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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Kubiak: Simplicity could be asset for Seahawks

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

DANA POINT, Calif. -- The shorter learning curve Greg Knapp promised to bring as the Seahawks' new offensive coordinator stands as a primary advantage for zone-blocking proponents.

 
  Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
  Walter Jones and the Seahawks' offense will employ some zone-blocking schemes next season.

That was Gary Kubiak's take over breakfast at the NFL owners' meeting Tuesday morning. Like Knapp, Kubiak became a zone-blocking proponent after working with veteran offensive line coach Alex Gibbs.

Kubiak: It's maybe not so much scheme as it is more of a mindset. 'Hey, this is what we are going to be as a team. These are four runs we're going to run. We're going to be good at them.' Convincing your players this is where you are going. Maybe that is more important.
For us, through my experience with it is just the idea of not being very complicated. In this day and time in our league, there is a lot of player movement. How quick can you adjust new guys to your scheme? How quick can coaches come into your place and [adapt] when you don't have a lot of time to get good at something? It does give you a chance to be simple and do something over and over again and hopefully get good at it.

Man-based blocking schemes are inherently more complicated because of all the possible combinations against various defenses. Zone schemes rely on a few basic principles that are less dependent upon what a defense is doing. Seattle is joining a short list of zone-blocking teams featuring the Texans and Packers. The Broncos, with a new staff, could be getting away from it some, although they did retain their line coach.

Why aren't more teams zone-oriented in their blocking schemes? I think it's because fewer offensive line coaches become coordinators and head coaches. If the coordinator and/or head coach aren't zone proponents, their teams generally won't run the system.

The trend could be toward more zone-oriented teams. The Raiders are running a zone scheme under Tom Cable. The Broncos will maintain some zone principles. The Seahawks will join the Packers and Texans on the list.