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What You Didn’t Know: Zone Blocking

January 29, 2009

Ryan Harris Employs The Zone Blocking Scheme To Protect Cutler

So how many times have we thrown around the term “Zone Blocking Scheme”? It looks as if it will stay as part of the Denver Broncos offense next year and that is a good thing. Because we are so lucky to have it back we are going to pay a tribute to it in our new “What You Didn’t Know” column.

You probably new that the reason it would stay is that Rick Dennison is staying as our Offensive Line coach but there is another reason. What you didn’t know is that that reason is because Josh McDaniels employs a spread offense which relies heavily on a powerful Zone Blocking Scheme.

In the Zone Blocking Scheme, the lineman use signals to represent whether they are covered or uncovered by a defensive lineman. What you didn’t know is that this is so if he is not covered he can move and double team a single defender. The initial movement of the doubleteams helps to equalize defensive talent and creates cutback lanes.

When a running back is in the backfield zone plays are usually categorized into three types: Inside Zone (IZ), Outside Zone (OZ) and Stretch. What you didn’t know is inside the tackles for IZ, just outside the tackle for OZ and just inside the last offensive player for the stretch. For each type of zone there are many different blocking schemes available

While the Zone Blocking Scheme invokes the use of many different types of run plays, what you didn’t know is that trick plays are some of their favorites. Counter, and misdirection plays are deadly because the Linemen can move with them to create a great deception for the other team. 

At the snap of the ball, the linemen move in unison in the direction the play is run. What you didn’t know is that each will continue moving upfield along that same track throughout the play. This is commonly referred to as a Railroad formation. This should dominate most blockers. 

Many of you know how successful the Broncos running backs are throughout the years. What you didn’t know is why. The offensive line’s movement up the field creates lanes through which the running back may run. Since all five linemen are working together, these lanes may open anywhere along the line of scrimmage. This gives the back multiple options.

So that, simply put is what you didn’t know. 


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