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Old 04-12-2009   #1
The Pencil Neck
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Default Will vs. Sam

I've got a question. Maybe this is an issue with my understanding of football and formations and terminology. Or maybe this is an issue with my understanding of Richard Smith's defensive strategery.

But.

To me, a Will linebacker is aligned on the side without the TE (in a single TE formation). The Will linebacker is usually a bit lighter and faster than the Sam linebacker. The Sam usually lines up on the side with the TE and he needs to be heavier and stronger to be able to take on run blockers at the point of attack.

Do I have that right? If not, then ignore the rest of this.

There was nothing I wanted to watch on TV last night, so I put on the Monday Night game against the Jags. This is unfortunately the only game I have left on my DVR. We just got a great new TV and now we only watch/record stuff hi-def. This led to significantly less space on the DVR. And the Jags game is the only one I have in HD. It's so much easier to pick things out in HD, it's amazing.

Before the game, I decided to watch Myers/Brisiel on the offensive side and Adibi on the defensive side. Adibi played OK. He missed on some tackles but he also made some good tackles. He seemed to play well in coverage.

In the Jags game, our LB's for the majority of the game were Ryans, Adibi, and Bentley. Now, to me, that's Ryans = Mike, Adibi = Will, and Bentley = Sam.

Except, that's not how they were lining up. On almost every snap, Bentley was lined up on the side without the TE and Adibi was lined up on the side with the TE. In nickel situations, Bentley left the field and Adibi went to the side without the TE and Ferguson came up like a LB on the side with the TE.

When Bentley went out and Greenwood game in for part of the third quarter where I assume Bentley was injured, Adibi went to the side without the TE and Greenwood was usually on the side with the TE.

So, from what I was seeing, Adibi was playing Sam and Bentley was playing Will.

Is that crazy or am I misunderstanding something?
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Old 04-12-2009   #2
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
I've got a question. Maybe this is an issue with my understanding of football and formations and terminology. Or maybe this is an issue with my understanding of Richard Smith's defensive strategery.

But.

To me, a Will linebacker is aligned on the side without the TE (in a single TE formation). The Will linebacker is usually a bit lighter and faster than the Sam linebacker. The Sam usually lines up on the side with the TE and he needs to be heavier and stronger to be able to take on run blockers at the point of attack.

Do I have that right? If not, then ignore the rest of this.

There was nothing I wanted to watch on TV last night, so I put on the Monday Night game against the Jags. This is unfortunately the only game I have left on my DVR. We just got a great new TV and now we only watch/record stuff hi-def. This led to significantly less space on the DVR. And the Jags game is the only one I have in HD. It's so much easier to pick things out in HD, it's amazing.

Before the game, I decided to watch Myers/Brisiel on the offensive side and Adibi on the defensive side. Adibi played OK. He missed on some tackles but he also made some good tackles. He seemed to play well in coverage.

In the Jags game, our LB's for the majority of the game were Ryans, Adibi, and Bentley. Now, to me, that's Ryans = Mike, Adibi = Will, and Bentley = Sam.

Except, that's not how they were lining up. On almost every snap, Bentley was lined up on the side without the TE and Adibi was lined up on the side with the TE. In nickel situations, Bentley left the field and Adibi went to the side without the TE and Ferguson came up like a LB on the side with the TE.

When Bentley went out and Greenwood game in for part of the third quarter where I assume Bentley was injured, Adibi went to the side without the TE and Greenwood was usually on the side with the TE.

So, from what I was seeing, Adibi was playing Sam and Bentley was playing Will.

Is that crazy or am I misunderstanding something?
Yes. In a typical 4-3 scheme the Sam lines up on the TE side and the Will lines up on the other side. The Sam is usually going to be a bigger, stronger run stopper and the Will needs to be a faster pass coverage guy.

I guess the reason Adibi was playing Sam was because of his tackling prowess. A Sam needs to be a tackling machine. This was probably the case for 1st and second. In nickel formation, there is more of a potential for a pass, so Adibi shifted back to Will, and Ferguson came in as a pass coverage Sam. I imagine that they thought Bentley was not adept enough at tackling to be a Sam.
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Old 04-12-2009   #3
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Be carefull diving into the depths known as Richard Smiths defensive strategies. Go too deep and you might not make it back.
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Old 04-12-2009   #4
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by mussop View Post
Be carefull diving into the depths known as Richard Smiths defensive strategies. Go too deep and you might not make it back.


mussop, u got me
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Old 04-12-2009   #5
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by awtysst View Post
Yes. In a typical 4-3 scheme the Sam lines up on the TE side and the Will lines up on the other side. The Sam is usually going to be a bigger, stronger run stopper and the Will needs to be a faster pass coverage guy.

I guess the reason Adibi was playing Sam was because of his tackling prowess. A Sam needs to be a tackling machine. This was probably the case for 1st and second. In nickel formation, there is more of a potential for a pass, so Adibi shifted back to Will, and Ferguson came in as a pass coverage Sam. I imagine that they thought Bentley was not adept enough at tackling to be a Sam.
I guess that's a huge plus for Adibi.

But why move Adibi to Will when they brought Greenwood in and Bentley was brought out? If Greenwood was the better tackler (than Bentley or Adibi) then he should have been starting.

It almost looks like the opposite of what you said. It's like they thought the heirarchy of LB's went:

Bentley
Adibi
Greenwood

And they wanted their highest ranked LB lined up in space instead of in the position over the TE.

I don't know, it confuzzled me.
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Old 04-12-2009   #6
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
I guess that's a huge plus for Adibi.

But why move Adibi to Will when they brought Greenwood in and Bentley was brought out? If Greenwood was the better tackler (than Bentley or Adibi) then he should have been starting.

It almost looks like the opposite of what you said. It's like they thought the heirarchy of LB's went:

Bentley
Adibi
Greenwood

And they wanted their highest ranked LB lined up in space instead of in the position over the TE.

I don't know, it confuzzled me.
And you will stay that way if you try to make sense of something that makes no sense. I would have to agree with Mussop.............there's definitely a reason that Smith is no longer with us.
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Old 04-12-2009   #7
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
I guess that's a huge plus for Adibi.

But why move Adibi to Will when they brought Greenwood in and Bentley was brought out? If Greenwood was the better tackler (than Bentley or Adibi) then he should have been starting.

It almost looks like the opposite of what you said. It's like they thought the heirarchy of LB's went:

Bentley
Adibi
Greenwood

And they wanted their highest ranked LB lined up in space instead of in the position over the TE.

I don't know, it confuzzled me.
I think they actually had Adibi as the highest rating LB. He lined up on the Sam during base 4-3 because of his tackling prowess and over the non TE in nickel to take advantage of his speed. Bentley played on the non TE side as the backside in hopes he could contain the pass/run on his side. Greenwood was on the bench. Greenwood only came in when Bentley was injured and played Sam. Remember, our starting Sam was supposed to be Diles. Bentley was the backup. Greenwood is the backup's backup.

Why Sam? Probably because he cannot play Will. He would get burned time and time again. So, the place he did the least damage would be Sam since Demeco could help him with tackling. So, Greenwood was a move of desperation rather than a move of choice. Also, on nickel plays, Ferguson came in.

So, the real hierarchy likely would have been
Adibi
Bentley


Greenwood.
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Old 04-12-2009   #8
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Let's now apply Pencil Necks observations from the Jags. game to this coming draft and season. As I understand it Adibi was sick with an unknown illness for the beginning and middle of the year and didn't start playing until about 2/3's of the way through the season and when he was playing his weight had dropped to around 230-235 lbs., but he played well at the WLB and according to Pencil Neck played well at SLB at least in this game. Recently I read an article on another Texans website that stated with the advent of this new offseason strength and conditioning program, Adibi has bulked up approx. 20 lbs. putting him in the lower 250 lbs. range. Now Adibi is fairly athletic and fast and I would suggest that since this years draft is very poor in 4-3 SLB's and much better with 4-3 WLB why not move Adibi to SLB and then draft a WLB. Adibi already has some experience playing SLB and with his added bulk it would be much easier for him to play the SLB than a rookie. At WLB there are guys like Nic Harris who's a SS last year but will most likely be moved to WLB in the NFL, Gerald McRath, and Deandre Levy who all have good speed. Their are of course other guys but it might be much easier for the Texans to find a 4-3 WLB in this draft than a 4-3 SLB and moving Adibi shouldn't be that difficult since he's played the position a little and is fairly athletic. Also with the addition of a better SS Adibi wouldn't have to do much pass coverage of the TE or RB either, though I think he could learn that fairly quickly as well. Opinions?
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Old 04-12-2009   #9
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf6151 View Post
Let's now apply Pencil Necks observations from the Jags. game to this coming draft and season. As I understand it Adibi was sick with an unknown illness for the beginning and middle of the year and didn't start playing until about 2/3's of the way through the season and when he was playing his weight had dropped to around 230-235 lbs., but he played well at the WLB and according to Pencil Neck played well at SLB at least in this game. Recently I read an article on another Texans website that stated with the advent of this new offseason strength and conditioning program, Adibi has bulked up approx. 20 lbs. putting him in the lower 250 lbs. range. Now Adibi is fairly athletic and fast and I would suggest that since this years draft is very poor in 4-3 SLB's and much better with 4-3 WLB why not move Adibi to SLB and then draft a WLB. Adibi already has some experience playing SLB and with his added bulk it would be much easier for him to play the SLB than a rookie. At WLB there are guys like Nic Harris who's a SS last year but will most likely be moved to WLB in the NFL, Gerald McRath, and Deandre Levy who all have good speed. Their are of course other guys but it might be much easier for the Texans to find a 4-3 WLB in this draft than a 4-3 SLB and moving Adibi shouldn't be that difficult since he's played the position a little and is fairly athletic. Also with the addition of a better SS Adibi wouldn't have to do much pass coverage of the TE or RB either, though I think he could learn that fairly quickly as well. Opinions?

This is part of what I really wanted to talk about. We don't know if we're going to look the same as that Jags game. We don't know if that was more Bush's style than Smith's although we've theorized that later in the season, we were playing closer to Bush's D than Smith's (except for the Raider game.)

If Adibi is playing the Sam, then we're looking for a Will to replace Bentley. Cushing is a classic Sam and normally, you draft Sam's later rather than earlier although there appear to be more Wills in this draft (at least to me.)

At 15, the Will choice appears to be Matthews. But there are Will's later in the draft who could be good.
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Old 04-12-2009   #10
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

I have a question about that alignment with Adibi. Was he lining up at the line of scrimmage or 5 yards back? Smith seemed to like to play cover 2. In a cover 2, the SLB has more coverage responsibilities and Adibi is better in coverage than Bentley. If he's playing 5 yards behind, then Adibi was playing as a cover 2 LB and not as a traditional SLB if that makes sense.

As to the nickel, it makes sense to me to put Ferguson over the TE instead of a LB again for coverage. A SS is supposed to be better in man to man coverage than a LB after all.
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Old 04-12-2009   #11
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by dsorc View Post
I have a question about that alignment with Adibi. Was he lining up at the line of scrimmage or 5 yards back? Smith seemed to like to play cover 2. In a cover 2, the SLB has more coverage responsibilities and Adibi is better in coverage than Bentley. If he's playing 5 yards behind, then Adibi was playing as a cover 2 LB and not as a traditional SLB if that makes sense.

As to the nickel, it makes sense to me to put Ferguson over the TE instead of a LB again for coverage. A SS is supposed to be better in man to man coverage than a LB after all.
Ah, OK. That makes sense.

The "normal" defense we were playing was with Adibi about 5 yards off the line on the strong side. Demeco was a yard or two closer. Bentley was usually on the line. There were some plays where Adibi came up and played on the line in between the DE and the DT. He even took on the tackle a couple of times.

When Greenwood game in, he took Adibi's spot and Adibi went to the line.
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Old 04-12-2009   #12
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

According to Richard Smith, he wanted his base defense to look the same every snap. So, at LB, we had a left and right LB, but not a SAM and WIL because they never flipped with the offensive alignment. Similarly, we didn't have a SS and a FS, just two safeties...

Basically, Smith just made it very easy for other teams to exploit weaknesses of our defense- always letting them know where we'd be lined up and never moving our players in a way that highlights their strengths and masks their weaknesses. Therefore, the only LB on our team that weighed less than 240 lbs (much less) ended up with a 270 lb TE in his face on running downs (whenever the opposing offense chose to exploit that matchup).
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Old 04-12-2009   #13
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

I really have nothing to add ,but I think of Will(wiley) and Sam (sam the sheepdog).. one heavier and one smaller and faster LOL

it has been a long day
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Old 04-12-2009   #14
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Our D was so screwed up that will and sam didn't make sense neither did ss and fs, thank god we got a new dc
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Old 04-12-2009   #15
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
According to Richard Smith, he wanted his base defense to look the same every snap. So, at LB, we had a left and right LB, but not a SAM and WIL because they never flipped with the offensive alignment. Similarly, we didn't have a SS and a FS, just two safeties...

Basically, Smith just made it very easy for other teams to exploit weaknesses of our defense- always letting them know where we'd be lined up and never moving our players in a way that highlights their strengths and masks their weaknesses. Therefore, the only LB on our team that weighed less than 240 lbs (much less) ended up with a 270 lb TE in his face on running downs (whenever the opposing offense chose to exploit that matchup).

This is what I always thought too.

The positioning of our defense pre-snap is something that I was complaining about alot last year. Many times I came away confused as to why some of our guys were lined up in the way that they were. That is probably the #1 reason I wanted Richard Smith gone. I noticed the terrible positioning of our defense far quicker than the poor play calling.

Movement is also something that has become more important in the NFL over the last few years, and something we did very little of last year. We never tried to confuse offenses with movement. If you watch the best defenses in the league they all move around pre-snap. Watch the Pittsburgh defense confuse the hell out of quarterbacks before the snap. It's intimidating.

If we want to have a great defense, we are going to have to improve our positioning and movement before the snap dramatically.
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Old 04-12-2009   #16
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
According to Richard Smith, he wanted his base defense to look the same every snap. So, at LB, we had a left and right LB, but not a SAM and WIL because they never flipped with the offensive alignment. Similarly, we didn't have a SS and a FS, just two safeties...

Basically, Smith just made it very easy for other teams to exploit weaknesses of our defense- always letting them know where we'd be lined up and never moving our players in a way that highlights their strengths and masks their weaknesses. Therefore, the only LB on our team that weighed less than 240 lbs (much less) ended up with a 270 lb TE in his face on running downs (whenever the opposing offense chose to exploit that matchup).
Sort of like this?

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Old 04-12-2009   #17
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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This is what I always thought too.



If we want to have a great defense, we are going to have to improve our positioning and movement before the snap dramatically.
Let your heart not be troubled. If you go to houstontexans.com and read Frank Bush's chat from about 10 days ago, or check out the thread about it, you will see that Bush understands the need to confuse the QB and make the QB make difficult pre-snap decisions. He plans to have the DBs consistently closer to the LOS and will be mixing coverage and disguising it.
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Old 04-12-2009   #18
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by dalemurphy View Post
Let your heart not be troubled. If you go to houstontexans.com and read Frank Bush's chat from about 10 days ago, or check out the thread about it, you will see that Bush understands the need to confuse the QB and make the QB make difficult pre-snap decisions. He plans to have the DBs consistently closer to the LOS and will be mixing coverage and disguising it.
It's good to hear. It's basically the same problem we had with our corners constantly lining up too deep. If you don't put your guys in good position early, it's hard to stop good offenses.
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Old 04-12-2009   #19
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

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Originally Posted by TexansSeminole View Post
It's good to hear. It's basically the same problem we had with our corners constantly lining up too deep. If you don't put your guys in good position early, it's hard to stop good offenses.

It's always hard to stop good offenses when your CBs can only see the LOS with the assist of binoculars at the time the ball is snapped.
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Old 04-12-2009   #20
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Default Re: Will vs. Sam

Adibi was probably over the TE for coverage.
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