Raiders implementing power schemes with ZBS


ALAMEDA -- Perhaps you've noticed that the Raiders have incorporated some power-blocking plays on offense of late, to accompany the zone-blocking scheme that was brought in by first-year coach Dennis Allen and returning offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.Then is there a coincidence that the Raiders have been able to run the ball with more success, or is it all relative?The way center Stefen Wisniewski sees it, it's all good, thank you very much."It is nice," Wisniewski said at his locker Thursday. "You know, (the power-gap), that's more of the stuff we ran last year, so most of us have a lot of experience in that, where we're still learning the zone scheme so it helps us because we're familiar with it and also it's a nice change-up. Teams aren't sure what's coming at them and it makes us more likely to be successful."Knapp said the Raiders used a "good balance of zone-blocking and the gap scheme" in the fourth quarter of their 26-16 win at Kansas City on Sunday, when Oakland rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries to salt away the win."So it paid off pretty good," Knapp said. "We definitely increased our gap run-blocking scheme to get a better balance and to keep defenses honest and we've done it well. So, we'll keep that same kind of formula working, where it's a good change-up for us to have some kind of gap-scheme along with that outside zone."But the big runs came on that outside zone for us."From the get-go, there were questions about the Raiders returning to the ZBS, after running back Darren McFadden's success in a power scheme the past two years. And fears seem realized with his early-season struggles running the ball and relative lack of success."That's where our coaches came from so that's their mindset," Wisniewski said. "Coming in was 'zone, zone, zone, zone.' But I think they're starting to get to know us better and we're getting to know them and so they're seeing that we can be successful doing both."Said Knapp: "We had to make an adjustment, and that was a good adjustment for us," Knapp said. "It really has paid off."At least, for one quarter of one game in Kansas City.Wisniewski has made the transition from left guard as a rookie to center this season after missing all of offseason activities recovering from shoulder surgery and most of the preseason games dealing with a calf issue. He appreciates the Raiders staff being flexible enough to switch things up."Yeah, it's a good sign," he said. "We're all excited about it. It shows us as players that our coaches are willing to learn from us and work with us and that's really comforting as players, to know that your coaches are willing to adapt and work with you."Perhaps more power schemes would help get the running game in the red zone going?"Yeah, whether red zone or upfield I think it's good to do a little bit of both," Wisniewski said. "But certainly you get some crazier looks in the red zone, you get more guys in the box and sometimes there's not a hole but if you're coming downhill and getting push in a power scheme you're going to get an ugly three, four yards and sometimes that's the best way to do it."

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