Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: RedskinsInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Mike Shanahan: Zone blocking worked because of belief in philosophy

Under Mike Shanahan, the Denver Broncos were considered second to none in the NFL at zone blocking. The scheme played a major role in helping the Broncos win consecutive Super Bowls in the late 1990s.

Even teams that rely on power-running plays incorporate zone elements into their blocking packages, assistant coaches and players say. So why has Shanahan had more success than other coaches in relying on zone game?

"I think if you believe in something, you do it better," Shanahan said recently. "In Denver, we believed in a philosophy, the zone-blocking scheme, we ran it more than anybody else, so we had a lot of success. Even before last season, even though we went through seven running backs [in Shanahan's last season in Denver], we still averaged 4.8 yards per rushing attempt.

"And that was with eight running backs. So you average 4.8, which was tied for second in the league, and there's a philosophy there that you believe in. If your football team believes in that, then you've got a chance to improve. .... It's like anything, what's your philosophy? One of the reasons I think the system has been successful because of the belief in it."

By Jason Reid  |  March 29, 2010; 7:26 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid , Mike Shanahan , Offensive line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shanahan on Heyer: Untapped ability but hard work is needed
Next: Sam Bradford's Pro Day today may solidify the top of the NFL Draft

Comments

CNNSI:

In case Sunday didn't feel enough like the 90s and early 2000s, Duke even had a questionable call help seal the win. Did Acy really deserve a technical foul after he tangled with Scheyer with 1:19 remaining? And if Acy's actions merited a T, why didn't officials also ring up Scheyer, whose flailing elbow after the whistle incited Acy in the first place?

End.

That call still wasn't as bad as the "charge". But that little punk Scheyer was smugly smirking after the technical cause he knew what he got away with.

Posted by: Rypien11 | March 29, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

That call still wasn't as bad as the "charge". But that little punk Scheyer was smugly smirking after the technical cause he knew what he got away with.

Posted by: Rypien11 | March 29, 2010 7:33 AM

Here's another sour-grapes poster, still bitter because his application to Duke was rejected, coming on a REDSKINS blog to whine about a call in a college basketball game. In your case, Rypien, it's easy to see why Duke turned you down.

Duke 78
Baylor 71

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The more shanny talks, the more I get excited. And for once it is not about the players, because without dedication and a philosophy, talent means squat.

From weightlifting, which is the most mundane of football tasks, but is the foundation; to the coaching, scheme and philospohy... we finally have a football team.

This will prove how much actual skill is on this team, since coaching, dedication, conditioning etc.. will not be the reason if this team is not good.

Posted by: Zeebs | March 29, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Here's another sour-grapes poster, still bitter because his application to Duke was rejected, coming on a REDSKINS blog to whine about a call in a college basketball game. In your case, Rypien, it's easy to see why Duke turned you down.

Duke 78
Baylor 71


Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 7:47 AM |

He was crying last night as well, maybe he needs a little more sleep so he wont be so whiny.

Posted by: Flounder21 | March 29, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

So, according to Shanahan all you have to do is click your ruby red cletes together three times while saying, "There's no block like zone, there's no block like zone, there's no block like zone..." Hey, if this is what it takes to make Heyer into a pro-bowler, then sign me up.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

RSH, i guess you cant really argue with 4.8 lifetime avg... that will make average OL's seem better...

Posted by: Zeebs | March 29, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's another sour-grapes poster, still bitter because his application to Duke was rejected, coming on a REDSKINS blog...

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse
-------------------------

The Duke-UMD rivalry is up there with Skins-Fightin' Jerrah's, so regionally, it is pretty relevant. Something you'd have to be from Maryland to understand, I suppose.

Oh, and f%&@ Duke

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I wish it were as easy as just implementing what you believe...

For example, I wonder if Shannahan believes he has a viable quarterback on his roster...

...or does he believe like many of the rest of us that this team is going nowhere until it gets rid of JC17...

...and brings in someone who can actually play the position?

Posted by: Vic1 | March 29, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

RSH, i guess you cant really argue with 4.8 lifetime avg... that will make average OL's seem better...

Posted by: Zeebs | March 29, 2010 7:55 AM
-----------------------------------------
Nope, can't argue with that at all. I am hoping that manifests itself right away in Washington. I've been looking into the type of offense Shanny ran in Denver and it seems to incorporate a fair amount of play action passes. I guess when you establish the threat of such a strong running game, the play action is a natural offshoot of it. The point here is the running game will ultimately make the passing game better.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The Duke-UMD rivalry is up there with Skins-Fightin' Jerrah's, so regionally, it is pretty relevant. Something you'd have to be from Maryland to understand, I suppose.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 7:55 AM

Duke-UMd "rivalry?" You would have to be from Maryland to believe that. Duke's rival is UNC.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"Zone blocking worked because of belief in philosophy"

And to implement that philosophy, the broncos brought in long, athletic types to play on the offensive line.

We've posted before that the 6'5" 290 lb. linemen the broncos featured played quite well against the NFC East this past season.

Thing is, the redskins' offensive line depth chart doesn't a lot of players similiar to what Shanahan had in Denver.

So mistamayor's real question to Shanny is, to what extent is the present line viable?

Is the zone-blocking scheme philosophy so important that the #4 and #37 picks are worth using on tackles who fit it?

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh look...Vic trolling to stir up the JC debate again. That's original. Glad to see you're trying something new...

Posted by: brownwood26 | March 29, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Here's another sour-grapes poster, still bitter because his application to Duke was rejected, coming on a REDSKINS blog to whine about a call in a college basketball game. In your case, Rypien, it's easy to see why Duke turned you down.

Duke 78
Baylor 71


Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 7:47 AM |

That's a good laugh. Yup, I applied to Duke and got turned down. Lots of people from upstate NY apply to Duke, right?

Did you go to Duke?

Flounder, I see everything you post, but I'm not gonna be arguing with a 40 year old guy who lives on a message board and calls people names.

Posted by: Rypien11 | March 29, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

...and brings in someone who can actually play the position?

Posted by: Vic1

Uhhhh...Rex Grossman?

Posted by: Predator48 | March 29, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to triple down on the 'F Duke' sentiment.

There are lots of folks who don't like Duke and have no ACC ties.

Duke = LA Lakers = NY Yankees = Dallas Cowboys

League-S, kinda surprising to see a GA Tech guy vouching for Duke.

Everybody associated with the ACC hates Duke, or so I thought...

Posted by: RedDMV | March 29, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Everybody associated with the ACC hates Duke, or so I thought...

Posted by: RedDMV | March 29, 2010 8:19 AM


For the educated fan, maybe...I dropped the bomb here last night that my wife roots for the Dookies AND the Tar Heels. So you'll get a weirdo in every bunch, I guess...

Posted by: brownwood26 | March 29, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Is the zone-blocking scheme philosophy so important that the #4 and #37 picks are worth using on tackles who fit it?

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:08 AM
------------------------------------------
Moe, it's a good question, but I think the question should be worded like, "Is keeping your quarterback vertical worth using draft picks on tackles with picks #4 and #37?" The Redskins don't have a left tackle currently - in any blocking scheme -so I think this means they have to go with a left tackle with one of their top two picks. I don't think it will be both picks, but I wouldn't be surprised if they revisited that well in the later rounds. This draft is deep in offensive linemen and spending three picks on on o-linemen wouldn't be the dumbest thing IMAO.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Flounder, I see everything you post, but I'm not gonna be arguing with a 40 year old guy who lives on a message board and calls people names.

Posted by: Rypien11 | March 29, 2010 8:10 AM |

I'm 39 thank you very much and you post up here more then I do, I don't mind the people that say F Duke or I hate Duke thats fine. What I hate is the people that cry about stuff, it was the refs fault or they played in a weak bracket.

The fact is Duke is in the final 4 and none of the other 1 seeds are. Whos fault is it that G-town lost to Ohio, or that Kansas lost to powerhouse Northern Iowa. Maybe it was the refs fault that maryland couldn't beat a Michigan State team who was playing without one of there best players.

I will give you credit though atleast your not spitting out that racist crap like skinsneedagm that guy is a complete D-Bag.

Posted by: Flounder21 | March 29, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

You would have to be from Maryland to believe that.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse
------------------------------

I'm fairly confident RI is regularly visited by Marylanders and ex-Marylanders, so that's kinda my point. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Red--I was an undergrad @ Tech, grad @ Duke. I'm for Duke in B'ball, Tech in F'ball. I chose both schools on the basis of cost: Tech was the cheapest engineering school in the country, and Duke offered me the largest fellowship.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

"The Duke-UMD rivalry is up there with Skins-Fightin' Jerrah's..."

Duke v. Terps: too local.

Pokes v. Skins: neither team has had the required battle in the playoffs or nasty fight for 1st place--or on even field fights--that makes two teams hate each other.

In fact, Pokes v. Skins has lost some of it's luster as the Pokes are at least putting an entertaining team on the field.

We hate dallas, then they sweep us and mock the idea we see them as rivals.

It's hard to sell out about a high profile team when all you got is last place finishes, constant coaching changes, and inept offense.

You have to hope the Shanahans embrace the Pokes v. Skins deal to where we start sweeping them or beating them in an important playoff game: 'cuz that's the stuff of a great rivalry.

And as for the best rivalry in all sports, there's Yanks v. Sawx: two teams spending millions 'o dollars to specifically stop the other from winning a championship.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

MSNBC fan brownie?

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 7:18 AM


Nope. Fan of staying on the sidelines in political debates. But as a bystander, it's pretty pathetic to see the news in this country so slanted one way or the other. You'd think we could find at least one news outlet around here that just reports the news without bias...

Posted by: brownwood26 | March 29, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Sorry brownie, money talks.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Red--I was an undergrad @ Tech, ... Tech was the cheapest engineering school in the country.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse
--------------------------

What'd you study? Tech has some killer RF programs, from what I read. Outside of MIT and Brooklyn Polytechnic and such, they are kinda rare

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Red--I was an undergrad @ Tech, grad @ Duke. I'm for Duke in B'ball, Tech in F'ball. I chose both schools on the basis of cost: Tech was the cheapest engineering school in the country, and Duke offered me the largest fellowship.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 8:28 AM

Good for you. Duke's a good school, especially for Grad studies. I got no problem with Duke the school, I just got a problem with Duke the mens hoops team seemingly being in the refs pocket every time I watch them play.

I have no allegiance to ANY college hoops team, I just like to see good clean basketball. Duke having a 16 FTA advantage in the 2nd half, plus getting the 2 biggest calls to go in their favor (charge and technical) doesn't really scream 'fair' to me. And I'm not the only one...

Posted by: Rypien11 | March 29, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Vic1, who would you bring in at QB? And how would your approach differ from the Vinny/Danny approach to Skins QBs before JC?

Just askin'.

Posted by: Alan4 | March 29, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Vic1, who would you bring in at QB? And how would your approach differ from the Vinny/Danny approach to Skins QBs before JC?

Just askin'.

Posted by: Alan4 | March 29, 2010 8:40 AM |

Alan,

Please don't get him started.

Posted by: Flounder21 | March 29, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Okay, League-S. I was confused there for a minute. I can see why you'll back Duke.


But still -- F Duke!!!!

Which is a good thing. People hate great and Duke has a great b-ball program.

brown, I know a few people who root for the Cowboys AND the Redskins.

Needless to say, they're all women. And these are the same women who root for FIVE different NFL teams.

Five....

Posted by: RedDMV | March 29, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Way to open up pandora's box, Alan. Hope you have your English/Crazy dictionary handy because logic and reason ain't Vic's bag...

Posted by: brownwood26 | March 29, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

red

"Duke = LA Lakers = NY Yankees = Dallas Cowboys"


Naw, son, pleeese don't do this.

The Yanks exist in their own zone: when you got the rings (27)and mythology (Ruth, Mantle, Jackson, Gehrig, Ford, Berra) the Evil Empire has, you can't be compared to anything else.

The Cowboys and Yankees don't compare as when D Jeter & Company come to play, they are pretty much going to shut up everyone in the room.

The Yanks sell merchandise, got their own network, are a team of stars, and expect to get a ring once the calender turns to October.

I don't think dallas has that kind of swag.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Again, encouraging words from our new coach: Believe and achieve.
When ever I read these articles though quoting Shanny or Allen explaining their philosophy on how the team should/will function, it is really bitter-sweet. It always reminds me of how this organization has been cheated the last decade, and we are long overdue. Dikcbags Snyder and Cerrato were doing the wrong things repeatedly, and expecting different results each time.

I sincerely hope Shanny can make us winners with this management system. I thought Gibbs would bring us out of the darkness and his performance was mediocre. So, I am going to be very cautious about getting my hopes up despite the encouraging rhetoric.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:51 AM |

I'm feeling great about it, I'll bet J-Ried is upset though he could of had days of post related to that.

Posted by: Flounder21 | March 29, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

O-LINE REDSKINS for 2010 to date:

C. OLDENBURG
P. FANIAKA
K. LICHTENSTEIGER
W. ROBINSON
W. MONTGOMERY
C. RINEHART
S. HEYER
M. WILLIAMS
E. WILLIAMS
A. HICKS
D. DOCKERY

If that list doesn't cry for a #4 overall pick nothing does.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:51 AM

Snyder/Cerrato would have signed him to a 40-million dollar contract and forced the coach to suc his dikc.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?"


I wasn't for the signing in the 1st place.

L Foote is the guy I hoped the team would sign.

And as it stands now, we are short a linebacker, tackle, corner, receiver, and defensive linemen.

I bet these are the draft picks we see.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

C.RABACH - C, sorry left one out.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Incidentally, who thinks we're going to be running the 4-3 the majority of 2010?

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"I thought Gibbs would bring us out of the darkness and his performance was mediocre..."

I don't fault St Joe.

The league changed up on him, and he probably didn't have the desire to move with the changes.

I think the Saunders' hiring was a cry for help as Joe thought he'd put into place a scoring offense and what he got was 400 pages of more confusion.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Moe;

I agree. The more they talk the more no one knows what they will do. Everyone assumes QB, but they all assumed peppers, robinson etc... we have 3 qb's shanny gets a year to work withj to then make a decision on whether to draft a franchise QB...

so logic dictates draft where they are short.

Posted by: Zeebs | March 29, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:51 AM

Not only that, I'm feeling good that he didn't go to Duke.

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Can
A
Man
Play
Ball
Eating
Lots of
Lawn?

Posted by: alex35332 | March 29, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or did it seem to others as well that other team's FA's fled D.C. like the plague the past few weeks.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

beep beep for Bradford

Posted by: League-Source | March 29, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead | March 29, 2010 8:51 AM |

Count me in. Incidentally, any of you draft guys know if there's a LB out there worthy of the #4 pick? I'm guessing not, and we've got other priorities, but what about round 2?

Posted by: RomoLongballs | March 29, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Probably me, we did sign JOHNSON, HICKS and several others.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"I thought Gibbs would bring us out of the darkness and his performance was mediocre..."

I don't fault St Joe.

The league changed up on him, and he probably didn't have the desire to move with the changes.

I think the Saunders' hiring was a cry for help as Joe thought he'd put into place a scoring offense and what he got was 400 pages of more confusion.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 9:03 AM

Granted, but it just goes to show that it is so hard to predict a winner without a recent history of success. I'm down with the Shanny lovers, but if he can't make good, they'll be eating their words. Shanny is new, but he ain't Jesus (until he takes us deep into the playoffs)

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the Saunders' hiring was a cry for help as Joe thought he'd put into place a scoring offense and what he got was 400 pages of more confusion.

Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse
----------------------------

My take was that Joe was angling for an eventual switch to GM or Prez capacity. I mean, he hired Saunders coming off of the 2005 season where he had the Skins offense in 11th place overall/ 7th in rushing with Brunell/Moss/Portis.

He successfully revived the H-back concept and you never saw those bubble screens in the NFL until Joe started calling them.

So Joe wasn't in over his head as an offensive mind, I don't think. As a team executive, tho, you have to pin the Saunders experiment on him.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Tentative predictions:

We don't take a qb in the first unless we trade down.
We will use our highest pick on the be ot available
We will not be drafting with the idea that we are going to play the 3-4 this year as our primary formation
We will be auctioning some of our players on draft day but we will be uncharacteristically shrewd.
Jason Champbell will not be traded.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Oops...this is better

Tentative predictions:

We don't take a qb in the first unless we trade down.
We will use our highest pick on the best ot available
We will not be drafting with the idea that we are going to play the 3-4 this year as our primary formation
We will be auctioning some of our players on draft day but we will be uncharacteristically shrewd.
Jason Campbell will not be traded.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | March 29, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Who is feeling good today that the Redskins didn't sign he-of-the-recent-DUI, Joey Porter?

Posted by: RedSkinHead


yeah its good to be ahead of the idiot curve for once.

Posted by: Predator48 | March 29, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Maryland fan, but found myself pulling for Duke for 4 years when Grant Hill was there. Went to high school with him at South Lakes.

At that time though, Maryland/Duke didn't really have much of a rivalry that I remember.

Posted by: dfbovey | March 29, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

...and brings in someone who can actually play the position?

Posted by: Vic1

Uhhhh...Rex Grossman?

Posted by: Predator48 | March 29, 2010 8:19 AM
========
like no date the day before the prom and two leftovers to choose from (an RFA and a UA no one else wants).

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | March 29, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

So Joe wasn't in over his head as an offensive mind, I don't think.
As a team executive, tho, you have to pin the Saunders experiment on him.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | March 29, 2010 9:12 AM
===========
and, so far, unfortunately the worst 1st round "trade and pick" deal in the history of the Skins and maybe top ten in the NFL.

I like Joe but, I think he led with his heart and not his head on that deal. Gibbs never really had a recruiting (or GM) background.

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | March 29, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Well Shanahan draft Okung so we can have a chance of that zone blocking philosophy succeeding here with the Redskins

Posted by: BeatDontStop | March 29, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Big deal Porter got a freaking DUI who cares and more then likely it will get thrown out ..If these guys are expected to be saints because they make lots of money you people are idiots...Stop hating them based on their status an what they earn , what they earn is whatthe market bares and if these billionaire owners want to pay them are they supposed to turn the money down?

Posted by: BeatDontStop | March 29, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"Zone blocking worked because of belief in philosophy"

And to implement that philosophy, the broncos brought in long, athletic types to play on the offensive line.

We've posted before that the 6'5" 290 lb. linemen the broncos featured played quite well against the NFC East this past season.

Thing is, the redskins' offensive line depth chart doesn't a lot of players similiar to what Shanahan had in Denver.

So mistamayor's real question to Shanny is, to what extent is the present line viable?

Is the zone-blocking scheme philosophy so important that the #4 and #37 picks are worth using on tackles who fit it?
Posted by: MistaMoe | March 29, 2010 8:08 AM
==============================================================================

so, why re-sign bmw and then sign hicks (who are both bigger than your 6-5 290 description)???

plus, most of the olinemen worth of drafting in this draft are significantly bigger than 6-5 290!!!

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Report-Shanahan-likes-some-of-the-holdover-linemen.html

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | March 29, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company