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Thread: What is the next Defensive Evolution?

  1. #1
    Benchwarmer Pops8's Avatar
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    What is the next Defensive Evolution?

    The talk around these parts about the defense giving up drives at critical times got me to thinking about D in general. Over the history of football, defenses have evolved to meet changes in the offense. The 6-2 gave way to the 5-3 and 5-2 Okie. Those defenses gave way to the 4-3 and 4-3 slide. Then came the cover-2 (and later Tampa 2) and the zone blitz. As we all know, the rules are quickly changing to favor high powered passing attacks. Defenses will have to adapt and find new ways (and they will, they always do). So here is the question - how are defenses going to adapt? Are they going to focus on rushing the passer and blitz schemes? Will they look for fast defensive backs with big vertical and can play the ball rather than rely on bump/run? Will teams continue to base more out of nickle packages or will there be some radical change to coverage Safety or coverage type LB? What say you - how should defenses adapt to the pass happy rules and the new "contact" rules?

    oh - and to keep it Steeler related - how would you apply your changes to the Steelers? Use specific examples (like move Timmons to MLB and go to 4-3, etc).
    Last edited by Pops8; 06-26-2012 at 10:08 PM.

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    Pro Bowler D Rock's Avatar
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    The 0-11 defense will be king.


    But really, I think fast coverage LBs may become much bigger parts of defenses. Hopefully Timmons and Spence can lead that change.

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    Hall of Famer SidSmythe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D Rock View Post
    The 0-11 defense will be king.


    But really, I think fast coverage LBs may become much bigger parts of defenses. Hopefully Timmons and Spence can lead that change.
    With today's TE's becoming the rage, an answer to them will be a must. LB's will have to be able to cover ... or big CB's/SS's
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    Benchwarmer Pops8's Avatar
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    I agree also that Big TE's create a match up problem. The days of the Thumper LB are long gone. Speed and ball skills have to be king now. Smaller faster LB's might become the rage. In that vein, Spence could well be an interesting guy to watch this year. I certainly will be interested to see if DL can come up with something to use him. Anyway, I could see at least one LB becoming more SS like (smaller/faster) while the SS would spend more time out of the box in coverage (and thus become a smaller faster type player). One of my thoughts is to move Troy P. to FS into more of a coverage/ball hawk role. M2M is suicide these days so I have to believe Zone coverages will still rule, but I believe the DB corps have to become faster and have the vertical hops. Physical CB's (the kind DL favors) may be passe.

    Blitzes seem to easier to beat with the new rules; I think defenses will have to find ways to create pressure from the DL (perhaps the 43) to free LB's for more coverage.

  5. #5
    I think that, eventually, the Nickel will become the base defense for all intents and purposes...

    For the Steelers, it might be a 3-3-5 type of alignment...

    You would still have your 3 down linemen, a NT and two 5-Tech DEs, to be stout against the run and absorb blockers...

    You would have three fast, athletic LBs, like are required in a Tampa-2 defense...

    You would then have 5 DBs...but, the 5th would be a DB/LB hybrid type player...in the Ohio State Buckeyes defense, for example, that player was called the Star...it is a player that can hit like a LB but cover like a DB...

    I don't think that more physical DBs will necessarily become passť, because WRs are tending to become bigger and more physical themselves...

  6. #6
    Pro Bowler Flasteel's Avatar
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    This why we drafted Spence. A guy who can diagnose, will stick you, and has the speed to cover TE's and backs. I can see this guy being an extra Mack LB in 3rd down situations or against those two TE sets. He seems like he will be great in the box and can drop into coverage...kind of like Polamalu is used.

    I think flexilbility is the next "evolution" for NFL defenses. Base alignments can be changed with minimal substitution and players have the skill set to match-up against different threats. Not only does Spence represent a coverage upgrade from Foote (in certain packages, of course), I think it could give us nickel capability with more of a base look. With the ability of our corners to play both man and zone coverage, we are going to have an extremely versatile defense.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Pops8 View Post
    I agree also that Big TE's create a match up problem. The days of the Thumper LB are long gone. Speed and ball skills have to be king now. Smaller faster LB's might become the rage. In that vein, Spence could well be an interesting guy to watch this year. I certainly will be interested to see if DL can come up with something to use him. Anyway, I could see at least one LB becoming more SS like (smaller/faster) while the SS would spend more time out of the box in coverage (and thus become a smaller faster type player). One of my thoughts is to move Troy P. to FS into more of a coverage/ball hawk role. M2M is suicide these days so I have to believe Zone coverages will still rule, but I believe the DB corps have to become faster and have the vertical hops. Physical CB's (the kind DL favors) may be passe.

    Blitzes seem to easier to beat with the new rules; I think defenses will have to find ways to create pressure from the DL (perhaps the 43) to free LB's for more coverage.

    Are you suggesting that fans won't be able to use their favorite criticism of any LB they don't like, or not from Penn State, like "isn't stout against the run?" I agree that the "thumper" can stay in high school football where it is relevent.

    Seriously though, I agree with what you are saying and I have been saying very much the same for the past two years (with much disdain thrown my way). The Defensive Line has to be turned loose to attack the QB because LB have to used in coverage. Using the DL to control the OL is just plain stupid. Teams are not going to beat you in today's NFL running the ball. You have to stop the pass and that means attacking the QB.

    While I hope DL comes up with something innovative for Spence, but I hoped the same for Timmons and I'm afraid that DL's innovation days are behind him and we will see the same template defense put out we have seen for the past several years.
    Last edited by Oviedo; 06-27-2012 at 07:12 AM.
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  8. #8
    Pro Bowler D Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Are you suggesting that fans won't be able to use their favorite criticism of any LB they don't like, or not from Penn State, like "isn't stout against the run?" I agree that the "thumper" can stay in high school football where it is relevent.

    Seriously though, I agree with what you are saying and I have been saying very much the same for the past two years (with much disdain thrown my way). The Defensive Line has to be turned loose to attack the QB because LB have to used in coverage. Using the DL to control the OL is just plain stupid. Teams are not going to beat you in today's NFL running the ball. You have to stop the pass and that means attacking the QB.

    While I hope DL comes up with something innovative for Spence, but I hoped the same for Timmons and I'm afraid that DL's innovation days are behind him and we will see the same template defense put out we have seen for the past several years.

    I'm encouraged by the drafting of Spence and also more athletic corners like Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, who has been said to be the quickest player on the team. I'm going to hold out hope that some innovation to match up against today's passing attacks is on the way.

  9. #9
    The next big evolution? Forget tackling--they'll have to draft defenders who are good at grabbing those flags that will soon be hanging from players' hips.

  10. #10
    Benchwarmer Pops8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Are you suggesting that fans won't be able to use their favorite criticism of any LB they don't like, or not from Penn State, like "isn't stout against the run?"
    Ooops. Sounds like I stepped in a pile of something by accident. Dang. Now I have to go wash my shoes.


    @Slapstick - yea, the 335 does seem to be more along the lines of where we are going. The problem, of course, is that only leaves 6 in the box and the offense can easily block with 5 OL and a big TE. That means a big bruising back could be going up against DB's (thus the need for your star lb)


    The next few years should certainly be interesting to watch how defenses begin to evolve and if schemes begin to change. But this then leads to how DL will change. I felt that last year was a change - less blitzing and more coverage (but that is an unscientific and unsupported guess). I have to believe that we will see some changes this year - certainly improvement now that we are healthy at the bookends (and hopefully we stay that way).

    @Bradshaw -

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