Arizona Cardinals rookie film room: 5 plays that define Zach Allen
Play 1: Vs. N.C. State, 3rd quarter, 7:14 remaining, 2nd & goal
What the offense is running: Strong-side outside zone run.
What the defense is running: Cover 0, essentially a full-on blitz.
What Zach Allen is tasked to do: Set the edge out of the 9-technique.
What happens: Let’s be clear here, the play is blown out from the get-go. The interior offensive line just couldn’t get to their zones due to the overwhelming blitz and pressure from the defensive interior. But, the focal point isn’t about winning from the inside, after all, it’s an outside zone run. Instead, the offensive linemen move to the right for the running back to out-run the defense off the edge.
With that being said, it’s essential that the tight end (No. 6), contains the edge. That becomes truer considering the lack of space closer to the interior, so, for the running back, this is outside or bust. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, that doesn’t quite happen as Zach Allen is able to expose the tight end.
Notice how Allen is able to initiate contact with the tight end; he’s not an explosive athlete, but he tends to make the first contact and has a nice first step. After the contact, Allen is able to extend and use his heavy hands to control the leverage. The tight end is simply beat as Allen is then able to power his way through, move laterally, and disengage when the ball carrier nears him.
- Don’t bother guarding Allen with a tight end. Unless it’s one of the more fined, or bigger blocking tight ends in the NFL, Allen will feast on the smaller blockers with his powerful hands and length.
- Great football IQ here. I love how he moves the tight end laterally to disallow any lanes to open up; he simply knew that this play was an outside zone run, and contained the edge perfectly. Sound gap control.
- Versatility. As you’ll see throughout this entire article, Allen is able to line up anywhere on the line. Although he’s best suited to play inside, his ability to set the edge will be useful, specifically on early, run downs.