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Zone Blocking: A Simplified Version

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
Zone blocking rules allow linemen to use the movement and attack angles of the defenders against them.

Benefits of a zone blocking scheme:
-Two reads for the linemen. Covered or uncovered. Simple.
-Seek positioning where you have leverage, not where you are looking to overpower a defender.

Rule: In inside zone, the linemen operate on a system that moves to the play side, not toward the hole called

Explained: It doesn’t matter what hole the play is called to. If the play is called to the right, all the linemen step to the right. If the play is called to the left, all the linemen step to the left.

Rule: A covered lineman will execute a “stretch base” (or stretch and block) technique.

Explained: A stretch base technique means he will take a short stretch step (lateral, no forward motion!) to the play side and attempt to control the play side shoulder of the defensive linemen. If you step left you are looking to control the defensive lineman’s left shoulder.

Covered Lineman:
First Step: lateral move for position, it’s not a “contact” step. You’re looking to create an attack angle. By doing this, you invite the defender to step into the gap. That’s a lose/lose for the defender if the blocking is executed properly.

Second Step: The covered lineman attacks half the man in order to avoid taking a full-on rush by the defender. If the defender steps forward, you’d seek to control their outside shoulder and drive them inwards. If the defender steps sideways to the play side, you’d ride them out towards the sideline. This is a key concept. Take them where they want to go. The running backs are taught to cut off the blocks.

Rule: Uncovered linemen will execute a “stretch double” (or stretch and assist) technique.

Explained: A stretch double technique means the uncovered lineman will assist the covered lineman to the play side. If the center and play side tackle are covered, the play side guard will assist the tackle, NOT the center, because the linemen always step to the play side. If side by side linemen are both covered the play side lineman is “on his own” and executes a stretch base block.

Uncovered Lineman:
First Step: The uncovered lineman stretches with a 45 degree step, he is preparing to double. He wants to penetrate into the defense. With his first step, the uncovered lineman is looking to block an AREA immediately behind the leg of the defender on the first level to the play side. It doesn’t matter if the defender stays in the area, that’s where the uncovered lineman is going to look.

Second Step: The uncovered lineman goes straight to the spot he visualized. If the defender remains in that area, he assists the covered lineman by doubling. The double team occurs because the defender is in the way and must be moved in order for the uncovered lineman to get to the second level. Once that defender it taken care of, the uncovered lineman goes to the backer.

Rule: When executing a double team, linemen use the four hands, four eyes rule.

Explained: Four hands are on the defensive lineman and four eyes are on the linebacker in their area. When the linebacker commits to the LOS, the offensive line uses a chip technique and blocks him. The linebacker is actually the responsibility of the uncovered lineman, but either can pick him up.

Rule: Backside Tackle can be covered or uncovered, depending on where the defensive end goes

Explained: If the defensive end decides to shoot the inside gap, then the backside tackle is covered and follows stretch and block principles, meaning he takes the end one on one. If the defensive end decides to take an outside rush, the backside tackle will get a hand on him and take an angle in order to block the outside linebacker.

Outside zone scheme:

-A lot of teams believe in “sealing” the edge by using a “reach” type of block. What this means is that you are trying to attack the defender’s outside shoulder and the offensive lineman gets his butt between the defender and the sideline. I don’t like that as it doesn’t give the running back a cutback lane inside and if the block fails, which happens more often than not on the field. Instead of sealing, the “edge setter” (play side tight end or offensive tackle) will aim to control the play side bicep of the defender. The inside hand of the “edge setter” should be on the breast plate. By controlling the bicep, you’re pretty much preventing the defensive player from making a play on the outside run, or at the very least, you’re making him have to make a heck of a play. This also allows the running back to cut back inside if he sees a lane due to over pursuit to the outside.

If the defender beats the “edge setters” block to the outside, the “edge setter” simply takes him and drives him into the stands and to the hot dog vendor. And if possible to the bus.

Updated 10-27-11 at 03:16 PM by Neophyte

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