The Guru Of Zone Blocking, Alex Gibbs Back With The Broncos
By Matt Petrero
Oct 30, 2011; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady (78) and offensive guard Zane Beadles (68) line up for a down during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Sports Authority Field. The Lions defeated the Broncos 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos have hired former offensive line coach, Alex Gibbs in a consulting capacity. Gibbs, a guru of the zone blocking scheme was the Broncos’ offensive line coach from 1995-2003. During his tenure, Denver enjoyed 4 different 1000 yard+ rushers: Terrell Davis (1995-1998), Olandis Gary (1999), Mike Anderson (2000), and Clinton Portis (2002-2003). In 2001, the three-headed running back monster of Davis (701yds), Anderson (678 yds), and Gary (228 yds) turned out 1607 yards in Gibbs’ scheme. In 2003 Portis, Anderson, and Quentin Griffin combined for 2193 yards rushing.
During the same period of time, the passing game thrived as well. In John Elway’s final 3 seasons the Broncos averaged over 3,700 yards passing per season. Even after the retirement of the greatest QB in team history – and by many accounts, league history – the passing game still averaged over 3,700 yards per season. In today’s NFL that does not seem like a lot but the passing game was not yet as prevalent then as it is today. When you take into account the balance of the passing game and running game, Gibbs’ offensive lines protected some of the most prolific offenses to that point in NFL history. Additionally, the Broncos did not allow more than 35 QB sacks in any one season from 1995-2000.
It would appear that in bringing Gibbs back into the organization, in addition to drafting Davis-esque running back Montee Ball is a sign that the Broncos look to rely more heavily on the running game in 2013 than it did in 2012. Ball, a self-proclaimed Broncos fan who idolized Denver’s all-time leading rusher, has had his running style likened to the 1998 NFL Most Valuable Player.
Per the teams website Gibbs will work under offensive line coach Dave Maguza, focusing his efforts on the younger players’ development. We have been told since the signing of Peyton Manning in March, 2013 that there is no “Plan B”. Implementing “Plan G(ibbs)” is a sure sign that Broncos’ front office is doubling down on “Plan A”.
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