bronco. Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns, Quentin Griffin, and Tatum Bell have had almost all of their career carries as Broncos. The only player in recent memory that has gone from Denver to another team and achieved significant carries in both locations is Clinton Portis.

    Zone Blocking

    For those of you unfamiliar with the Denver offensive line scheme, they use a technique known as "zone blocking". In a "man" or "drive" blocking scheme the lineman is responsible for an individual, and the play is designed for a running back to hit a particular gap. The zone blocking scheme, on the other hand, has a lineman blocking an area instead of a designated defensive player. If multiple linemen are blocking an area than one can break off and block into the second level.

    The offensive line typically moves as a unit laterally, and the result of their blocks should create some natural seams or gaps in the defensive formation. The running back is responsible for finding a hole, making a cut, and then running upfield. One of the key tenets of the Denver system is that the running back takes what he can get — he should never dance around waiting for a hole to open. He needs to be agile, authoritative, and possess good instincts. Nothing fancy, just try to gain positive yardage.

    A final element of the zone blocking scheme is the use of the much hated cut block to seal off backside pursuit. This means that any linemen on the backside of the play cut block defensive players in front of them, which drops the defensive players to the turf and, oddly enough, opens up holes for the running back. Note that the cut block is legal in this case, as long as the offensive lineman isn't hitting the defender from behind and as long as he doesn't roll up on his legs. But hitting him below the knees near the line of scrimmage is fair game, as much as the NFLPA doesn't want it to be.

    Obviously getting defenders on the ground is one benefit of the cut block, but an intangible benefit is that defenders start worrying about their knees and ankles. They lose a bit of their aggression and speed since they're paranoid that some lineman is going to creep up on them and take out their legs. This has the benefit of slowing down the entire defense.

    For the record, Joe Pendry claims that his zone blocking scheme doesn't rely on cut blocks. Given Davis's performance, he might want to reconsider that stance.

    Summary

    The "Denver system" isn't a magical pill that a team can swallow to generate 1500 yard rushers with consistency, but obviously it has been successful for running backs in Denver. One reason it has not been widely adopted is time: it takes time to teach, time to master, and time to get the smaller, more agile offensive linemen that the system requires. If you take zone blocking and try to implement it with 340 pound behemoths, you will probably fail, and for better or for worse, 340 pound behemoths are what you'll find on a typical offensive line in the NFL.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5...40813162&ATT=5
    The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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  • #2
    Originally posted by tnedator
    If you take zone blocking and try to implement it with 340 pound behemoths, you will probably fail, and for better or for worse, 340 pound behemoths are what you'll find on a typical offensive line in the NFL.
    Not always the case though...At the NCAA level, the Wisconsin Badgers here in town, have been running the zone blocking since 1992. They have had success with Chunk-a-Lunka Linemen.

    For example: (All former Badgers in the NFL right now)

    Dan Buenning, 3rd year Guard, 320 pounds
    Jonathan Clinkscale, 2nd year Guard, 315 pounds
    Ben Johnson, 2nd year Guard, 329 pounds
    Jason Palermo, rooke Center, 297 pounds
    Casey Rabach, 6th year Center, 293 pounds
    Donovan Raiola, rookie Center, 293 pounds
    Mark Tauscher, 8th year Tackle, 315 pounds
    Chris McIntosh, 7th year Tackle, 308 pounds
    Aaron Gibson, 3rd year Tackle 360 pounds

    As for the current Badger Linemen you have this:

    Joe Thomas, Tackle, 313 pounds
    Danny Kaye, Tackle, 318 pounds
    Erik Vanden Heuvel, Tackle, 324 pounds
    Mike Van Someren, Tackle, 324 pounds
    Andy Kamp, Guard, 316 pounds
    Jeffrey Stehle, Guard, 301 pounds
    Kraig Urbik, Guard, 326 pounds
    Andrew Weinegar, Guard, 311 pounds
    Marcus Coleman, Center, 317 pounds
    Luke Knauf, Center, 307 pounds

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tnedator
      The only player in recent memory that has gone from Denver to another team and achieved significant carries in both locations is Clinton Portis.
      So, breaking the franchise record that goes back to the greatest running back of all time doesn't count as having 'significant carries' ?
      The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

      The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Charlie Brown
        So, breaking the franchise record that goes back to the greatest running back of all time doesn't count as having 'significant carries' ?
        Not sure, guess you should ask the author of the article. Maybe since the Browns are an expansion team he didn't count them.
        The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Charlie Brown
          So, breaking the franchise record that goes back to the greatest running back of all time doesn't count as having 'significant carries' ?

          I was wondering about that too. Why didn't they say anything about Droughns.
          President Cool

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hilife
            I was wondering about that too. Why didn't they say anything about Droughns.
            Hey, do you want to swap cheerleaders? I would trade you my Chearleader for yours and throw in Dayne for good measure!
            The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

            sigpic

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tnedator
              Not sure, guess you should ask the author of the article. Maybe since the Browns are an expansion team he didn't count them.
              The Browns are not an expansion team. I don't know where you are getting that idea. The Browns were founded in 1946 and left the NFL in 1995 and then were reinstated in 1999. That doesn't look like an expansion team to me. The author chose to ignore the Browns simply becuase he is a hater. He wants to make Clinton Portis look better and Droughns worse.
              The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

              The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Charlie Brown
                The Browns are not an expansion team. I don't know where you are getting that idea. The Browns were founded in 1946 and left the NFL in 1995 and then were reinstated in 1999. That doesn't look like an expansion team to me. The author chose to ignore the Browns simply becuase he is a hater. He wants to make Clinton Portis look better and Droughns worse.
                Droughns had an good year last season and I expect another good one as well in 06 I just hope the TDs increase

                http://www.pro-football-reference.co...s/DrouRe00.htm
                NHL Blog at:NHL Blog by Medford Bronco!

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                • #9
                  I wouldn't say he wanted to make Droughns look worse; but I don't really know why he didn't include him for "significant carries".


                  "When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions; that is the heart of science."
                  - Carl Sagan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Charlie Brown
                    The Browns are not an expansion team. I don't know where you are getting that idea. The Browns were founded in 1946 and left the NFL in 1995 and then were reinstated in 1999. That doesn't look like an expansion team to me. The author chose to ignore the Browns simply becuase he is a hater. He wants to make Clinton Portis look better and Droughns worse.
                    Ahhh, CB, do you have the court documents to prove that a team that clearly looks like an expansion team (i.e., one that starts from scratch with nothing) is in fact not an expansion team by some legal trickery. There have been rumors to his effect, but I have not seen the actual court decision that forced America to consider an expansion team a 60 year old team.
                    The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants. --- Theodore Roosevelt

                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tnedator
                      Ahhh, CB, do you have the court documents to prove that a team that clearly looks like an expansion team (i.e., one that starts from scratch with nothing) is in fact not an expansion team by some legal trickery. There have been rumors to his effect, but I have not seen the actual court decision that forced America to consider an expansion team a 60 year old team.
                      The Cleveland Browns are the Cleveland Browns you got that? I am getting sick of your 'F' ing games you got that?! I am not going to explain this for the hundredth time to you - you got that?
                      The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

                      The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

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                      • #12
                        The Browns went away for 5 years. They came back under expansion rules. Do they have the Brown's records? Yes. Did they go through an expansion draft? Yes. The Browns are a weird sorta expansion team. So, you're both right. Now, stop hi-jacking every tread where the Browns are not called the greatest NFL team of all time with there rich history and championships back before the super bowl existed ect..

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pandapeep
                          The Browns went away for 5 years. They came back under expansion rules. Do they have the Brown's records? Yes. Did they go through an expansion draft? Yes. The Browns are a weird sorta expansion team. So, you're both right. Now, stop hi-jacking every tread where the Browns are not called the greatest NFL team of all time with there rich history and championships back before the super bowl existed ect..
                          I am not hijacking any threads. I am responding when a response is needed. Someone says something that I want to respond to I reserve the right to respond. If people do not like me responding to threads then they can put me on ignore because if I see a thread that warrants a response I'm going to respond.

                          Plus, a little off topic - it is 'etc' not 'ect' it is an abbreviated form of the Latin phrase
                          Et Cetera.

                          To add a little more - I have read a lot of threads in this forum where you Bronco fans sit and complain about an article because it doesn't agree with your 'Jake vs Jay' sentiments. You all are just fine with that. That's not hijacking - yet the second I respond to a thread - despite the fact that I have been a regular poster on this board for two years, I'm hijacking? That's BS.
                          Last edited by BroncFanIN; 08-29-2006, 03:41 PM.
                          The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

                          The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SM19
                            Kainer and Dayne for Archuleta? I won't speak for hilife, but I'd make that swap any day of the week! :p



                            The standard for quickness and agility is lower in college. To make it into the NFL, regardless of size, I'd imagine you almost have to have the ability to play in a college zone offense, even if you don't actually do so.
                            I see your point, the defensive players are much faster. But perhaps it easier for the zone blocking to work in the NFL because the defensive players might be so quick that they over run the play, leaving huge cutback lanes.....

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