August 8, 2011; Jacksonville FL, USA; The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line does a drill during training camp at Florida Blue Health

Jacksonville Jaguars Switch To Zone Run Blocking Scheme: Will Require New Personnel

Long-time center Brad Mester may be a few steps too slow to fit into Jedd Fisch’s new zone blocking scheme.  Source: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are switching to a new zone run blocking scheme and this could be the biggest indicator of a need for new personnel.  The Jags have been a power blocking scheme for ages.  It matches the big men on the offensive line against the men on the defensive line and requires the team to overpower the opposition.  It’s a classic approach to running the football.

But the offensive line has been terrible in recent years.

With the success that some zone blocking teams, like the Houston Texans, it may be time for a shift.

New OC Jedd Fisch wants to install the zone blocking scheme after he learned it while coaching in Denver.  It is a scheme that requires smaller, quicker linemen but Fisch thinks he can get away with the bigger linemen already on the Jaguars roster.  I, and ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky, think an upgrade is needed.  One major position that will definitely need a change is at center.  Brad Meester is many steps too slow at this point in his career to be playing a zone scheme on run plays.  The Jags should look to go younger, smaller, and quicker, aiming for someone emulating Houston’s Chris Meyers.

Fisch is confident that the Jaguars will be able to utilize some pieces they already have to get this done but with the 50 sacks the team allowed and the horrendous running game without star players like MJD and Montell Owens (usually known for his special teams play), I doubt the assessment.  Don’t be shocked if the Jags still go after some new linemen in both the draft and free agency.

I have no doubt that Jones-Drew will thrive in a zone blocking scheme, but it will require greater discipline out of the offensive line to achieve an effective change.  Who knows, maybe Zain’s “two left tackles” concept may be the way to go here.

- Luke N. Sims

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  • Terry O’Brien

    Two reasons we need to go Offensive Line somewhere in this draft; (1) We need it, (2) The draft has it. We have one offensive lineman on the roster I am proud of and sure of. ONE guy and that is it. You are right about Meester. Please please please draft Travis Frederick.

    • LukeNSims

      I enjoy Meester as much as the next guy, but it may be time to hang up the cleats.

  • vallenii

    Our senior linemen should be familiar with this scheme since Dirk Koetter utilized ZBS elements. We have a group of O’linemen with 3 years or less experience in the NFL. Players such as Brewster, Bradfield, Baldridge, Rackley, Pasztor and even Nowak might perform well in the ZBS. Perhaps Spitz, Estes, or Brewster would work at center, as well.

    • LukeNSims

      They should be familiar with it, I agree. I’d love for it to work with some of our bigger guys, but I’m a fan of smaller linemen who move a bit better in zone schemes – since we’re making the switch anyway. Good point about the younger players, I don’t know how many of them will be able to transition or even how many will be left on the roster.