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View Poll Results: What is the Best Defensive Scheme in the NFL?
3-4 67 46.21%
4-3 37 25.52%
Tampa 2 26 17.93%
Other 15 10.34%
Voters: 145. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-17-2007, 01:29 PM    (permalink
Dam8610
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Originally Posted by evershot View Post
Your defense is only as good as the personnel running it. So I say that the Best defense is the one that is.

1. Easiest to draft for.
2. Cheapest to build.
3. Easiest to maintain.
You've just described the Tampa 2.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:13 PM    (permalink
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I think the 3-4 because the big men up front clog the running lanes and you don't have to worry about undersized players. And it's confusing because there are so many blitz packages.
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Old 03-18-2007, 05:22 PM    (permalink
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You've just described the Tampa 2.
I would agree with this, but we're starting to see a trend that could make this an old stereotype.

More and more Ends coming out of college have that "tweener" body. These tweeners are now being sought after by both 3-4 teams as rushbackers, and Cover 2 teams as Ends. This could create a lack of quality DE products. With more and more teams going to the 3-4 and Cover 2 scheme, we have more competition for the same body types than ever before for both of those schemes. And Cover 2 lives and dies with the pressure it creates in the front 4, so if theres stiff competition for the DE position like there is now, it may not be the easiest scheme to draft for anymore.

There are currently 16 teams in the NFL that either run Cover 2 or 3-4. Thats over half the league. So one of the most vital pieces of both defenses, the rushbacker/de, is being sought after by 16 teams. That could and probably will present a shortage of available pass rushers for each team employing this scheme, and it could lead to a problem. I think these 2 schemes, which were once thought of as having the advantage in getting players that other schemes don't look for, will now face the problem of competing for similar players and having shortages in key positions.

Other examples include the need by both schemes for quality SS play, and 3-4 DE vs Tampa 2 UT. I think those positions require similar physical characteristics among the 2 schemes.
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Old 03-18-2007, 08:14 PM    (permalink
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The 3-4. It allows to you to put more speed on the field, be more agressive when necessary, but also sit back a little more if needed. It's much more effective at confusing offenses, as well.
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:03 PM    (permalink
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The 3-4. It allows to you to put more speed on the field, be more agressive when necessary, but also sit back a little more if needed. It's much more effective at confusing offenses, as well.
Agreed. When ran correctly, a 3-4 is the most effective defense on the field. The catch is, however, it's not very easy to maintain and draft for.
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:07 PM    (permalink
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the best scheme is a combo 3-4/4-3, which is what the ravens run.
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:30 AM    (permalink
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The 3-4. It allows to you to put more speed on the field, be more agressive when necessary, but also sit back a little more if needed. It's much more effective at confusing offenses, as well.
This is actually a misconception of the 3-4 that is not true. The 3-4 uses bigger LBs who are stronger yet slower in coverage, and remember, just because you have 4 LBs opposed to 3 doesn't mean anything, because one of those LBs is rushing the qb anyway. Plus, the dlinemen are also bigger/stronger but slower, so team speed is decreased in the 3-4 opposed to the 4-3. This makes for better run stuffing because the front 7 is thicker up front, but worse pass coverage in general opposed to smaller quicker 4-3 defenses. The 3-4 relies more on scheme and confusion to hinder the pass game, where the 4-3 relies more on athleticism in general terms. I broke down the differences in an old post, it was quite long so I'll just copy and paste it onto here:

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I also want to discuss this notion that the 3-4 is quicker than the 4-3. This is actually false.

We assume that because you have an extra linebacker, that your team defense is faster, but the truth is 3-4 defenses are slower than 4-3 defenses, and actually thicker when you add up the total body mass of the front 7.

The prototypical 3-4 has these respective weights.

DE - 290
NT - 340
OLB - 260
ILB - 250

Thats 1940 lbs of mass in the front 7.

The prototypical 4-3 bodyweights are

DE - 270
NT - 310
UT - 300
MLB - 240
SLB - 240
WILL - 235

Thats 1865 lbs of mass.

The 4-3 has smaller quicker linebackers who play the middle of the field faster than the 3-4.

Remember, while the 3-4 may have one extra LB, youre usually blitzing that LB, leaving 3 LBs in coverage who tend to be thicker than 4-3 Lbs, so you have less speed in coverage. Plus, your 3 downlinemen are essentially all DTs, so you get less overall speed out of the pass rush as well.

This is why the 3-4 is better against the run, but worst against the pass. You have a thicker front 7 against the run, and its spaced out so its difficult to bounce it outside as well. However, the overall weight of the front 7 reduces team speed, making coverage a little slower, and pass rush a little slower, thus equating to worse pass defense.

Don't believe me? Think about who has the best run defenses in the league. Dallas, Pittsburgh, and SD. All 3-4 teams. Who has the best pass defenses? Generally Cover 2 teams, built on speed and 4-3 fronts, like the Bears.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:51 PM    (permalink
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This is actually a misconception of the 3-4 that is not true. The 3-4 uses bigger LBs who are stronger yet slower in coverage, and remember, just because you have 4 LBs opposed to 3 doesn't mean anything, because one of those LBs is rushing the qb anyway. Plus, the dlinemen are also bigger/stronger but slower, so team speed is decreased in the 3-4 opposed to the 4-3. This makes for better run stuffing because the front 7 is thicker up front, but worse pass coverage in general opposed to smaller quicker 4-3 defenses. The 3-4 relies more on scheme and confusion to hinder the pass game, where the 4-3 relies more on athleticism in general terms. I broke down the differences in an old post, it was quite long so I'll just copy and paste it onto here:
you are the most knowledgeable poster on here IMO. thank you for positively adding to this forum
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:27 AM    (permalink
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:38 AM    (permalink
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I would agree with this, but we're starting to see a trend that could make this an old stereotype.

More and more Ends coming out of college have that "tweener" body. These tweeners are now being sought after by both 3-4 teams as rushbackers, and Cover 2 teams as Ends. This could create a lack of quality DE products. With more and more teams going to the 3-4 and Cover 2 scheme, we have more competition for the same body types than ever before for both of those schemes. And Cover 2 lives and dies with the pressure it creates in the front 4, so if theres stiff competition for the DE position like there is now, it may not be the easiest scheme to draft for anymore.

There are currently 16 teams in the NFL that either run Cover 2 or 3-4. Thats over half the league. So one of the most vital pieces of both defenses, the rushbacker/de, is being sought after by 16 teams. That could and probably will present a shortage of available pass rushers for each team employing this scheme, and it could lead to a problem. I think these 2 schemes, which were once thought of as having the advantage in getting players that other schemes don't look for, will now face the problem of competing for similar players and having shortages in key positions.

Other examples include the need by both schemes for quality SS play, and 3-4 DE vs Tampa 2 UT. I think those positions require similar physical characteristics among the 2 schemes.
I actually made a post like this a loooong time ago (I think it was when I first joined the forum).

Like you said, the reason why the Tampa Two and 3-4 schemes were so easy to draft for in the past is because the majority of teams in the NFL ran a traditional 4-3 scheme. There was an emphasis on those teams for big, athletic defensive tackles, and big, balanced defensive ends. Corners who could run man-to-man were also more of a premium, whereas the safety position was virtually an afterthought. As a result, the 'tweener defensive ends, the low-end athleticism/high-end motor defensive tackles, and zone defensive backs would fall, as there wasn't a big premium on them, and the 3-4 and Tampa Two teams could snatch them up much later in the draft, and for a lot cheaper.

Nowadays, virtually everybody runs a little bit of every scheme. Furthermore, since the NFL is such a copycat league, a good majority of teams run a Tampa Two or 3-4 hybrid scheme. What's the result? Those 'tweeners, those guys that play DE in the 3-4, those zone corners, and those safeties became much more of a premium. Notice, too, how few traditional 4-3 linebackers have been drafted in the first round in recent history.

It's just further proof of how the NFL is a cyclical league.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:11 AM    (permalink
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While its true that more teams are looking for those DE/OLB tweeners, more colleges are producing more them now.

For example, My Iowa Hawkeyes use to have 300 lbs DL for both DT and DE. Now the the starters are all going to be around 270 lbs. Jonathan Babineaux, a DT for the Falcons, was recruited to be a LB/FB and actually started a few games as a FB before switching to DE and then finally to DT.

So yes the demand for those DE/OLB tweeners have gone up, so has the supply of them. So its not that much harder to find players, its just harder to acquire the top talents.

The biggest challenge is that those defences are not as unique as they used to be, and QBs will know more of what to expect when facing them they they used too.
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