The NFL can thank retired assistant coach Alex Gibbs for the league's popular zone-blocking scheme. He was the mastermind of it in Denver, when Mike Shanahan's Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls.
Since that time, it has been utilized across the league, with great success. Recently, it made the Broncos' Terrell Davis a Hall of Fame nominee, free agent Arian Foster (Houston) a star and the New York Giants a two-time Super Bowl champion under head coach Tom Coughlin.
Shanahan is experienced at employing the zone-blocking scheme with mobile quarterbacks. John Elway, Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler were all mobile, but none of them ran like RGIII can.
Still, the running backs are the key to the scheme, which typically consists of two plays. One is known as an outside zone or "stretch" run, which is a favorite of Shanahan's. The other is a "belly" run to the "inside zone.
For an in-depth description of the zone blocking scheme, check out this column by Bleacher Report's Erik Frenz.
According to the William Russ of ScarDraft.com, teams that run a zone blocking scheme look to acquire linemen who "give up strength for quickness, in order to come off their primary blocks onto secondary targets. [Therefore], movement is more important rather than dominating your defender."
There is very little learning curve when it comes to this type of system and traditionally, you will see a quicker back in this scheme, as the priority is getting to the line quickly."
In the meantime, running backs run to daylight and simply need to be aggressive, with good vision.
One play that worked well for Roy Helu last year was a run to the left side. Helu would press the B-gap (between the guard and tackle) before making a "one-cut" move at the line of scrimmage.
Then, he would head up field at full speed. Cuts at the line of scrimmage allow linemen to get to the second level, where they seal off linebackers who over-commit to gaps.
Helu, Evan Royster and Tim Hightower are urged not to dance in the hole, and if the B-Gap is closed, they're taught to make their cut to the backside. Either way, it's a one-cut only running attack, so patience is a virtue.