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formats A closer look at Mike Shanahan and drafting of Offensive Linemen

One of the common misconceptions with Mike Shanahan and in general with Zone Blocking teams is that you need high draft picks in order to be successful. After studying and looking at previous OL’s that Shanahan and other zone teams have used, it paints a completely different picture than what is portrayed.

Lets take a look first off at the Denver OL’s from 2000 to 2008 and the draft positions of their offensive linemen. In 2000 Denver had an offensive line consisting of Tony Jones, Mark Schlereth, Tom Nalen, Dan Neil, and Matt Lepsis. Of those 5 guys, Schlereth was drafted in the 10th round. Nalen the 7th round and Neil the 3rd round. Tony Jones went undrafted and Lepsis was also an undrafted free agent.

Moving into 2001 the C, RG and RT positions were all the same and moving into the LT position was Trey Teague a 7th rounder and then Lennie Friedman a 2nd round pick. Throughout 2002-2004 the OL stayed the same except for the drafting of George Foster at RT a 1st round pick. In 2008 though Mike Shanahan made a huge change and drafted Ryan Clady at LT with the 12th overall pick. Up until then his LT’s were consisting of late round picks and helped lead a potent rushing and passing attack for the Broncos.

In case the Denver OL wasn’t enough to help convince you, lets take another look at one of the top ZBS teams in the NFL, The Houston Texans. Starting in 2007 with the hiring of Gary Kubiak, the ZBS scheme was implemented and the Texans offense began to finally take shape. Starting in 2007, the OL for Houston consisted of Ephraim Salaam, Chester Pitts, Mike Flanagan, Fred E. Weary and Eric Winston.

Now what you’ll notice is outside of Salaam, the other four offensive linemen were drafted in the first 3 rounds. One thing to realize though is Flanagan was signed as a FA and Weary and Pitts were both drafted under Dom Capers and the former staff and not under Gary Kubiak. Heading into the 2008, Kubiak finally got his OL just how he wanted to have it.

At LT he had his first round guy in Duane Brown, at LG he had Pitts again. At Center he found Chris Meyers a 6th round pick he got in a trade from Denver. At RG he has Mike Brisiel an undrafted free agent and Eric Winston still at RT. Overall throughout Kubiak’s time as the HC, Houston traditionally has drafted OL in the middle to late rounds with the exception of Duane Brown (who has turn into one of the premier OT’s in the NFL)

So what do these numbers mean for the Redskins? Well it’s pretty simple; Mike doesn’t look at OL the way many other teams tend to, just like he is the same way about RB’s. The zone-blocking scheme is a different animal than other scheme because it’s all about athleticism and working in tandem with 4 other teammates. So what can we expect from Mike Shanahan in the 2013 draft?

Look for Mike to target the RT position if he doesn’t feel comfortable in either Maurice Hurt or Tom Compton. If Mike does that, then expect him to look to target the RT with his 3rd or 4th round pick. In Denver, Shanahan made a gutsy pick and took Ryan Harris in the 3rd round to become his starting RT. Harris worked out and helped anchor the line although he did have injury issues throughout his career. Another thing that is asked a lot to me on twitter is why not RT in round 2?

Well as you can see throughout this and also other zone teams draft histories, they just don’t take RT’s in the top 2 rounds traditionally. Now there certainly are exceptions to that and teams will deviate from the norm, but usually with ZBS teams you see them draft a RT in the mid to late rounds and they become anchors on the line.

Finally lets look at the interior OL? Can we expect any draft picks this year? Well after tweeting back and forth with both Russ Lande and Josh Liskiewitz they both agree that Adam Gettis and Josh LeRibeus both have fits to be starters in the zone-blocking scheme. So with that in mind, I don’t see us addressing the interior OL, unless it is late for a center to groom under Will Montgomery.

So with all of that in mind, I hope that this clears up some of the common misconceptions about the OL in the ZBS scheme and just how they are valued and drafted.

Questions? Comments? Hit me up @JTPartlow21

Also give a follow to Russ Lande @RUSSLANDE and Josh Liskiewitz @JoshLiskiewitz


I wish I knew why people hate Rex Grossman.

I mean, legitimately hate. Like, curse his very existence kind of hate. I get that people aren’t fans of his style of play or his turnover prone ways. And those are legitimate concerns. But the mere sight of Rex Grossman in a Redskins uniform engenders the kind of hatred usually reserved for people you know in real life. Rex has been here since 2010, and in 3 seasons he’s never said a bad word about the fans, the team, or the organization. The guys in the locker room love him, the coaches really like him (enough to the point where he’s a near lock to be a coach sometime when he wants to stop playing), and both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins have expressed how helpful it was to have Grossman on the sideline in their rookie years.

And yet the mere sight of seeing Rex Grossman in uniform sends people into a frothing rage. I distinctly remember people complaining about Rex having to suit up when Robert sat out the Cleveland game; the contempt and annoyance over Rex just being active and in uniform drove people up a wall. The same happened when Rex was active versus Dallas and versus Seattle. Even when Rex has zero chance of playing, people would sooner smash their own skulls in than see #8 anywhere close to the field.

Andbutso, the big story of the preseason, in light of Pat White playing an average game of pitch and catch versus guys who will be working at Best Buy come September, became how bad Rex looked in comparison. How poor his mechanics were, how he could never handle the rush, how he was just plain the most awful quarterback who was ever awful at quarterbacking.

But how bad was he really?

Not as bad as you think. And I know full and well that I’m going to prove you wrong, and you’ll still hate Rex. But maybe a few of you will carefully reconsider thinking his preseason performance was leaps and bounds more terrible than Pat White’s.

The first, immediate take away from Rex’s first two drives in the game, was that both of them came with most of, if not all of, the Titas starting defense still on the field. Much of the huffing, puffing, eye-rolling and name calling about Rex’s abject horribleness is borne out of these two drives, in which the second string offensive line was (rightfully) bullied by the Titans starting defense. Rex basically had no time to set and throw on either of those drives, which makes people’s objections to them really heavy handed at best and completely ignorant of what actually happened in the game at worst.

When the Titans starters leave, that’s when we see Rex start to have a little more time in the pocket. Pinned on their own goal line with 11:32 in the second quarter, Rex hits a nice pass off play action to Josh Morgan on the crossing route. On his next pass attempt, he delivers a perfect ball to Aldrick Robinson off play action, but Al flat drops it after it hits him in his chest. On his next drop back, Rex has zero time again as Tom Compton can’t handle the speed rush of linebacker Greg Jones. Rex thinks about throwing it to Hankerson but see a corner in the area, and then takes the sack.

On the next drive, Rex get a short completion off the bootleg to Hankerson. On his next drop back, Rex starts left, looking at the routes for Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen. He works back right and finds Hankerson, who was working out of the slot on the whip route. Rex fires the pass and it’s a first down. Rex gets another completion on 3rd and 5 on the slant to Josh Morgan. The next pass shows a little veteran savvy, even though it’s incomplete. Rex keeps his helmet completely straight, which holds the safety. He then comes back left looking for Robinson on the go route. There was a lot of contact; had Rex thrown a more catchable ball there may have been pass interference, as the DB was all over Aldrick. But Rex comes back to Aldrick on the next throw on the out route to get second and goal. The touchdown is a nice little wide receiver screen.

An efficient, if not overly flashy drive. Grossman goes 3-4 with a touchdown on the drive.

On the next drive, Rex is going to take a 5 step drop. Rex looks to be reading Logan Paulsen as he drops back, but Paulsen gets covered by the linebacker. Rex comes back right and throws it up in single coverage to Donte Stallworth, but it falls incomplete. On his next pass attempt, Rex gets pressured as he drops back and tries to fire a strike to Paulsen, but it falls incomplete.

The next drive, Grossman wants to hit Stallworth on the crosser, but he’s covered, and Rex sails it over his head. On the next play, Rex gets pressure right up the middle when Josh LeRibeius can’t handle the defensive tackle, and he ends up sailing the pass out of bounds. On 3rd and 10, Grossman completes to Stallworth on the short post route, then comes back to Stallworth on the slant on his next pass attempt. After a wide receiver screen to Nick Williams, on his next pass attempt, Rex again gets pressure on a corner blitz from rookie Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Rex throws the ball up off his back foot, and Lance Lewis goes up and catches it for the would be touchdown.

The most “Bad Rex”-ish pass of Rex’s playing time was another one caused by pressure. Rex throws the ball up in the direction of Nick Williams, and nearly gets it picked off.

So, how “terrible” was Rex’s first preseason outing? Well, not bad at all, really. He wasn’t flashy, but he did move the ball well when he was given time, and the degree of difficulty between him and White was distinctly noticeable. Rex showed he had a command of the Redskins offense beyond simple route combos that only required him to read on player over and over again.

Is Rex an ideal starter? No. But he’s not supposed to be. His job, in essence, is to be a mentor, and he’s a veteran who knows the offense and operate it at a level that is at least functional. (And no, the offense didn’t change when Robert Griffin III became quarterback, it’s the same offense it’s always been, Robert just runs a few more concepts).

Pat White’s okay game gave people who hate Rex ample ammo to try and push him out the door. The problem is 1.) Rex Grossman isn’t going anywhere, and 2.) Pat White would have a hard time pushing John effing Beck out the door. He’d have a hard time pushing Colt Brennan out the door.

And of course there are those who just don’t care and want Rex to be as good as gone as quickly as possible, because even if he never touches the field, he’s somehow going to give cooties to the two young kids. Or maybe you don’t even care about that and you just hate Rex Grossman.

Tough cookies. He’s staying. Have fun being miserable over him being on the roster. It’s not going to change.

Film Sessions: Redskins Play Action Skinny Post

Bill Walsh-”The Play-Pass is the one fundamentally sound football play that does everything possible to contradict the basic principles of defense. I truly believe it is the single best tool available to take advantage of a disciplined defense. By using the play-pass as an integral pant of your offense you are trying to take advantage of a defensive team that is very anxious very intense and very fired-up to play football. The play-pass is one of the best ways to cool all of that emotion and intensity down because the object of the play-pass is to get the defensive team to commit to a fake run and then throw behind them. Once you get the defensive team distracted and disoriented, they begin to think about options and, therefore, are susceptible to the running game.

In highly competitive football, it is very unlikely that you will be able to run the ball so effectively that you will not need to do anything else to move the football. There is no question that having the play-pass, as a part of your offensive arsenal, can allow you to get a key first down or big chunks of yardage.”

I highly recommend reading the rest of ” Bill Walsh on the Play Pass” ..

lets look at how Kyle Shanahan is using Play pass to open up the skinny post.

Pistol Trips – 3 WR/ 1 TE / 1 RB

Lets go back to New Orléans. Redskins will run a PA pass concept VS the Saints man press cover 1 defense. The goal of this concept is to invite the LBS & Safeties to bite on the run action then hit the open windows for chunk yardage. If the LB & SS attack the run they will put the single safety in a position to fail. Lets see how the play develops.

Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris are at the mesh point carrying out the play action fake. At this point Robert and the offense are doing a good job of selling the run action to the defense. The LB & SS react to Fred Davis pulling across the formation in the backfield . While Robert sells the play action to Morris he is able to watch the RDE and Josh Morgans release from the line of scrimmage.

The LB & SS take the bait on the run action and come to the line of scrimmage.

Josh Morgan has gained inside position on the CB.

Santana Moss beat press coverage and is into his go route.The deep safety has to stay in the middle of the field ,in position to play the routes of Morgan & Moss. If the FS comes down to attack Morgan than Moss is turned loose with no over the top help. Robert Identifies the Safety is staying high and will target Morgan.

Morgan makes himself available for an easy first down completion from Robert Griffin III.

Pistol – 2 WR / 2 RB / 1 TE

Lets go back to week 7 vs The New York Giants. Redskins will run a PA pass concept VS the Giants man press cover 1 defense. The goal of this concept is the same as the earlier play. Redskins hope to invite the LBS and SS into the line of scrimmage to open windows in the passing game.

Redskins are running an inverted veer PA game to fool the Giants..

Robert Griffin III at the mesh point of the play action is watching Josh Morgans release from the line of scrimmage. Josh beats press coverage and gains inside position of the line of scrimmage. The Lbs have frozen while trying to diagnose the play.

The CB almost has Morgan blanketed but almost is not good enough on this throw from Robert Griffin III. Anything less than a perfect pass is incomplete or intercepted and Robert threads the needle.

Morgan makes the catch in space and ends up scoring on this play. The play was called back due to an illegal motion call on Fred Davis.Why was the safety so late in coming down to help the corner?

Hankersons go route keeps the safety home just like in the first play.. The safety has to decide on who to take and the #1 rule is ” as deep as the deepest”.

Pistol Trips – 3 WR/1 TE/ 1 RB

Redskins will run an Inverted Veer play action out of 3 wide vs Man press cover 1.. Sound familiar?

The deep safety will shade over top of Pierre Garcon.

Nothing sells run action to a defense more than pulling lineman. The Offensive Line will slide block right while Chris Chester pulls around to pick up the spot vacated by Trent Williams. Let that sink in for a minute.. Yes, if you have not noticed the Redskins are pulling Lineman.

The run fake and the pulling lineman bring all the LBs and SS into the line of scrimmage. The beauty of this play is Robert could have handed it off and Alfred Morris would have been 1 on 1 with a SS. How often have we seen him tackled on first contact ? This play like many others in the Redskins offense could have been successful many ways.

Pierre Garcon beats press coverage and is running free in the Dallas secondary. I have no idea what the safety is doing on this play. If he was playing the middle of the field I could understand him staying deep. Playing the far right hash over top of Garcon you would think he would come down and react.

Garcon makes the play and takes it to the 4 yard line of Dallas.

Critics will say ” Robert Griffin III passes to much of play action” and ” I want to see him in a 3-5-7 step game” .. My question is why ? I thought the goal for an offense was to run it until defenses stop you & nobody has stopped the Redskins PA skinny post.


I am finally done with one of my favorite plays from victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving day. I have to give kudos to Kyle Shanahan for the play calling sequence. Two plays prior The Redskins ran Alfred Morris for 12 yards up the middle out of this same formation. Kyle came right back with a designed shot play so lets take a look and see how it developed.

Pistol Formation: Queen Pro motioned into Diamond Formation

Redskins come out and show “Queen Pro” pistol formation. Queen pro is when the TE is on the line opposite side of the two back set in the backfield.Logan Paulsen will then motion down into a “diamond” formation with Robert Griffin III in the middle of his FB,TE,and HB.The Diamond formation places 9 offensive players inside the tackle box which gives you numbers in the run game and spacing on the outside for the pass game. The Cowboys stay in their cover 2 shell following motion which gives the Redskins 9 vs 7 in the box.

The Redskins will show run action with Their OL and pulling TE from the backfield.Hankerson and Robinson will release and run directly at the safeties.

Post snap we see how the blocking sets up. Trent Williams jumps out on D.Ware while the rest of the OL zones off to the right. The right DE is the “Read’ defender and is left unblocked initially. D.Young comes through the hole to cut down the DE, Paulsen pulling across the backfield helps sell the run action to the defense. Logan will end up filling in the open gap in pass pro vacated by the LG.

The Cowboys have 9 players with eyes in the backfield.

The far safety has his eyes in the backfield but is ready to get to his responsibility. The safety on the near hash is flat-footed and stuck in quick sand.

*As this play develops I want you to remember where the ILBS and Safety began this play

Here is when it gets fun! This “College Offense” is supposed to be 1 read which makes it easy on the QB. The critics like to say “Robert Griffin III is not being asked to read the field like other QBs” etc. I have news for you, Kyle Shanahan has designed an offense that is more in-depth than your typical “college offense”.

Following the PA fake Robert Griffin III puts eyes on his first read in the progression. At this point Hankerson and Robinson are being passed to safeties ( more on Robinsons side later).

The in cut by Hankerson invites the far safety to bite on the route, this pulls him out of deep coverage.With no threats in the flat The CB carried Robinson to the safety.The near hash safety is still in no mans land.

Robert Griffin the III knows he has the Robinson route but stays with his progressions. I think this is significant because it shows maturity as a passer. Griffin could have sat and waited for Robinson to come open and let it rip but he stayed within the offense and took the route when he should have.

Robert Griffin III gets back to his first read and lets it rip to Aldrick Robinson. I don’t believe many quarterbacks could make this play from beginning to end the way Robert did. The long play action fake to hold the defense (1.2 seconds), the athleticism to quickly get back into a three-step drop while reading the defense (2.7), A flat-footed bounce step ripping the ball 60 yards down field in stride.. IMPRESSIVE.

Over the course of that whole play the LBS and secondary were frozen in place. When they did figure out it was a pass the LB and secondary were only able to get 5 yards depth into coverage which is big win for the offense.

Lets take a look at Robinsons route real quick

Nice free release and heading for the safety

Shoulder dip to keep up his path after contact

Turn on the speed to blow past the coverage

Complete the play for 7.

College offense formations with pro route reads and routes.. Griffin III is doing more than you think.


I was putting the film together for my Redskins 2-4-5 defense review and these plays grabbed my attention. The secondary had a rough day and along with Jim Haslett caught the brunt of the fans anger. The more film I comb through the more the Linebackers are standing out to me as having coverage issues of their own. Lets go to the film and check out London Fletcher and Perry Riley.

Perry Riley- Cover 2




Post snap & the green dots are dropping into their cover 2 assignments correctly,what is the Red dot doing? Perry Riley is the Red dot and for the remainder of this breakdown he will remain the lone red dot. Everyone in Green is in the process of dropping into their coverage zones. Wilson was carrying his WR up the field until Jackson released into his side of the field on a pass route. *Green dot in pic #2 is where Riley began and what his correct path should of been getting into his zone.

Riley has his eyes locked on Sam Bradford which is the norm in zone coverage. The key is to still be focused on completing your assignment while doing so. It appears Riley is thinking that Bowen getting a free rush on Bradford will force the ball to come out to Jackson on the out route. The flat pass would be Josh Wilsons play to make if Bradford wnet to the outlet valve which he does not.


At this point Perry Riley is all in and has committed to defending Stephen Jackson in the flat.. Josh Wilson still has outside leverage and would be in perfect position to make a play.

By this point Riley is on his high horse to Jackson while Kerrigan and Bowen are in position to get home on the QB

Kerrigan gets to Bradford but a step late. Remember the green dot and arrow for where Riley was suppose to be ?

Now had Riley been in position this play is changed dramatically IMO. Riley in his zone at depth takes the WR away from Bradford and gives Kerrigan the extra second he needed to get a sack on Sam Bradford. Bowen is also is Bradfords line of sight so who is to say Riley would not have been in position for a hurried pass for a interception ?

That is a hell of a throwing lane created by one out of place LB huh?

Here is Josh Wilson giving his “C’mon man ” speech.
Perry Riley helped the Rams turn a negative situation into a 19 yard gain.

2. London Fletcher- Cover 3

Redskins come out in their 2-4-5 cover 3 zone with Richard Crawford as the inside slot corner. St. Louis will motion Amendola down inside the numbers which gives the CB & SS more routes to think about. M.Williams is on the far hash moving toward his zone coverage area post snap.

Post snap Gomes begins his rotation to the deep middle while Wilson and Griffin begin to fall into coverage. Bradford turns his back to the defense and this movement usually freezes the Linebackers as they wait to verify either A. Run or B. Play action. In this case play action pass is the call. London Fletcher appears to have already taken the run bait. Can London make up for this one false step so early?

Richard Crawford gets a nice delayed jam on the wide reciever which will slow his progress to allow the coverage more time to drop in their zones. Perry Riley identifies pass and as indicated by his weight transfer is begining to drop into his zone responsibility. London identifies pass and looks to be dropping into his area like Riley.

On the far hash M.Williams gets in position to defend his zone & get a good delayed reroute on Amendola. Richard Crawford after his jam begins to flare out towards the flat.After the play fake the RB will release from the backfield and this action draws the attention of London Fletcher. Keep in mind Crawford has flat responsibility on this play so the RB running a out route would be his play to make. London at this point has already tipped Bradford to where he is going with the football.

London is locked on to the RB and releasing into the flat along side Crawford. Amendola is about to break into his in route behind the drop of Perry Riley. Coverage is sound on this play except from London Fletcher.

Amendola begins to clear into a open zone which should be occupied by london Fletcher at this point

Amendola flashes right into a wide open zone for Bradford to throw into. The completion is made and Amendola hits the ground running turning this reception into 56 yards.

Secondary has its issues but coverages require the whole defense to be on the same page. When Linebackers don’t get into their zones big plays will happen in the middle of the field.


First let’s take a look back at the 3 Things I was watching out for last Thursday night.

I thought Helu looked really sharp. Yes he played better against 2nd string than 1st string. But a) he’s not our starting RB anyway and b) I was actually more interested in how he was after the game. And so far so good. He looks healthy, he’s making people miss. I think he’s-excuse me Rob and Adidas-all in for week 1.

Hankerson was solid. No complaints, but let’s see him keep that up.

I must not have been paying attention to the kickoffs. Because I don’t remember any of them.

On to Monday Night:

1. The Forgotten Draft Pick: I call Josh LeRibeus the forgotten draft pick because I think many fans, probably more so non-Redskins fans, remember the Redskins drafting RG3 with the 2nd overall pick and then immediately after taking Kirk Cousins. They forget that in between those two they selected OG Josh LeRibeus in the 3rd round. Which at the time many people thought was a bit high, but that “controversy” got swept under the rug with all the “Why did they draft Cousins” talk. Anyhow, a few weeks back I tweeted out that I didn’t think Gettis (another pick that year) wasn’t safe. Someone else, can’t recall who, replied that it was probably Ribeye who was more in danger. I dismissed that, saying they wouldn’t give up on a 3rd round pick so quickly. Well, I’d like to apologize to that person. Report after report I’ve heard (both on and off record) indicate that JL is playing very poorly and showing no improvement from last season. So I’ll be watching him. Our depth on the interior OL is a concern to me. I’d like to see someone-Gettis, LeRibeus, Matthews-step up and give me confidence.

2. The Luckiest Man Alive: Probably an exaggeration. And I know no one is ever happy with an injury to a teammate. Well probably A-Rod, but that’s a different sport for a different day. Still, you can’t tell me Dejon Gomes didn’t breathe a huge sigh of relief when Phillip Thomas was lost for the season. And I mean I can’t blame him. He had to know he very much on the bubble, and now he gets a reprieve. And he’s been working with the 1st team this week and may likely start on Monday night. Let me see what you got Gomes. Because right now I see both Reed Doughty and Jordan Pugh as better options at SS than you. Let me see you recognize those pass routes, hit those angles right. Because unless we hit the waiver wire, you’re probably making this team. But making it and earning it aren’t the same thing

3. The Greatest QB To Ever Grace A Redskins Uniform: The #5 jersey’s glorious journey must come to an end. Step aside Heath Shuler, move over Donovan McNabb, out of the way Colt Brennan. The #5 jersey belongs to Pat “I’m so badass they call me Walter” White! Ok, back to reality. I do want to see how White plays on Monday night though. I think he’s realistically got zero shot to make the final roster. And I thought his performance was way way overrated, as illustrated here. But it’s the preseason and it’s fun to dream. So this summer, we’re all Pat White fans

Bonus: Watching clips from RG3: Will to Win at halftime

What will you be watching for?


The first series of Alex Gibbs film sessions was a huge success so now we bring you part 2.In this series the film sessions focus more on FB roles,site adjustments for blocking assignments, silent count scheme for away games, and PA keeper boots and passes.

Video 6 focuses more on UF and Alex Gibbs discussing and adapting each others scheme

Video 7 Is a continuation of #6 until halfway through when the focuses is back on Gibbs scheme (FB roles,Site Adjust,OL silent counts)

Video 8 is focused on the zone pa game (Must watch)





During his off time from coaching(2009-2010) it has been well publicized that Mike Shanahan traveled to New England,Pittsburgh,Oregon, and Florida to study other philosophies. Going into year 3 of the “Shanaplan” you can see the influences of Belicheck in how the team has worked the draft and team managment to a degree. I see the influences of the Pittsburgh Steelers in our defensive scheme switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. What we have not seen yet is what exactly was Mike looking to take away from two of the brightest minds on zone read option football in Chip Kelly and Urban Myer? I don’t think anyone thinks Mike is going to scrap his offense and transition into a Zone Spread full time but what if his master plan is to marry the two run schemes together? I remember watching Gruden’s QB camp with Ryan Tannehill and at one point Gruden was in aw as Texas A&M ran the zone read scheme along with west coast pass concepts.

We knew Mike Shanahan went to Florida but most people didn’t know Myer took his staff to Atlanta to be schooled by Alex Gibbs. Now if you don’t
know the name Alex Gibbs he was Mike Shanahans Offensive line coach from 1995-2003 with the Denver Broncos. Gibbs is widely respected around the league as the godfather and biggest proponent of the zone blocking scheme and its use in the NFL. Posted below are the classroom sessions from the UF/Gibbs coaching sessions and while they may be long (1 hour each) they are filled with great information on everything included in the stretch scheme and future advances.Im sure you would rather learn about our scheme from a master rather than myself so check it out and enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments.



Everywhere I look recently I see or hear the questions ” What is wrong with the defense?” and ” Why cant we get pressure without Orakpo?”. There seems to be this feeling that you have to have elite talent to have any chance of getting pressure on a QB these days. Talent is always nice but a great scheme and intelligent coaches can still dial up effective defenses and pressure a QB.

The Redskins are three years into their switch from a 4-3 to the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense. LeBeaus 3-4 is built on creating confusion,wearing down a offensive line, and pressuring the QB. Offenses often struggle against 3-4 fronts because they can not account for where the extra rushers are coming from.The defense is unpredictable and aggressive by nature that will create confusion as long as the man calling the shots is not predictable.

After hours of film I have come to the conclusion that Jim Haslett is not running the LeBeau 3-4 correctly in Wasington DC. In the LeBeau 3-4 the CBS should be in man coverage 85% of the time or more to give the front 7 more time to work. The defense is aggressive with blitzes,slants,and stunts aimed at causeing confusion in the middle of the offensive line that opens holes for pass rushers. The scheme creates the pass rush in most of the defensive packages.

The Redskins do feel Orakpos loss from a base 4 man rush situation but this scheme is not suppose to be built on many 4 man rush opportunities. They feel the lack of a creative and instinctive defensive coordinator even more. Jim Haslett has developed a reputation around the league,media,and fanbase as being to predictable with his calls and that reputation is well earned.

The Redskins and Steelers are the only two teams in the league that run the LeBeau 3-4 so how do they mirror with eachother? I see some of the principles and blitz concepts in Washington but flawed coaching and use of personnel. I have posted a lot of screen shots below of Pittsburgh and Washingtons pressure concepts for everyone to discuss and hopefully enjoy. The Pittsburgh clips are all from their week 5 game vs the Eagles and go in order from 1st quarter thru the 4th. One thing that stood out to me was how diverse the steelers attack was in their pressure packages. When they are bringing the heat the will stack the line of scrimmage to create confusion, have every defender near their coverage assignments, and when blitzing the secondary they are on the line to allow them to get to the qb faster.

The Redskins love to send CBs and SS more than LBs in their pressure packages. The CB are asked to run from their position in coverage which takes longer for them to get to the quarterback. Washington does have a lot of success when in man coverage and rushing their LBS but they do not do it enough. Linebackers also always stay at depth (5-6 yards) which allows the offensive line to clearly identify their responsibility.

Check out the screen shots of both teams and let us know what you think.

-Steelers are aligned in their base 3-4 defensive front playing man cover 1 zone under
-The ILB and OLB will be coming on a blitz

-The Defensive line will slant right
-OLB & ILB begin to drop into their zone coverage

-The slant by the defensive line caused the Eagles to over shift
-RT kicks out to defend the outside edge against the OLB
-Huge hole is opened up between the Guard and center leaving the ILB 1 on 1 with a RB

-The ILB makes contact and puts the RB on his butt

-The ILB is in hot pursuit of the QB
-QB does not have the time to hit his open WR and is flushed from the pocket

-QB was forced to take a sack or throw the ball away. This desperation throw almost ended up as a easy interception on the right sideline

-Steelers are in their 3-4 base defense
-The ILB & OLB will blitz off the left edge
-Defense is in man cover 1

-This is now a 2 man rush game with 2 athletic linebackers in space vs 2 Lineman
-The OLB & ILB are working in coordination with each other as both press and extend the edge on the LT & G
-Notice the OLB has stuck his upfield foot in the ground and is prepared to make a move

-ILB spins off the Guard and back into the open lane
-OLB uses the LTs momentum against him and pushes him past his upfield shoulder
-OLB then will move to take on the Guard which will allow the ILB to be a free rusher

-With the TE doubled the QB is feeling the pressure and begins to run
-The ILB will make the play and cause a QB fumble on this play

-The QB had a WR streaking past A OLB on a go route
-Without pressure on the passer this play could have been a TD instead of a turnover

-Steelers have their 2-4-5 (2 DL,4 lB,5 DB) personnel on the field
-Cover 2 Man is the coverage

-Steelers will bump the WRs off the line of scrimmage

-Nomrally the 2 down lineman in a 2-4-5 would line up off the guards outside should but the Steelers are being creative.
-1 DL man is over the nose while the other is standing up over the LT
-50 & 92 are lined up in the gap between the G & LT
-All 5 Offensive lineman now have to be concerned with those 3 defenders ( NT,50,92)

-Center takes on the NT
-Both LTs kick out against the perimeter rushers
-RG slides and reaches to take on the LB (50) aligned in his gap
-LG slides and reaches to take on the LB (92) that WAS aligned in his gap
-92 drops back into a spy position
-See the crease that has been opened up in the center of the OL?

-The guard steps out on 92 which widens the rush lane for the LB
-94 will again be 1 on 1 with a RB and he wins his battle
-The QB rushes and throws a incomplete pass after 94 comes free

-Steelers are in 2-4-5 personnel
-50 & 94 are stacked in the A gaps on each side of the center
-The presence of the defenders in the line in the gaps will attract the immediate attention of the OL

-Everyone except 99 (DE) will slant left post snap which takes the offensive line left as well
-99 stalls and keeps the attention of the LT
-92 is matched up 1 on 1 with a RB on the right of your screen

-The RB wins this battle and cuts 92 down
-Eagles hit 10 on the slant for a big gain but you will take a pass rusher on a RB any day of the week

-Steelers in their base 3-4 defense
-50 will slide into the A gap between the C,G right before the snap
-92 & 93 will drop into zone
-94 will come on a A gap blitz

-50 in the A gap pre-snap takes the centers attention
-G & RT slide right to take on what they thought was going to be the strong side rush
-LT & G slide out to take on the slanting DT,DE
-These movements again open a wide lane for 94 on the A gap blitz and he is 1 on 1 with a RB

-94 beats the block of the RB

-The QB is pressured off his spot and hurried into throwing a incomplete pass

-Without pressure its possible the QB finds one of these open WRs

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 package playing Cover 2 man
-50 Will drop into man coverage on the TE post snap
-Steelers overload the weak side and are blitzing the OLB and SS

-94 attacks the guard
-DE attacks the LT
-The RB is stuck in a 2 on 1 vs a LB & SS
-The RB should of taken the inside rusher but he takes the SS
-93 is on a free run at the QB

-The QB goes down after almost instant pressure

-Here is the coverage on the play
-TE breaks open on a go route past the LB but no time to make the throw

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-NT over the Center
-DT over the TE
-2 LBs will attack the A & B gaps left of the center
-DT will attack the A gap on the right
-93 will drop and cover the TE

-LT & C crash to help the LG based on their pre-snap read
-RG assumes the Center has the DT

-DT has a free run at the QB

-DT completes the play for a easy sack

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-DT will attack the outside shoulders of the guards trying to push up field
-OLBs will stunt back towards the middle of the DL

-The DTs pushing upfield will serve as a pick
-OLBs stunt towards the open hole left by the guards

-OLB has a free run at the QB and forces a rushed throw that falls incomplete

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 man cover 1
-DT over the center
-DT over the TE standing up
-LBs on the line of scrimmage pressing the gaps

-LT slides out to get the outside rusher
-G is focused on the LB (92) that was in his gap pre-snap
-C slides right this time to take the DT
-The DT is unblocked

-DT has a free run at the QB
-QB is rushed and ends up throwing a incomplete pass

-Steelers in their 2-4-5 with LBs pressing the gaps
-93 will drop into the middle of the field to man the TE

-Center is taken up by the NT
-LT slides out to grab the outside rusher
-92 stunts inside and attacks the guard

-92 blows past the Guard and puts instant pressure on the QB
-QB throws a pass into coverage to avoid the sack and it falls incomplete

The Steelers clearly have a great scheme that puts their pass rushers in 1 on 1 situations that are favorable to them. I very rarely saw the best pass rushers against the Eagles best pass protectors on the offensive line over the course of the game. The other thing that stood out to me was the Steelers scheming to get free rushers thru from the A gaps on a consistent basis. Shortest distance to get pressure and effect a QB is thru the middle not the edge and clearly the Steelers do it very well. When Pittsburgh is in their 2-4-5 personnel they stack the line of scrimmage to cause confusion in the blocking scheme while playing cover 1 or 2 behind it.

Lets get on to the Redskins defense coordinated by Jim Haslett.

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel
-DL and 91 will slant left
-23 will come on a cornerback blitz

-OL shifts right to account for the DL slant
-23 is left 1 on 1 with a RB and is stonewalled

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-SS & 23 will blitz off the edge

-OL slides with the slant
-RB takes the SS on the blitz
-23 gets a free run on the QB and records the first sack of his career

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense running A & B gap blitz
-NT will attack the right shoulder of the center
-59 will attack the A gap on the inside shoulder of the guard
-LT will step out to take the DE
-56 will have to deal with a RB once he hits the crease

-59 sheds the Guard and has a free run at the QB
-56 sheds the RB and has a free run at the QB
-Bradford escapes the pocket and gets to the sideline while completing a pass to Amendola

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-23 will blitz from the CB position

-CB is 1 on 1 with the RB

-CB is picked up and the ball is out


-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL attacks down on the OL
-59 and 23 will blitz off the edge

-LT slides out on the DE
-Center goes left to try and sell the play action
-RB slides out to pick up the blitzing CB
-59 has a free run to the QB

-QB is pressured into a quick throw which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense
-OLB & ILB will blitz on this play

-The DL and LBs attack straight down
-Offensive line has plenty of time to read their individual responsibilities

-QB has a clean pocket to throw from

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT will attack the Centers inside shoulder
-59 will attack the inside shoulder of the guard
-51 will attack the crease

-51 gets a free run on the QB
-QB is forced to make a quick pass which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will go straight up field
-CB will blitz off the edge

-Center slides to pick up 59
-LT slides to pick up 51
-CB is 1 on 1 with a guard
-Clean pocket for the QB to throw from

-Redskins are in their 3-4 personnel
-DE crashes to take on G,C
-ILB will blitz down on the guard
-OLb will attack the LT

-Guard pushes DE onto the center
-Guard is free to take on the LB
-LT slides out to take on the OLB
-Clean pocket to hit the open TE

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DE will stunt inside
-91 will attack the guard
-96 will attack the A gap
-59 will attack inside shoulder of the LT
-OLB will press the edge

-OL accounts for the rushers and the QB gets off a quick completion

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT crash in
-OLB attack the LT
-CB blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run at the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the pass off for a completion

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel with 91 on the line as a DE
-DL will slant right
-SS AND CB will blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run on the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the ball out for a completion



Twitter and the message boards have buzzed about: Whats wrong with Alfred Morris? Well we have plenty of time to talk about it but let’s take an All-22 look at Alfred Morris in the run game vs the Dallas Cowboys.

– Read Option: Morris follows the lead blocks of Paulsen and Young.

– Ware chases Morris down from behind. Gain of 3 yards on the play.

– Pistol: Outside Zone (stretch)- Morris will track the outside hip of Young until he finds a lane to cut up-field. Chester is suppose to block and seal Lee off to the inside. Polumbus gets beat to the inside off the snap of the ball.

– Lee beats Chester to the outside to fill the run lane, Morris tries to bounce to the sideline.

– Lee cuts down Morris at the line of scrimmage. Morris could have picked up more yards on the play had Chester blocked his assignment. Morris gain of 0.

– Pistol: Read Option look but a designed run call to Morris.

– Morris is being blocked by the camera, but trust me he is there. I wanted to show this image because of the cut block by Morgan, he gets it done for a WR, position switch? The blocking scheme leaves the Cowboys best run defender unblocked..? Not to sure about this one.

– Morris tries to get front-side but is brought down by Lee before he gets to the hole. Gain of 3.

– Base Under Center: Outside zone (Stretch)- Morris is suppose to track the outside hip of Reed until he finds his lane to get up-field. Trent will search and seal Lee to the inside while Reed and Davis Seal the defenders to the sideline. What I like about this play is Reed and Davis are actually on the field together so lets see how they do.

– Reed and Davis get the job done sealing the outside.Morris gets up-field and picks up 9 yards.

– Pistol: Inside Zone-  OL works combo blocks on the DT’s. Reed is matched up 1 on 1 with Ware.

– Lee flashes in the hole and Reed is beat inside by Ware, Morris is dead to rights at this point. Gain of 0.

– Base Under Center Morris will take the pitch and follow Young through the hole.

– OL does a great job of giving Morris a lane to cut into. Young looks to seal Lee to the outside. Ware is in pursuit from the backside.

– Lee sheds Young and assists Ware in taking down Morris for a gain of 3.

– Base:Under Center Outside Zone (Stretch)- We won’t know what Morris could have done o this play because Kory lichtensteiger gets beat off the snap.

– Hatcher brings down Morris for a loss of 4. You never know how a play will turn out, but this looks like it had some potential.

– Shotgun: HB  Draw – OL opens a crease for Morris and he has blockers on the second level.

– Morris should be through the hole already and working the FS, but instead he stutter steps, then he cuts towards T.Polumbus.

– Morris gets tackled for a gain of 0.

– Pistol:Read Option – This play looks like Read Option but is a predetermined run call for Morris.

– Morris sees the CB flash off his right side and cuts backside.  Polumbus didn’t have enough time to reach his block on #54 B.Carter.Carter makes the play on Morris for a gain of 2.

– Base: Under Center Outside Zone (Stretch)- OL does a good job of sealing of the defense.

– Morris sees the lane early, and he cuts up-field once the DE flashes on Polumbus’s outside shoulder. The lane is small but one an NFL RB can work for positive yardage.

– Morris weaves through the lane and is in position to break a long run, just has to find another gear.

– Morris can’t hit that the next gear and is tracked down by the DE for a gain of 5. I like these plays from Morris and will never complain about gaining positive yardage, but I do think there can be more yardage gained on plays like these by a guy with a little more explosion.

– Base Under Center: Same play that they ran earlier in the game. Interior OL doubles the DT’s, single on the DE’s with Reed & Polumbus. Normally the interior OL will combo block the DT’s then 1 will peel and reach the LB’s on the second level.  Reed looses inside leverage on the snap of the football.

– Morris feels the DE pushing off his left and cuts into the backside hole created by Chester and Polumbus.

– Morris is tracked down by the DE before he can get to the hole. A better block by Reed, or a little more burst from Morris and this play could have been a lot different. Gain of 2 on this play.

– Base Under Center: Outside Zone (Stretch)-  Chester gets pushed in the backfield on the snap by the offside DT. Morris tracks off the hip of Young.

– OL does a great job seal off the lane and Montgomery has hands on the LB at the top of the hole.

– Alfred gets to the top of the hole with a two-way go, breaks two arm tackles on his way to a 45 yard TD.

– Pistol: Read Option- Paulsen and Young come across the formation, Paulsen works a “bluff” block on the DE.

– DE has too much momentum and hits Morris in the backfield. Morris takes the contact and still picks up a 3 yard gain.

Alfred Morris finished the day with 16 carries for 81 yards and a 5.06 average. I thought he went as the Offensive line went, which can probably be said for a lot of Running Backs in the NFL. At times he displayed the patience, decision making, and power he’s known for, other times he pressed  a little, and lacked the speed to pick up yards that were available. Perfection is rare in this league, and Morris isn’t perfect but he is productive.

I felt Morris had a better day in the traditional run game rather than the zone read. Think the zone read game was forced a little too much in the first half vs the Cowboys, but that could just be me. Thanks for reading!