Whiskey and Cigars: X's and O's Reading for Friday Night

One of my goals for this blog is to, -- in addition to bringing Seahawks' related content --, occasionally provide general football related links and discussions to sharpen our collective football IQs. That's why you'll see me post these kind of link-ups and articles, and why we talk about the X's and O's, the Draft and College Football. My guess is that most of you readers love football just in general, and Field Gulls is hopefully your first stop for football related reading. With that in mind, here are some great articles to check out and possibly discuss. 

The Zone Run breakdown by Chris Brown of Smart Football is actually pretty relevant to the Seahawks, so if you're going to read one, check that one out. 

A very simple explanation of the zone runs, and the difference between inside zone and outside zone | Smart Football
On zone plays, the linemen keep the same blocking schemes, regardless of how many tight-ends or wide receivers they use. The aiming point for the runningbacks remain about the same. Many zone teams begin by focusing on the outside zone. Once that is established and the defense is flowing fast to the sideline, the offense comes back with the inside zone. Yet there is much discussion of what "zone runs" even are. First, there is only so much "zoning" in a zone — much of it is still just blocking the guy in front of you. On all zone runs, the linemen must ask, "Am I ‘covered’ (is there a guy directly in front of me, aside from a linebacker set back a few years)? Or am I ‘uncovered’ (there is no one directly in front of me)?"

Draw It Up: Blount's Game-Winning Touchdown - The Triangle Blog
LeGarrette Blount is a great football story. The undrafted rookie was cut by the Tennessee Titans, then signed with the up-and-coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ran for over 1,000 yards in his rookie year. This week, he ran for 127 yards and the game-winning touchdown on Monday Night Football. It's really the perfect story. Perfect, that is, if you leave out that infamous Boise State incident, which led to a lengthy suspension in college. But since joining the Bucs, Blount has been everything anyone could have asked for (at least on the football field). So let's just focus on that game-winner for now.

Smart Football: Colts Stretch Play
I got this from, guess who, Bill Mountjoy. The Colts and their offense are constantly being discussed. Obviously, they have great personnel with four very good receivers including their tight end, one of the best single backs in the league, and a $60 million quarterback to put them in the correct play every down. However, it is still worth analyzing a bit what they do. Their favorite run play is the stretch play, also known as the outside zone. They are also extremely effective at play action passing off the stretch action, where Peyton Manning makes those great run fakes that the announcers go crazy about. (From what I can tell their favorite routes from their play action from the stretch are post/dig, double posts, and post/corner/post combinations). Anyway, they run their stretch a bit differently, since instead having everyone step and reach playside and getting movement that way, they run a kind of "pin and pull" scheme, which at the college level the Minnesota Golden Gophers also run with great success.

Darren Sproles, the New Orleans Saints, and the Rise of NFL Space Players - Grantland
In recent years, the NFL has seen a dramatic rise in the number and quality of skill players who do their damage not just by moving the pile or outrunning defenders, but also by working the flats and soft spots on the football field. These naturally gifted players need just a little bit of open territory to operate, and when they get it they incinerate defenses. They operate in the area between the short dive up the middle and the long bomb down the sideline. They are "space players."

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Cracking Heads
The Saints beat the Jaguars last week, 23-10, in a game that really wasn’t that close: At no point did anyone watching this game seriously consider that Jacksonville might win. The Saints offensive line was at the center of this understated dominance. The unit gave up more sacks than expected, but they seemed inconsequential even as they were happening. After watching the Saints over the first four weeks, it is clear that they have a good offensive line and a very good offense.

Want to learn the base NFL run game? | National Football Post
In the NFL, there are four basic power runs that are installed on the first day of training camp: Power O, Lead Open, Lead Strong and Counter OF.  Two-back schemes that are scripted to get downhill and move the sticks. How do they work? Let’s check go back to tape and talk some simple coaching points that will give you a better understanding of the game on Sundays.

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