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nunusguy
08-03-2005, 12:51 PM
OXNARD, Calif. - You'd think the Cowboys had never changed defenses before to listen to all the whining and gnashing of teeth this winter.

Somehow, the Cowboys managed to survive dumping Tom Landry's Flex defense when Jimmy Johnson arrived on the scene 16 years ago. All that led to was three more Super Bowl rings.

So can we put an end to all this angst about Bill Parcells hammering a few square pegs into round holes?

Something tells me he knows exactly what he's doing.

The square pegs-into-round holes worry dominated off-season Cowboys talk as fans and radio talk show hosts contemplated the Cowboys' harrowing shift from their traditional 4-3 defense to the Parcells-favored 3-4.

The team's best defensive players, critics fretted, wringing their hands, just don't fit the 3-4.

Greg Ellis believes he might be too small to play end, they worried.

La'Roi Glover won't be on the field as much as he battles for playing time with free agent nose guard Jason Ferguson.

Dat Nguyen is too small to play inside linebacker in this alignment.

Stop it.

Just let the big dog eat.

Let Parcells do what he thinks is right for the Cowboys. That's what Jerry Jones hired him to do.

If you want to second guess, second guess Parcells for not doing this two years ago when he arrived.

Parcells' basic answer to that is that if he knew then what he knows now, he probably would have.

Based on what we saw last season, it was change the defensive philosophy or get ready for another six-win season. Parcells didn't come here to win six games a year.

Besides, the Cowboys aren't totally abandoning the 4-3. They're just adding another option.

"There's no team in the league that doesn't employ some principles of both schemes," Parcells said after the team's third workout of camp over the weekend. "It's much simpler for the defensive linemen, this defense. Much simpler.

"It's a little harder for the linebackers. The secondary isn't affected at all, one way or the other."

The advantages, Parcells decided, outweighed any real or imagined personnel disadvantages. Parcells gladly ticked off some of them for us.

"At any time, you can drop eight people into coverage," he pointed out. "That complicates things for the quarterback. Not many [4-3] teams have the ability to do that.

"The second thing is, it's more one-on-one football. It forces the offense to block more straight and less angles than a gap defense does. Sometimes that's more difficult for the offense to do."

The 3-4 also will cut down on some of the quarterback bootleg plays NFL teams have fallen in love with over the past few years.

"You never know when that outside linebacker's coming right into the quarterback's face," Parcells said. "And you don't cover your linebackers up as well in the 3-4 as you do in the 4-3. In the 3-4 you can free your middle linebacker up a lot."

The key to the 3-4 is the front seven, of course. It's a simple defense for the three down linemen, more complicated for the linebackers.

"You have to balance your rush lanes on a three-man front all the time," Parcells said. "In other words, the nose [guard] and the end have to balance up on the side that the linebacker is rushing.

"That's a little more difficult to do effectively than a four-man rush all the time. We're rushing four, but we're rushing them at a different angle than four-man-front teams do."

Whatever concerns Ellis and Glover may have had about their roles in Parcells' new defensive scheme over the winter seem to have been eased with the beginning of camp.

Ellis has taken pains to dispel reports that he and Parcells had some sort of confrontational meeting a few weeks ago -- something those of us who know both men should have realized was ludicrous from the beginning.

"Through this whole situation, I'm learning to trust Bill a whole lot," Ellis said. "Everybody knows he's a phenomenal coach, but just to personally trust him. For me, that's a lot."

Parcells, for his part, is so comfortable with Ellis and so sure that he'll flourish in the 3-4, he can even tease him about the move.

"I just think Greg has to get his confidence up," Parcells said. "He was a little apprehensive about what he could do, that's all.

"I was kidding him just this morning. I said, 'We're going to move you to nose tackle next year.'"

Glover, who has played the 3-4 with other teams, seems excited about the possibilities for overall team defensive improvement.

"If you're able to stop the run with your base front, you can run so many blitzes out of this defense that it's amazing," Glover said. "Hopefully, we'll have some success doing that, and we can blitz people and it's harder for an offense to pick up."

Glover will still start in the Cowboys' nickel package and about half the time in the basic set.

"I know Glover can do it," Parcells said. "He's very quick, and he's got quick hands. And he's got leverage.

"Look it, he's a good player. He's the last of my worries, really."

Just like this shift to the 3-4 should be the last of our worries. If Parcells says it will work, my guess is, it will work.

Never doubt the size hammer Big Bill swings. If he needs a square peg to fit in a round hole, believe me, it's going in, one way or the other.
* * *
I did a copy & paste as it now looks like the FTW Star-Telegram is using
userids/passwords for entry.
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/12291800.htm
************************************************** *****
As you may know, the Cowboys like some other NFL teams are switching
to the 3-4, or atleast incorporating the 3-4 into their overall defense.
Bill Parcells, like our head coach, is one of the recognized authorities on this
defense. This is a very insighful article as Parcells has a lot of good things to
say about the 3-4, including comparisons between it and the other primary NFL D, the 4-3. Very relevant article for any team like ours that runs the
3-4.

Double Barrel
08-03-2005, 01:51 PM
Cool. I've always respected and like Parcels...even if he is associated with the Cowboys now.

Our 3-4 better produce, though. It seems that, outside of the first season, they just don't have the personel to properly put pressure on opposing QBs. Hopefully this year will be different, because otherwise, it's going to be a long season.

Texas Torture
08-03-2005, 06:07 PM
i thought i heard something earlier like dallas could switch back and forth from the 3-4 to the 4-3. heard anything like that? in this era of 'situational d sets', slappin a number on the d is just a formality anyway. with injuries to key players always changing the dynamics of a tm, who knows where they'll end up.

GoPats
08-04-2005, 10:08 AM
i thought i heard something earlier like dallas could switch back and forth from the 3-4 to the 4-3. heard anything like that? in this era of 'situational d sets', slappin a number on the d is just a formality anyway. with injuries to key players always changing the dynamics of a tm, who knows where they'll end up.

They'll probably mix it up some, but the base D will be a 3-4. Dallas had to go out and get the players who match the system before they could implement it. You need big bodies on the line, and LBs who can take on pulling guards.

The 3-4 tends to make your defense more unpredictable, for the reasons Parcells stated.

Texas Torture
08-05-2005, 06:56 PM
If you want to second guess, second guess Parcells for not doing this two years ago when he arrived.

he didn't do it 2 yrs ago cuz the boyz had the #1 D- kind of hard to improve upon that! last yr did something good anyway.




... don't think ellis and glover r gonna have time to powt too much. they weren't anyway. they know how long the season is... it only takes 1 play.

DFAN
08-05-2005, 08:21 PM
he didn't do it 2 yrs ago cuz the boyz had the #1 D- kind of hard to improve upon that! last yr did something good anyway.




... don't think ellis and glover r gonna have time to powt too much. they weren't anyway. they know how long the season is... it only takes 1 play.


He didnt have the # 1 D when he got here. THe D was #1 his 1st year. He has said if he knew what he knows now he would had made the switch.

Texas Torture
08-06-2005, 06:33 PM
well, he knows now- let's see what he does. ware hurting his leg doesn't really fire the imagination. but most coaches these days, will hold back their starters as opposed to losing them in meaningless pre-season gms. and the ones that don't, wish they had when they lose someone.

HowBoutThemCowboys!
08-07-2005, 01:01 AM
Ware didn't hurt his leg.

Our D-line rotation will be a monster this season like it was in the 90s. Glover, Ellis, Spears, Ferguson, Canty, etc. rotating in and out. It'll be a sight to see.

beerlover
08-07-2005, 07:43 PM
Ware didn't hurt his leg.

Our D-line rotation will be a monster this season like it was in the 90s. Glover, Ellis, Spears, Ferguson, Canty, etc. rotating in and out. It'll be a sight to see.

its not Ware it'll be a sight to see :ouch:

The latest diagnosis has Dallas DE Marcus Spears, the second of two Cowboys' first round picks at the 2005 draft, mising at least 4-5 weeks after an MRI revealed that he has a torn MCL in in his right knee. There had ben fears that Spears might have torn an ACL after he was carted off the practice field this morning. Spears also suffered a high ankle sprain and a groin pull when a teammate rolled over his leg.

HowBoutThemCowboys!
08-07-2005, 08:18 PM
its not Ware it'll be a sight to see :ouch:


What are you talking about?

beerlover
08-07-2005, 08:44 PM
What are you talking about?
your previous quote-


Ware didn't hurt his leg. + It'll be a sight to see.

on a more serious note sorry about Marcus Spears thats a significant loss as Parcells moves to the 3-4. http://www.dallascowboys.com/news.cfm?id=8ECA0550-BB0B-B383-37F516C97471AC72

Buzz
08-07-2005, 11:15 PM
"If you're able to stop the run with your base front, you can run so many blitzes out of this defense that it's amazing," Glover said. "Hopefully, we'll have some success doing that, and we can blitz people and it's harder for an offense to pick up."

If they blitz a lot more and are anywhere near as good as the Pittsburgh D, which loves to blitz, then I think the Cowboys could crack the top 10 instead of being around 18th or so like they were last year.

DFAN
08-08-2005, 02:16 PM
If they blitz a lot more and are anywhere near as good as the Pittsburgh D, which loves to blitz, then I think the Cowboys could crack the top 10 instead of being around 18th or so like they were last year.


I could only hope for that. I just cant see the Cowboys being as good as the Steelers D or for that matter even close.

There will be plenty of growing pains learnign a new D. Not to mention at some point in the year we might have a rookie DE and 2 rookie LBs starting. Possiblly a rookie FS as well.

HowBoutThemCowboys!
08-08-2005, 05:53 PM
on a more serious note sorry about Marcus Spears thats a significant loss as Parcells moves to the 3-4. http://www.dallascowboys.com/news.cfm?id=8ECA0550-BB0B-B383-37F516C97471AC72


He'll be out just for two to four weeks.. I wouldn't call it a "significant" loss. Sure he'll miss some of training camp, that's why we have Greg Ellis and Chris Canty.

Texas Torture
08-08-2005, 10:42 PM
oops! sorry. typed the wrong name. it was spears. it was bad news whoever it was. should be ready for opening day! we'll see if breez was just a 'one season' wonder!

DoCt3rJ
08-11-2005, 01:47 PM
Ware has been said that hes been dominating in camp, he kind of reminds me of Peek, except more NFL ready. He's also stronger, maybe a little bit quicker. He's been dominating LT Flozell Adams... pro bowler, fell off a bit last season. Imagine what he'll do to Riley or Wand =[ But it's only training camp, he'll be put to the test pre-season. Also Kenyon Coleman has been said to look real good in training camp since the switch to 3-4.

Huge
08-11-2005, 02:25 PM
Ware didn't hurt his leg.

Our D-line rotation will be a monster this season like it was in the 90s. Glover, Ellis, Spears, Ferguson, Canty, etc. rotating in and out. It'll be a sight to see.

Simmah down, nah. I wouldn't go to that extreme just yet.

Tony Tolbert
Tony Casillas
Russell Maryland
Charles Haley
Chad Hennings
Jimmie Jones
Jim Jeffcoat

That's a load to live up to.

HowBoutThemCowboys!
08-11-2005, 04:36 PM
True, very true. A bunch of those guys were Pro Bowlers.

Texas Torture
08-12-2005, 07:36 PM
Simmah down, nah. I wouldn't go to that extreme just yet.

Tony Tolbert
Tony Casillas
Russell Maryland
Charles Haley
Chad Hennings
Jimmie Jones
Jim Jeffcoat

That's a load to live up to.


can't argue with that! but the rotation itself is supposed to be looking as good as the 'johnson era'. still, all the talk around the league is positive when everyone's at 0-0.

doc, i hope coleman does better in the 3-4, the 4-3 didn't do a lot for him- and vice-versa.

nunusguy
08-21-2005, 11:15 AM
"When a defense shifts philosophy, the personnel can't be turned over in one offseason or perhaps even two. For instance, the Texans play a three-man front, and ends Gary Walker and Robaire Smith and nose tackle Seth Payne all weigh more than 300 pounds.
The Cowboys' starting three-man front features ends Greg Ellis (6-6, 271) and Keynon Coleman (6-5, 284) and nose tackle Jason Ferguson (6-3, 305). Only Ferguson is suited for a 3-4."
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/3318944
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McClain with a story in todays Chronicle about Parcell's efforts to convert the FtWorth/Arlington defense to the 3-4.

Huge
08-21-2005, 12:26 PM
Ah yes, football genius John McClain. He does a bad enough job covering his home team. He should probably stay away from a team 200 miles north.

For instance...

The Cowboys' starting three-man front features ends Greg Ellis (6-6, 271) and Keynon Coleman (6-5, 284) and nose tackle Jason Ferguson (6-3, 305). Only Ferguson is suited for a 3-4.
Why list Coleman as a starter because he's currently filling in for the injured Spears but list Fergurson as a starter while he's currently sitting out?

La'Roi Glover (6-2, 282) is an undersized nose tackle who, like Ellis, isn't suited for this system.
That must explain why Glover had 8.5 sacks in '99 while playing nose tackle for New Orleans.

The Cowboys also are using some four-man fronts so they can get backup end Chris Canty (6-7, 279) at tackle next to Ellis.
Eh, no. Canty has been pushing for a starting job at RE in our 3-4 set.

But other than that, McClain was spot on accurate as always.

Ihategeeks
08-21-2005, 12:27 PM
I don't buy the square peg round hole argument here...

I am not a Texans or Cowboys homer.

Bill Parcells is genuis through the most fundamental concept in football. Run the Ball, force the other team to be 1 dimensional and shut that dimension down.

He isn't getting any pressure from his guys in the 4-3, and that is taking thunder away from the running game, it put the Cowboys in more passing situations than I think Parcells wanted last year.

Glover is undersized for a DT 4-3 anyway, I see him as the rotational DE or the 3rd down NT in the 3-4. He isn't getting younger keeping him fresh this way is a good idea. The Cowboys also have nice size Defensive ends, like Chris Canty, and Spears when he gets healthy, Ellis is 6-6, he is as tall as most of the Left tackles in the NFL, so he should just shut up.

On passing downs. Ware is a 3-4 LB, Bradie James will be in a good spot, he will be the primary run stuffer as Dat is dropping into coverage and blitzing.

This is what it's going to be about for Parcells, blitzing.

sending ware, ashermond, and dat , or dropping Dat back and sending ware and ashermond, or sending ware or ashermond dropping back ware, or dropping back both and sending dat.

Is this group smallish? Yes, but that isn't important. The cowboys aren't going to be playing on thier heals, they will be an attack and fill the gaps with defenders defebse, that will put Roy Williams in position to clean up the edges. And on blitzing downs it will send WR's right into his area for him to make plays with him not having as much focus to play long range coverage.

Teams will be passing on the cowboys because Parcells will be eating the clock. He has possesion WR's, a possesion Te, an oline that can mash, a good core of RB's, and a QB that knows how to play in this system.

Ball control + alot of blitzing = 10 wins

This isn't l like the Falcons, that was REALLY an undersized defense for 3-4.
The gave up on that scheme really quick. Teams were able to line up and run and pass all over them because the falcons offense was crap.

DFAN
08-21-2005, 10:45 PM
Ah yes, football genius John McClain. He does a bad enough job covering his home team. He should probably stay away from a team 200 miles north.

For instance...


Why list Coleman as a starter because he's currently filling in for the injured Spears but list Fergurson as a starter while he's currently sitting out?


That must explain why Glover had 8.5 sacks in '99 while playing nose tackle for New Orleans.


Eh, no. Canty has been pushing for a starting job at RE in our 3-4 set.

But other than that, McClain was spot on accurate as always.


Coleman was the starter when Spears went down. I know being a 1st round draft choice he was going to start eventually. But Spears was not running with the 1st team. If I can I'll find the article where it said Coleman might keep Spears off the field longer than expected.


Glover never really played that much 3-4 in NO. Not enough to say he is experience at it. Altought I think he will be just fine.


Edit: Here is the article from early TC.

Todd Archer: 10 early impressions from training camp

04:13 PM CDT on Thursday, August 4, 2005



OXNARD, Calif. - Training camp is not yet a week old, but many things are beginning to come into focus. Rather than focus on just one aspect, we'll pick up many pieces from the first eight practices and dish them out.

Julius Jones should have a monster season. He looks quicker and thicker. He is learning to trust his offensive line more and more and they are opening up some holes for him to get through.

Provided he can stay healthy, Terry Glenn will make a huge impact. His injury really hurt the Cowboys last year. Glenn and Drew Bledsoe have picked up where they left off in New England and that was a 79-catch, 963-yard, 6-touchdown season in 2000. (We don't count 2001 because neither really played for differing reasons). After one practice Bledsoe said, "I had a couple of, 'Oh yeah, I remember that guy,' moments."

Demarcus Ware is impressive. The linebackers run through a circle drill in which they are supposed to stay low and explode off the corner. Ware is just so smooth compared to the others who run through the drill. He keeps his feet going all the time and is at full speed in a matter of seconds.

The kickers, Billy Cundiff and Brett Visintainer, have been inconsistent. Visintainer had a chance to push Cundiff after an impressive minicamp but the power doesn't seem to be in his leg. Cundiff's leg strength has been impressive, but he has missed a few field goals. He should keep his job though.

We know the Cowboys' top three corners will be Terence Newman, Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn. We don't know who will be fourth. Bruce Thornton, a fourth-round pick last year who suffered a knee injury, needs to pick it up some. He's been beaten too often early on. Jacques Reeves has had his moments, as has Lenny Williams.

Guard Stephen Peterman has had a much better camp this year than as a rookie when he seemed to be on the ground every play. He is stronger and the nasty type of lineman Bill Parcells likes. His presence and Andre Gurode's work at center might make it difficult for Tyson Walter to claim one of the backup spots.

La'Roi Glover might not be the prototypical 3-4 nose tackle but he is amazingly quick for someone 288 pounds. He gets a quick jump off the ball on every play, which catches the center or guard by surprise and he uses his hands tremendously well.

It took Bill Parcells only two days to figure out he might need a free safety? There's a sense that this position might hold the defense hostage like right corner did a year ago. Keith Davis should win the job, but Parcells admits he's more of a strong safety. With the number of vets available earlier in the off-season the Cowboys missed on a chance to protect themselves.

If you're looking for the most improved player award, look no further than Kenyon Coleman. He didn't quite fit the 4-3 scheme but he is a better fit for the 3-4. He is big and physical and is making plays he didn't make in camp a year ago. He might keep rookie Marcus Spears off the field longer than many thought.
The fourth and fifth receiver spots are up for grabs so keep an eye on Ahmad Merritt. He played for receivers coach Todd Haley in Chicago and he's made a ton of plays. He's small, but he or Jamaica Rector could sneak in for that final spot. Both would be helped if the Cowboys kept six receivers instead of five.

E-mail tarcher@dallasnews.com

Huge
08-22-2005, 11:26 AM
If you're looking for the most improved player award, look no further than Kenyon Coleman. He didn't quite fit the 4-3 scheme but he is a better fit for the 3-4. He is big and physical and is making plays he didn't make in camp a year ago. He might keep rookie Marcus Spears off the field longer than many thought.

But how can that be? McClain just said he wasn't suited for the 3-4.

I think between Spears, Canty, Coleman, Ferguson, Glover, Ratcliff, Carson and Ellis we'll have enough bodies to fill in where needed...regardless of what set we're running. That's not including Ware who could play DE when we line up in the 4-3.

DFAN
08-22-2005, 12:14 PM
But how can that be? McClain just said he wasn't suited for the 3-4.

I think between Spears, Canty, Coleman, Ferguson, Glover, Ratcliff, Carson and Ellis we'll have enough bodies to fill in where needed...regardless of what set we're running. That's not including Ware who could play DE when we line up in the 4-3.


All of them are are at the weights BP wants them at as well.