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Old 08-03-2005   #1
nunusguy
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Default Parcells on the 3-4 Defense

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.

Last edited by nunusguy; 08-04-2005 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 08-03-2005   #2
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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.
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Old 08-03-2005   #3
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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.
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Old 08-04-2005   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Torture
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.
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Old 08-05-2005   #5
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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.
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Old 08-05-2005   #6
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Originally Posted by Texas Torture
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.
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Old 08-06-2005   #7
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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.
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Old 08-07-2005   #8
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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.
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Old 08-07-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowBoutThemCowboys!
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

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.
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Old 08-07-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerlover
its not Ware it'll be a sight to see
What are you talking about?
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Old 08-07-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowBoutThemCowboys!
What are you talking about?
your previous quote-


Quote:
Originally Posted by HowBoutThemCowboys!
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.cf...F516C97471AC72

Last edited by beerlover; 08-08-2005 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 08-07-2005   #12
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"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.
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Old 08-08-2005   #13
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Originally Posted by Buzz
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.
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Old 08-08-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerlover
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.cf...F516C97471AC72

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.
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Old 08-08-2005   #15
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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!
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Old 08-11-2005   #16
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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.
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Old 08-11-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowBoutThemCowboys!
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.
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Old 08-11-2005   #18
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True, very true. A bunch of those guys were Pro Bowlers.
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Old 08-12-2005   #19
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Originally Posted by Huge
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.
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Old 08-21-2005   #20
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"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
************************************************** *****
McClain with a story in todays Chronicle about Parcell's efforts to convert the FtWorth/Arlington defense to the 3-4.
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