Yesterday at 6pm EST The Miami Dolphins announced the hiring of assistant offensive line coach John Benton. This may not sound like the biggest hire and has caused little attention from the beat writers, other than as a factor to assume Jim Turner's departure pending the Wells report. Although that is very foreseeable as Benton was linked with Oline coaching positions across the league and choose to be an assistant. I shan't dwell on that, nor his connections with Mike Sherman. Instead I will let you know what we shall see on the field.
Benton is coming from the Texans where he was the Oline coach from 2006, In his 3rd year at the Texans he had a new assistant Head and Oline coach named Alex Gibbs this working relationship was short (2 years) but left a lasting impression in the shape of the Texans Outside Zone or as Gibbs likes to say Wide Zone, with Smart Football's Chris B. Brown calling it "the greatest run play in modern football"
This short video below by Smart Football simply explains the concept of the Wide Zone, This play alone accounted for around half of the Texans ground game, it was the staple of their running game and that of new Offensive Co-coordinator Lazor, when he was calling the plays at Virginia.
I won't bore you with year upon year of statistics, instead I can bore you with over 7 hours of Gibbs talking about his running game in a coaching session with college programs, who were at the time running spread offenses and wanted a versatile run formation to accompany it. This below series off videos are during his spell with the Atlanta Falcons between 2004 and 2006 before he joined the Texans and Benton. Due to these video's being around 10 years old there are some elements still in work that are now common sight. However the fundamentals are still valid and practiced. (Some of the film will show illegal blocks in today game, but by getting across the defender would be legal by current rules)
Now that's a lot to soak in, but its a long off-season and you can't look at mock drafts everyday until May, Now you may want to know what Lazor's year with Chip may add to this. Well fear not the same principles remain, albeit with the QB in shotgun apposed to under-center as was prominently so with the Texans and Virginia.
Below is a video breaking down the outside zone read, which could adds another wrinkle to the offense but the blocking scheme and running backs reads remain the same. The addition of the "Read" element enables the offense to take out another defender as he has to respect Tannehill's ability to run, as well as the obvious advantage of your Quarterback being able to see the field the entire play.(Not turning his back to hand off or fake)
I know this is a lot to take in, but it will be the fundamentals of our running game and will also determine personnel decisions across the Oline and in the back field during the offseason. No matter what capacity Benton is in, he is sure to bring with him this vast wealth of knowledge of how to run this successfully. During his long tenure with the Texans Benton designed and installed the run game, I think it is safe to say he will most likely do the same here. Which can only be good for Lazor to focus on Tannehill's development and the overall offensive philosophy
I truly believe this is the a critical important and could be the biggest move this off season. One for which Philbin should be heralded for making. After all the turmoil we have suffered this season with the offensive line, what a joy it will be to see it functioning.