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Failures of the ZBS

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  • Failures of the ZBS

    The zone blocking scheme(ZBS) requires the entire offense to be on the same page which the Dolphins haven't seem to be on for going on 4 years. Soooo, having nothing better to do I've decided to take an ignorant approach to see WTF is wrong with our ZBS and why we strugle so bad when most other teams running the ZBS have great success.

    #1: The Right Linemen- To run a ZBS you need more of a smart athletic lineman than a big powerful guy that's more slow. We have the quick athletic guys now and for a while but not all are technically sound. The O-line needs to work as one unit moving as a whole from sideline to sideline.

    #2: Cohesion- The ability for the O-line to gel and be on the same page has been a disaster for the Dolphins for going on 4 years. Injuries, money, BS feelings getting hurt, coaches, and plain bad players have kept the O-line in flux. Having cohesion is essensial to the ZBS as the O-linemen need to know the tendencies of others so they know where to push the D-linemen to so one of the O-linemen can disengauge and move on to the second level.

    #3: The Second Level- The O-line is not getting to the second level. There is one decision an O-lineman has to make and that's I'm I covered or uncovered. When an offensive lineman is covered, he just blocks the guy in front of him. If he's uncovered, he doubles up with the teammate next to him (to the play-side) to help him block his guy. Once he feels his teammate has his opponent under control, he breaks off and heads downfield to block LBs and Safteys. Miami doesn't do this very well.

    #4: The Backside- Miami doesn't do a good job of sealing off the backside of the plays. The best way to do this is with cut blocks which are still legal. Lots of times "Lazor" will send a TE from the play side all the way across to block a chaser from the backside and whiff on the block. When not cut blocking the O-lineman struggle turning the D-lineman to make a hole for the RB to run up the middle if he so chooses.

    #5: The Backfield- You don't need the best RB to be good in a ZBS but you need a smart one-cut runner who has good vision. The RB must make a decision based off of what the D gives him before he recieves the ball and do or die by that decision of cutting up or bouncing outside. The QBs role is more important when running bootlegs and rollouts which is a strength of Tannehills and we all have said we need to run these plays more but these plays will have just as much benefit in the running game as well as these plays will give the RB a little head start and set up play actions. The bootleg is a huge part of the ZBS as this holds the backside safety for a split second, which keeps him from crashing down on the run play. We NEED to run more of these plays which brings me to the next problem.

    #6: Coaching- Play calling is one thing but at the core of the ZBS the coaches have failed. The coaches going on four years has not gotten the best out of the players. How do you get a bunch of overgrown children to put their egos to bed and listen to you? That's the challenge NFL coaches have been dealing with while trying to hold the attention of 20-something-year-old millionaires for decades, and doing so is even more difficult when you're trying to get them to grip a zone-blocking scheme, which requires a tremendous amount of focus, hard work and discipline to master. It isn't easy to teach eight or nine guys to work in unison, period, but several teams now and coaches of the past have found a way to do it and we have not.

    I copied some things from these two articles to save time which are both good reads and are really in depth on the ZBS.

    http://www.sbnation.com/2014/7/25/59...-zone-blocking

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...out-rb-success

  • #2
    I really appreciate the post and links. This explains it very well. Even the guru of this ZBS talks about how difficult it is to teach and execute properly. If a coach covets this system, but his guys cannot execute it, then the coach has to use what he has and adapt to the talent. Play to the team's strengths not insist that the players become something they are not. This explains the rift between the coaching staff and the players. It also explains the lack of consistency in the passing and running offense. I am sure if you could figure out what it is you would find a similar problem with the overall defensive philosophy.

    Again, there is no doubt that a ZBS can work well if you have the right players and the right coaches to teach it. Wannabe students of the scheme may never be able to teach this scheme to young players. Thanks again.

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    • #3
      When Coyle was hired as Dolphins Defensive coordinator from the Bengals (defensive backs coach) this is what was said about his defensive philosophy using Solai.

      "will serve primarily as a space-eater, essentially clogging holes and consuming one or two offensive linemen. It's starting to look like Coyle is replicating Zimmer's blueprint, and its emphasis on the nose tackle position".
      Could this explain the lack of explosion by Suh? How do we end up with a secondary coach as a coordinator? So we have a wannabe McCarthy as HC, a wannabe Kelly as OC and a wannabe Zimmer as DC. Give me a break, are we the minor leagues of coaching? Hey Ross, I wannabe a head coach!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Phintim Menace View Post
        If a coach covets this system, but his guys cannot execute it, then the coach has to use what he has and adapt to the talent. Play to the team's strengths not insist that the players become something they are not.
        This is the heart of the problem in Miami. The coaches are dead set on having the players conform to their philosophy instead of changing what they want to do for what best fits the skill level. This is what makes Bellichick so good.

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        • #5
          Can Campbell get this unit on track in 2 weeks? A mentality change is in the air and a much needed blast of fresh intensety was needed. This O-line has constantly been in a defensive mode this year in pass protection while coaches have abandoned the running game not allowing this group of big uglys to be aggresive. The D not stopping anybody doesn't help either but what will change? You can play a ZBS and still be aggresive and that's starts with mentality. Campbell seems to have that and hopefully he can get the players to buy into it. The Packers and Seahawks both run a ZBS and both can run the ball at will. They also have a FB on the roster as well but they don't always use them and can still run. Just having a running game would be a tremendous help with everything on the O and it has to start in the trenches. Does Campbell tell "Lazor" to throw in some man schemes in to mix it up? I don't know but he better tell Hickey to start searching practice squads, FAs, waiver wires and start some trade talks to bring in an OG and some better OL depth and put this unit on notice. If Campbell can change the mentality and tweak some things on the O-line to establish a running game, in two weeks this O will really be able to take off.

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          • #6
            Agreed, this O Line will not be the strength of this team, this year. But they are football players. With a more demanding nasty coach they can do what we need them to do. If I am Campbell I tell OL coach and OC, I don't care what you call your scheme, but holes better open and it is time to see opponents hitting the ground instead of our linemen. If you can't bring this line around then you are fired!

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            • #7
              So that's how our O-line in a ZBS is supposed to play! My hat is off to Dantallica for lighting a fire under this team and especially the O-line as he has FIXED IT!!! The O-lineman are moving people at will, getting to the second level and even getting to the secondary. Millertime is back and exploding through holes. The backside of plays are being sealed off. Did anyone see Billy Turner pancake JJ Watt? Dallas Thomas probably played the best game of his career and Pouncey stopped babysitting and just went straight to the second level and blasted Cushings for a big run. All of this opened up the play-action with an ACTUAL threat of a run helping Tannehill to have a perfect passer rating. How about those WR's blocking downfield as well. All 6 things I listed Phailbin couldn't fix in 3 1/4 seasons and Dantallica has managed to do it in 2 weeks, TWO FREAKING WEEKS!!!!

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              • #8
                Agreed... one of the things I love most is seeing these guys wall off defenders in the run game, but also getting downfield and blocking for our WRs...

                Turner, James, and Pouncey, have all been making getting downfield and blocking. Love it!!!




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                • #9
                  The Landry TD both Pouncey and Turner were 30+ yards down the field blocking. Campbell, Lazor and Benton now have these guys attacking and playing on their toes and not always sliding and playing on their heels.

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                  • cuchulainn
                    cuchulainn commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I thought Dallas Thomas played his best game ever against the Texans. James struggled in the 3rd against Watt and Simon. You expect Watt to beat his man at times, not so much the others.

                    Hoping these guys play as well come Thursday night.

                • #10
                  I have watched our OL for years on tape, just enjoy watching the Big Uglies. Everyone know that they have to play together, regardless of ZBS or power blocking. After countless hours over the years, I have come to find out that if ya got an All Pro LT, it makes life easier for the rest, and that if our guys beat their guys, 1 on 1, we do well no matter the system.

                  I can't take credit for that thinking. It was from Saint Vince many years ago.

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                  • cuchulainn
                    cuchulainn commented
                    Editing a comment
                    True, but Philbin was no Lombardi in any sense. Dan is a hellova lot closer IMO.

                • #11
                  Agree completely So Be, when I looked at this line before the season I thought, Pro-bowler at LT, C and a good RT. Any respectable aggressive guard is flanked by help on both sides. This line should have always been alright. No one has all pros all the way from tackle to tackle.

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                  • #12
                    Menace, till an injury, the 2015 Cowboys do, whether voted in or not. Until Solder's injury, the Patsies line was one of the best tackle to tackle, especially as regards pass blocking.
                    You are spot on about how having a Brandon Albert at 90+% makes all the difference in the world, as now your guard and center can focus on their own gig, even help the right side a bit. That's why this power riun game is working so well. Each guy hit somebody and follow Miller down the field.

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                    • #13
                      While getting Albert back and close to his normal self is a HUGE help, I want to point out that Pouncey might be playing better than ever. According to PFF he is the second highest rated center in the NFL behind Ryan Kalil.

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