Originally Posted by nunusguy
I dunno why the cut technique is required ?
I mean I get the concept of the Olineman getting downfield on the backside of the play to execute blocks in the second-level to open up cut-back lanes for the running back, but why the need to cut-block the defenders, unless
the ZB proponents thinks its necessary to get the defenders completely off their feet ?
It does two basic things:
1. As you say, it puts potential backside defenders on the ground. When they are there, they are not tackling the RB.
2. It takes away from the defense's aggression. Typically, defensive linemen are better athletes than offensive linemen. One way to neutralize that athletic advantage is to get the defenses to become less aggressive by penalizing them when they are.
A while back, FootballOutsiders did a study of zone blocking
. They speculated that cut blocking might result in better yards on average.
I've always like this description in one of the comments in that post of how a cut block might be helpful using Dayne when he was with Denver(and one of the reasons I like blog comments):
For example look at the Ron Dayne Thanksgiving game day run.
After the snap you have typical zone blocking flow to left side.
Dayne Runs left and a whole opens up. 99% of the RB in the NFL would run through that hole, get hit by the LB waiting there and pick up 5-7 yards. Nice pickup. In the ZB scheme you have to go as far left as can and wait for the Line to seal the back side. Sometimes this is with a cut block and sometimes it is not.
Here is how the cut, or no cut goes down. If a man is in front of you, you block him straight up. He is your zone, so he’s your man. Remember the whole line is flowing to one side or the other so someone will not always be in front of you. If no one is in front of you you cut-block the area. Meaning you fall on the floor and roll. Since you are on the backside away from the play, D-Linemen will be running towards you to get to the play. Remember the RB is still in the backfield at this point. (He’s running to the other side “pressing the hole”). The D-Linemen end up running directly in to the cut block, fall down and can’t pressure the play from the back side.
This is important because it is a slow developing play. Without the back side seal the RB would get stuffed.
Dayne runs as far left a he could, pressing the hole (meaning avoiding running through it until the back side is sealed). Then once the back side was sealed both Dayne and Kyle Johnson (the fullback) turned up field a the same time. Johnson in the hole helping the O-Line. He turned up field and hit the LB waiting 2 yards deep. Dayne doesn’t get touched until he hits the secondary. Someone tries to put a horse collar tackle on him and he brushes it off and runs 40-50 yards.
The was one of the most perfect executions of the Zone scheme I have ever seen. It was the way Terrell Davis used to run it. That’s why he was the most successful back in the Zone scheme. Now Dayne is too slow to put up TD numbers but he trust the play. How can he not? He basically been a bust. He has a chance to resurrect his career. He’s going to do whatever the RB couches tell him to do. I have watched film of the Denver RB couches on the sideline yelling at Tatum Bell because he not “trusting” the play 100% yet.
I think this is overly simplified in parts, but I think it illustrates the purpose of cut blocks.