Fumble Drill - Hawks Linkage

I/O:  Matthew Heuett says The Run Is Back.  He does a nice job with some game pics, showing that zone run blocking  

.... in its simplest form calls for the o-line to turn and run to one side or the other, as though they were cars on a railroad track, and any defenders who try to move across that track are blocked and taken along for the ride.  The farther the o-line is able to push the defense sideways, the more likely the run is going to be successful.  (Just so you have a point of reference, by the time the running back crosses the line of scrimmage, the zone block should have pushed the defensive tackles past where the offensive tackle was lined up at the beginning of the play.)


Um, okay, sounds logical, but can you football fans explain whether lines try this against players like Albert Haynesworth, Dan Hampton, or (in college) Steve Emtman?  

Trap-blocking and cross-blocking is fine, but against some of these animals you don't even have time to get your hands up to block them, much less take three steps and then "drag them along for a ride"...


We digress.  The last two games, Marshawn Lynch has looked just a leeeeeettle different when running in space.  

It makes you wonder whether Lynch has been a victim of his O-line.  Because you get the guy a little bubble of air and suddenly, he looks like every linebacker's worst nightmare.   Ah well.  Explain that one to me also. Is it possible that Lynch is an NFL-caliber tailback who has consistently been a victim of circumstances?  Naaaah.


Heuett notes that, in the first two games, the Seahawks averaged 2.5 yards per carry, but in the three since, they've been well over four.


I/O:  Advanced NFL Stats -- using the football equivalent of VORP, sort of -- has the Seahawks as the #32 team in the NFL, and the 49ers #17.

CRUNCH:  I don't know much about football, but I do know that I have seen much, much worse Seattle Seahawks teams than this one.

If this team is #32 of 32 teams, what were the Tom Flores teams?  #41 of 32?

The last 7 years in the NFL, there has always been a team that lost 14 or more games.  Often there are two such teams.  Several times, a team went 1-15 or even 0-16.

A #32 team wins 0, 1, or 2 games.  The Seahawks are not going to win 0, 1, or 2 games.  The question in my mind is whether they'll win 8, or even 9.


So what does that mean about "advanced NFL stats"?  I don't know, but I do know that life is too complex to be captured by an 11-variable algebraic formula.





If you watch the youtube video's of Marshawn at Cal, he is very good in the open field.  I think he has two weaknesses as a runner. (1) He doesn't have an elite first step (think Curt Warner) and (2) he doesn't have elite vision (think Marcus Allen). Both of these weaknesses are amplified by poor offensive line play.
Marshawn can make people miss and he can run through a tackle, but he can't make three people miss or run through three tackles (usually). If the Seahawks start opening creases -- not holes, just creases -- where they are designed to be, Marshawn will be an asset.


Got to agree on points 1, 2, and 3 Kelly ...
It would be interesting to see a breakdown of NFL runners who are best, with and without good blocking.
A little like hitters most hurt by Safeco and least hurt by Safeco, I'd like to know which runners are good choices to put behind weak O-Lines ...
From what I can tell, the Seahawks' line is really coming on.  Even if that's from 2-out-of-10 to 5-out-of-10, it looks miles better to me.


I tried to answer your query and even watched some youtube highlight videos to figure it out, but I couldn't come up with much.  My guess is the opposite of Marshawn, one cut and go runners with good vision.  In principle, that is the hallmark of a zone blocking scheme runner, so maybe a player like Terrel Davis, but I'm guessing.
What I can say that is much more to the point, is that Curt Warner looks as good in the highlight reels at youtube as he does in my memory, and the say holds true for Earl Campbell.  I would take Curt Warner over any other runner is Seahawk history.  Also, Eric Dickerson was FAST.


Three of the alltime greats, all of them prototypes for their genre...
If I had a weak O-Line, I wouldn't be completely opposed to having Earl Campbell carry the rock :- )

Nathan H.'s picture

Barry Sanders is, obviously, choice #1. Someone who sees a DT looming immediately when he gets the ball,  *zwoop* makes him miss, and then doesn't have to worry about him any more. Barry, of course, was elite amongst elites and would have succeeded behind any line, but the characteristics he showed are what make a good back behind a bad o-line. In order:
Vision, elusiveness, acceleration, speed, deciseiveness.


Problemo with Curt Warner was, there were some years where --- > it would take four guys to tackle him, but four guys were always there...
You might be right.  The backs with the shake-and-bake might be the way to go if the front 7 are getting a lot of push.
Forsett has some of that, but he's supposed to be a durability Q, right?  And last I checked (a while ago) he was getting nice yards-per-carry last year.

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