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View Full Version : Do Traditional Philosphies Exist in the NFL Anymore?


bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 05:33 PM
I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. As fans, we are familiar with concepts that have been introduced to the game over time that revolutionized the game. The 3-4 defense, the 46 defense, Cover 2 (yuck), the WCO, Air Coryell, the no huddle, etc etc etc.

And often when we talk about football, we talk about these concepts. This guy is bringing the WCO to his new team, this guy is converting his defense to a 3-4, this guy is bringing the Tampa 2, this guy is running the Zampese system.

And in years past, we can say those things bc for the most part, if you were a Cover 2 defense, guess what? You're running Cover 2 concepts most of the game. If you were a WCO offense, you were running WCO concepts for most of the game.

But looking at how multiple the NFL is nowadays, both on offense and defense, I don't think we can say any of this anymore.

Go down the line of WCO teams. How many slants do you see? How many of them are even WCOs anymore? You see every team, whether they run the "WCO" or the "Air Coryell" run pretty much all concepts on offense.

Even the Run N Shoot, the teams that run a choice route offense, those concepts are even included in a lot of WCO plays. Maybe not everyone is running a choice, but you can draw up a WCO play where your Z runs a slant, your Y runs a go, and your X is running a choice.

You can have a Zampese offense that sends both the Y and Z deep, and both are running a deep choice, with the X running a comeback. So in 2 examples, you see basically concepts of Zampese, Run N Shoot, and WCO all in the same play.

And every team runs all of these concepts. So does it really matter anymore what you run?

I understand that if your coach comes from a Cover 2 background, he's going to run more of those concepts than other concepts, if your coach is a Zampese coach he is going to run more of those concepts than other concepts.

But while you will see more of on concept than the others, that doesn't mean you are not running those other concepts at all. And I think we fail to see that as fans sometimes.

We do this all the time. All of us fans. I'm guilty too, I won't exclude myself, I'm just as guilty as the next guy. On game day, when things aren't going right, we blame the coaches. Why isn't he taking any shots downfield? Why isn't he running some shorter routes to get the qb rhythm? Why isn't he blitzing? We aren't we running some man?

And one thing I've learned after being that guy for so many years, is this: Watch the game again. You'll see that 80% of the time, the concepts you were screaming at your tv for during the game, were actually run during that game. It just didn't work. Why? Bc players have to make plays. Sometimes your players just didn't execute. But we don't want to believe that. It's easier to blame the coach.

Even defense isn't set in stone anymore. NFL defenses are so multiple now, it really doesn't matter what front you're in. Every team runs 1 and 2 gap fronts. Whether it's from a 3-4 or a 4-3 front, who cares? It's all about attacking gaps. How you attack gaps matters. Not what alignment you do it in. Every Cover 2 defense runs man. Every man coverage defense runs zone. Every team blitzes. How much depends on the coordinator more than the scheme.

What's the difference btw a 1 gap 3-4 and a 4-3 over? Is there any difference anymore? It's all the same **** with a couple of different sprinkles that's all.

Now having that said, there are plenty of instances where a coordinator is awful, and a scheme is awful. And in these situations I have no problem with blaming the coach.

I'll cite Greg Manusky as an example. Greg Manusky was one of the worst DCs I've ever seen. He ran Cover 4 for the Chargers on almost every play. And that is not an exaggeration.

Perry Fewell literally ran Cover 2 or Cover 3 (with a 3 or 4 man rush) for much of this season b4 he smartened up and played to our defense's strengths in the run before the playoffs.

the Bucs were terribly predictable on offense. So there are times when yeah, coaches suck, I don't deny that.

My main point is, I think regardless of what your coaching staff is comprised of nowadays, you're going to run a little bit of every concept, on offense and defense. The black and white lines are very gray now.

A true Tampa 2 doesn't exist anymore. A true 3-4 is barely breathing. A true 46 is dead, a true WCO is pretty much dead.

I think we exaggerate schemes too much, and underestimate how important it is to be a good play caller as a coordinator. It's really not about the scheme anymore. It's about feeling out the game and calling the right plays at the right time. I think that's what separates the good coaches from the bad ones. Not necessarily the scheme, but moreso of the timing of when to call the right plays.

That's a skill that's more important than the scheme itself.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 05:37 PM
The Packers play a 2-4-5 but everyone says we play a 3-4

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 05:42 PM
The Packers play a 2-4-5 but everyone says we play a 3-4

Bc your nickel defense is the new base defense in the NFL, that's why. The 4-3 and 3-4 are sub packages now.

It's a passing league. You're running nickel probably 70% of the time now. Especially since most teams have to pass to catch up to the Packers offense.

The Packers are a perfect example of a team that uses a lot of 1 gap and 2 gap concepts out of 34 personnel. Not a true 3-4, not a 4-3 at all, but they run enough 1 gap concepts to blur the lines a bit.

broncosfan
02-18-2012, 05:48 PM
The Packers play a 2-4-5 but everyone says we play a 3-4

All they do is take out the nose tackle and bring a defensive back, it's a nickel formation. It's an adjustment every team has made because of the passing game taking over.

And to add to the OP's post, yes, every team runs the same concepts at different times in a game or during the season. John Fox said during the season that every team in the NFL has the same running plays and they just added a few more in the option plays with Tebow.

All of the offenses have some plays in which the use zone blocking, pulling linemen or power blocking. All defenses run Cover 2, zone blitz and press as well.

The main difference, however, is how teams go after some kinds of players in the draft or free agency. The previous Colts regime loved the small, fast guys; while other teams running "the same defense" (Tampa 2)like the Vikings preferred the bigger, stronger types. Also with the Texans that run a ZBS they like their linemen athletic ad fast, while the John Fox offenses (panthers and now broncos) like their linemen big.

So, yes everybody in the NFL uses the same concepts during games and seasons. But that doesn't mean they're all the same, that's why they go after certain types of players: to execute their main system.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 05:52 PM
Bc your nickel defense is the new base defense in the NFL, that's why. The 4-3 and 3-4 are sub packages now.

It's a passing league. You're running nickel probably 70% of the time now. Especially since most teams have to pass to catch up to the Packers offense.

The Packers are a perfect example of a team that uses a lot of 1 gap and 2 gap concepts out of 34 personnel. Not a true 3-4, not a 4-3 at all, but they run enough 1 gap concepts to blur the lines a bit.

Yeah its al about speed now. Get more speed on the field and you'll have more chance of stopping the opponents passing game. Teams just arent scared of the running game any more.

4-3 is too strict in its ways. The front 4 rush and the linebackers cover. With the 3-4 theres one more guy that can cover and disrupt the passing game and theres more chance to change it up.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 05:53 PM
All they do is take out the nose tackle and bring a defensive back, it's a nickel formation.

but we have it as our base defense. even when the opposing team only has 2 receivers on the field, chances are we have 5 defensive backs.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 05:57 PM
Yeah its al about speed now. Get more speed on the field and you'll have more chance of stopping the opponents passing game. Teams just arent scared of the running game any more.

4-3 is too strict in its ways. The front 4 rush and the linebackers cover. With the 3-4 theres one more guy that can cover and disrupt the passing game and theres more chance to change it up.

Not necessarily. In the past, the 4-3 defense was the "speed" defense and the 3-4 was the bigger defense built to stop the run.

Nowadays, bc you see so many 1 gap 3-4s, that line has been blurred. But the concept of a 4 man line is still very much just as effective.

Like I said, it's all about gaps. I can run a 4 man line in a 2 gap alignment. I can run a 3 man front in a 1 gap alignment. It really doesn't matter anymore.

A 4-3 can disguise it's rush and coverages just as easily as a 3-4. Stunts, zone blitzes, alignments, they can all be changed up in either alignment.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 05:59 PM
but we have it as our base defense. even when the opposing team only has 2 receivers on the field, chances are we have 5 defensive backs.

It's bc your coordinator rather give up a 4 yard run than a 20 yard pass on play action. It has more to do with the fact that teams rather have you run the ball on them for 150 yards now than pass for 400.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 06:01 PM
Not necessarily. In the past, the 4-3 defense was the "speed" defense and the 3-4 was the bigger defense built to stop the run.

Nowadays, bc you see so many 1 gap 3-4s, that line has been blurred. But the concept of a 4 man line is still very much just as effective.

Like I said, it's all about gaps. I can run a 4 man line in a 2 gap alignment. I can run a 3 man front in a 1 gap alignment. It really doesn't matter anymore.

A 4-3 can disguise it's rush and coverages just as easily as a 3-4. Stunts, zone blitzes, alignments, they can all be changed up in either alignment.

yeah true but i just think the 3-4 brings more versatility to the defense. but if i was building a defense id make the base defense 2-4-5 or 4-2-5.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 06:03 PM
It's bc your coordinator rather give up a 4 yard run than a 20 yard pass on play action. It has more to do with the fact that teams rather have you run the ball on them for 150 yards now than pass for 400.

yeah it used to be run for 100 yards and you'll win the game. not that way anymore.

if you have the better quarterback chances are you'll win. but if you can stop the quarterback the baton will go back to you and you wont stop the QB by trying to stop the run.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 06:05 PM
yeah true but i just think the 3-4 brings more versatility to the defense. but if i was building a defense id make the base defense 2-4-5 or 4-2-5.

Your nickel defense IS your base defense. Your nickel CB is a starter. That 3rd or 4th LB is just a sub package player now.

That's why so many 4-3 teams want their SAM to be a guy who can stand up and set the edge in the run game then go play DE in their nickel package. Try to make a 2 down position a 3 down player.

The 3-4 and 4-3 are simply sub packages now that are used against inform, 2 TE (sometimes), and 22 personnel. Big nickel is getting more and more popular (3 safeties) to not only combat the trend of the passing league, but moreso to compete against a league that's running more and more no huddle to prevent defenses from getting the right alignments in the game vs the multiple packages that offenses can throw at you now.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 06:07 PM
Your nickel defense IS your base defense. Your nickel CB is a starter. That 3rd or 4th LB is just a sub package player now.

That's why so many 4-3 teams want their SAM to be a guy who can stand up and set the edge in the run game then go play DE in their nickel package. Try to make a 2 down position a 3 down player.

The 3-4 and 4-3 are simply sub packages now that are used against inform, 2 TE (sometimes), and 22 personnel. Big nickel is getting more and more popular (3 safeties) to not only combat the trend of the passing league, but moreso to compete against a league that's running more and more no huddle to prevent defenses from getting the right alignments in the game vs the multiple packages that offenses can throw at you now.

i knew that about the packers but not about every other team. i saw the bears 3rd LB get burned in the passing game vs us. I was just thinking, why isnt a defensive back out there.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 06:10 PM
i knew that about the packers but not about every other team. i saw the bears 3rd LB get burned in the passing game vs us. I was just thinking, why isnt a defensive back out there.

Was Lovie running 4-3 against 3 WR sets? Or was it a 2 TE formation? It depends on the circumstance.

If he ran 3 LBs out there vs a 3 WR set, then he probably felt confident that he can run a lot of zone to combat the passing attack while keeping a heavier front in to stop the run. Or maybe Rodgers caught them out of position and ran a no huddle to keep that defense on the field.

I don't necessarily agree with his line of thinking if he felt he can run a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 3 out of a 4-3 vs the Packers, but again, it depends on the circumstances of the situation. I thought the Bears ran plenty of nickel but I could be wrong.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 06:14 PM
Was Lovie running 4-3 against 3 WR sets? Or was it a 2 TE formation? It depends on the circumstance.

If he ran 3 LBs out there vs a 3 WR set, then he probably felt confident that he can run a lot of zone to combat the passing attack while keeping a heavier front in to stop the run. Or maybe Rodgers caught them out of position and ran a no huddle to keep that defense on the field.

I don't necessarily agree with his line of thinking if he felt he can run a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 3 out of a 4-3 vs the Packers, but again, it depends on the circumstances of the situation. I thought the Bears ran plenty of nickel but I could be wrong.

A bit of both, he was on James Jones at one point. He was on Finley as well which is still stupid. You cant cover Finley with a linebacker. Its becoming more important to have a corner/safety that can cover the more athletic tight ends nowadays.

Most teams have that pass catching tight end whos a match up nightmare, teams will find a way to overcome it by drafting bigger corners that can match up with them.

Ness
02-18-2012, 06:17 PM
I think everything has become a mesh now and days. Everyone tries to dumb it down by saying this team runs a west coast offense or a 3-4 defense, but the game has evolved so much.

It's not like he 80's where you would see a split back formation in Bill Walsh's offense on half of the offensive plays.

I think there can be certain tendencies more than others. But I think that just depends on the coaching staff and what they like to do and the players they try to acquire to fit their system. Kubiak's offense features a lot of rollouts for instance, and they implement more of a zone blocking scheme on offense.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 06:18 PM
I think everything has become a mesh now and days. Everyone tries to dumb it down by saying this team runs a west coast offense or a 3-4 defense, but the game has evolved so much.

It's not like he 80's where you would see a split back formation in Bill Walsh's offense on half of the offensive plays.

yeah teams run a bit of everything.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 06:25 PM
Another concept that is probably thought to be exclusive to a 4-3 is the wide 9. The wide 9 rush is run by 3-4 teams too. They just take their OLBs and line em up wide 9. Boom. Wide 9.

Scotty D
02-18-2012, 06:27 PM
Another concept that is probably thought to be exclusive to a 4-3 is the wide 9. The wide 9 rush is run by 3-4 teams too. They just take their OLBs and line em up wide 9. Boom. Wide 9.

The Lions got gashed by the run this year by using the wide 9.

broncosfan
02-18-2012, 06:29 PM
The Eagles were a dissaster as well running the wide 9

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 06:31 PM
There's nothing wrong with the wide 9. It's a sound scheme. You just need the right linebackers and DTs to run it.

The Lions have the dline, but they don't have the linebackers. The Eagles don't have the linebackers or DTs.

You gotta remember, the wide 9 is never going to be dominant vs the run game, bc it sacrifices some run stuffing for pass rush.

I think the wide 9 teams can be so much more effective if they used the wide 9 alignment more situationally. If a team is coming out 2 TE, don't run wide 9. That's just stupid.

If they're in 3 wide, then yeah go ahead and run wide 9. 3rd and long? Sure, run wide 9.

That's more of a coaching issue than a scheme issue to me.

broncosfan
02-18-2012, 06:35 PM
There's nothing wrong with the wide 9. It's a sound scheme. You just need the right linebackers and DTs to run it.

The Lions have the dline, but they don't have the linebackers. The Eagles don't have the linebackers or DTs.

You gotta remember, the wide 9 is never going to be dominant vs the run game, bc it sacrifices some run stuffing for pass rush.

I think the wide 9 teams can be so much more effective if they used the wide 9 alignment more situationally. If a team is coming out 2 TE, don't run wide 9. That's just stupid.

If they're in 3 wide, then yeah go ahead and run wide 9. 3rd and long? Sure, run wide 9.

That's more of a coaching issue than a scheme issue to me.

I tought the Eagles had some very good DT's in Patterson, Jenkins, Landri, etc. What kind of players do you need at LB and DT to be succesful in a wide 9 alingment?

nobodyinparticular
02-18-2012, 06:37 PM
You can add another hybrid team to the mix with Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie in Oakland--and Al Davis out. Apart from the Gruden/Callahan era, the offense as well as the defense have been very predictable. Now the team will be much more diverse with power looks, ZBS looks, 3-4, 4-3, zone, zone blitz, etc.

bigbluedefense
02-18-2012, 06:41 PM
I tought the Eagles had some very good DT's in Patterson, Jenkins, Landri, etc. What kind of players do you need at LB and DT to be succesful in a wide 9 alingment?

Bc your line shoots up the field so much, you need linebackers who can bang heads with linemen and shed blocks to stop the run. The problem is they can't just be run thumpers bc they'll be in coverage a lot too.

They have to be very good tacklers, a wide 9 scheme can't afford the back 7 to be poor tackers. They also rely on safeties a lot in the run game. And CBs need to be able to tackle on the edges too. Basically you need a fast front 4 that can really shoot up the field and bust through gaps and burn the edges with great speed, and you need a secondary and LB core who can tackle well and get involved in the run game.

The Eagles don't have CBs who tackle in the run game, they lack LBs who have the size to shed blocks and make tackles, and their safeties aren't good. So it didn't work as well.

To be fair, they made adjustments later in the season and the defense really improved towards the end.

ATLDirtyBirds
02-18-2012, 07:03 PM
And one thing I've learned after being that guy for so many years, is this: Watch the game again. You'll see that 80% of the time, the concepts you were screaming at your tv for during the game, were actually run during that game. It just didn't work. Why? Bc players have to make plays. Sometimes your players just didn't execute. But we don't want to believe that. It's easier to blame the coach.


I really wish I could get my hands on some All 22 tape every Monday for teams. It'd make life as a football fan so much better.

SuperPacker
02-18-2012, 07:07 PM
Im suprised BBD isnt some sort of coach or something. guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to football!

Ravens1991
02-18-2012, 07:19 PM
Put Cam Cameron in as a OC who runs a traditional scheme. and look at our offense.

Prowler
02-18-2012, 07:24 PM
I do think that the NFL has evolved to the point that running a fundamentally sound scheme isn't as important as the end results. The only thing that matters is the W, and adaptability helps to accomplish that. Peyton Manning, Brees, Brady, and Rodgers won't allow teams to give them the same looks all game. Adapt or die, especially with the rule changes.

Ravens1991
02-18-2012, 07:43 PM
Im suprised BBD isnt some sort of coach or something. guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to football!

Yeah I always wondered BBD do you coach somewhere? whethere its a college or just helping out at a high school

phlysac
02-18-2012, 08:28 PM
Your nickel defense IS your base defense. Your nickel CB is a starter. That 3rd or 4th LB is just a sub package player now.

Yeah. I could be wrong, but I believe the 49ers are one of the only 3-4 teams who's ILB's are always on the field.

broncosfan
02-18-2012, 09:23 PM
Yeah. I could be wrong, but I believe the 49ers are one of the only 3-4 teams who's ILB's are always on the field.

Not many teams have the 2 best lb's in the league

bigbluedefense
02-19-2012, 08:09 AM
Yeah. I could be wrong, but I believe the 49ers are one of the only 3-4 teams who's ILB's are always on the field.

Most 3-4 teams keep both ILBs on the field in their nickel. They just sub out the NT for a DB. Or they go big nickel and also sub out 1 ILB for a Safety. But the 49ers are unique in the sense that they don't have to run much nickel at all and stay in the 3-4 bc their 2 ILBs are so fast and cover so much range that they can keep them on the field, run a lot of Tampa (which they do), and be stout in the run and pass game with base personnel.

All they do is take out the nose tackle and bring a defensive back, it's a nickel formation. It's an adjustment every team has made because of the passing game taking over.

And to add to the OP's post, yes, every team runs the same concepts at different times in a game or during the season. John Fox said during the season that every team in the NFL has the same running plays and they just added a few more in the option plays with Tebow.

All of the offenses have some plays in which the use zone blocking, pulling linemen or power blocking. All defenses run Cover 2, zone blitz and press as well.

The main difference, however, is how teams go after some kinds of players in the draft or free agency. The previous Colts regime loved the small, fast guys; while other teams running "the same defense" (Tampa 2)like the Vikings preferred the bigger, stronger types. Also with the Texans that run a ZBS they like their linemen athletic ad fast, while the John Fox offenses (panthers and now broncos) like their linemen big.

So, yes everybody in the NFL uses the same concepts during games and seasons. But that doesn't mean they're all the same, that's why they go after certain types of players: to execute their main system.

This is very true. And I think that's more of a coaching staff preference than a scheme thing. Which is why 2 Tampa 2 coaches can be totally different, 2 WCOs can be totally different etc. Great point.

Im suprised BBD isnt some sort of coach or something. guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to football!

Yeah I always wondered BBD do you coach somewhere? whethere its a college or just helping out at a high school

Nope. No coaching. I just love the Xs and Os of the game. In a different life maybe. Many people have told me that I should have went into coaching but I just never did it. Didn't have the stones I guess. I went into biotechnology and I'm a scientist now, it's too late for a career change. Especially now since I'm halfway done with my phd, I came so far I'm not going to switch up now.

Put Cam Cameron in as a OC who runs a traditional scheme. and look at our offense.

Yeah he's pretty terrible too. He has great running concepts, but he doesn't run it enough. And his WRs are just awful. Yet he loves throwing it, but not only throwing it, but throwing it deep with no consistent deep threats.

NY+Giants=NYG
02-19-2012, 10:49 AM
Im suprised BBD isnt some sort of coach or something. guy definitely knows his stuff when it comes to football!

eh, He is ok. Right, BBD! You get negative points for being a Knicks fan AND liking the defensive side of the ball! So fix that! : P

SuperPacker
02-19-2012, 11:00 AM
eh, He is ok. Right, BBD! You get negative points for being a Knicks fan AND liking the defensive side of the ball! So fix that! : P

hey, defense rules! i'd perfer a good defense to a good offense. not saying defense would give us a better chance of winnning but i just love the defensive sIDE of the game.

NY+Giants=NYG
02-19-2012, 11:04 AM
hey, defense rules! i'd perfer a good defense to a good offense. not saying defense would give us a better chance of winnning but i just love the defensive sIDE of the game.

Boooo! See what you did BBD, I blame this and global warming on you!

Iamcanadian
02-19-2012, 11:10 AM
Yes, multiple defenses are seen throughout the NFL today but there are still tendencies which make each team unique. Not all teams blitz with the same consistency, many teams switch to a Cover 2 depending on who they are playing. If a team is facing a super elite QB, you are going to see a lot of Cover 2 from the defense even if it is a basic 3-4 defensive team.
Defending has gotten much more opponent orientated, by that I mean, a DC will examine the other team's offense and decide which defense might work the best against it considering the personnel he has to defend against it.
Defenses need to be very flexible in today's NFL since offenses can come at a NFL defense in so many ways. Teams that have great TE's can attack a defense using their skills, while the next team you play may rely on great WR's or a running attack. DC's must prepare for their opponent not some basic offensive system and that is why flexibility must exist in all defenses. Teams can no longer just sit back and play a 3-4 or a 4-3, they must be prepared for all possibilities but are still somewhat limited by their personnel.
Personnel is always going to put limitations on just what offense or defense a team can use and that is never going to change. Teams won't run a Cover 2 for long if they cannot get a pass rush out of their front 4 and they certainly won't play a lot of man to man coverage if their CB's cannot handle man to man coverage, etc., etc., etc. So there will always be limits to multiple defenses.