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Old 08-30-2010   #1
Brisco_County
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Default With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

Here's Lance Zierlein's observation on how our RB's are being coached with Alex Gibbs gone:

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Alex Gibbs is notorious for wanting the running backs to think "cutback lanes" when he is in charge of the running game, while new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison clearly prefers his running backs to think "outside" first and react to cutback lanes. Too often last year, you could see Steve Slaton hesitate as he waited for cutback lanes to develop, and that ended in disaster. This year, Arian Foster is more than happy to ride the outside zone over the left tackle and go with the flow outside. Defenses were defending the Texans from inside out last year, taking the cutback lanes away. That will all change this year now that they are more willing to challenge the edge with their outside zone game.
Read his other observations too.

Zierlein is saying that defenses had an answer to zone blocking by running defenders inside and closing the lanes, so we're adjusting by riding the outside and forcing defenses to relax the inside pressure.

So what adjustments should we expect defenses to make? I imagine a 3-4 defense would be happy to put their OLB's on the line for most downs where they can blitz, cover the outside, or drop back into coverage. A 4-3 will bring up a corner to cover the outside. I imagine we would exploit both of these schemes with screens and boot legs.

So does this indicate the end of the Alex Gibbs ZBS in the NFL, and will our new approach be consistently effective even after enough film of it is out there? I certainly hope so. I took Foster in the 5th this weekend.
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Old 08-30-2010   #2
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

Did I exceed my thread title length? I think it cut off my adverb and made it an adjective. Different = differently.
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Old 08-30-2010   #3
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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Did I exceed my thread title length? I think it cut off my adverb and made it an adjective. Different = differently.
This is the South...."Runningbacks are coached different" flies.
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Old 08-30-2010   #4
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

I think all it means is that you can't take this system and turn it into mindless dogma. The running back has to use his vision, take what's there because they can't take away everything. Possibly Alex Gibbs is too locked into one specific aspect of this offense. If that's the case then it happens to coaches in the NFL all the time. It happens to people in all kinds of fields. Coaches have to keep evolving and adapting.

Got to let the players play.
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Old 08-31-2010   #5
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I think all it means is that you can't take this system and turn it into mindless dogma. The running back has to use his vision, take what's there because they can't take away everything. Possibly Alex Gibbs is too locked into one specific aspect of this offense. If that's the case then it happens to coaches in the NFL all the time. It happens to people in all kinds of fields. Coaches have to keep evolving and adapting.

Got to let the players play.
True, but if you can be dogmatic about it and be successful, it sure is nice, because then you can impose your will predictably and according to a game plan.

I'm still curious why his ZBS stopped working here. It's either our personnel, or defenses finally had an answer. I'd be more comfortable with the latter.
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Old 08-31-2010   #6
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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True, but if you can be dogmatic about it and be successful, it sure is nice, because then you can impose your will predictably and according to a game plan.

I'm still curious why his ZBS stopped working here. It's either our personnel, or defenses finally had an answer. I'd be more comfortable with the latter.
Slaton has become habitual about how he runs. Right up to the pile, slows down, puts his hand out and rests it upon the back of one of his blockers, and then tries to make a cutback. Too late, though, because defenses figured it out.

Arian is stretching it to the outside as fast as he can, and then quickly making an up-field move or continuing to the outside if the room is there.

I honestly don't think Alex Gibbs helped us as much as we had expected. Maybe he helped the lineman, but I don't see the translation onto the RBs. He just always seemed like he was griping at the RBs all the time. He reminded me of Coach from the TV show "Cheers."
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Old 08-31-2010   #7
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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So does this indicate the end of the Alex Gibbs ZBS in the NFL, and will our new approach be consistently effective even after enough film of it is out there? I certainly hope so. I took Foster in the 5th this weekend.
Alex Gibbs = Unfrozen Caveman Assistant Coach.
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Old 08-31-2010   #8
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I honestly don't think Alex Gibbs helped us as much as we had expected. Maybe he helped the lineman, but I don't see the translation onto the RBs. He just always seemed like he was griping at the RBs all the time. He reminded me of Coach from the TV show "Cheers."
I agree, except I don't think he helped the linemen all that much either. He reminds me more of Jerry van Dyke's character in "Coach."
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Old 08-31-2010   #9
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I agree, except I don't think he helped the linemen all that much either. He reminds me more of Jerry van Dyke's character in "Coach."
I was just about to say he reminds me more of Luther. I need to type faster.
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Old 08-31-2010   #10
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

I loved LZ's blog today. I was already excited about some of the nuances from the run game and was working on an article with video- showing some of those nuances. I included some video of LZ's analysis as well. Here it is:

Texans Bull Blog
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Old 08-31-2010   #11
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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Alex Gibbs = Unfrozen Caveman Assistant Coach.
You win the thread.
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Old 08-31-2010   #12
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I loved LZ's blog today. I was already excited about some of the nuances from the run game and was working on an article with video- showing some of those nuances. I included some video of LZ's analysis as well. Here it is:

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I love pulling the guards-- except when Wade Smith ran all that distance to hardly block his man for Foster. But otherwise, I love it.

What you called misdirection, I thought was an outside zone choice by Foster. Are they similar?

It's too bad we didn't do any of this for Slaton last year. He has the best acceleration, and always had his biggest gains on the outside. I'm very curious to see what this does for him this year.

I just thought of something: Maybe the man blocking and placing more responsibility on the RB is the reason we drafted a back in the second round instead of third or lower.
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Old 08-31-2010   #13
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I love pulling the guards-- except when Wade Smith ran all that distance to hardly block his man for Foster. But otherwise, I love it.

What you called misdirection, I thought was an outside zone choice by Foster. Are they similar?

It's too bad we didn't do any of this for Slaton last year. He has the best acceleration, and always had his biggest gains on the outside. I'm very curious to see what this does for him this year.

I just thought of something: Maybe the man blocking and placing more responsibility on the RB is the reason we drafted a back in the second round instead of third or lower.
The misdirection is intended to look like a zone run to the front 7. If you watch, the LT, LG, C all fire off to the right as if it is a zone run to the right. However, the RG, RT, TE on right side all have entirely different movement and responsibilities. Watch the RG, particularly, slide the opposite direction (to the left) and trap block the DE. Also, notice that Foster runs left, not right, by design.

The beauty of this play is that it is designed specifically to take advantage of a defense that is overpursuing in order to stop the zone run.
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Old 08-31-2010   #14
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

If you go back and look, Foster was running like this in the Miami and New England game before Dennison came to the team. Perhaps Foster is just more suited for this type of offense and has awesome vision.
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Old 08-31-2010   #15
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I think all it means is that you can't take this system and turn it into mindless dogma. The running back has to use his vision, take what's there because they can't take away everything. Possibly Alex Gibbs is too locked into one specific aspect of this offense. If that's the case then it happens to coaches in the NFL all the time. It happens to people in all kinds of fields. Coaches have to keep evolving and adapting.

Got to let the players play.
I remember when Kubiak first got here, his emphasis was on pressing the hole, and making the cut at the very last minute.

I just think different people focus on different things, I didn't notice what LZ said he saw last year, about Slaton looking for the cut-back first. I thought Slaton was playing with blinders, and not even looking for the cut back lanes.

Over the past few weeks, in the preseason, I've seen several teams using zone blocking, or zone blocking like plays. We are no where near the best team at doing so, which I would have thought we would be by now, going on 5 years.

I don't think ZBS is dead, or is going anywhere. Teams like NYJets & New Orleans are getting a lot more movement along the front line, maybe that has to do with bigger linemen, it would be the most obvious conclusion. So the smaller linemen thing may be going by the wayside, but the basic principals will still be there.

One thing I noticed against Dallas, we pulled Wade Smith a few times, very similar to the way we used Chester Pitts, and it made for huge holes on the playside (to the right). We didn't do much of that (if any at all) in 2009. In 2008, I think that was a big part of our run game, and our best rushing season since Kubiak got here. It may be something that Studdard simply can't do, I don't know, but it may be the reason Wade Smith was brought in.
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Old 08-31-2010   #16
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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True, but if you can be dogmatic about it and be successful, it sure is nice, because then you can impose your will predictably and according to a game plan.

I'm still curious why his ZBS stopped working here. It's either our personnel, or defenses finally had an answer. I'd be more comfortable with the latter.
We had several issues with the run game last year. I think we went to more of a "pure" ZBS scheme. We had (IMHO) two players that were not very good on the backside at the beginning of the year. The one who played on the left side of the line, didn't consistently get movement when the plays would go to the left. The line would stack up at that player, and the backside wasn't there. So, there would be nowhere to run.

Once that player was out of the lineup, we got the backside working when running to the right. When running to the left, we got decent movement to the left, lanes started to open up. The guy on the right side also started to secure the backside, which opened even more running lanes.

By the time we got to Tennessee, the line was doing enough to open running lanes, we just didn't have the RBs with the talent to get to them. By the time Chris Brown got to the hole, it was gone. Steve Slaton didn't see them, and Kubiak didn't like to put Moats on the field.

By the time Arian got in the game, we were doing a good job run blocking, not great, but good, and you could see there was room to run.

Many people think I'm incapable of criticizing Gary Kubiak as a head coach. But I'll tell you the biggest problem I had with him last year. We should have either got Larry Johnson (no holds barred, play-offs or bust) at the bye week, or did whatever it took, to get Foster ready to play in that Monday night game. It may be a simplistic view, Foster may not be the "Pro" that he is now, Larry Johnson might have broke Duane Brown's leg, who knows. But it made absolutely no sense to me, to go into Tennessee with Chris Brown as our featured back.
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Old 08-31-2010   #17
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I'm still curious why his ZBS stopped working here. It's either our personnel, or defenses finally had an answer. I'd be more comfortable with the latter.
Another thing, when ran properly, there is no answer. The ZBS is about the RB reading the offensive line. It's kind of like the QB reading the defense. Every play is designed to give you options. The QB reads the safeties, or the CBs or the LBs to anticipate where the open spots will be. He knows his routes, and his receivers. If he does his homework, learns teams tendencies, and is in sync with his receivers, he is able to quickly make his reads, and find the open receiver. Sometimes the defense does find the perfect combination to stymie a play, they found an answer, but the probability of that happening much with the way we run our offense, is very slim.

It's the same thing with the ZBS. We run the same presnap motions, so the RB & the OL, can read and identify the defense. They make their adjustments, and when the ball is snapped, the RB has to read his blocks, just like a QB makes his reads. He'll usually have a minimum of three options, where the run is designed to go, to the outside, or to the backside. The only "practical" difference between the ZBS, and regular power O, is that the options are built in, and the RB is expected to read them.

Felix Jones is going to be told to hit the hole, and hit it hard. If he is in the backfield looking for a place to go, he's going to get chewed out, unless it works out in his favor more times than not.

Same thing with Arian Foster. He's going to be told to push the hole as hard, and as long as he can, to set up the defense, then he's going to be told, "you should have cut here, or there, or bounced it here."
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Old 08-31-2010   #18
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
I loved LZ's blog today. I was already excited about some of the nuances from the run game and was working on an article with video- showing some of those nuances. I included some video of LZ's analysis as well. Here it is:

Texans Bull Blog
I don't mean to nit-pick, I enjoy your blog, but your description of the first example, and what the video actually shows are two different things. It looks like an inside zone play. I'm saying this, because there is no lateral movement to the right, and everyone from Myers to Brown kicks inside, and move the defenders to the left. Then Winston
just blows up anyone in front of him. If I had to guess, I'm thinking the run was supposed to go between Myers and Caldwell. Anthony Spencer does such a good job beating Dressen to the outside, it creates a huge hole between Dressen and Winston. Caldwell is getting his but kicked on this play.
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Old 08-31-2010   #19
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

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I loved LZ's blog today. I was already excited about some of the nuances from the run game and was working on an article with video- showing some of those nuances. I included some video of LZ's analysis as well. Here it is:

Texans Bull Blog
That second one looks like a very nice inside zone run, with the pulling guard. Brisiel, which I don't ever remember pulling the right guard.

Foster does a great job of pushing the hole, right behind Dressen, but he sees something, and makes a great cut, beating Ware to the outside.

If we played this game, the way Atlanta played it, and Washington played it, and Denver played it, Demarcus Ware would have been laying on his back, and would have not been able to make a play at all. I understand he's "Demarcus Ware" I'm just saying. That LB Dressen hit, also would have been hit hard.

It also looks like Schaub turned the wrong way. The H-Back, the pulling guard and the tail-back all ran to the left from the get go, leaving Spencer to do what he will on the right side. Good thing Winston was able to make a play, and contain the backside.
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Old 08-31-2010   #20
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Default Re: With Alex Gibbs gone, runningbacks are coached different

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
I loved LZ's blog today. I was already excited about some of the nuances from the run game and was working on an article with video- showing some of those nuances. I included some video of LZ's analysis as well. Here it is:

Texans Bull Blog
Ok, I think I'm getting your descriptions mixed up with the wrong play. The description on the bottom fits the video much better.

The third video is definitely a misdirection. Schaub turns to his right, Vonta makes a weak attempt to show he's going to the right, as does Foster (definitely things we need to work on).

Brisiel again gets a good block on Ware, 94 is just a stud, nothing else you can say about that. This video also shows Myers having trouble. He should have turned into the play, like he's done in the others, to keep Ratcliff off Foster. Ratcliff is a stud as well, but Myers should have done better.

Vonta Leach shows you how to hit a LB. Oh, and take a look back at that second video, the way Brown creamed that ILB was textbook.
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