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OL Dilemma?

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servumtuum

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O.K., so last season the ZBS read-option was clicking, other teams are having a terrible time trying to stop us and this season we look like a high-school football team on offense and Griff is getting killed and making eyebrow-raising crappy throws.

What gives?

Here's where I insert the all important, IMO.

Our much maligned OL was doing the zone blocking thing during last seasons seven game run-leveraging defensive linemen with quickness and agility, releasing when they got the defender out of position to get ready to block a LB or a safety coming in for a blitz, Robert was so used to the zone-read system he hardly had to think at all-he could drive this car blindfolded-he knew the system was designed to take advantage of the defense commiting to either the pass or run and as soon as they did he moved, ran, handed-off, or passed in a fluid series of motions so quickly the other team's defense had a hell of a time trying to recover and the Redskins kept this level of pressure and uncertainty.

Robert gets his injury.

The coaching staff responds.

Now what are we looking at?

In order to protect Robert from further injury it is decided to make a hybrid-pocket passing QB/run threat for right now.

This screws up everything, starting with the OL. The OL we have works in a zone blocking option type offense, not perfectly by any means, but well enough for the system to produce points. What this OL isn't good at is protecting a pocket passer, hell even maintaining a pocket for Griff to step up into on deep drop backs. They get bullied because now it isn't agility and leverage being used it's brute strength-the kind needed to hold blocks rather than just move a defender out of the way enough to create a hole. This OL doesn't have that-especially on the right side-but the weakness of the OL is severely exposed in a situation like this. Robert is under more than his share of pressure from defenders and trying to learn the techniques of a pocket-passer-something he has no experience in-while being pummeled on the field. This is complicated further by his level of competitiveness and, yes, his own ego.

This is a systemic failure. All the pieces need to be coordinated, QB, OL, RBs, WRs and on the same page simultaneously for it to work.

They aren't.

Basically, the system is breaking down. Weaknesses in the OL that could be masked in a ZBS read-option offense are being exposed while our erstwhile young QB tries to learn an aspect of quarterbacking he's never needed to know or use before, while getting thrown around the field like a rag doll. He's more immobilized than he's willing to admit, his running is not what it was the second half of last season his mechanics are off because of the injury recovery and having to unlearn automatic responses and replace them with others and he believes he should be Superman and he ain't and the OL is put in the position of trying to do what it isn't good at. This has propagated through the offense affecting everybody.

Here's my dilemma, well one of them anyway: Suppose Allen/Shanahan shock the hell out of everyone and grab at least four offensive linemen in the draft and FA in the upcoming off season? What direction-or strategy if you will-should be used? If we got some Big Uglies that can hold blocks and protect the QB and keep pockets open, would such an OL be able to run a ZBS if and when Griff's fully recovered?

If not then what?
 

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Elephant

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I would prefer to see a new GM hired, have him hire a new coach, one he wants in place and let the GM acquire the players for the new coach's scheme. Shanahan is not going to break from his ZBS. Robert is not ready to be a pocket passer with the putrid line we have. Shanahan is unlikely to get a new OL that fits his scheme but has the size to push DL around. I just don't trust Mike Shanahan with this team any longer.
 

Bulldog

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Absolutely right. This defense had been ill-constructed and the OL is an anachronism in today's NFL.

You can't run the 1998 Denver offense in 2013 and expect to keep your qb upright.

The rules changes have shifted the balance toward the pass and Shanahan's system of undersized OL has been exposed.
 

Goaldeje

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James Madison

That's a great post, Serv, and it dovetails with another thing I've been thinking about related to your question. What about AlMo? I hear people saying all the time that Morris is a great fit for the ZBS system, that he makes his cuts decisively and with authority and that is one of the reasons he is so successful. If we switch to a more traditional power style running game, how will it affect him?
 

Bulldog

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Seems like another runner with vision and the ability to cut back, Emmitt Smith, did quite nicely in a power scheme.
 

Fear The Spear

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The rules changes have shifted the balance toward the pass and Shanahan's system of undersized OL has been exposed.
Even the 9ers were successfully running what appeared to be ZBS last night, but they were successfully doing it with BIG lineman, who also happened to be agile.

Seems like another runner with vision and the ability to cut back, Emmitt Smith, did quite nicely in a power scheme.
But where you gonna find another Emmitt Smith ?
 

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