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Zone Blocking

What is Zone Blocking?

A blocking technique in football that uses an option and area blocking scheme rather than the traditional assignment man-blocking scheme. Instead of forcing the offensive line to block specific personnel, linemen uses specific sets of rules, depending on a pre-determined variation to execute blocks for running plays.

Sporting Charts explains Zone Blocking

A blocking technique in football that uses an option and area blocking scheme rather than the traditional assignment man-blocking scheme. Instead of forcing the offensive line to block specific personnel, linemen uses specific sets of rules, depending on a pre-determined variation to execute blocks for running plays.

Explanation
Although traditional one-on-one blocking schemes are common, they can be vulnerable to shifts in the defense, complex blitz packages or stunts. If a linemen is no longer facing off against the defender he is paired with, blocking becomes more difficult to accomplish effectively. Zone blocking provides one set of rules for linemen to follow that make it simpler for them to block for a run play regardless of defensive alignment and to take full advantage of directing their efforts to the point of attack.

The other major strength of zone blocking is offenses can make use of double-teams to help equalize a weakness like underpowered linemen. The type of blocking dictated to each linemen in zone blocking can depend on the zone that contains the point of attack (where the running back will head with the ball), or can be specifically designed by play. The three most commons zones of attack in a run play are the Inside Zone (IZ), Outside Zone(OZ), and Stretch. If a lineman is covered, he uses a series of steps to block toward a specific zone; if he is uncovered by the defense, he can help by double-teaming to the play-side or the weak-side. Many deceptive blocking techniques like traps are considered to be a type of zone blocking.  

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