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View Full Version : BRB's 4-3 "Under" in detail


barrett
07-23-2009, 01:49 AM
The guys over at BattleRedBlog.com have posted a very in depth description of the 4-3 "Under" defensive scheme that they believe we will be running this season.

http://www.battleredblog.com/2009/7/23/958892/a-very-brief-introduction-the-4-3

I highly recommend checking it out. The more you know about the team, the more fun it is to follow them on their rise to eventual success. It goes into great detail about each position in the scheme and how the players on our roster can succeed in those spots.

Coincidentally, Chester Pitts mentions in an interview on 610 that the Texans will be running this scheme alot this year. He seems to think Cushing will excel in this system.

I've also heard it mentioned on two other blogs in the last 2 days. I don't know when this information came about but apparently we have found some insight into the type of D we could be running other than "AGRESSIVE".

Go Texans!

cland
07-23-2009, 07:54 AM
Great article, this scheme shows why getting Antonio Smith and Brian Cushing fits really well.

Maddict5
07-23-2009, 10:59 AM
A center-guard double team would require the guard to cross his face and leave the 1 technique in open space, while a guard-tackle double team would leave Mario Williams free. Both unfavorable

is it really that unfavourable when we dont have an impact 1 tech DT who can speed past a G in open space?

badboy
07-23-2009, 11:28 AM
The defense I like best is "Hike the ball. Tackle the ball."

nero THE zero
07-23-2009, 11:30 AM
is it really that unfavourable when we dont have an impact 1 tech DT who can speed past a G in open space?

Actually, I think the disadvantage to not having a legit 1-tech would be in run defense as opposed to pass defense.

DelJuan is the truest version of a 1-tech we have, but he's more adept at getting into the backfield than taking up blockers. So, in this scheme we are essentially lining up with 2 speedy DT that can get into the backfield. In this way, the center wil be forced to choose whether he blocks Amobi or DelJuan, allowing the other a 1-on-1 match-up which should allow them to get into the backfield after the QB.

In the passing game that will be adventageous for us since both are (supposedly) able to get into the backfield. But, in the running game this could present problems if one of our DT can't tie up blockers to free up the guys behind him.

MojoMan
07-23-2009, 12:06 PM
Actually, I think the disadvantage to not having a legit 1-tech would be in run defense as opposed to pass defense.

DelJuan is the truest version of a 1-tech we have, but he's more adept at getting into the backfield than taking up blockers. So, in this scheme we are essentially lining up with 2 speedy DT that can get into the backfield. In this way, the center wil be forced to choose whether he blocks Amobi or DelJuan, allowing the other a 1-on-1 match-up which should allow them to get into the backfield after the QB.

In the passing game that will be adventageous for us since both are (supposedly) able to get into the backfield. But, in the running game this could present problems if one of our DT can't tie up blockers to free up the guys behind him.

It sure would be nice if Frank Okam would all of the sudden catch fire and become all he can be. On paper he appears to be exactly what is needed at this position. On paper.

nunusguy
07-23-2009, 02:28 PM
Coincidentally, Chester Pitts mentions in an interview on 610 that the Texans will be running this scheme alot this year. He seems to think Cushing will excel in this system.

I was watching my recording of the January Rose Bowl this week between USC and Penn State and USC ran this quite a bit with Cushing right down on the line of scrimmage but playing upright like a 3-4 OLB. Anyway I gather this is the role the Texans envision for him since he is a relatively big backer even for a SAM who has the kind of size and strength to match up against a TE blocking down on him.

DocBar
07-23-2009, 03:26 PM
Here's a link to some more info on the 4-3 under. On paper, it looks like it really fits our personnel. If ran properly, we might see a HUGE improvement on the D side of the ball.
http://www.trojanfootballanalysis.com/43_under_blitz_schemes.html

76Texan
07-23-2009, 04:22 PM
We had quite a few defensive snaps with the under front; successful ones with Ryans, Bentley and Adibi in there together.

Cushing will be faster than Bentley, but he must guard against screen passes and short passes when the TE releases. Otherwise, there might be unhappy fans!

The thing though, when the opponent runs a spread offense, we would go to our nickel package, and Cushing may not see the field.

Maybe they will go to a 3-3 in a zone blitz, then Cushing can be of good use again.

barrett
07-23-2009, 05:41 PM
What are some examples of us running it last year? I'd like to go back and re-re-watch. Certain games or certain situations in specific games?

I'm a sponge!

nero THE zero
07-23-2009, 05:48 PM
The thing though, when the opponent runs a spread offense, we would go to our nickel package, and Cushing may not see the field.

According to who? From everything I've read his coverage skills have been lauded and I've gotten the impression that he will rarely leave the field.

rmartin65
07-23-2009, 06:12 PM
According to who? From everything I've read his coverage skills have been lauded and I've gotten the impression that he will rarely leave the field.

Same. I expect him to be a 3 down player, as 1st round picks should be.

76Texan
07-23-2009, 09:10 PM
What are some examples of us running it last year? I'd like to go back and re-re-watch. Certain games or certain situations in specific games?

I'm a sponge!

Check the games with Adibi in there; but NOT the Indy nor the Packer games.
They had multi-receiver sets a lot in those games.

We were still in many under fronts, just without the SAM (Bentley) 'cause we were in nickel a lot.

76Texan
07-23-2009, 09:18 PM
Same. I expect him to be a 3 down player, as 1st round picks should be.

There had been LBs who were drafted higher than Cushing that didn't even start their first year, so it's not a big deal that Cushing is not their in obvious passing situation on third downs; especially when we're in our nickel package.
Right now I see Ryans and Adibi best fit for that.

Like I said, we were in some 3-3 last year and came in with zone blitzes that included the LBs; in those instances, I can see Cushing on the field.
We may see some 3-4 even, from what have been reported.

USC switch to a 3-4 very often in passing situations.
A lot of time, Cushing would be rushing the passer.

He will need a lot of reps in coverage.
You just need to check out one game, against Arizona, to know that.

He's just not use to it, that's all, not that he doesn't have the flexibility or the hands, anything like that. He just needs time.

The Pencil Neck
07-23-2009, 10:19 PM
What are some examples of us running it last year? I'd like to go back and re-re-watch. Certain games or certain situations in specific games?

I'm a sponge!

You can see it in the Monday Night game. It almost looks like there's a 5-2 being run because Bentley is on the line a lot.

The strange thing to me when I was watching that, is that it looked like Bentley was on the WEAK side and Adibi was on the Strong side (with the TE.) I didn't think that was the way the 4-3 Under was supposed to be lined up.

But it's been a while since I was able to look at that game (and it's buried on my DVR's old drive and I can't get to it now.)

76Texan
07-24-2009, 10:53 AM
You can see it in the Monday Night game. It almost looks like there's a 5-2 being run because Bentley is on the line a lot.

The strange thing to me when I was watching that, is that it looked like Bentley was on the WEAK side and Adibi was on the Strong side (with the TE.) I didn't think that was the way the 4-3 Under was supposed to be lined up.

But it's been a while since I was able to look at that game (and it's buried on my DVR's old drive and I can't get to it now.)

Sometimes we don't change when their TE moves around.
Sometimes the offense just have a 5-man line, the TE could have moved out to the slot or somewhere.
It's also possible that you saw a 2-TE set?

We do use Adibi once a while on the LOS strong side.
We do use Bentley occasionally on the LOS weakside (but more than using Adibi strong side, I believe.)
Overall, we use Bentley more as a SAM, and Adibi more as a WILL.

The Pencil Neck
07-24-2009, 12:06 PM
Sometimes we don't change when their TE moves around.
Sometimes the offense just have a 5-man line, the TE could have moved out to the slot or somewhere.
It's also possible that you saw a 2-TE set?

We do use Adibi once a while on the LOS strong side.
We do use Bentley occasionally on the LOS weakside (but more than using Adibi strong side, I believe.)
Overall, we use Bentley more as a SAM, and Adibi more as a WILL.

I was specifically looking at which LB was lining up over the TE. And I ws surprised to see that we weren't really lining up that way. It really looked to me like our base was a 4-3 variation where the SAM was lining up as a stand-up lineman so that it looked almost like a 5-2. The Will and Mike were lined up more over the guards (but set back.) And it was Adibi who was consistently on the strong side. Not because of shifts or 2 TE sets or anything like that.

It was a surprise to me to see that.

In the second half, Bentley started coming out (because he got tweaked or something) and Greenwood took Adibi's spot and Adibi moved up to the line in Bentley's spot. They also started playing more of a standard 4-3 with the 3 LB's closer together set back from the line.

If you've got the game available, take a look and verify that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Maybe I was hallucinating. :)

barrett
07-24-2009, 04:23 PM
Here's a link to some more info on the 4-3 under. On paper, it looks like it really fits our personnel. If ran properly, we might see a HUGE improvement on the D side of the ball.
http://www.trojanfootballanalysis.com/43_under_blitz_schemes.html

Wow that was super informative! Thanks Doc! One of the most enlightening moments of this offseason for me.

We had quite a few defensive snaps with the under front; successful ones with Ryans, Bentley and Adibi in there together.

Cushing will be faster than Bentley, but he must guard against screen passes and short passes when the TE releases. Otherwise, there might be unhappy fans!

The thing though, when the opponent runs a spread offense, we would go to our nickel package, and Cushing may not see the field.

Maybe they will go to a 3-3 in a zone blitz, then Cushing can be of good use again.

So one of the main things I learned from that great link that Doc sent me is that the real key to this defense is how consistent it is. It seams like if the offense is in a 2 WR, 3 WR, 2 TE or Pro set it all seems to maintain the same 11 guys. I know it's theoretical but it looks like Cushing could stay on that TE in man to man and if it switches to a 3 WR. It appears that he only comes out in a spead set with 4 WR's.

TimeKiller
07-24-2009, 04:38 PM
Sounds like the 43Under is going to fit Cushing, Adibi and Smith perfectly. Of course Mario too but I doubt I'm the only one who believes Mario Williams is a freight train in any scheme. Ryans is a tackling machine but its sounds like MLB requires a little more "knock you the hell out" attitude than he's ever shown. As long as Dunta shows up I think CB will be fine (and probably even if he doesn't). Two biggest concerns are still safety and DT. Surprise!!! Doesn't sound like safety is more involved with run stopping/containing plays than coverage but when Eugene Wilson is the best coverage man we've got in the back...well...I think that says it all. DT is overloaded with that dirty "p" word. Amobi, Okam, is Travis Johnson still a first round pick? ONE of them has to show up or I think this defense will be marginally better. Hopefully fitting the defense to the DEs and LBs will be enough to counter the mediocre play I somewhat expect from the DTs. Overall I think the defense has improved but anxiously await getting to see it.

76Texan
07-26-2009, 05:27 PM
I was specifically looking at which LB was lining up over the TE. And I ws surprised to see that we weren't really lining up that way. It really looked to me like our base was a 4-3 variation where the SAM was lining up as a stand-up lineman so that it looked almost like a 5-2. The Will and Mike were lined up more over the guards (but set back.) And it was Adibi who was consistently on the strong side. Not because of shifts or 2 TE sets or anything like that.

It was a surprise to me to see that.

In the second half, Bentley started coming out (because he got tweaked or something) and Greenwood took Adibi's spot and Adibi moved up to the line in Bentley's spot. They also started playing more of a standard 4-3 with the 3 LB's closer together set back from the line.

If you've got the game available, take a look and verify that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Maybe I was hallucinating. :)When I have the time, I will.
Actually, I've recheked the first quarter.
(But I have also in the middle of studying the Packers game.
Maybe I will just keep an eye for examples in that game.)

In the first quarter of the MNF game, I believe we employed the "under" fronts 3 times with Bentley close to the LOS. (With one lineman shifting a little.)

On 2-14 of the first drive (false start on the Jags)

Toward the end of the first when the Jags started out from their one.
Both times were on first down.
One resulted in a 4 yard run by MJD (tackled by Adibi & Ferguson).
The other resulted in no gain by Taylor (tackled by Bentley & Weaver).

Instances where I migh have seen Adibi on the strong side, or Bentley on the weakside would find the Texans in a different front.

I think we used the "over" front and the "miami" fronts more then the "under" and other fronts (throughout the season.)

Especially in the first quarter of this game.

barrett
07-27-2009, 10:25 AM
I've heard several people reference "handcuffing Richard Smith" near the end of last season. I watched the majority of the defensive snaps in the Bears game. I didn't see any resemblence of the UNDER. It looks like a Base set of some kind with the LB's in the middle 5 yards back. I'm curious why we didn't see more of a change if Smith truly had been relieved of his duties by this point.

TimeKiller
07-27-2009, 11:36 AM
I've heard several people reference "handcuffing Richard Smith" near the end of last season. I watched the majority of the defensive snaps in the Bears game. I didn't see any resemblence of the UNDER. It looks like a Base set of some kind with the LB's in the middle 5 yards back. I'm curious why we didn't see more of a change if Smith truly had been relieved of his duties by this point.

1. I don't think Smith was totally handcuffed. I think he was still in charge but in a "here are the plays that you can call" type of way where some of his playbook had been thrown out by Kubiak or Bush or whoeva...
2. You wouldn't implement a new scheme that late in the season. If anything it would just be a "look" to throw out.
3. I think the defense improved over time (I didn't say how much, just improved) and while there are a lot of factors maybe having Bush's attitude in a scheme that didn't quite fit brought it along. Now with his leadership, in his scheme that fits the team better on paper we'll see exactly where Smith stood in his final days captaining that sinking ship...

76Texan
07-27-2009, 12:09 PM
I found these interesting paragraphs from "Inside the Helmet" by Peter King, in the chapter about head coach. In this case, he was referring to Jimmy Johnson.

....

Tuesday was an important day. At a 7:00 A.M. staff meeting, he reviewed some of the fine points he EXPECTED to be installed for the Phoenix game by the OC and DC. Then he watched films in between flitting in and out of his office to take calls from anyone he thought could help give him a clue or two about how the Cardinals are playing. By the time he met the press at 11:00 A.M. in the morning, he had an excellent idea of how the Cowboys would attack and defense the Cardinals.

That afternoon, he and Wannstedt (the DC) spent a good chunk of time talking about blitzing Phoenix QB Tom Tupa. Wannstedt wanted to throw the kitchen sink at Tupa. Johnson thought a faucet and a couple of spigots would do.
"I'm all for the blitz," he told Wannstedt, sitting in the DC's office. "But let's not totally press 'em. Let's blitz 'em kind of soft."

....

"Okay," Wannstedt said. "No problem. We'll blitz 'em soft."

76Texan
07-27-2009, 12:28 PM
1. I don't think Smith was totally handcuffed. I think he was still in charge but in a "here are the plays that you can call" type of way where some of his playbook had been thrown out by Kubiak or Bush or whoeva...
2. You wouldn't implement a new scheme that late in the season. If anything it would just be a "look" to throw out.
3. I think the defense improved over time (I didn't say how much, just improved) and while there are a lot of factors maybe having Bush's attitude in a scheme that didn't quite fit brought it along. Now with his leadership, in his scheme that fits the team better on paper we'll see exactly where Smith stood in his final days captaining that sinking ship...
I dunno. It certainly doesn't sound like "handcuffing" when the D play more aggressive in the second half. I mean, how do you play aggressive doing less???

We have different game plans for each team the week we play them.
I'm sure the personnel (ours and the opponent) are major factors.

As far as scheme, I remember even when we played the Eagles and Indy in Kubiak's first two games, Kubiak preferred not to rely on the blitz (especially against saavy veteran QBs.) You can check houstontexans.com to verify that.

barrett
07-27-2009, 12:35 PM
1. I don't think Smith was totally handcuffed. I think he was still in charge but in a "here are the plays that you can call" type of way where some of his playbook had been thrown out by Kubiak or Bush or whoeva...
2. You wouldn't implement a new scheme that late in the season. If anything it would just be a "look" to throw out.
3. I think the defense improved over time (I didn't say how much, just improved) and while there are a lot of factors maybe having Bush's attitude in a scheme that didn't quite fit brought it along. Now with his leadership, in his scheme that fits the team better on paper we'll see exactly where Smith stood in his final days captaining that sinking ship...

But if we had been running the "under" at times it's in the scheme. If that really is Bush's scheme of choice then I don't see why it wouldn't have been suggested if Smith had been given less say in what the defense does. If the defensive assistant HC or whatever his title was, can't suggest his scheme then what was his purpose exactly?

I am still waiting for some clarification as to when it was addressed that this is the scheme we will be running this year.

76Texan
07-27-2009, 12:47 PM
I watched the majority of the defensive snaps in the Bears game. I didn't see any resemblence of the UNDER. It looks like a Base set of some kind with the LB's in the middle 5 yards back.
Like I said, the Texans play with multiple fronts, depending on opponent and situation.

For the Bear games, I think their concern was to control Matt Forte.
We were in the "over" front for the whole 1st quarter, I believe.
What that does is to try to make it harder to run to the strong side (supposedly). And it worked to a certain degree.

Forte average over 20 carries in the other games and 4 catches for over 100 yds. We kept him below his normal numbers (13 carries for 50, and 3 catches.)

I haven't had time to break down every plays, but we started the 2nd qtr in the under front, with Bentley playing off the LOS about 4-5 yds, but he came up the strong side right away; basically it's the same concept (but Forte had his longest run of the day for 13 yds.)
So perhaps we are better off defending the strong side run with linemen and LBs/secondary filling the gaps.
It was certainly the case in this game.

An interesting scenario is at the 11:26 mark in the second qtr, we were in a very peculiar under front.
Bentley took the place of the weak side DE, playing with hand down.
Mario became the SAM on the strong side.
How about that for a twist?
We came with a 7-man blitz, Orton got rid of the ball within one second, an incompletion to the left side, defended well by Dunta.

76Texan
07-27-2009, 12:53 PM
But if we had been running the "under" at times it's in the scheme. If that really is Bush's scheme of choice then I don't see why it wouldn't have been suggested if Smith had been given less say in what the defense does. If the defensive assistant HC or whatever his title was, can't suggest his scheme then what was his purpose exactly?

I am still waiting for some clarification as to when it was addressed that this is the scheme we will be running this year.

When Pitts mentioned that we will play more "under" this year, it could mean 1 snap more per game, LOL!

To me, it doesn't matter what front they employ.
It's all about containment and gap resposibility.

Better personnel will allow you to use different fronts (with various vatiations of each) to fit "the down and distance" and whatever you want to accomplish in certain scenarios.

TimeKiller
07-27-2009, 01:58 PM
I dunno. It certainly doesn't sound like "handcuffing" when the D play more aggressive in the second half. I mean, how do you play aggressive doing less???
Well, if Kubiak/Bush talked over what worked and what didn't then told Smith "this is what we want you to call from now on" and gave him a list to work from then less plays would be available, though the outcome seems better. More isn't always better.

The Pencil Neck
07-27-2009, 03:10 PM
I've heard several people reference "handcuffing Richard Smith" near the end of last season. I watched the majority of the defensive snaps in the Bears game. I didn't see any resemblence of the UNDER. It looks like a Base set of some kind with the LB's in the middle 5 yards back. I'm curious why we didn't see more of a change if Smith truly had been relieved of his duties by this point.

The handcuffing refers to his play calls. He wasn't allowed free rein. He wasn't allowed as many "soft", bend-don't-break play calls. He was told to play more aggressively.

But there was no major change in the scheme. You don't change your playbook 3/4's of the way through the season. You just change what you call and when you call it. It's a change in the game planning.

76Texan
07-27-2009, 03:16 PM
Well, if Kubiak/Bush talked over what worked and what didn't then told Smith "this is what we want you to call from now on" and gave him a list to work from then less plays would be available, though the outcome seems better. More isn't always better.

Well, we continued to shift through a myriad of fronts, a gamut of blitzes and zone dogs with different personnel which included even lesser-used players like Barber, Harrison, Nading, etc.

We came with 4, 5, 6-man zone blitzes; we came with 6-man, 7-man straight blitzes; with the safeties also involved.
We continued to bring different players up to contain and to fill the gaps.

We employed a more variety of blend in defensive calls, not less.

If there was a list, it certainly expanded, not shrinked.

76Texan
08-12-2009, 05:41 PM
I've heard several people reference "handcuffing Richard Smith" near the end of last season. I watched the majority of the defensive snaps in the Bears game. I didn't see any resemblence of the UNDER. It looks like a Base set of some kind with the LB's in the middle 5 yards back. I'm curious why we didn't see more of a change if Smith truly had been relieved of his duties by this point.Like I said, the Texans line up in different fronts (depending on down and distance).

I went back and checked several games (and found several interesting fronts).

The season opener against the Steelers, we were in the Under Front on their very first offensive play.
But then they shifted, and so did we.

Later on, at the 7:58 mark, we were in nickel (2 LBs Ryans and Diles).
Before the ball was snapped, we moved to the Under Front, with Diles came up to the LOS.

(Remember that in the Under Front, the SAM LB can play on or off the LOS).

This front is peculiar, however.
We had Mario at LDE, Weaver at LDT, Deljuan at RDT, and Kalu at RDE.
Diles lined up next to Kalu (across, and outside the TE).
The Steelers lined up the TE strong left.

The commentator mentioned that this one originated from the Giants.

I saw another interesting scenario in the Dolphins game.
I will get to it later.
(How we shift from Over to Under).

76Texan
08-13-2009, 02:32 PM
4-3 Front
Over switches to Under.

I found this nice little example from the Dolphins game.
It shows why we saw our SAM (in this case Zac Diles) line up where he does (Strong side some time, weak side some time).

In a nutshell, the Texans wanted to put big bodies on big bodies, for a more balance look.
(While still taking care of all the gap assignments whether in a running play or passing play).

Our NT (usually Travis Johnson) would be on the Center (or slightly off to either side) in either front.

In the Under Front, we would have two other D-linemen on the weak side to counter their weak side Guard and Tackle.
On the strong side, we only have one DE against two big bodies (plus their TE); therefore, we often put our SAM on that side, whether on or off the LOS, inside or outside our DE.

In the Over Front, we would have a DT and a DE on the strong side; whereas on the weak side we only have one DE against two big bodies; therefore we often put our SAM on that side to counter their forces.

………………..

12:35 in the first QTR, Dolphins first offensive play.

They were in straight I formation, 2 WRs split wide to either side.
The TE #80 Fasano lined up strong left.

We were in the 4-3 Over.
Our SAM (Diles) lined up on the weak side, off the LOS, basically “checking” the uncovered Guard.

#80 Fasano now in motion to their right side, then settled in the normal position in a TE Strong right formation.
We countered by moving Diles to the LOS, just outside of Fasano.
From the original Over Front, we now have the look of the Under Front.
(Actually our linemen didn’t move at all, so theoretically, it can’t be called a switch).
It’s just the way things look.

…………

The MIKE, WILL and safeties would take care of the remaining gap responsibilities, depending on the front and the defensive call. But let’s not get into that!