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View Full Version : 3-4 Defenses multiplying, 4-3 "dying"......


CloakNNNdagger
06-21-2010, 08:45 AM
..........at least for now.

The latest Sporting News also takes an equally interesting look at the ongoing proliferation of the 3-4 defense.

As Dennis Dillon points out, the numbers of teams using the 3-4 has quintupled in a decade, expanding from three to 15. In 2000, no NFC teams used the 3-4 as their base defense. Now, five do.

The full-page multi-faceted analysis includes a one-paragraph debate between Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Frazier prefers the 4-3 because he thinks it's easier to find the interior defensive linemen who power a four-man line than All-Pro-type linebackers that the 3-4 needs. LeBeau thinks it's easier to find a "gifted" 245- to 265-pounder who can line up in a two-point stance on passing downs and confuse the offense as to whether he'll be rushing or dropping into coverage.

In our view, the prior success of the 3-4 came in part from the fact that only a handful of teams used it. Quarterbacks simply didn't have the familiarity with the alternative to the 4-3, making it harder for them to deal with it when they faced it. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, for example, struggled for years with the Patriots, and many believe that he simply didn't have enough exposure to the 3-4. In 2010, Manning will see the 3-4 six times during the regular season.

For that reasons, coaches committed to the 4-3 likely hope that the 3-4 will continue to spread. As offenses see the 3-4 more and more, eventually the 4-3 will become more effective because quarterbacks will become less familiar with the more traditional attack.

LINK (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/06/21/3-4-defenses-continue-to-spread/)

Schemes will become more sophistocated to try to "counter" the "large" 3-4. However, finesse especially "weak" OLs (like last year's Texans) may have continued problems countering these DLs despite increased exposure.

The1ApplePie
06-21-2010, 09:55 AM
The 4-3 Tampa 2 was all the rage years ago, now it is gone because everybody adjusted to it.

The 3-4 will have the same fate and a new scheme will come back

Such is the nature of football

badboy
06-21-2010, 10:30 AM
I wonder if 3-4 is used often because it is easier to find 4 very good linebackers than 4 attacking defensive lineman that can disrupt the Qb and still shut down the run?

beerlover
06-21-2010, 10:45 AM
I wonder if 3-4 is used often because it is easier to find 4 very good linebackers than 4 attacking defensive lineman that can disrupt the Qb and still shut down the run?

The Patriots made it fashionable because they were the first to successfully implement & maintain it while keeping key positions under contract. they took undersized DE's less regarded & created effective pass rushers out of them while still drafting interior DL early who fit scheme @ point NT Wilfork & ends Seymour/Warren.

The way things are going the Texans will be one of the few teams reamaining using the 4-3 which should give them an edge getting the type of players they covet & under contract just like the Patirots 10 years ago.

The1ApplePie
06-21-2010, 10:46 AM
I wonder if 3-4 is used often because it is easier to find 4 very good linebackers than 4 attacking defensive lineman that can disrupt the Qb and still shut down the run?

Colleges need more pass rushers off the edge to counter to spread. Most of these DEs are too small to play that position in the NFL, hence the transition to OLB.

Dunalp and Everson Griffin were the only high-profile pure 4-3 DEs in the last draft.

badboy
06-21-2010, 10:51 AM
The Patriots made it fashionable because they were the first to successfully implement & maintain it while keeping key positions under contract. they took undersized DE's less regarded & created effective pass rushers out of them while still drafting interior DL early who fit scheme @ point NT Wilfork & ends Seymour/Warren.

The way things are going the Texans will be one of the few teams reamaining using the 4-3 which should give them an edge getting the type of players they covet & under contract just like the Patirots 10 years ago.I think the 3-4 in NFL goes back a bit further than Wilfork, Seymour and Warren.

sometexansfan
06-21-2010, 10:57 AM
Manning never seemed to struggle against our 3-4 :brickwall:

IDEXAN
06-21-2010, 10:58 AM
I think the 3-4 in NFL goes back a bit further than Wilfork, Seymour and Warren.

Wasn't former Oilers coach Bum Phillips one of the first to use the 3-4 back
in the day (70s-80s) ?
But BL is right about guys like 4-3 DTs becoming less expensive to teams like the Texans as more and more of the league transitions to the 3-4.

CloakNNNdagger
06-21-2010, 11:23 AM
Our saving grace may be the fact that in the conversion of a total scheme from 4-3 to 3-4 defense just the teaching time alone it, and the time and trial and error it takes to find the right players and instruct the effective techniques (especially of the nose tackle) makes the transition not that simple of a task. We can only hope that we can take advantage of some of the chaos and our opponents' "rookie confusion."

The1ApplePie
06-21-2010, 11:24 AM
Wasn't former Oilers coach Bum Phillips one of the first to use the 3-4 back
in the day (70s-80s) ?
But BL is right about guys like 4-3 DTs becoming less expensive to teams like the Texans as more and more of the league transitions to the 3-4.

The 3-4 is actually older than the 4-3, if I remember right.

It fell out of favor until Parcells came along in the 1980s and brought it back

CloakNNNdagger
06-21-2010, 11:33 AM
For those who enjoy football history, here is a bit on the 3-4 defense. (http://www.brownsgab.com/2009/06/26/history-of-the-3-4-defense/)


The success of the 3-4 defense, especially the more sophisticated schemes, is built on the fact itís usually hard to decipher for opposing offenses.

Pass rushers come from all different directions in a myriad situations. On one play, they come from the left, then the next play from the right, or the middle. Sometimes, a lot of them will come, and on other occasions, few, or maybe even no one.

There are so many things going on all at the same time ó so many stunts, so many linebackers and safeties moving in and out of spots as the quarterback barks out the signals ó that it can become a blur in trying to figure out whoís going to do what, and when.

So with all that in mind, then, it seems only fitting that itís just as muddled and confusing in attempting to determine the one true unquestioned pioneer of the 3-4 alignment such as the one the Browns plan to use. Just like quarterbacks and offensive coordinators scratch their heads as they search for the real answer on the 3-4, so, too, do football historians and researchers.

There are as many opinions ó and answers ó as types of 3-4 schemes.

ďBill Arnsparger is the guy,Ē former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano said. ďHeís the guy who invented it. Heís the architect of the 3-4.Ē

Well, maybe yes, and maybe no. In one sense, Rutigliano is correct since the success Arnsparger had with it helped put the 3-4 on the pro football map, but in another sense, heís incorrect. After all, since Anspargerís Miami Dolphins teams of the early 1970s didnít use the 3-4 all that much, does that qualify him as a pioneer?

It might be like saying that Christopher Columbus did not, in fact, discover the new world, that it was, instead, some long-forgotten man who piloted his ship past the new world years before but didnít bother to stay because he didnít realize what he was seeing, or didnít think it was worth docking there.

Could it be that the Christopher Columbus of the 3-4 is Chuck Fairbanks? Maybe. In 1974, in his second season as head coach of the New England Patriots, he used the 3-4 on nearly every down.

But then again, how much thinking out of the box do you have to do when you simply build upon someone elseís innovation? Is the Bell Telephone Co., not Alexander Graham Bell, the pioneer of the telephone simply the company mass produced the technology?

Also using the 3-4 a lot at that time was Bum Phillips, when he was still defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers, before he got the head coaching job of the team.

Phillipsí famous saying, when talking about the excellence of Arnspargerís boss with the Dolphins, Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Don Shula, went like this in his Texas drawl: ďNow, hisín can be better than yourín, but he can take yourín and you can hisín, and hisín will still beat yourín.Ē

Hard to crown someone the king of something when he abdicates his throne to another even before the battle begins.

Like Shula, the late Hank Stram is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for what he did as a head coach. A tremendous innovator, Stram used the 3-4 to win a championship nearly 40 years ago. But like so many others then, he didnít stick with the scheme. It would be like Ben Franklinís next-door neighbor reeling in his kite just as lightning was starting to nibble at the tail, but still claiming to have discovered electricity.
Letís throw out the name Joe Collier.

In a lot of ways, heís the true pioneer ó or, to steal a Rutigliano term, the architect ó of the 3-4, for while he was the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills 45 years ago, he was the first one to use the 3-4 in the pros. However, like Arnspargerís Dolphins, Collierís Bills ran a 3-4 only sparingly.

All of these men can lay claim to the 3-4, but none can do it exclusively. Thus, like so many other things in history ó including football history ó the 3-4ís trek through time from then to now is meandering and often hard to follow and define.

But itís fun anyway to take that trip. So letís get going.

IDEXAN
06-21-2010, 11:37 AM
If I'm not mistaken, Bum Phillips and not Bill Parsels really gave the league its first Lawrence Taylor in the person of one Robert Brazille ?

CloakNNNdagger
06-21-2010, 11:49 AM
I grew up in KC watching the Chiefs and Hank Stram. "Curly" "the Stump" Culp was the first prototype NT (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curley_Culp) who was unleashed during Super Bowl IV, the game that the 3-4 was used throughout.

eriadoc
06-21-2010, 12:21 PM
The 3-4 is actually older than the 4-3, if I remember right.

It fell out of favor until Parcells came along in the 1980s and brought it back

No, Bum used it to great effect in the '70s, and defensive coordinators took note.

If I'm not mistaken, Bum Phillips and not Bill Parsels really gave the league its first Lawrence Taylor in the person of one Robert Brazille ?

That is correct. Dr. Doom did everything LT did, almost a decade earlier. He defined the position.

The 3-4 pre-dates Bum Phillips by a long time, though.

beerlover
06-21-2010, 02:10 PM
I think the 3-4 in NFL goes back a bit further than Wilfork, Seymour and Warren.

I never said they were the first to use the 3-4 just The Patriots made it fashionable & being the first to bring back an out of favor scheme they had their run of players suited for success while keeping the core group together under initial undervalued contracts. they have fallen on less than steller results lately because other teams are competing not just for similar position players but covert former Patriots because of experience in Belichick pipeline.

My other point is the Texans can benefit because less teams are using the 4-3 so they now can have they're own run on the players they need, at a discount. but yes schemes are cyclical they come they go, maybe not such a bad thing to be on the leading edge of a new cycle (4-3)?

infantrycak
06-21-2010, 02:20 PM
I never said they were the first to use the 3-4 just The Patriots made it fashionable & being the first to bring back an out of favor scheme they had their run of players suited for success while keeping the core group together under initial undervalued contracts.

Well this is one of those can't win kind of discussions but I would have said the Steelers were the poster children for 3-4's.

Texan4Ever
06-21-2010, 02:29 PM
If you look at some the teams that have won or gone to the Super Bowl in the past (Patriots, Steelers, Cardinals, etc.) they ran a 3-4 defense and I suspect maybe the reason why teams are switching. I know, 4-3 defenses have led teams to the Super Bowl but it seems to me that teams who run a 3-4 are more "successful" in the post-season.

Anyhow, trends come and go and there will probably be a time where certain teams give up on the 3-4 and switch back to the 4-3.

BTW, what happened to the 46 Bear defense, that was killa' back in the days!

painekiller
06-21-2010, 08:44 PM
The 3-4 is actually older than the 4-3, if I remember right.

It fell out of favor until Parcells came along in the 1980s and brought it back

The Oilers started using the 3-4 in 1975 and did not change the defense until Jack Pardee was hired. The Pats used the 3-4 throughout the 80s, the Chiefs iirc used the 3-4 with Derrik Thomas. The Saints coach Jim Mora brought the 3-4 from the USFL along with Dom Capers. Capers brought the 3-4 to Pittsburgh in 1992 iirc. The Raiders of the early 80's used the 3-4, the Miami Dolphins of the no name defense fame used a 3-4 in 1972.

Plenty of teams used the 3-4 in the 1980s. Starting the the 1990s teams went more to the 4-3 to help stop the run.

painekiller
06-21-2010, 08:56 PM
BTW, what happened to the 46 Bear defense, that was killa' back in the days!

The WCO was able to beat the 46 because the 46 was designed to stop the run and make teams throw, which most were not very good at in the mid 80s.

Nice explanation of the defense then and now (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/46_defense)

JB
06-21-2010, 09:27 PM
The Oilers started using the 3-4 in 1975 and did not change the defense until Jack Pardee was hired. The Pats used the 3-4 throughout the 80s, the Chiefs iirc used the 3-4 with Derrik Thomas. The Saints coach Jim Mora brought the 3-4 from the USFL along with Dom Capers. Capers brought the 3-4 to Pittsburgh in 1992 iirc. The Raiders of the early 80's used the 3-4, the Miami Dolphins of the no name defense fame used a 3-4 in 1972.

Plenty of teams used the 3-4 in the 1980s. Starting the the 1990s teams went more to the 4-3 to help stop the run.

IIRC, teams started using 3-4 to stop the run. Use of 4 LB'ers allowed for much tighter gap coverage. This was the first rendition. It fell out of favor because a strong passing team would eat it up...

The second coming was a bit more hybrid and used converted DE's as LB's to give increased pressure on the passing game.

but then again, i'm just an old drunk with faulty memories.

beerlover
06-22-2010, 05:49 AM
but then again, i'm just an old drunk with faulty memories.

hey! thems my lines :wesmantexanfan:

badboy
06-22-2010, 08:46 AM
I am liking the improvement the Texans Dline made about game four last season. In spite of my disbelief and my clammoring for a big old DT, they pretty much shut the run down and me up. I've noted this before and felt that I needed to because I probably more than anyone on this board gave them grief for not being able to stop the run. I do not think we have an all star line and that includes Mario who needs to step up and have an excellent year. We should have improvement with Smith and Okoye being much better this season. The rookie DT 3rd rounder is getting beacoup praise so he should push the starters. It may be difficult for for the linebacker corps to do as well as last season but that remains to be seen.

I've searched for link without success but I thought Bum Phillips used the 3-4 defense in the Golden Triangle when he coached high school. If my memory serves, he actually got the concept from someone else but did quite well with it.

badboy
06-22-2010, 09:07 AM
Here is a great interview from 1998 with Bum Phillips. He mentions 3-4 on page 8 but you might enjoy the entire article but it is lengthy.
http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/22-05-861.pdf

HJam72
06-22-2010, 12:45 PM
Here is a great interview from 1998 with Bum Phillips. He mentions 3-4 on page 8 but you might enjoy the entire article but it is lengthy.
http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/22-05-861.pdf

I love this! Bum speaking of Earl Campbell:

What were your thoughts when you first watched him play, either live or on film?

Phillips: I don’t know, maybe the first time I saw him practice. We used to do these agility drills where you’d run around the cones and put your hand on the ground and turn to the right, and go around to the next one and go backwards. They’re called agility drills, where you check if a guy has any balance or agility. And he couldn’t do them, not at all. Then [offensive backs coach] Andy Bourgeois came in and said, “Coach, I don’t know about him. He can’t run backwards at all. Every time he runs backwards he falls down.” I said, “Hell, we didn’t get him to run backwards! Don’t worry about it!” And he never did run backwards. He ran forward, and took a bunch of people with him.

(top of page 10)
http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/22-05-861.pdf

CloakNNNdagger
06-22-2010, 04:40 PM
For all you football mavens, what does that 1st number in 4-3 and 3-4 stand for??????

drs23
06-22-2010, 04:42 PM
Is this a trick question?:kitten:

CloakNNNdagger
06-22-2010, 05:15 PM
Is this a trick question?:kitten:

Not really.

drs23
06-22-2010, 05:21 PM
3 down linemen vs. 4. Did I get it right?:)

JB
06-22-2010, 05:25 PM
3 gap, 4 gap?

3 fattys, 4 fattys?

:texanbill:

CloakNNNdagger
06-22-2010, 05:29 PM
Very strange people on this board.:)

JB
06-22-2010, 05:32 PM
Very strange people on this board.:)

Moi?

CloakNNNdagger
06-22-2010, 05:33 PM
3 down linemen vs. 4. Did I get it right?:)

Absolutely. That's how you can have 5 men on the line and still be a 3-4. It also tends to blur the line between 3-4 and 4-3, and many times why it is said that most 4-3 teams run the 3-4 at one time or another.