Outside Zone 101

Mark87

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A lot of confusion in Packer Nation on the outside zone offense.

A standard outside zone stretch play would look something like this while drawn up:



As you can see, the basic concept behind the play is that the offensive line is all blocking in one direction and should take a step off the line all in the same angle. After that, it all depends on who is covered by a defensive lineman or linebacker at the line of scrimmage and who is not.

The uncovered players should give what amounts to a short rub on the defensive lineman before moving to the second-level and attacking a linebacker or safety. By the time the running back gets the handoff, he should see three clear, easy to interpret options.

1. Bend
With this option, the running back sees a cut-back lane and bends it back inside to the center or weak-side of the defense. The whole point of zone blocking is to get the defense flowing one way with the offensive line. Holes will open up on either side of the play, and it’s up to the running back to utilize his vision to find the right hole to go through.

Sometimes, that hole is on the opposite side of the field that the line is blocking towards. The hole will open up and allow the running back to cutback through the defense and find open field with few defenders around due to the flow of the blocking.

2. Bang
When the running back bangs it in on an outside zone play, there’s normally a hole in the play-side off the tackle or tight end’s outside shoulder. The back then follows the flow of the play to gain as many yards to that side of the field as possible. The bang option is essentially what the zone stretch play is designed to use more often than not.

It allows the offense to continue following their blocks to try and open the widest lane they can for the tailback. A good back with vision should be able to burn a defense for a big play if it’s blocked properly. The running back should have an easy lane to the second level to start making defensive backs miss.

3. Bounce

The third option is bouncing outside and forcing the play as wide as possible before cutting up field. Speed helps, but this is entirely a vision play.

This normally happens because there’s no hole opening up on the backside bend or the inside bang reads. A good RB will have a great idea when to bounce it outside because it allows him to use his shiftiness to embarrass a tackler one on one.
 

dannobanano

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I can see where Aaron Jones would benefit in this scheme.
Might shed light on the type of RB Gute May seek to add either in draft or as udfa
 

TW

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Much different. In the outside zone, the FB "must" make his block. The offensive line must also get to the left shoulder of their assigned block. This is where the word "choreography" comes in. Footwork is essential to make this happen.

Bring in the choreographers please! It actually does help to create a Radio City Music Hall Rockettes effect.
 

Cheesedog

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Much different. In the outside zone, the FB "must" make his block. The offensive line must also get to the left shoulder of their assigned block. This is where the word "choreography" comes in. Footwork is essential to make this happen.

Bring in the choreographers please! It actually does help to create a Radio City Music Hall Rockettes effect.
Wow. That's a huge change. And GBs OL was suspect to begin with ... I should have added another OL to my mock.
 

TW

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June Taylor dancers anyone? The beauty in using zone blocking is because you can switch up and run inside zone as soon as the defense starts pouring to towards the sideline to cover the outside zone. Mixing it up constantly, the defenders aren't certain which to expect, and have that one moment where they're flat footed, giving the blockers a slight edge in getting on their blocks. It may not appear like much while you're watching a play develop but the results are what matters.

They can be intricate offenses based on the way defenses line up against you, and which options you want to include if you see your play is essentially shut down by a defense that plays against your tendencies, knowing what your next play will probably be.

What people don't often understand that the Packer sweep was a precursor of wrinkles Gibbs would employ in his zone blocking schemes, which LeFleur is using concepts from on his offense. You might say that in a way, we're going back to the Lombardi days.
 
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