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Old 06-20-2013   #1
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Default Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

Saw this in the chron this morning and didn't see it posted anywhere else. It's a good breakdown of what the Texans need to do to improve their run game this season. http://blog.chron.com/fantasyfootbal...ysis-included/
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Old 06-20-2013   #2
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

Thanks for posting this nice analysis. Rep coming your way.
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Old 06-20-2013   #3
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

I loved the Kevin Walter mention in the video, LOL.
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Old 06-20-2013   #4
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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I loved the Kevin Walter mention in the video, LOL.
I don't think he was much of a sucker, but it is hard watching coaching tape and not point out the fact that he was a tough mother in the running game, that's for sure. Not worth keeping as a WR, but you get it.
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Old 06-20-2013   #5
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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Saw this in the chron this morning and didn't see it posted anywhere else. It's a good breakdown of what the Texans need to do to improve their run game this season. http://blog.chron.com/fantasyfootbal...ysis-included/
Nothing against LZ, but..... after just watching the first video I think there is more to the story than what he covers. For starters, he gets on Derek Newton allowing penetration early in the play. I'm not going to defend Derek Newton, but remember we don't select offensive linemen for their strength like a traditional team. Athleticism is more important & we use scheme to turn that athleticism to our advantage.
Look at how they are lined up pre-snap. The guy that Newton eventually engages is shading the outside shoulder of the TE (Graham??) the only way for Newton to get in position is for that tight end to explode off the line, engage the DE, giving Newton time to get into position. That doesn't happen. The TE instead is focused on his second level responsibility.

Also look at the backside of the play, particularly Wade Smith. He immediately grabs the dirt trying to cut the DT. A few seconds later he's on the ground by himself & the rest of the action is 30 yards to his right. The DT effectively seals off the backside cut. Had WadeSmith been able to stay on his feet, he could have driven the DT to the right opening the cut back, or he could have held up that DT providing a lane.

LZ correctly (imo) identifies the missed block by the RG, but he also includes the center in that error, I don't. I think Meyers did a good job of gaining position on the Mike LB. But a piss poor job of blocking him. He had him, but got shrugged off.
Duane Brown did a good job engaging the backside LB, but I think he spent to much time messing with him. He does a great job of blowing him up but then waits to be re-engaged....... Maybe he's thinking Arian is coming on that backside cut (that isn't there because Wade took a nap), but after that LB got blown up I don't think he could have recovered to make a play. IMO (& I'm just a Monday Morning QB) Duane should have continued down field to put that safety on his as5.
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Old 06-20-2013   #6
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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Nothing against LZ, but..... after just watching the first video I think there is more to the story than what he covers. For starters, he gets on Derek Newton allowing penetration early in the play. I'm not going to defend Derek Newton, but remember we don't select offensive linemen for their strength like a traditional team. Athleticism is more important & we use scheme to turn that athleticism to our advantage.
Look at how they are lined up pre-snap. The guy that Newton eventually engages is shading the outside shoulder of the TE (Graham??) the only way for Newton to get in position is for that tight end to explode off the line, engage the DE, giving Newton time to get into position. That doesn't happen. The TE instead is focused on his second level responsibility.

Also look at the backside of the play, particularly Wade Smith. He immediately grabs the dirt trying to cut the DT. A few seconds later he's on the ground by himself & the rest of the action is 30 yards to his right. The DT effectively seals off the backside cut. Had WadeSmith been able to stay on his feet, he could have driven the DT to the right opening the cut back, or he could have held up that DT providing a lane.

LZ correctly (imo) identifies the missed block by the RG, but he also includes the center in that error, I don't. I think Meyers did a good job of gaining position on the Mike LB. But a piss poor job of blocking him. He had him, but got shrugged off.
Duane Brown did a good job engaging the backside LB, but I think he spent to much time messing with him. He does a great job of blowing him up but then waits to be re-engaged....... Maybe he's thinking Arian is coming on that backside cut (that isn't there because Wade took a nap), but after that LB got blown up I don't think he could have recovered to make a play. IMO (& I'm just a Monday Morning QB) Duane should have continued down field to put that safety on his as5.

And I promise that I mean no offense to you, but I think you are off on quite a bit of this.

Regarding Derek Newton, you let him off the hook WAY too easily here. Whether the man is playing a 5-technique or is shaded outside, the tackles responsibility is to use footwork, technique and core strength to make his block. Eric Winston had to do it, Duane Brown has to do it and so does Derek Newton. With proper footwork and hand placement, it isn't that big of a deal as long as you are strong enough. Just because an olineman plays in zone scheme, that doesn't mean he doesn't have to be functionally strong. That's a complete myth that people tend to perpetrate and allow to live on. If a player isn't strong enough to play the position along the line, he has to be replaced. It's pretty much that simple. On this particular play, if Newton can do one of two things, continue to kick the defender out (which he didn't attempt) or bring his feet with him and move them towards the outside to create wall off defender. He didn't do that either. This was a technique issue as much as anything.

As for Wade Smith, I assume you didn't listen to the video because I address Wade Smith and his failures on the play. His first mistake was that he tried to cut WAY too early. That play on that shade requires him to gain ground on the outside and then aim his cut block on the left leg (inside leg) of T. Knighton, not the right one as he was aiming for.

As for Ben Jones and C. Myers, you have this one wrong. This is a handoff block where Jones is to get across the face of the 3-tech and "hand him to Myers. From that point, it is Jones' responsibility to work up to the MIKE. Obviously, Alualu blew that play up so Myers was just trying to get a piece of the MIKE but it is highly unlikely that the MIKE was his responsibility on that play.

As for Duane Brown, I don't care that much about him on this play since his block or non-block was not going to be a factor based on the missed cut block, the missed combo on the 3-tech and the inability to secure the DE.
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Old 06-20-2013   #7
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

If LZ leaving the Comicle means more posts like these then I am all for it.
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Old 06-20-2013   #8
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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And I promise that I mean no offense to you, but I think you are off on quite a bit of this...
Have to agree with LZ, here.

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If LZ leaving the Comicle means more posts like these then I am all for it.
I'm afraid it'll be just the opposite. This will be one of his last piece's as a Texans beat writer. It's a shame. Dude knows more football -- especially o-line -- than everyone at the Chron and 90% of football writers.

I hope someone locally keeps him on the Texans beat.
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Old 06-20-2013   #9
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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I'm afraid it'll be just the opposite.
I think he meant more posts on TT.
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Old 06-20-2013   #10
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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Regarding Derek Newton, you let him off the hook WAY too easily here. Whether the man is playing a 5-technique or is shaded outside, the tackles responsibility is to use footwork, technique and core strength to make his block. Eric Winston had to do it, Duane Brown has to do it and so does Derek Newton. With proper footwork and hand placement, it isn't that big of a deal as long as you are strong enough. Just because an olineman plays in zone scheme, that doesn't mean he doesn't have to be functionally strong. That's a complete myth that people tend to perpetrate and allow to live on.
I'm not letting Newton off the hook. I am not saying our OL do not need to be strong & be able to use their strength. I am not saying Derek Newton shouldn't have to play as well as Eric Winston, Duane Brown, or any other linemen.

The DE in question isn't playing the 5 tech, he's outside the TE. Derek Newton isn't just trying to cross the face of the guy in front of him like Wade should have in that play (& I did add your comments about Wade), He's trying to cross the face of the guy lined up to the guy next to him. Can't be done, not by Winston, not by Brown, not by Myers, not without help from the TE (who is lined up on the DE).

As far as the Jones/Myers double block, again, no one is lined up over Myers, the defender in question is lined up over Jones. It's possible that Jones was supposed to stand up Alualu & pass him off to Myers (the same way I am saying Graham was supposed to do to the DE), & it's possible that Myers was supposed to take on that block.

However, it looked like Myers intentionally engaged Alualu to get him moving to his right, helping Jones' block, then he would get up & block the MIKE...... I'm willing to say your scenario is more right, but in that case two players failed, in my scenario only one guy.

So that brings up the question, why do I expect Newton to pick up the block & Graham to get to the second level, but I expect BenJones to maintain his block while Myers works up to the second level. A big reason is because of how they got off the line. Newton made an "obvious" attempt to get under the DE & Graham made an "obvious" attempt to get to the second level. Jones made an obvious attempt to square up on the defender, Myers made an obvious attempt to get to the second level.

I'm Monday morning QBing, I'm not denying that. It's possible I'm looking at it wrong. But I'm not seeing Newton (won't lie, I'm a big fan) as not "good enough" I'm saying the scheme failed him.
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Old 06-20-2013   #11
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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I think he meant more posts on TT.
Oh, yeah, would be nice if he posted here more often. But LZ has always poked his head in to post on TT every now and then. I'd hate to lose him.
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Old 06-20-2013   #12
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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I'm not letting Newton off the hook. I am not saying our OL do not need to be strong & be able to use their strength. I am not saying Derek Newton shouldn't have to play as well as Eric Winston, Duane Brown, or any other linemen.

The DE in question isn't playing the 5 tech, he's outside the TE. Derek Newton isn't just trying to cross the face of the guy in front of him like Wade should have in that play (& I did add your comments about Wade), He's trying to cross the face of the guy lined up to the guy next to him. Can't be done, not by Winston, not by Brown, not by Myers, not without help from the TE (who is lined up on the DE).

As far as the Jones/Myers double block, again, no one is lined up over Myers, the defender in question is lined up over Jones. It's possible that Jones was supposed to stand up Alualu & pass him off to Myers (the same way I am saying Graham was supposed to do to the DE), & it's possible that Myers was supposed to take on that block.

However, it looked like Myers intentionally engaged Alualu to get him moving to his right, helping Jones' block, then he would get up & block the MIKE...... I'm willing to say your scenario is more right, but in that case two players failed, in my scenario only one guy.

So that brings up the question, why do I expect Newton to pick up the block & Graham to get to the second level, but I expect BenJones to maintain his block while Myers works up to the second level. A big reason is because of how they got off the line. Newton made an "obvious" attempt to get under the DE & Graham made an "obvious" attempt to get to the second level. Jones made an obvious attempt to square up on the defender, Myers made an obvious attempt to get to the second level.

I'm Monday morning QBing, I'm not denying that. It's possible I'm looking at it wrong. But I'm not seeing Newton (won't lie, I'm a big fan) as not "good enough" I'm saying the scheme failed him.
Newton has two choices to make depending on how the DE reacts. He can kick him out and create a crease inside or he can engage and get his feet around the other side to wall him off. Unfortunately, he committed to engaging but didn't get feet around him. He has the option of just riding the DE in the direction that he (DE) wants to go. Arian's first read is that DE so he would immediately read him as a kickout block and would keep his next read inside. That is the great thing about the zone scheme for play-side tackles..... you aren't tied to doing just one thing with the defender.

Of course the defender is shaded over Jones. That has nothing to do with it. The Texans can do one of two things there. They can get their guard to get around the face and work up to MIKE or they can block him with RG with Myers getting a securing block (push) on the 3 tech and then working up to the MIKE. In the second scenario, that would allow for a better backside cutback scenario, but that was all shot to hell as soon as Wade Smith approached his cut with such poor technique. The more I look at where Alualu is shaded here as 3 tech, it certainly is possible that Myers was just going to secure and get to 2nd level on MIKE. You might be right on that. The problem is that the right side (Jones and Newton) did not do their jobs on this play.

And the scheme definitely did not fail Newton. His read should have been to get on the inside shoulder of the DE and drive him outside to open up the crease between DE and DT. That was the right read. He made the wrong decision. Once he made the decision to engage and get the DE turned, then he has to use the technique he's taught which is to play with lower pad level and then get his feet to the other side of the defender.
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Old 06-20-2013   #13
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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And the scheme definitely did not fail Newton. His read should have been to get on the inside shoulder of the DE and drive him outside to open up the crease between DE and DT. That was the right read. He made the wrong decision. Once he made the decision to engage and get the DE turned, then he has to use the technique he's taught which is to play with lower pad level and then get his feet to the other side of the defender.
That sounds reasonable.

However, if that was the right read, why do you fault him for allowing the DE to get to wide?

Getting moved backwards, the penetration I can understand that as a reason that play failed. But how is getting "too wide" a problem if his first read was to push the defender wide?

My original comments were based on you saying his responsibility was to secure the edge. To do that, the TE has to do a lot more than what he did.

Thanks for your reply.
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Old 06-20-2013   #14
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

Now, ZBS struggles against penetrating fronts and as an OL you don't want to allow too much push up field BUT you will not be able to hook all OLB's/DE's simply because some will be aligned too wide or they just jump outside too quickly.

Now ideally that is what you'd want because it's the easiest for the RB to read and it gives him the most space to operate, but like I said there are times where it's just not realistic to expect the Tackle/TE to hook the end man on the LOS.

What you are supposed to do is take your normal steps as if you are trying to hook them (Bucket step, Drop step, Deep zone step...whatever they call it), but if that DE or OLB jumps to far outside you are taught to push them to the sideline and the RB is supposed to make the cut inside of you.

That is the staple of the ZBS. The cut back. If the offense takes their steps correctly and makes their blocks the defense is supposed to have a difficult time stopping the play because "no matter what they do, they're wrong". As an Offense, you really don't know exactly how the play will unfold until the ball is hiked and everyone is in motion.

All that said, on that particular play shown in the video Newton's steps were terrible. Awful. The EZ view is the best way to look at ZBS plays.

But my issue on that play is with Wade Smith. Had he done a better job with his guy, Arian would have had one guy to beat on a cut back attempt.

You see that most of the guys on the playside and Chris Myers had realized that the defense had flowed really hard to the sideline and they began to simply use their own momentum against them and push them to the sideline.

Duane Brown was perfect on the play. OD and KW were good too, but Wade Smith basically did nothing.
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Old 06-20-2013   #15
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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Duane Brown did a good job engaging the backside LB, but I think he spent to much time messing with him. He does a great job of blowing him up but then waits to be re-engaged....... Maybe he's thinking Arian is coming on that backside cut (that isn't there because Wade took a nap), but after that LB got blown up I don't think he could have recovered to make a play. IMO (& I'm just a Monday Morning QB) Duane should have continued down field to put that safety on his as5.
Duane did his job perfectly. Cut back should have been there based on how the defense reacted to the play. Arian would have had one defender to beat on the cut back had Wade Smith done a better job.
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Old 06-20-2013   #16
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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All that said, on that particular play shown in the video Newton's steps were terrible. Awful. The EZ view is the best way to look at ZBS plays.
Great post.

Now what did you not like about Newton's steps that were "terrible & aweful"

Looks like he tried to secure the edge, like he squared up on the DE, but that doesn't make sense with the rest of the line pushing everyone his way.

What you're saying, & what LZ is saying about "helping" the defense to the sideline makes sense, is it possible that Newton heard the call wrong? Like maybe he thought it would be an inside zone?
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Old 06-20-2013   #17
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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That sounds reasonable.

However, if that was the right read, why do you fault him for allowing the DE to get to wide?

Getting moved backwards, the penetration I can understand that as a reason that play failed. But how is getting "too wide" a problem if his first read was to push the defender wide?

My original comments were based on you saying his responsibility was to secure the edge. To do that, the TE has to do a lot more than what he did.

Thanks for your reply.
I fault him for allowing the DE to continue to widen out. Once he decides to turn him, it is his job to wall the defender off in order to create and edge for Arian to turn. He never did that. He allowed the DE to keep on widening out. Giving up penetration was a massive issue for Newton though. It is something that concerns the Texans staff, I can promise you that.

And as for securing the edge, that means either kicking out or turning defender. It's Newton's choice. Once he decides to turn him, then it is his job to turn him. He didn't do that. He didn't execute, but either did Jones or Wade. That was the point of using that particular play. It also had LBs playing downhill. I wanted to find a play that had as many negatives as I had covered in the blog in order to illustrate the point without having to make 4 videos.
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Old 06-20-2013   #18
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

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Originally Posted by Rey View Post
Now, ZBS struggles against penetrating fronts and as an OL you don't want to allow too much push up field BUT you will not be able to hook all OLB's/DE's simply because some will be aligned too wide or they just jump outside too quickly.

Now ideally that is what you'd want because it's the easiest for the RB to read and it gives him the most space to operate, but like I said there are times where it's just not realistic to expect the Tackle/TE to hook the end man on the LOS.

What you are supposed to do is take your normal steps as if you are trying to hook them (Bucket step, Drop step, Deep zone step...whatever they call it), but if that DE or OLB jumps to far outside you are taught to push them to the sideline and the RB is supposed to make the cut inside of you.

That is the staple of the ZBS. The cut back. If the offense takes their steps correctly and makes their blocks the defense is supposed to have a difficult time stopping the play because "no matter what they do, they're wrong". As an Offense, you really don't know exactly how the play will unfold until the ball is hiked and everyone is in motion.

All that said, on that particular play shown in the video Newton's steps were terrible. Awful. The EZ view is the best way to look at ZBS plays.

But my issue on that play is with Wade Smith. Had he done a better job with his guy, Arian would have had one guy to beat on a cut back attempt.

You see that most of the guys on the playside and Chris Myers had realized that the defense had flowed really hard to the sideline and they began to simply use their own momentum against them and push them to the sideline.

Duane Brown was perfect on the play. OD and KW were good too, but Wade Smith basically did nothing.
Great stuff, Rey. Dead on. And as I'm sure you saw, his aim point and decision to launch so early were way, way off for such a savvy veteran.
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Old 06-20-2013   #19
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

LZ, please consider adding TT to your routine as much as Twitter or the like. We need and appreciate the insight around here. Thanks for your time!
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Old 06-20-2013   #20
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Default Re: Zierlein Breaks Down Improvement Needed For Run Game

Long time Chronicle subscriber but no more. Signed up for the electronic version and did not work despite two techies trying to help. Told me an advance tech to call me same day and after a week, I canceled. Then I heard about LZ leaving and you should have heard me telling the next person trying to sign me up what I thought. "Not your fault but here goes..."

Let's not forget after only 17 offensive plays first year, Newton basically was a rookie last season. Compare his first true season with DB and you come away smiling. Add to that the musical chairs at RG and he did amazingly well imo. This season depends on Brooks claiming the RG and someone, Maybe Q replacing Smith 2014. Barring injuries we should see a much better, more consistent Oline this year.
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