Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen at 2012 training camp (photo by Levi Damien)
I think it's safe to say Raider head coach Dennis Allen is a big believer in the zone scheme. One of his first hires as head coach was to bring in zone blocking offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. The team had Al Saunders already but Allen knew he wanted a zone blocking scheme for this team.
"I think the zone running scheme is the toughest running scheme in football." Said Allen. "And I think with our runners, the way that they can stretch you side to side and get you running and find a crease and be able to turn it north and south with the pads square is gonna be a good thing for us from an offensive standpoint. It's a tough scheme and it's not just the zone running scheme, it's the way that it's taught in this system has been productive for a long time so it's always given us trouble... I mean, in my mind it's the best scheme to run the football that there is."
The good news for Allen was he had nearly an entire group of offensive linemen already in place who could make the transition to zone with ease. And it made sense that the biggest splash the team made in free agency was for a zone specialist along the offensive line in Mike Brisiel.
Allen knew the line was one piece to put together the line he wanted and Greg Knapp knew Brisiel from his days with the Texans and so the match was made.
The next move along the line was trading Bruce Campbell to the Panthers for Mike Goodson. This move was a true win-win. They rid themselves of a player they did not want in Campbell and acquired a running back whose style fits the zone scheme.
So if anyone was wondering if the Raiders' new defensive minded head coach was going to take an interest in the offense, you have your answer.