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Thread: Anyone who thinks Tomlin or Colbert are going anywhere

  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Dub View Post
    I'll tell you what...anyone who has ever played the game of football at at least the high school level, can tell you that there isnt anything new that LeBeau is doing this season that he hasnt done in the past. All you have to do is watch these games and you can see for yourself if you know what you are looking for or at.
    The DLine is trying to penetrate the LOS rather than control the gap this year. I think that's very different than our traditional system. And it's one of the main reasons (aside from our DLine's talent) that we can't stop the run. OGs are getting to Timmons/Williams and that's not something that we've seen consistently in the past.

    Also we're seeing our SS used almost primarily as a LB and Clark often as the single high safety. And it seems like it's all the time. And I don't remember DL being so predictable.

    I think we'd be better off if DL made one more change and went to a nickle as our base package to take McClendon and Williams off the field on 1st downs where we're consistently giving up big yardage. Or if not, I'd like to see what Fangupo could do in our base D on occasion because the guy is supposed to be as powerful as an ox and I think there's a chance he might be able to control the middle of the LOS a little better than McClendon.

    I get what you're saying about 3-4's being 3-4's and comparable. But I also see DL doing things a little differently to try to adjust to the lack of talent. And I really do think he's a little screwed at this point with the players we have and their limitations. Sometimes, I think it's just impossible to scheme around bad play.

  2. #102
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    Sit tight Dee Dub....I'm on my way back from the OU/Baylor game BUT I will give you everything you want!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by feltdizz View Post
    "I guess, in some ways, it's kind of like music," said the deep-thinking LeBeau, whose wide range of interests includes playing the guitar. "I mean, there is probably a finite number of ways in which you can arrange [musical] notes, right? But here we are, thousands of years into human history, and we haven't reached the end yet. Every year, there are thousands of songs written, and thousands of new combinations of notes. So I guess there's some limit to what we can do on defense.

    "But we haven't reached it yet."

    It is LeBeau's seemingly limitless variations on a theme, the manner in which the veteran coach orchestrates his game plans, that most excites his defenders.

    Seriously... you need to stop Dub. None of us are in the room when DL is drawing up plays or putting in new wrinkles each game but players talk about it all the time. This year we arent doing those thingd because we dont have the personnel and its one of the reasons JJs is back on the bench.

    I'm hearing a lot of talk from fans and players but still not hearing what all these new wrinkles are. Anyone with half a brain can see week in and week out, year in and year out, these are the same things over and over and over. But it sure sounds good dont it?
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelerkeylargo View Post
    Sit tight Dee Dub....I'm on my way back from the OU/Baylor game BUT I will give you everything you want!!!!!!!!!!!
    I can't wait..............yawn. You will not show me anything that hasn't been done before.
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  5. #105
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    The original 3-4, was derived from the 5-2, it's what is called a "two-gap" system. The two-gap gained in popularity until the late 1980s, when the 4-3 Over defense stole the thunder away from it (thanks to the Miami Hurricanes and the Dallas Cowboys). It is a system where the defensive linemen, and usually at least two of the linebackers, have the responsibility to control two gaps on the line of scrimmage. The DL play what is called "read technique" and line up directly across from an offensive lineman, not slanted to one side as they are in other fronts like the 4-3. Linemen who play read techniques wait to read the block of the offensive lineman across from them to better determine the playcall from the offense and the direction the ball is going to go. They tend to be bulkier and heavier players, because they are taking on their offensive counterpart head-on during every play. They want to keep those linemen tied up on the line of scrimmage and allow the linebackers to make the plays. This also makes it difficult for an OL to get an angle on a defender. Speed is not a requisite to play DL in a two-gap system, though the initial step is always a plus for DL.
    Two-gap linemen, because of their added size and lack of speed, are rather poor pass rushers in general. They rarely get the same level of technique work in pass rushing, and tend to be bull rushers on pass plays. Their primary responsibility then becomes to maintain the pocket and push their offensive opponent into the QB. If the QB steps up, he should step right into their grasp. Two-gap teams also blitz a bit less, and are more of a "read & react" style of defense. This design makes it easier to drop eight men into coverage and prevent big plays as well.
    One has to realize that against the offensive schemes of the time, which were all what we would call "pro-style" in today’s terminology, were primarily run-based offenses. Downfield passing was being developed in the NFL, which spurred the switch from the 5-2 to 3-4, but games of 30-40 pass attempts were not as commonplace (excepting a few teams or the AFL) as they are now. Player size was nowhere close to what we see now in football and finding the big planet-sized guys was a problem. Having your linemen play read techniques and keeping linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage made perfect sense.
    As you are forced to drop the linebackers into coverage more and more, you are forced to pull them back from the line of scrimmage in their initial alignment. Doing so can open up holes in the running game and hurt your pass rush. This, along with the success of Jimmy Johnson’s defense in Miami and later Dallas, spurred development of the 4-3 fronts.
    It was apparent that the read & reacting two-gap 3-4 had lost its edge. Single-gap 4-3 took the crown in football because it allowed you to teach defensive linemen less and put their speed to good use. Because they have only one gap to control, they could rush the passers, who were now beginning to throw more often, without regard for keeping the OL tied up and the LBs free. 4-3 linemen all are tasked with getting the QB sacked, 3-4 linemen of the time were not.
    So now the question becomes "Why is the 4-3 losing favor now?" and "How did the one-gap 3-4 take its place?"
    4-man fronts require two interior linemen with the same skill set as 3-4 linemen. That is not the issue. The big problem is finding the prototypical 4-3 defensive end. He needs to be tall, big enough to take on an offensive tackle, and fast enough to get off the edge quicker than his opponent. The NFL prototype would be 6’5" and 280lbs, while being able to run a 4.7 40. That’s hard to find. Once you do, he’s hard to pay in the NFL with cap restrictions. You need two of them to play a 4-man front properly. It is much easier to find a guy 6’2-6’3" 245 and put him at JACK, yet blitz him enough to get adequate pass rush. Note that this does not mean a 3-4 coach would not like to have the prototypical 4-3 DE, just that he’s harder to find.
    Another reason is the success of the spread offense in college football and the flexibility the 3-4 allows in attacking it. With more and more teams in college incorporating spread formations and concepts, 4-3 teams find themselves with a big problem: what do you do against 4/5 WR sets? If you play 4-3, you either walk a linebacker out on slot receivers, bring the safeties down and play true man/man, or you have to go to a Nickel or Dime defense. With 4 men on the line at all times, and multiple WRs to cover on every play, you cannot do as much as a defensive coordinator to confuse the offense. Once you’ve walked out the linebackers, who helps on run support? If your DL doesn’t get the RB or someone misses their gap, there is no safety net of linebackers there to help. This is why some teams, namely South Carolina and TCU, base out of 4-2-5 packages. It is easier to adjust the scheme when you recruit the extra speed and numbers for an extra safety position.

    Additionally, the rise of the zone blitz in the 1990s under Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers in Pittsburgh aided in the complexity of the 3-4 against the passing game. With 4 possible blitzers, you could blitz a new linebacker on every play and send him through a different gap each time. That forces the offense to scheme for each of those possibilities – adding complexity to the offensive coach without creating an inordinate amount of material to teach the defenders.
    This, combined with the rise of the spread, is why Nick Saban switched from the 4-3 base he used at LSU in the early 2000s to the (predominantly) 3-4 base he runs at Alabama, though his is a bit more of a hybrid than a true 3-4. He has 4 linebackers to play with on every snap. Even if he has to walk someone out, he still has 3 – enough to shift and remain sound against the run. He can play his match zone defense, which is safer against the pass, and still get sufficient pass rush and confuse the college QB thanks to the zone blitz.
    In the one-gap 3-4, you have a blend of the 4-3 and the older two-gap system. As the recruiter or NFL scout, you don’t have to find the prototype DE. You can take a guy that is a ‘tweener’ and put him at DE or LB. You can take heavy interior linemen that are skilled at pass rushing, and put them at DE positions even if they don’t run 4.6-4.7 in the 40. The fact that it is a one-gap system and easier to teach means they can rush the passer without regard for the linebackers and put what talent they do have to good use. With the multiple blitzers and blitz angles on top of that, one can see that this can become a bear for offensive coaches to deal with.
    I am not advocating the one-gap 3-4 defense over the 4-3, each can be used successfully and one is not "better" than the other in general. 3-4 coaches will showcase the same fronts as 4-3 coaches; it is just that they are doing it with different players who may have slightly different abilities. Often, a one-gap 3-4 team will be blitzing one outside LB on every play anyway, effectively making it a 4-3 against the pass. Fans get tied up with old stereotypes about different schemes too much. A coach can win no matter what scheme he uses, so long as he can communicate it and effectively use the talent he possesses.

  6. #106
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    Technical differences between the 2-gap and 1-gap 3-4-
    The 2-gap alignment puts both Ends in 4-techniques on the offensive Tackle’s head. The NG plays a 0 tech, on the Center’s head. Both offensive guards are uncovered by linemen, creating two bubbles over both guards in the defensive alignment. Inside LBs stand over the bubble in any defensive front to keep it gap-sound. See figure 2.
    The gap that the DL attack is selected based on the release of the blocker. They wait to see which way he goes, and then squeeze the gap. If the OL goes outside, you squeeze his outer half – meaning you push him into the direction that makes the hole on his outside smaller. If he goes inside, you squeeze his inner half. You are tightening up the hole the RB intends to enter and keeping that OL off the LB who is supposed to make the tackle.
    When you play a 2-gap 3-4 this way, you really need mammoth defensive linemen, and in particular the NG. They all have to control that blocker and be able to tackle on either side of him, which is difficult to do. The NG in any 3-4, 1 or 2-gap, is the most important player on the defensive front. Any 3-4 team without a good NG will have a bad run defense (see Georgia Tech).
    Additionally, with 2 linebackers covering two bubbles, you require big inside backers who can handle a block from a guard on every play in the event that your linemen cannot keep them free.
    The type of coverage and defense they then play, in part due to the size, is usually a read-and-react style. Defenses like this drop the linebackers in zone coverage most of the time and usually only one of the outside ‘backers is a "Rush" linebacker, who attacks off the edge to generate a 4-man pass rush. The most prominent example of this style nowadays is the New England Patriots. The contrary example of a blitzing two-gap 3-4 would be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    The one-gap version is set up as a more aggressive style of defense on every snap. I believe much of it can be accredited to Bum Phillips. His son Wade runs it still today. It is very closely analogous to Under front 4-3. Most pro teams that do not use the 3-4 are playing the Under. The two defenses are very similar

    Like the Under defense, the one-gap 3-4 plays plenty of Cover 1 MAN coverage, with the idea being that the added QB pressure allows them to take a few risks in the pass defense. The Free Safety (FS) covers the deep middle of the field while the cornerbacks (CB) have man coverage outside and attempt to funnel their opponent towards the middle of the field where they have help.
    Others continue the coverage schemes of the Pittsburgh Steelers with the zone blitz and matchup zone coverage. .
    Matchup zone coverage is also called combination coverage. It is analogous to matchup zone in basketball: you are assigned a zone to defend, but any man who enters that zone is picked up man/man. The other type of zone is called spot-drop zone, where a defender drops to a spot on the field and remains there with his eyes on the QB so he can react to any throw.UGA plays a mix of combination coverage and man/man coverage schemes, but is primarily a C2 zone defense with rolling C3 against spread formations in their Nickel package. Since the one-gap 3-4 g defense like the Under 4-3, the man coverage isimarily based on man/man pressing packages using a single high safety and a "robber" underneath that is usually a linebacker. In any man/man scheme, the cover man is aligned with the correct leverage to funnel his receiver inside to the FS or to the boundary – i.e., towards the cover man’s best help. An alternative commonly used is 2 Man, with dual high safeties, that operates on the same concept.
    Teams that use 3-4 schemes do use a few more zone blitz packages compared to Under 4-3 teams because in the case of the 3-4 you are usually blitzing and dropping linebackers, whereas in the 4-3 you’re dropping a DE. Zone blitz schemes catch the quarterback off-guard by dropping players into coverage where he assumes there will be a mismatch or uncovered zone because he reads a blitz. To be sound, and not give up big plays, they almost always have Cover 3 coverage behind them with a rotation of the coverage to one side (e.g., quarter-quarter-half instead of 1/3-1/3-1/3).
    Now we want to illustrate a few blitzes from the 30-series fronts, both man/man and zone blitzes. There are obviously endless ways to blitz a QB and all have been thought of, but the choice of who to blitz and who to drop really depends on the individual talents of the player. It’s up to the coaching staff to identify those talents and utilize them the best way to win the ballgame.
    The first simple blitz is a Combo blitz that alters based on the formation the offense shows. It can be a 2-gapped front or 1-gap. The secondary is in Cover 1 coverage and both OLBs blitz outside. When the offense presents a 2-back formation, the inside LBs take the first back that comes out to their side in man coverage. If one of them blocks, the free LB becomes a Robber.

    At the end of the day Grantham's 3-4 is more a 1 gap/hybrid 3-4 vs. LeBeau's 2 gap sheme. The coverages played in college are more Vanilla behind the front seven and the NFL schemes ask more from the 3-4 backers in a wider array of schemes than in the college game.

  7. #107
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    In the immortal words of Robert Shaw. "Don't you tell me about my business again"!!

  8. #108

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    SKL, that was a good, readable explanation...

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelerkeylargo View Post
    In the immortal words of Robert Shaw. "Don't you tell me about my business again"!!
    This is what I thought you would do. Nice history on the 3-4 defense. You basically wasted time explaining how it works. Most Steeler fans could ahve told you most of that. But that isn't what I asked. I asked you to prove what the differences are between LeBeau and Saban's 3-4 and also what were all these new wrinkles that everyone keeps saying LeBeau comes up with.

    You need not continue. You have a misspoke. Saban ( and Grantham who learned his 3-4 under Saban), do not run a 1 gap hybrid 3-4. You are completely wrong.

    Read for yourself....

    Several years ago, [URL=""]Smart Football[/URL] posted an excerpt from Saban's LSU playbook. While the post has

    The Nose Tackle
    While outside linebackers are the star playmakers in a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle is the most critical in executing the defensive concept. The nose tackle lines up over the center and has gap responsibility for the entire space from the inside shoulder of the left guard to the inside shoulder of the right guard.

    Defensive Ends
    In the base 3-4, the defensive end does not play in the Deacon Jones style classic edge rusher mold. 3-4 ends are more like defensive tackles. Similar to the nose tackle, the defensive ends have two-gap responsibility. The defensive end must occupy the gaps to the inside and outside shoulder of the tackle.

    [URL][/URL]And as far as saying they play a vanilla coverage behind their 3-4, again you are completely wrong and really do not have any idea what you are talking about.

    From the Holy Grail of defense, the 2001 LSU Playbook (Saban's defense)...

    In the subsequent posts, we'll look at the various types of coverages Saban employs, and the fundamental elements that make them work.
    Of the most noteable elements to his instruction to defensive backs is what he calls "position maintenance". This is a defenders leverage on a receiver in relation to his position with the field and other defenders.

    Divide And Conquer
    The first thing Saban will teach his defensive backs is understanding their "divider". The divider simply divides the field in relation to the deep safety to the split receiver. More can be read/watched about the divider [URL=""]here[/URL]. The divider exists 1 yard inside the top of the numbers on the field. These numbers are 2 yards tall, so the 'top' exists at 9 yards from the sideline, and the 'bottom' exists at 7 yards from the sideline. The defensive back uses the divider to position himself to either cut off or funnel the receiver to his deep safety help. According to Saban, to be a good defense, you HAVE to be able to take away the middle of the field. This forces an offense to throw it short and in the flat.

    As the distance from the sideline to the hash is 17.8 yards, the divider essentially cuts the 1/3rd of the field in half to put the defensive back in the best possible position to discourage/leverage throws.

    For instance, if a receiver aligns outside the divider (on the numbers), the defensive back should align inside the receiver. If the receiver aligns inside the divider (contracted split), the defensive back should align outside the receiver (relative to the position of the divider). This alignment rule discourages wide seams (distance between receiver and deep safety) from being created down the field.
    Position Maintenance
    Once the defensive back aligns properly, he moves on to "position maintenance". Using the divider as a rule, extending all the way down the field, once the receiver stems into his route the defender must maintain his divider leverage on the receiver.
    If the receiver stems outside with the corner already aligned outside, the corner should be inside the receiver (as the receiver extends the distance between himself and the safety). Conversely, if stems inside, the corner should maintain his horizontal position of outside leverage.

    The next phase of position maintenance involves their horizontal and vertical adjustments relative to the coverage.
    When a receiver stems outside, the zone defender can turn his butt outside because he ends up in a half-turn with his eyes in a position to see the receiver and quarterback. When you turn your hips/butt inside (away from the ball), you no longer are looking at the ball. To adjust to this, Saban has his defensive backs shuffle / slide inside with a heel-to-toe 'waltz'. The only thing that can hurt the defender now, is when the recevier disappears while he's in a half-turn (drop out / bench route). The defender cannot turn back in and chase (from a backpedal, plant, and drive) - this would take too long and he would lose the receiver. The defender should 'roll' into the receiver (open to the sideline). This particular technique was highlighted recently in an [URL=""]Alabama press conference[/URL] after a game against FIU and Rusty Smith.
    The divider rules stay consistent in zone coverage, but what about when it is man-free (C1), what changes for the defensive back? The vertical position on the receiver.
    When the receiver stems inside the divider in C1, the corner has deep help inside, therefore the corner can maintain a 'low-shoulder' (trail) position on the receiver. The rationale is, if there is safety help, there is no need to stay high on a receiver. The only route left for the corner to defend is the "corner" route, so the defensive back is in perfect position to cut off this throw. If a defensive back has help inside, he is going to play outside leverage and low-shoulder.
    Conversely, if the receiver stems outside, the corner's position should be inside and high. By maintaining a 'high-shoulder' position on a receiver, the defensive back can control the speed of the receiver with the outside arm/hand while he cuts off the inside throw. The principle is the same no matter the coverage.
    This all plays into what Saban defines as being "in phase" with a receiver (which essentially is the position of being close enough to touch the receiver) and gives the defensive back a guideline on how to play the ball based on his vertical position. When a corner is "high-shoulder" leverage, he is "in-phase" with the receiver, putting him in position to be a receiver to play the ball.
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  10. #110
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    There's more...

    Nick Saban: Middle of the Field Safety Coverage Principles (part II - Cover 3)

    Cover 3

    Saban installs all versions of three-deep zone (buzz, sky, cloud, etc) all at the same time. Citing his work with Bill Belichick, Al Groh, Jim Bates, Rick Venturi, and WoodyWidenhofer, he explains the simplicity of Cover 3 concepts;

    What he's referring to is the variations of who is the force (flat) defender in the coverage. This could be the corner (cloud), the safety (sky), or the backer (buzz).

    With a 4 man front, you will end up with 4 underneath defenders

    • curl to flat
    • hook
    • hook to curl
    • flat

    What makes it so simple?

    The bottom line how the defenders relate to pattern distribution and who is controlling the two deep vertical seams in Cover 3. He will take corners, safeties, and linebackers and teaches them how to control the seams (protecting the seams in C3 is vital to the success of the coverage as 4 verticals is the only pass that can hurt you) as the curl-to-flat player relating to the #1 receiver pattern (who ends up being the first receiver outside once the receivers run their routes).

    With middle of the field coverage, the breaking point lays in the seams (pictured). The major liabilities attacking the seams will be the #2 receiver(s). Saban's philosophy states that there are really only 3 types of passes that can be run with the vertical seam being run #2 (double-seams / Smash / and Seam + Out or 'pole'). The strong safety should drop into the seam at 10 yards, which intersects a vertical stem of #2.

    Saban teaches and stress three important concepts to his defenders

    • drop to area / reroute receivers (deflect receivers from finding the weak spots of the coverage)
    • match pattern distribution
    • break on the ball

    The pattern match concept he relies so heavily on can be found [URL=""]here[/URL], but a brief overview of this can be seen below. Before the pattern distribution, the receivers are numbered from the sideline.

    After the snap, the routes are run and the receivers are distributed through the defensive zones.

    THIS is the distribution of the pattern. From this distribution, the curl-to-flat defender expands to the #1 widest shallow receiver, the S to the #2 shallow receiver. This is not landmark dropping (though landmarks do give a proper depth/spacing to relate to the final distribution) this is "finding work" and the proper route to attack.

    The corner leverage in Cover 3 was covered in the [URL=""]first installment[/URL]. The Free Safety (middle of the field) technique Saban stresses is keeping the shoulders square to the line of scrimmage while back pedalling and attacking the ball.

    The worst thing a safety can do is roll his shoulders and commit to a side, thereby opening the cut-back and/or over pursuing to the perimeter. He likens it to playing running back, that a safety should attack the point of attack in much the same way, keeping the shoulders square and balanced into the fit.

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