Switch to Zone Blocking Scheme Good Move for San Diego Chargers

By Kevin Chan
Louis Vasquez Jeromey Clary San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who knows the San Diego Chargers knows their offensive line play was awful last season.

Last month, the Chargers fired offensive line coach Hal Hunter, who ran a man blocking scheme, and replaced him with former Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris. Rumor has it that D’Alessandris will install his zone blocking scheme that he was successful with in Buffalo.

Considering the lack of talent along the line, the Chargers’ offense could benefit greatly by the change.

A man blocking scheme requires linemen to win one-on-one matchups. Last season, the Chargers’ linemen were consistently overmatched, allowing defenders to disrupt the play too often. The current linemen just aren’t good enough to run a successful man blocking scheme.

A successful zone blocking scheme doesn’t require the most talented offensive linemen and relies on good coaching to put their players in the best position to succeed. In a zone blocking scheme, linemen make blocks based on how the defenders try to penetrate and rely on creative double teams and confusing opposing defenses to be successful.

It will be interesting to see how general manager Tom Telesco builds the offensive line assuming the Chargers do switch schemes. The zone blocking scheme needs smaller, faster linemen opposed to the man blocking scheme that uses slower but stronger linemen. Starting guards, Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green, and backup guard Rex Hadnot are free agents and may not be a fit for zone blocking. If they are allowed to walk, the Chargers front office has a clean slate to bring in the right personnel to run the scheme.

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