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The annual "Should we switch to a 4-3 Base D?" Question

Only thing that needs fixing is the secondary and that doesn't warrant a change in the defensive scheme. Front seven get plenty of pressure and stifle the run. Why bother changing it when it works so well (particularly given personnel)?

Draft a CB and a SS with some size(length), coach them up and see what happens.
With Bowman out half the the year I wonder who the best 11 will be on passing downs.
Originally posted by ChaunceyGardner:
With Bowman out half the the year I wonder who the best 11 will be on passing downs.

Lemon Tank Justin Aldon

Brooks Willis

Cully Wright Brock

Bethea Reid
Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by ChaunceyGardner:
With Bowman out half the the year I wonder who the best 11 will be on passing downs.

Lemon Tank Justin Aldon

Brooks Willis

Cully Wright Brock

Bethea Reid

Agreed, lots of options there...Skuta is the #3 and Lemonier is really going to push him this year. Sometimes, Brooks rushes from the interior DL as well. And of course, we'll go to just Willis and add another DB as well. Good times.
Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by ChaunceyGardner:
With Bowman out half the the year I wonder who the best 11 will be on passing downs.

Lemon Tank Justin Aldon

Brooks Willis

Cully Wright Brock

Bethea Reid

Makes me want to order a club sandwich and pitcher of beer.
  • Garcia
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This question is obsolete


We have a hybrid defensive front
brooks is gonna be the secret weapon
  • Giedi
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 1,596
Originally posted by Garcia:
This question is obsolete


We have a hybrid defensive front

Agree, it's both.

3-4 *and* 4-3

As for our Defensive Backfield, the Dome Patrol defense can be adjusted very easily to incorporate more of a pass defense scheme. Just take out one LB and insert a DB. You now have a 3-3-5, with that 5th DB being a hybrid DB/LB and that 3rd LB being a Elephant/Hybrid DE/OLB.
The 4-3 and 3-4 actually require much different player types. While it's been true that many pass rushing DE's can transition to an OLB in a 3-4 scheme it's usually only as the weakside OLB because the weakside OLB in a 4 LB formation usually does not have pass coverage responsibilities. With a 4-3 scheme your DT's play very different technique as well and as a result require different player types to effectively play those defenses. In a 3-4 your DT's play a 0 and 4/5 techniques with 2 gap responsibility. Meaning, they are responsible for the gaps on either side of them. This allows the 2 ILB's to be freer to roam on their sideline. With a 3-4 your outside DT's need to have excellent lateral movement while engaged and your NT has to have very strong hips and be able to swing their hips around very quickly. Think of how many times you see McDonald or Dorsey near the ball on runs away from them or how often you see them moving sideways.

In a 4-3 your DT's need more vertical movement ability to be able to disrupt their running lane. Think of Seattle's DT's how they're always pushing upfield, rarely moving sideways. In this, your DT's don't' need to have the lateral movement and need more of the quick first step.

Switching your DT's from a 3-4 to 4-3 or vice versa is not a simple thing. Think of the two stud NT's we've had the past few years that moved to 4-3 schemes, Franklin and Sopoaga and a pretty good RJF. How did any of those guys do in a 4-3 scheme? Not well....

Furthermore, trying to switch either Brooks or Aldon to an OLB is not the best situation for us. Brooks' strength is in his ability to set a hard edge on the corner and his bull rush. He does not have great lateral movement which makes him a liability in coverage. A strong side OLB often has a deeper coverage responsibility in zone or has man coverage on the TE and putting him in that situation is not ideal.

Also, with a 4-3 scheme you usually want a little smaller MLB who is able to move sideline to sideline like a Luke Keuchly type. I think either of our guys Willis or Bowman would excel in this position, you're then moving 1 of them away from the middle of the field which makes it easier for teams to take 1 of them out of the play.

Personally, I think our personnel is much better suited to the 3-4 than a 4-3. When we go nickel or dime, we're not in a 4-3 we're really in a 2-4-5 or a 2-3-6 defense.
  • Giedi
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  • Posts: 1,596
Originally posted by jonnydel:
The 4-3 and 3-4 actually require much different player types. While it's been true that many pass rushing DE's can transition to an OLB in a 3-4 scheme it's usually only as the weakside OLB because the weakside OLB in a 4 LB formation usually does not have pass coverage responsibilities. With a 4-3 scheme your DT's play very different technique as well and as a result require different player types to effectively play those defenses. In a 3-4 your DT's play a 0 and 4/5 techniques with 2 gap responsibility. Meaning, they are responsible for the gaps on either side of them. This allows the 2 ILB's to be freer to roam on their sideline. With a 3-4 your outside DT's need to have excellent lateral movement while engaged and your NT has to have very strong hips and be able to swing their hips around very quickly. Think of how many times you see McDonald or Dorsey near the ball on runs away from them or how often you see them moving sideways.

In a 4-3 your DT's need more vertical movement ability to be able to disrupt their running lane. Think of Seattle's DT's how they're always pushing upfield, rarely moving sideways. In this, your DT's don't' need to have the lateral movement and need more of the quick first step.

Switching your DT's from a 3-4 to 4-3 or vice versa is not a simple thing. Think of the two stud NT's we've had the past few years that moved to 4-3 schemes, Franklin and Sopoaga and a pretty good RJF. How did any of those guys do in a 4-3 scheme? Not well....

Furthermore, trying to switch either Brooks or Aldon to an OLB is not the best situation for us. Brooks' strength is in his ability to set a hard edge on the corner and his bull rush. He does not have great lateral movement which makes him a liability in coverage. A strong side OLB often has a deeper coverage responsibility in zone or has man coverage on the TE and putting him in that situation is not ideal.

Also, with a 4-3 scheme you usually want a little smaller MLB who is able to move sideline to sideline like a Luke Keuchly type. I think either of our guys Willis or Bowman would excel in this position, you're then moving 1 of them away from the middle of the field which makes it easier for teams to take 1 of them out of the play.

Personally, I think our personnel is much better suited to the 3-4 than a 4-3. When we go nickel or dime, we're not in a 4-3 we're really in a 2-4-5 or a 2-3-6 defense.
Well, Fangio sets up the defense in a 3-4 where Aldon is in a two point stance. Then he blitzes Aldon. That's a 4 man rush. Same thing on the other side. Ahmad brooks is in a two point stance and he blitzes Ahmad (has him rush the passer) and Aldon drops back in coverage - again that's a 4 man rush. That's essentially a 4-3 with either Aldon or Brooks alternating as OLB's and Willis and Boman as the alternating middle linebackers. Personally I like the scheme. I don't want him to change that aspect of the defense. Teams have a difficult time accounting for either Brooks or Aldon and all it takes is one mistake in protection calls and whalla - sack or turnover - from basically a disguised 4-3.

The three down linemen are generally Raymac, Glenn Dorsy, and Justin Smith - in three point stances and they aren't small guys. Dorsy is just south of 300, Raymac is 290, and Justin is a disruptive 290. They aren't a typical read and react 3-4 defense, they are a gap penetrating 3-4 defensive scheme. Meaning, based on who is called to rush the passer (Aldon or Brooks) they slant into the o Line gaps differently and unpredictiably. I dont think the down linemen in Fangio's scheme are there to hold ground like a typical 3-4, instead they are there to get into the backfield on run plays and screw up the blocking assignments, and on passing plays - rush the passer. It's the nickel defense that is set more in a traditional 4-3, where we have DE's Justin and Raymac as the DT's and LB's Aldon and Brooks as DE's -- like you stated it's a 2-4-5 in personnel but really a 4-3 in scheme.

Point being - this defense can play multiple schemes because of the players we have and the type of a pressure defense we play. My only peeve has been in the passing game in the playoffs where our defensive backfield hasn't held up. I think our failures in the post-season have more in relation to philosophy and scheme than bad drafting and bad defensive back development. Yes we can and we will, in this draft, get some DB's -- I think you can count on that almost 100% but I think with a George Seifert kind of philosophical change - you will be looking for big corners that can run support, whereas if you go with a dome patrol kind of philosophy, I think we'll be drafting more coverage DB's that don't run support well.
Originally posted by Giedi:
Originally posted by jonnydel:
The 4-3 and 3-4 actually require much different player types. While it's been true that many pass rushing DE's can transition to an OLB in a 3-4 scheme it's usually only as the weakside OLB because the weakside OLB in a 4 LB formation usually does not have pass coverage responsibilities. With a 4-3 scheme your DT's play very different technique as well and as a result require different player types to effectively play those defenses. In a 3-4 your DT's play a 0 and 4/5 techniques with 2 gap responsibility. Meaning, they are responsible for the gaps on either side of them. This allows the 2 ILB's to be freer to roam on their sideline. With a 3-4 your outside DT's need to have excellent lateral movement while engaged and your NT has to have very strong hips and be able to swing their hips around very quickly. Think of how many times you see McDonald or Dorsey near the ball on runs away from them or how often you see them moving sideways.

In a 4-3 your DT's need more vertical movement ability to be able to disrupt their running lane. Think of Seattle's DT's how they're always pushing upfield, rarely moving sideways. In this, your DT's don't' need to have the lateral movement and need more of the quick first step.

Switching your DT's from a 3-4 to 4-3 or vice versa is not a simple thing. Think of the two stud NT's we've had the past few years that moved to 4-3 schemes, Franklin and Sopoaga and a pretty good RJF. How did any of those guys do in a 4-3 scheme? Not well....

Furthermore, trying to switch either Brooks or Aldon to an OLB is not the best situation for us. Brooks' strength is in his ability to set a hard edge on the corner and his bull rush. He does not have great lateral movement which makes him a liability in coverage. A strong side OLB often has a deeper coverage responsibility in zone or has man coverage on the TE and putting him in that situation is not ideal.

Also, with a 4-3 scheme you usually want a little smaller MLB who is able to move sideline to sideline like a Luke Keuchly type. I think either of our guys Willis or Bowman would excel in this position, you're then moving 1 of them away from the middle of the field which makes it easier for teams to take 1 of them out of the play.

Personally, I think our personnel is much better suited to the 3-4 than a 4-3. When we go nickel or dime, we're not in a 4-3 we're really in a 2-4-5 or a 2-3-6 defense.
Well, Fangio sets up the defense in a 3-4 where Aldon is in a two point stance. Then he blitzes Aldon. That's a 4 man rush. Same thing on the other side. Ahmad brooks is in a two point stance and he blitzes Ahmad (has him rush the passer) and Aldon drops back in coverage - again that's a 4 man rush. That's essentially a 4-3 with either Aldon or Brooks alternating as OLB's and Willis and Boman as the alternating middle linebackers. Personally I like the scheme. I don't want him to change that aspect of the defense. Teams have a difficult time accounting for either Brooks or Aldon and all it takes is one mistake in protection calls and whalla - sack or turnover - from basically a disguised 4-3.

The three down linemen are generally Raymac, Glenn Dorsy, and Justin Smith - in three point stances and they aren't small guys. Dorsy is just south of 300, Raymac is 290, and Justin is a disruptive 290. They aren't a typical read and react 3-4 defense, they are a gap penetrating 3-4 defensive scheme. Meaning, based on who is called to rush the passer (Aldon or Brooks) they slant into the o Line gaps differently and unpredictiably. I dont think the down linemen in Fangio's scheme are there to hold ground like a typical 3-4, instead they are there to get into the backfield on run plays and screw up the blocking assignments, and on passing plays - rush the passer. It's the nickel defense that is set more in a traditional 4-3, where we have DE's Justin and Raymac as the DT's and LB's Aldon and Brooks as DE's -- like you stated it's a 2-4-5 in personnel but really a 4-3 in scheme.

Point being - this defense can play multiple schemes because of the players we have and the type of a pressure defense we play. My only peeve has been in the passing game in the playoffs where our defensive backfield hasn't held up. I think our failures in the post-season have more in relation to philosophy and scheme than bad drafting and bad defensive back development. Yes we can and we will, in this draft, get some DB's -- I think you can count on that almost 100% but I think with a George Seifert kind of philosophical change - you will be looking for big corners that can run support, whereas if you go with a dome patrol kind of philosophy, I think we'll be drafting more coverage DB's that don't run support well.

I do have to respectfully disagree on these points. What makes a 3-4 a 3-4 instead of a 4-3 under defense is not that you have an OLB rushing, it's that the two are interchangeable and it's not always going to be the weakside DE. What you're thinking about is a 4-3 under scheme where the weakside DE is in a two point stance and the SOLB moves head up over the TE. In this defense the weak side DE rushes the passer and never drops into coverage. It gives a 4-3 defense the edge stopping advantage of a 3-4 but only ever puts their best pass rusher in rushing situation. We definitely have more of a hybrid 3-4, but it's definitely a 3-4 as Smith and Brooks rarely switch sides. There's not strong side LB. Also, if the TE shifts or motions you don't see WIllis and Bowman trade places because there's no designated strong side or weak side ILB as there would be in a 4-3 under scheme. Also, the film does not support a gap shooting D-line. On film you see all 3 DT's primarily trying to eat up blockers to keep the LB's clean with a lot of lateral movement. The technique Dorsey uses is always a 2 gap technique and he did very well at it all last year, they even talked about the D-line's great 3 gap technique on nfl playbook.

as fr our nickel being a 4-3 scheme, I sort of agree with you. Only in that the majority of the time we use Aldon and Brooks as pass rusher. However, we do have multiple plays during a game where one of the two will drop into coverage when we blitz Bowman or Willis. Also, Smith and Brooks are never true DE's in a Nickel package, they really are OLB's. It's kind of splitting hairs, but that's what I do.... it drives some of my friends nuts.....
LMAO
no
/thread
  • Giedi
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Originally posted by jonnydel:
I do have to respectfully disagree on these points. What makes a 3-4 a 3-4 instead of a 4-3 under defense is not that you have an OLB rushing, it's that the two are interchangeable and it's not always going to be the weakside DE. What you're thinking about is a 4-3 under scheme where the weakside DE is in a two point stance and the SOLB moves head up over the TE. In this defense the weak side DE rushes the passer and never drops into coverage. It gives a 4-3 defense the edge stopping advantage of a 3-4 but only ever puts their best pass rusher in rushing situation. We definitely have more of a hybrid 3-4, but it's definitely a 3-4 as Smith and Brooks rarely switch sides. There's not strong side LB. Also, if the TE shifts or motions you don't see WIllis and Bowman trade places because there's no designated strong side or weak side ILB as there would be in a 4-3 under scheme. Also, the film does not support a gap shooting D-line. On film you see all 3 DT's primarily trying to eat up blockers to keep the LB's clean with a lot of lateral movement. The technique Dorsey uses is always a 2 gap technique and he did very well at it all last year, they even talked about the D-line's great 3 gap technique on nfl playbook.

as fr our nickel being a 4-3 scheme, I sort of agree with you. Only in that the majority of the time we use Aldon and Brooks as pass rusher. However, we do have multiple plays during a game where one of the two will drop into coverage when we blitz Bowman or Willis. Also, Smith and Brooks are never true DE's in a Nickel package, they really are OLB's. It's kind of splitting hairs, but that's what I do.... it drives some of my friends nuts.....

I think we are saying the same thing in different ways. First of all, yes, our base defense personnel is definitely a 3-4 defense. No doubt about it. The three down lineman's responsibilities are indeed to keep the LB's clear from being blocked so they can flow to the ball carrier. Also agree that RayMac and Justin don't switch sides as in a 4-3 under shift. Yes, we are basically from a personnel design point of view a 3-4 defense. But again, schematically speaking, you can line up in a 3-4 - and again scheme-wise (not talking about personnel) and that fourth rusher (Aldon or Brooks) rushing turns it into a 4-3 scheme. Keep in mind the 4-3 is basically four down linemen rushing and not dropping back, and then the three linebackers have coverage and pursuit responsibilities. The only real difference scheme-wise is that in our hybrid system Aldon **OR** Brooks is that fourth rusher and I think that when either one rushes - that matches up with a basic 4-3 scheme. If you look at the film, it's either Aldon *OR* Brooks rushing and I think it's a rare play where you see *both* Aldon and Brooks dropping into coverage.

I think one of the reasons Fangio does that is to screw up the protection calls on offense and disrupt it and get to the QB via pressure. I also think that's why Fangio has so much success getting underperforming 4-3 DT's like Dorsey to come here and shine. If there is any disagreement here (and I don't think there is) is exactly which hair to split and how fine to split it.

Re: gap penetration. I've seen plays where Justin or RayMac, knowing they have a backside rusher coming in (Brooks for RayMac, and Aldon for Justin)to help in edge contain, they take a hard charge into the Guard/Center gap on run plays to get into the backfield. I think that's by design, when Fangio can reasonably guess where the run play is going to go (either run left or run right). So, in this example, if the run is going towards RayMac's side, I've seen Justin just jump into the Guard Center Gap and basically gumm up the blocking for the RB and Aldon comes in from the backside and gets the RB.

Re: Nickel, yep you are spot on! and where I have a beef and a problem with Fangio is not our Base 3-4, but our Nickel Schemes. I'd like much stronger man press, run support Cornerbacks that can turn the play inside. I think Fangio does an incredible job getting Linebackers and developing a front 7. He's out of this world on that. But if there is a kryptonite weakness to Fangio it's his Cornerback development. He's always had good safeties, Bret Maxi and Gene Atkins comes to mind from the Old New Orlean's dome patrol days. But I've never heard of Fangio developing any all pro corners like George Siefert to my recollection. Maybe somebody can correct me on that.
NO.