The Outside Zone is one of the most universal concepts in football. This play is a staple of offenses from the Youth Level all the way up to the NFL. The concept is that the line wants to create a wall just outside of the playside tackle and keep all of the defenders inside of it so that the back can get to the edge.
The schematics behind the Outside Zone are straightforward, everyone reach blocks the person in your zone and gets them turned inside so the Running Back can make it to the edge. While this is a great idea in theory, the reality is that many times the Defensive End is either a better athlete than the Playside Tackle, or he is in a position where the Tackle has no chance to get him reach blocked.
Related Content: Inside Zone Wham Series
Like always, there are two ways that you can look at the issue of not being able to hook the Defensive End, as a problem or as an opportunity. If the End is determined not to get beat to the outside it just means that we know where he is going to be, in the Zone Offense that makes blocking him really easy. When the End is not going to be reach blocked, we move to the Lead Tag on our Outside Zone.
The Lead Tag is going to play to the defense’s alignment and use their leverage to open doors for us. On our Outside Zone Lead the Tackle is going to take the Defensive End and just wall him outside. This is an easy block because the Defensive End is determined to stay outside, so instead of fighting him, we will let him stay outside. We will then use our H Back or Fullback to lead through the B Gap on the playside linebacker. This let’s the Guard and Tackle push their double team to the backside Linebacker. The result is a well blocked play that plays to the defense’s alignment.
Related Content: Maximizing the Outside Zone Concept
One of our general rules is that we want to take what the defense is going to give us. Many times this can be viewed as when they have 7 men in the box we want to throw, but we apply this to our run game as well. Whenever the defense aligns one of their players, we know that they have not aligned them in another spot. The result is that they have opened up a possible lane of attack.