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New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The Saints' running game took a drastic dip from 2011 to 2012, from sixth in the NFL to 25th. The Saints' record also dropped, from 13-3 to 7-9. So improving a once-potent rushing attack for the Saints has paramount for ...

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Old 07-31-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
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The Saints' running game took a drastic dip from 2011 to 2012, from sixth in the NFL to 25th. The Saints' record also dropped, from 13-3 to 7-9.

So improving a once-potent rushing attack for the Saints has paramount for coach Sean Payton and the rest of the offensive staff entering the 2013 season.

Talking about improving the ground game is one thing. How to actually make the improvement is another. So the Saints did what so many other teams do when looking for a way to reinvigorate: model themselves after teams that are successful in areas where they're weakest.

Think about the recent success of running backs such as Houston's Arian Forster and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch. The Texans and the Seahawks thrive on using the outside zone scheme to get the defense moving laterally then having the running back find the seam. The Saints figure what works for others can also work for them.

"The Texans, the Seahawks, the Kansas City Chiefs over the years, those teams are running the outside zone play," offensive line Bret Ingalls said, who served as the team's running backs coach from 2009-11. "Obviously, they're gaining a lot of yards and they're productive.

"In '09, we were pretty good at it. Somewhere along the line we didn't do it as much. So we need to get back to that. We've seen enough film as evidence that it's a good thing, and we know it can be productive."

The Saints have essentially the same stable of running backs going into this season as they had the past two seasons with Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles once again set to share carries.

Ingalls said the Saints' running backs are versatile enough to run any scheme the coaches throw at them.

"I know we've said we're trying to make a special emphasis on it," Ingalls said. "I know we've said we need to run it more. I know that we need to run the ball in different spots -- outside, inside, right side, left side.

"I know we need to mix that up. We need to get the defense moving. A year ago against some of the teams we played, we didn't run the ball outside because we weren't sure we could. And so we've emphasized the outside zone play more. We're headed in the right direction."

Read more: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack | NOLA.com

Related article: Darren Sproles looks to bounce back from tough 2012 | Saints | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

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Last edited by papz; 07-31-2013 at 06:04 PM..
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

On Sirius radio earlier this week Bill Polian asked Sean Payton if the onus is on the o-line or the running back to improve the running game. Sean's response was that it depended on the type of play. For example, on draw plays the onus is more on the running back. Maybe the smarter X's and O's guys on the board can elaborate more.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:25 AM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

I agree with Coach Payton, it really depends on the play. A draw requires a smart RB with good vision who can find the hole that opens up. You might have a placer where you would like it to open up but it will depend a lot on how the D reacts. As an O-line player you will pass set and then just lock up on your guy trying to control him leaving the rst up to the RB.

Compare that to a HB dive for example, you know where the hole is supposed to be and its the o-lines job to make sure there is a hole by moving the D out of the way.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

So a zone run scheme fits a running back with good vision? Is a screen pass kind of the same concept? Cause if it is, Thomas and Ingram should really excel in this scheme. This may actually fit Ingram really well.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:36 AM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

Originally Posted by Mr.Riaton View Post
So a zone run scheme fits a running back with good vision? Is a screen pass kind of the same concept? Cause if it is, Thomas and Ingram should really excel in this scheme. This may actually fit Ingram really well.
Yes you could say so. A lot of the blocking has to do with trying to set an edge by reachblocking the EMLOS (end man on line of scrimmage). This is usually done by the tackle alone or together with a TE or FB. When the edge is set the HB can run on the outside. On the backside you cut everything down and create cutback lanes. Thats in theory atleast.
In reality a lot of times you get a full flow along the line and holes open up in the middle of it instead of on the outside and then the RB needs to hit that hole and usually cut to the direction of the pressure meaning if you run outside zone to the left the HB hits the hole and cuts back to the right. A lot of time this cause the flowing defender to over pursuit the play and miss the tackles.

Denver Broncos with Terrell Davis were great at the outside zone. Here is som video of it:


A screen pass isn't really comparable, for a screen you usually invite the defensive linemen upfield without blocking them and then release the O-line to the second level to block which in theory gives you a lot more blockers than defenders. But a screen isn't based on flow in the same way a zone play are. Both require good vision and decisiveness from the RB thou.

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Old 08-01-2013, 08:35 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

Cool. Much thanks Crusader
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

Yep. Really good stuff!
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:32 AM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
Yes you could say so. A lot of the blocking has to do with trying to set an edge by reachblocking the EMLOS (end man on line of scrimmage). This is usually done by the tackle alone or together with a TE or FB. When the edge is set the HB can run on the outside. On the backside you cut everything down and create cutback lanes. Thats in theory atleast.
In reality a lot of times you get a full flow along the line and holes open up in the middle of it instead of on the outside and then the RB needs to hit that hole and usually cut to the direction of the pressure meaning if you run outside zone to the left the HB hits the hole and cuts back to the right. A lot of time this cause the flowing defender to over pursuit the play and miss the tackles.

Denver Broncos with Terrell Davis were great at the outside zone. Here is som video of it:

Outside Zone Cut-Ups terrell davis alex gibbs - YouTube

A screen pass isn't really comparable, for a screen you usually invite the defensive linemen upfield without blocking them and then release the O-line to the second level to block which in theory gives you a lot more blockers than defenders. But a screen isn't based on flow in the same way a zone play are. Both require good vision and decisiveness from the RB thou.
Thanks bro! The reason I was comparing it to a screen pass was on the fact that after the back receives the pass, its up to him to choose his path based on where his blockers are....thus having to have good vision. Am I way off on that?
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:37 AM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

That scheme could help a lot, we have a fast powerful O line that is good on the move (just like a screen pass) and our RB's have good vision, excited to see it in action
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:54 AM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints focusing on outside zone scheme to improve rushing attack

Originally Posted by Mr.Riaton View Post
Thanks bro! The reason I was comparing it to a screen pass was on the fact that after the back receives the pass, its up to him to choose his path based on where his blockers are....thus having to have good vision. Am I way off on that?
No you are not way off. There are certain skills like good vision that is really important for both the screen and the outside zone. The basic structure of the play however is completely different IMHO.
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