Greg Knapp and his zone blocking scheme are taking a beating only Rodney King would have envied. It’s that bad and we here at JBB admittedly might have the most blood on our hands.
Now before our Knapp bashing reaches such a level that our collective souls become null and void I’d like to shed a ray of light on an otherwise dark and dismal situation.
That ray of light is Stefen Wisniewski and he just might be the key that unlocks the mystery of the highly discussed zone blocking scheme.
Sometimes it is easy to overlook the fact that we’re watching paid professionals that sacrifice their bodies for our entertainment. Something else that has been lost in the shuffle is the fact that Wisniewski was MIA during some of the most important periods of time during the shift to the infamous zone blocking scheme.
Wisniewski toughed-out a shoulder injury as a rookie only to have offseason surgery heading into his second season. That meant the New Wiz was unable to participate in the OTAs and thus missed a big chunk of camp no thanks to a calf injury.
After sitting out the season opener Wisniewski regained his job as starting center and is now going through the process of adjusting to the zone scheme on the fly.
That’s no easy task. Not when you consider how rushed his transition to the NFL was in the first place no thanks to the lockout and now he’s dealing with learning a new position and scheme. That would be reason alone to pull a New York Jets and quit. But that’s not the Raider Way.
Never forget how important the center is in an NFL offense. For all whatever its worth, playing center is akin to playing quarterback. So the day Wisniewski finally gets comfortable with the scheme could be the day we see the Raiders reestablish themselves as a top tier rushing team. That could and should equate to more wins, baby.
This team is defensively challenged. No real secret there. So controlling the clock, keeping opposing defenses on the back foot and most important of all finding the end zone is a recipe for success. And that is a recipe in which Stefen Wisniewski is quietly the most important ingredient. All that’s missing is the seasoning which will come with more experience in the scheme.