Originally posted by Joecool:
Originally posted by dj43:
A point about blitzes:
The development of the A/B gap blitz is a new tactic in the league. Steve Spagnuolo at NY was one of the early pioneers, along with Jim Johnson. It puts tremendous pressure on the middle of the OL by pushing through both gaps beside the center. In essence, it is a 4-on-3 scheme, and it has proven to be very effective. Executed well, it is unblockable. Not only does it result in a lot of sacks, it also puts hands in front of the QB and denies the quick hot release into the most preferred area - the area in which the QB is directly facing. Now the QB has to look to the wings for a release. We have seen the development of so many bubble screens to be a partial response to this middle blitz.
There are variations on it where the defense will line up as if to send both but then drop one back just at the snap. This requires great quickness by the center and guards, along with perfect understanding to make switches on the fly - there is no time to make verbal adjustments anymore.
This past season, most teams in the league added this scheme to their package, some of them during the season itself. Every offense in the league had trouble with it, including Indy. It was new and there was not the TC time to learn how to handle it.
The implications of this scheme will not only affect the time spent with the OL in training camp next season, but the choice of draft picks will be affected as well, especially at guard. If a college prospect does not have the quickness and footwork to adjust to this scheme, they will drop down in the draft. For that reason, I expect that the trend to huge bulldozer-type guards will reverse itself to the extent teams feel the need to get quicker, not bigger, at guard in the future.
As an adjunct; here is an area where losing Justin Smiley, a very quick guard, in favor of a couple of plodding bulldozers, is still hurting the 49ers.
I'm sure teams can make adjustments during the season to the A/B blitz. I'm not saying E. H. is the weak link on the line, but when there are that many breakdowns, the signal caller must take some blame. Those front 3 are all responsible for most of the sacks, not just the Guards. I just feel the Center gets hidden in a lot of plays. Baas and Rachal finished last year off very well, so I'm sure they didn't go from solid players to absolute idiots in one offseason.
Either way, we don't know what Pashos will give us but we do know that RT needs to be upgraded. Another thing we absolutely know is the middle three are potentially average at best but are performing below average.
I appreciate your thoughts. I didn't post about the A/B blitz packages to defend Heitmann. I am done with that portion of the discussion and will not get sucked back into it again.
My purpose in posting about this new tactic was two part, one, to note that every team has had a hard time blocking it because it is a very sound tactic, especially if the team has placed an emphasis on size, not quickness. Secondly, a part of the discussion of OL line improvement via FA or the draft, this issue of quickness, I believe, will be given more weight than in the past because of this blitz package.
Therefore, I believe, or should I say, hope, that McCloughan will value quickness in whoever he drafts over just size and bulk.
[ Edited by dj43 on Jan 5, 2010 at 10:51 AM ]