Thursday, November 19, 2009

In The Zone

The one thing the Giants' defense is going to have to overcome is the zone blocking of the Falcons' offensive line. That scheme, which is not seen much around the NFL these days, can really mess up a defensive lineman.

The Falcons' scheme, according to one player who shall remain nameless, is a lot like the Denver scheme of a few years ago. You know, the one that had everybody screaming about uncalled chop blocks and centers and guards diving at defender's knees. Well, the Broncos may have been borderline -- or just over the border -- dirty, but it certainly benefitted running backs like Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis.

We'll assume for these purposes that Atlanta runs a somewhat cleaner version of that scheme. But even in the sanitized version, the danger of letting up the big running play is real, even with Jason Snelling or Aaron Stecker in there in place of injured big-play RB Michael Turner. The linemen never quite know where a block is coming from.

"Could be from a center, a guard, a tackle, or a tight end," the player said. "It's very tough to defend. Look at what Denver used to do to people."

For a struggling front like the Giants' have, with Justin Tuck still wearing a harness around his injured left shoulder, the additional twist of scheme can be a major concern. And if you listen to Osi Umenyiora in this video, there's a good possibility that the need to stay disciplined amid the shifting blocking patterns and unexpected gaps it causes could cut down on the Giants' overall aggressiveness.

That's a danger, considering the Giants have allowed 24 runs of 10 yards or more this year, nine in the four-game losing streak. Four of those came against Philadelphia, and three came against Arizona.

As far as the overall picture goes, Umenyiora said it's important that the Giants dictate the tempo on defense. That's something else that hasn't happened with any regularity in recent weeks.


1 comment:

  1. These guys can do all the zone blocking they want. It's not gonna help Smelly. If Ryan can play like last year they r in trouble. A win won't be so impressive against these fearsome zone blockers.