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Old 12-08-2004   #1
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One concept that is worth discussing is the type of defense played in the AFC. Not one team in the NFC is committed to the 3-4 defense, while in the AFC six teams are built on the 3-4 package. Before I break down the results of the 3-4 defense so far this season, the one fact that caught my attention was that the AFC's 3-4 teams have totally dominated NFC teams when they went head-to-head. New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego, Oakland and Houston have a combined 12-5 record when they play NFC teams. That win-loss ratio is close to the entire gap between the two conferences of 14 games. If you throw out the Houston Texans, who are 0-3 vs. the NFC, then the 3-4 teams are 12-2 when they meet their NFC rivals. The 3-4 isn't the only defense that works in the NFL by any means, but it sure looks effective, and the league rankings in a number of critical defensive areas sure support its use.

These 3-4 teams dominate many categories in the NFL, as we can see in the above chart. Take sacks, for example. New England, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have generated 111 sacks, or an average of 37 sacks per team. Twenty-six teams play some form of the 4-3 defense, and only the Eagles can match that kind of production. After digging a little deeper in the probe of these sacks, it becomes a reality that the outside linebackers have 45 of the 111 sacks for the 3-4 teams. Quick, agile athletes like Joey Porter and Terrell Suggs flourish in the 3-4 defense. According to one college scouting director, "I wish our coaches would switch to a 3-4 because it is easier to find outside linebackers than it is to find defensive linemen."

The run defense is just as impressive with these four teams giving up an average run of no more than 3.6 yards per carry and just 90.5 rushing yards per game. As one coach said, "With one less player with his hand on the ground at the snap, the ability to flow to the ball appears to be better." An NFC offensive lineman told me, "We don't see much 3-4, and when we do, it causes problems."

It is very impressive to look at the ranking of these AFC 3-4 teams when you look at how few runs they give up over 20 yards. These 3-4 teams are the best in the NFL at keeping the running game contained. A starting safety on one of these teams said the two-gap front of the 3-4 and the fast flow of the four linebackers gets to the ball quickly and provides few cracks to gash the defense with. You can argue that point all you want, but the numbers don't lie.

Finally, the AFC has won the interconference battle every year since 1995, and I'm sure there are many reasons it happens. I'm not prepared to say the AFC's love of the 3-4 is the main reason for the winning record of 32-18 against the NFC. But I do believe the 3-4 package is experiencing success, and when the first-place teams in the AFC East, AFC North and AFC West are using the 3-4, it may be time to look at it with a different attitude.


Whole Article: http://nfl.com/news/story/7977055
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Old 12-08-2004   #2
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The problem with the Texan's defense is clearly a lack of speed in the front 7.
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Old 12-08-2004   #3
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One of the NFC victories against the 3-4 was SD-Atl.

Atlanta played the last two years the 3-4 as well. The Oline and Vick trained against it and knows it quite well. Therefore SD lost the advantage fo playing an unknown system.

Overall the reinforcement of the 5 yard rule and the flare-up of short passes means you have to blitz and do it fast. Some teams do it with Safties and CBs and the 3-4 brings the advantage, that you can blitz from 4 different LB spots regulary. Disguise by system.
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Old 12-08-2004   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOgre
The problem with the Texan's defense is clearly a lack of speed in the front 7.
How many times is it going to be said, we have some speed that we dont use. Peek. Obvious the texans get little pressure on the QB, but I guess that is of little concern to the coaches. 90 plays in 12 games is not much, considering half were probably special teams. You only let who many consider your best pass rusher on the field for about 4 plays a game. In the words of my friends, the guiness guys, Brilliant!
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Old 12-08-2004   #5
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Originally Posted by Cincinnatikid
How many times is it going to be said, we have some speed that we dont use. Peek. Obvious the texans get little pressure on the QB, but I guess that is of little concern to the coaches. 90 plays in 12 games is not much, considering half were probably special teams. You only let who many consider your best pass rusher on the field for about 4 plays a game. In the words of my friends, the guiness guys, Brilliant!

Haha well they do need to get peek in there more often, but one guy cant do it all, we need more speed than just peek !
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Old 12-08-2004   #6
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Of course they need more than one guy, but at least use the one guy they got, otherwise there is no point in having him
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Old 12-09-2004   #7
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Personally, just to change up the speed of the defense and attitude. I would like to see Peek start this week. I mean it aint going to do anything to the team or prevent us from making the playoffs right now. Or if not start the first half, start the second half or rotate quarters with Jason Babin.
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Old 12-09-2004   #8
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With the loss of Foreman, Wong needs to play inside and Peek needs to play in Wong's spot. Using Capers' own philosophy, you play your best players. Is Polk better than Peek?
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Old 12-09-2004   #9
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If they practice Wong in the middle, why not impliment it more during the games. Other threads have expressed concern over team speed. Moving Wong inside and having Peek in there more often would do nothing but improve speed. Not saying that Polk isn't good, but he definitely isn't the greatest and not that fleet of foot. I think with Sharper, WOng, Babin, and Peek in there, the defense will have the ability to put more pressure on the pocket from the outside and will have better pass coverage in the inside. Now, they just have to worry about the routes deep and outside with Harrison and Stokley down the seams. A task that seemed rather difficult for them in Indy a few weeks ago.
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Old 12-09-2004   #10
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it seems rather difficult for just about all teams !
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Old 12-09-2004   #11
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Really Peyton throws a lot of short or middle depth routes. They just are so effective that they move right down the field. Half of his touchdowns are from inside the 10 yard line. Thats why you cant play zone. His guys run so well horizontally that he just waits for them to get to the gap and hits them. Also, on the deep passes, as they showed on ESPN, he throws the ball before they even use their moves and break on the ball. He threw that bomb to Harrison the other week before he even used his outside fake and then broke in. Thats where the safety comes in, he can see the ball and the man to come over and help, of course that too is easier said than done.
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Old 12-09-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cincinnatikid
How many times is it going to be said, we have some speed that we dont use. Peek. Obvious the texans get little pressure on the QB, but I guess that is of little concern to the coaches. 90 plays in 12 games is not much, considering half were probably special teams. You only let who many consider your best pass rusher on the field for about 4 plays a game. In the words of my friends, the guiness guys, Brilliant!
Being from Cinci, you obviously have a Peek bias. However, I do agree that Peek could add speed to the defense. However, I don't think Wong is slow at OLB.

I am more concerned with the speed of the line and Foreman (well prior to his injury). We need a more talented and faster ILB to replace Foreman and we need some speed and athletism along the line. Gary Walker is not the same player he was in 2002. He is hardly even a shell of that man. Robaire Smith is learning a new system and has been alright this year. Seth Payne has shown flashes of his former self, but I'm not sure if he will ever be the same.
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Old 12-09-2004   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOgre
Being from Cinci, you obviously have a Peek bias. However, I do agree that Peek could add speed to the defense. However, I don't think Wong is slow at OLB.

I am more concerned with the speed of the line and Foreman (well prior to his injury). We need a more talented and faster ILB to replace Foreman and we need some speed and athletism along the line. Gary Walker is not the same player he was in 2002. He is hardly even a shell of that man. Robaire Smith is learning a new system and has been alright this year. Seth Payne has shown flashes of his former self, but I'm not sure if he will ever be the same.
Of course im biased, but the point is that Wong isnt slow. You move him inside and peek outside. Then you bring both of their speeds to the field. Then you have the speed outside plus more in the middle
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Old 12-10-2004   #14
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In all reality, your lineman in a 3-4 don't necessarily have to be that fast. They need to be big and take on the O-line in order for the four linebackers to come up and stop the run. They need to be able to keep a gueard from pulling and taking out one of your linebackers to create a hole. They are primarily run stoppers. That is why you need to get pressure on pass plays from your linebackers instead of having them all drop back into zone coverage. If you only send one OLB on pass situations you are basically relegating yourself to a 4-3 defense with no blitz, even though you are truly blitzing one of your backers. That is not creating enough of an advantage against the 5-7 offensive players staying in for pass protection. The D has to send more than 4 and drop 7, especially this week because Peyton will pick apart the creases in the zone. Having both Babin and Peek coming in from the edges will be one step in the right direction.
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Old 12-10-2004   #15
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Honestly, I think this is the week to try it. It is going to take a total downfall miracle of the Colts for us to make the playoffs, this team is supposed to score many many points anyhow and unless we do something unexpected we have very little chance of winning this game.

The only thing that can unexpectedly happen is for the switching to result in a very agressive defense that gets the job done and puts an end to this very high powered offense.
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Old 12-11-2004   #16
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we'll probably run some kind of 3-3-5 defensive scheme i'm thinking or maybe one of those 1-4-6 schemes they run sometimes, with the one tackle , 4 linebackers, 2 acting as DE's, 2 as regular linebackers, they they throw 6 DB's in, thats a crazy formation. but what i'm thinking is they'll play 3 linemen, 3 LB's, and 5 DB's.
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Old 12-11-2004   #17
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Now is the time to get both Peek and Babin on the field at the same time. If the texans do anything experimental i would like to see more plays where we move Wong inside and have more overall speed at LB, especialy in obvious passing situations
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Old 12-11-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shansmacker
Now is the time to get both Peek and Babin on the field at the same time. If the texans do anything experimental i would like to see more plays where we move Wong inside and have more overall speed at LB, especialy in obvious passing situations
Good idea. I really think Capers is desperate for one more win so he
can claim atleast nominal improvement over 2003 by virtue of having a
better W-L record. Things haven't been going too good for him the last month or so, maybe this kind of experimentation would reverse the trend.
And everyone knows you've got to maximize speed at the LB slots in the
3-4.
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