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Why Raiders will stick with ZBS

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, August 18th, 2012 at 2:00 am in Oakland Raiders.

Anyone hoping the Raiders will junk or alter their zone blocking system in short-yardage and goal line situations _ and judging from what I’ve read from Twitter followers it’s a good number _ will be disappointed.

Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is a ZBS (zone blocking system) guy from his days with Alex Gibbs with the Atlanta Falcons. Dennis Allen was there too, and he agrees. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack was hired off the staff of the Houston Texans specifically because he could teach what Allen and Knapp want to execute.

The background is this _ Tom Cable, also a Gibbs disciple _ is a huge believer in zone blocking. Without getting overly complicated, it has to do with closing off gaps and giving cutback lanes to runners, then cut-blocking on the backside. Dancers need not apply. Make the correct read, put a foot in the ground, and then go.

Cable had to give up the strict adherence to zone blocking when Al Davis brought in Hue Jackson as the offensive coordinator, and Jackson immediately went to running back Darren McFadden and asked him about his favorite plays. Some of those plays included runs where there was no thinking or reacting involved before making a cut. Simply take the ball and go.

Included were gap and power runs not employed by the Raiders. Jackson put them in immediately and lo and behold, McFadden flourished in Year 3.

A lot of that had to do with health, of course. Probably most of it. Because McFadden looks fine running zone plays so far. The beef comes in short yardage, where there’s a school of thought that linemen don’t fire off as quickly in a compacted area and it hurts near the goal line and when defenses are stacked to stop the short run.

For what it’s worth, I addressed that topic with Pollack recently and this is what he said:

Q: Can the zone scheme be just effective in short-yardage and near the goal line as power and gap schemes?

Pollack: Absolutely.

Q: Why would that be the case? Isn’t it sometimes easier to go straight forward rather than wait for the `one-cut’?

Pollack: The zone scheme is a misnomer, we’re not playing laterally. It’s not a soft scheme. We’re coming off the ball, north and south, it’s just how we’re accomplishing our scheme where we’re not staying on specific defenders. We’re working through gaps, sorting out the trash if you will, we’re playing north and south and downhill. The goal line is just an extension of our zone scheme with maybe an extra two guys to block and we’re adding two extra guys to block as well on offense.

McFadden got stuffed on two goal line runs as well as failing to gain a yard to get a first down. And still finished wtih 34 yards on nine first-quarter carries.

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  • raiderdav

    Hue Jackson should had been given another year. Greg Knapp didn’t work the first time around what makes anyone think that it will work the second time around? Greg Knapps offense is so predictable, guy sucks .

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Raiderdav Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 6:42 pm
    Hue Jackson should had been given another year.

    ============================================

    Only if he would have agreed to take a demotion to OC, and no way in a million years would that have happened.

  • Intrepid

    hitler gave us the Volkswagon, too. Had a lot of bad luck with VW’s. Add that to the list of reasons to hate hitler. Decided he doesn’t deserve to have his name capitalized.

  • 504 Raider

    I would have loved to see Hue stick around another year but Reggie would have been always watching his back with Hue and Mark Davis going to Lunch twice a week. But we are in a great situation right now with what’s in place.

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Hitler invented the freeway.

  • Just Fire Baby

    TO enters the game, gets a play called specifically for him, beats his man deep, Flynn throws a beautiful deep ball……….and TO drops it.

  • http://raiders.com Klas Tjorborn

    Oh T.O.!

  • Rodeo Olio

    seahawks suck balls. thats why they are in the same division as the niners.

  • Deja vu

    Not sure if anyone posted this article or not, but here’s Tommy Kelly on Kevin Kolb.

    sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/tommy-kelly-… sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/tommy-kelly-kevin-kolb-boy-scared-042316789–nfl.html

  • RaiderRetribution

    I was thinking the same thing, losing draft picks over Palmer hurt the Raiders; losing fifteen million in cap space
    Could hurt us more, not to mention we would truly know Pryor’s qb capabilities already.

  • Cheeseburger Apologist

    Just about ready to eat a box of cereal. But before I do, I was wonderin if anybody thought Dennis Allen looked emotionless. Dude seemed a little in over his head. He needs some gruden fire and Cable pimp hand.

  • Kirk

    The dissing of DA starts….

  • Plunketthead

    Yawn, the blog has been like this for 6 years

    Semi Pros speaking their mind

  • Kirk

    My biggest concern is backup running back.

    Miller looked like the only good one to me.

  • http://raiders.com Garbizzle

    Dallas 10 Charger Butts 0

    we like that. Chargers suck balls. They should be in the same division as the niners.

  • http://raiders.com Garbizzle

    Rams 24 KC 10

    KC sucks too. We’ll win the preseason West easily.

  • blackandsilverside

    Michael Bush is not an elite back. But he can shoulder his load, and btw, has gained more yds in 4 season than DMAC on the ground and in the air.

    Last year as the season wore on and our offense became more predictable – us running Bush up the middle on 1st down, a quick pass to DHB on second down, and Bush up the middle on 3rd down – Bush’s yards per carry diminished.

    Bush is principally second to #1. Bush is no savior but if we still had him, and knew how to use him, we wouldn’t be relying on skinny legs Jones (who will always be injured), and the fumbler Goodson.

    At least that aspect of our offense would be settled.

    And no, Hue didn’t deserve a second chance as HC: liar, fraudster, bound us the most idiotic trade for CP in sports. Perhaps Hue could have remained at OC, but in the end that was impossible.

  • realtruraider

    Sounds like Ford could miss some regular season games, I know alot on here have ben down on him since that 1st practice game, but This will hurt us in several areas, our return game and passing, from all accounts he was going to be heavily involved as the slot guy in this new WCO.

  • blackandsilverside

    Rodeo Olio Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    seahawks suck balls. thats why they are in the same division as the niners.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Funny comment Rodeo. The 49′ers will beat the Raiders 100 times before the Raiders can even put up a decent fight.

  • Deja vu

    Sorry fellas, here’s the Kelly link. Sailed around a few continents with the Captain Morgan after that ugly loss.

    http://www.azcentral.com/sports/articles/2012/08/18/20120818oakland-raiders-tommy-kelly-rips-arizona-cardinals-kevin-kolb.html

  • Plunketthead

    My biggest concern is lasting another season
    getting olds a pain

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    RaiderDebo Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Good hands Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 5:16 pm
    Hello out there. Mr Debo, we did not force jamaruss to miss training camp. His agent felt he was worth 66 million smackaroos and thus it was his and his agents choice. Once they money arrived he got fat. You can’t teach work ethic. It is engrained in you in the early years. Peace out.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    When was the last time a #1 overall pick had to hold out all the way through training camp? That was 100% on Al. From an early age, huh? I agree. That explains how he was able to set Alabama’s all-time high school passing mark, earn a scholarship to the defending national champions, EARN the starting QB spot in his redshirt freshman year, earn 1st-team All SEC honors, be named MVP of the Sugar Bowl and get drafted #1 overall by the Raiders. Testament to hard work!
    ==================================================

    No it isn’t a testament to hard work. Any pee wee or high school coach knows if you have bigger stronger players you win at those levels. Russell was a VERY big kid was tremendous God given abilities. He could sleep walk thru those levels. At the pro level, particularly at the Q position, you need to work very very hard to be successful. He was a lazy ass. By your own definition. that’s why he failed.

  • realtruraider

    Is Dallas Defense really this good? shutout both Raiders and Chargers 1st team. However I do believe if our 1st team played a whole half we would of scored some points.

  • blackandsilverside

    Realtruraider Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Sounds like Ford could miss some regular season games, I know alot on here have ben down on him since that 1st practice game, but This will hurt us in several areas, our return game and passing, from all accounts he was going to be heavily involved as the slot guy in this new WCO.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    I think Ford has seen greener pastures. I thought he would really be something once upon a time. Now he sports a serially injured “hammy”, same as Moore and Jones.

    Unfortunately, their time with the Raiders is over. Reggie should dump them and make room for new roster spots.

    Believe me, Ford, Moore, and Jones will always be injured, just like Chaz.

  • blackandsilverside

    Plunketthead Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Yawn, the blog has been like this for 6 years

    Semi Pros speaking their mind
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Very funny…..and what are you my friend, a retired NFL player or coach ? doubtful

  • realtruraider

    824

    LOL, keep dreamin troll

  • http://www.wasRaider75.com wasbanned

    why no injury report today?

  • realtruraider

    Manning and Rivers both threw two picks tonight, wonder how there fans are takin it, can’t imagine they are freakin out like some in here.

  • realtruraider

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Goodson and Leinart are going to be OK

    Expand

    50m Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Allen said there is chance Ford could miss some of regular season, but doesn’t know yet

    Expand

    51m Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Injury updates: Ford going to miss a little bit of time, Allen said. Had an MRI. Moore is getting closer

  • Plunketthead

    Back up dude
    Im the soccer ambassador

  • realtruraider

    DeMarcus Davis‏@DeMarcusRFNET

    Just off the phone with Coach Dennis Allen, Aaron Curry is back with the team, worked out today and will evaluate him again tomorrow

  • realtruraider

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Allen said Curry “looked pretty good”

  • realtruraider

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Allen: “(Palmer) is still learning this offense. I have no reservations or doubts about Carson Palmer. He’s had a good camp.”

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    realtruraider Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Vic Tafur‏@VicTafur

    Allen: “(Palmer) is still learning this offense. I have no reservations or doubts about Carson Palmer. He’s had a good camp.”
    ==========================================

    Palmer played pretty well last night. When you go back and look at the tape he had a pretty good half.

  • Deja vu

    We’re screwed at RB behind RunDMC at this point. I don’t care what ya’ll say about RB’s being dime a dozen or how well they do in the ZBS. (Jones isn’t ever active and Goodson…well is Goodson.)

    If The Reggie doesn’t pick up a reliable back if Dmac goes down, we’re screwed at that position.(At least bring in Grant)

    I will miss Bush (as a #2), but Reggie wasn’t going to pay what his agent was looking for.

    What you see now in preseason is what you get, we don’t have a legit #2 rb.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    With all respect to Burris, a healthy Curry makes the D even better.

  • realtruraider

    Seymour

    I feel the same way, he also didn’t look to bad the 1st practice game. He has some kinks to work out though and he has to learn when not to force, like on 1st down

  • blackandsilverside

    Realtruraider Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    824

    LOL, keep dreamin troll
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Real, you have a smart mouth for a punk.

    Moore, Jones, and Ford rode the pine most of last year and will continue to ride it this year. Even if they become healthy, all of the 3 will be re-injured and sitting on the pine again.

    Unfortunately, a worshipper like you can’t see the pattern. Ford is the most disappointing since he showed promise then completely imploded this year.

    Normally, when guys stay injured and out of the game for multiple seasons they never re-gain their form. We should have released Chaz several seasons before we did. Louis Murphy took a hard lick and was never the same. If we hadn’t released him, he would still be riding the pine, all for naught.

    I never said I didn’t like Moore, Ford and Jones; I never said they weren’t extremely talented; I said that they will always be serially injured, and should be released to free up roster spots.

  • realtruraider

    With all respect to Burris, a healthy Curry makes the D even better.

    ——————————————————-

    Yeah, I believe Burris Booshay has alot of upside and he has shown some good things, but also has shown he is still a rookie. I believe Curry could be a beast in this new defense, hope he can get out there next week to see how he does in this new scheme.

  • blackandsilverside

    Deja vu Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    We’re screwed at RB behind RunDMC at this point. I don’t care what ya’ll say about RB’s being dime a dozen or how well they do in the ZBS. (Jones isn’t ever active and Goodson…well is Goodson.)

    If The Reggie doesn’t pick up a reliable back if Dmac goes down, we’re screwed at that position.(At least bring in Grant)

    I will miss Bush (as a #2), but Reggie wasn’t going to pay what his agent was looking for.

    What you see now in preseason is what you get, we don’t have a legit #2 rb.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    We are terribly screwed because DMAC will go down for the season. Unfortunately, we could not afford to not pay what Bush was asking.

    Now look at us…..

    Elite RB’s a dime a dozen: fiddlesticks!

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    realtruraider Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Seymour

    I feel the same way, he also didn’t look to bad the 1st practice game. He has some kinks to work out though and he has to learn when not to force, like on 1st down
    ======================================

    Considering he basically had DHB and Ford, no TE and Dmac for a handful of plays, Palmer did not do that badly.

  • realtruraider

    Blackandsilver

    I usually don’t read garbage post like yours, just like I didn’t when you posted under Al D Davis/Hardline. Its obvious you racist biatch, I would ace you.

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    Moore, Jones, and Ford rode the pine most of last year and will continue to ride it this year.
    ===============================

    If 4th and 5th round rookies are seeing substantial playing time either you drafted incredibly well or your roster sucks.

  • blackandsilverside

    realtruraider Says:
    August 18th, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Blackandsilver

    I usually don’t read garbage post like yours, just like I didn’t when you posted under Al D Davis/Hardline. Its obvious you racist biatch, I would ace you.
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    You are a joke Real, an worshipper; your screenname should read “RealSmartMouthForAPunk.”

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    Q: Why would that be the case? Isn’t it sometimes easier to go straight forward rather than wait for the `one-cut’?

    Pollack: The zone scheme is a misnomer, we’re not playing laterally. It’s not a soft scheme. We’re coming off the ball, north and south, it’s just how we’re accomplishing our scheme where we’re not staying on specific defenders. We’re working through gaps, sorting out the trash if you will, we’re playing north and south and downhill. The goal line is just an extension of our zone scheme with maybe an extra two guys to block and we’re adding two extra guys to block as well on offense.

    _____________________________________________________

    Great question….horrible answer…and his answer gives clues to his own DOUBT…

    First off, let me be clear. I like the ZBS, but it’s like anything else….can’t be the only option…

    Similar to ALWAYS playing only man on defense….shouldn’t be done……have to mix it up….

    Coach Pollack is giving is obviously standing up for his Offensive Coordinator, which I like…

    The problem is, he is answering questions that were not asked….

    Who claimed it was a soft scheme? Certainly not the person who asked the question…..which leads me to believe that Pollack himself might feel that way? After all, he is the one who brought it up.

    If you pause either of the first 2 goal line plays from last night just after the snap you will notice our entire line with their pads laterally….not north and south….

    I can go on here….but I won’t…it’s like this Blog was written just for me….

    I’m not going to get into it too deep….just saying….ZBS should not be used in the red zone or on the goal line….that isn’t to say it absolutely cannot work….but it doesn’t give us a high probability of success…that is the only reason….

    We must run it all…..or suffer the consequences!

  • realtruraider

    Injuries happen, it is a contact sport. It seems alot more injuries this year around the whole league, not just our “fragile players”

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    I’m out!

  • realtruraider

    Hey backside, are you Al D/Hardline? No need to respond, its way to obvious. Now I will go back to skipping over your nonsense

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    Realtruraider, go sell some more tickets for 26$ and leave the real work to those who know what they are talking about….

    Your agenda serves the profit machine…I have no agenda!

  • backstageatapuppetshow

    You’re right though….I do draw a HARD LINE, don’t I?