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Is this the most talented yet misused defensive front we've had in years?


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On 7/30/2018 at 7:57 AM, Morneblade said:

And..................I suppose I should add, for the like seemingly 10th consecutive year (it feels like it, anyway), I would like to switch back to the 4-3. :deadhorse:

 

Seriously, I think we could be lights out on D if we ran that.

 

We run a 4-2 most of the time.  Soo, what's the point in switching between 3-4 and 4-3.  Our DL is deep, using more of that depth for the seldom times we're against jumbo/big/etc packages makes sense.  If we did switch to a 4-3, then Hood, McGee, and Phil Taylor would all be cut.  Maybe that's what you want, more depth elsewhere?

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53 minutes ago, Alcoholic Zebra said:

 

We run a 4-2 most of the time.  Soo, what's the point in switching between 3-4 and 4-3.  Our DL is deep, using more of that depth for the seldom times we're against jumbo/big/etc packages makes sense.  If we did switch to a 4-3, then Hood, McGee, and Phil Taylor would all be cut.  Maybe that's what you want, more depth elsewhere?

 

No. Taylor might be cut, but he also hasn't played in 4 years, so there's that. Hood has been playing NT, when he's more of a 3-4 DE OR a 4-3 DT. Same with McGee. He have the horses right now to play a 4-3 with the DL guys we have, and it makes our lack of depth in the LB corps look better. Moving to a 4-3 usually means you get one more 280+ pound guy on the line. Allen becomes the strong side End, for instance and Kerrigan moves to the weakside as a DL.  Front 4 is now really stout. Foster at MLB, Brown at SAM and then whoever at WIL., with depth. So, I think it's just better, with better depth

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3 hours ago, Morneblade said:

 

No. Taylor might be cut, but he also hasn't played in 4 years, so there's that. Hood has been playing NT, when he's more of a 3-4 DE OR a 4-3 DT. Same with McGee. He have the horses right now to play a 4-3 with the DL guys we have, and it makes our lack of depth in the LB corps look better. Moving to a 4-3 usually means you get one more 280+ pound guy on the line. Allen becomes the strong side End, for instance and Kerrigan moves to the weakside as a DL.  Front 4 is now really stout. Foster at MLB, Brown at SAM and then whoever at WIL., with depth. So, I think it's just better, with better depth

 

Most teams run a personel of 3WR, 1RB and 1TE.  In order to match up with that personnel, we counter with a 4-2-5.  If we use a 4-3 defense, they get a mismatch with the slot receiver.

We only use a 3-4 if the opponent lines up with a FB or 2 TEs.  

When we had Cravens, we could line him up at LB and he could cover the slot or the TE, we dont have a linebacker like that on this team.  When we were able to put our 3-4 defense on the field, we played the run and pass pretty well last year.  But we rarely had that defense on the field.

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5 hours ago, Morneblade said:

 

No. Taylor might be cut, but he also hasn't played in 4 years, so there's that. Hood has been playing NT, when he's more of a 3-4 DE OR a 4-3 DT. Same with McGee. He have the horses right now to play a 4-3 with the DL guys we have, and it makes our lack of depth in the LB corps look better. Moving to a 4-3 usually means you get one more 280+ pound guy on the line. Allen becomes the strong side End, for instance and Kerrigan moves to the weakside as a DL.  Front 4 is now really stout. Foster at MLB, Brown at SAM and then whoever at WIL., with depth. So, I think it's just better, with better depth

Interesting take.  You probably know more than me regarding how individual players would transition from 3-4 to 4-3, but I feel making the transition to a 4-3 now would be strange.  We finally got our nose tackle, maybe even 2, and our depth in the front seven is the best it's been in a long time.  In years past, with situations where hood was playing nt, I could see the reasoning to make the switch. But now we have the proper personnel, and I think our lbs are well suited to run a 3-4.  The biggest knock on that unit is inexperience, and a change in base defense isn't going to do anything to help that.

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1 hour ago, Darth Tater said:

Looks like defense will be illegal soon

I have a feeling as the years go on, and more and more retired players share their stories regarding cte and all the other health issues, that we might see an eligibility cap in the nfl, similar to college. They might make a rule that once you play five seasons, you are done in the nfl.  May help them stave off massive litigation.  Because I think they will have to do something eventually, and I don't see them turning into the national flag football league.

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3 hours ago, kingarthur65 said:

 

Most teams run a personel of 3WR, 1RB and 1TE.  In order to match up with that personnel, we counter with a 4-2-5.  If we use a 4-3 defense, they get a mismatch with the slot receiver.

We only use a 3-4 if the opponent lines up with a FB or 2 TEs.  

When we had Cravens, we could line him up at LB and he could cover the slot or the TE, we dont have a linebacker like that on this team.  When we were able to put our 3-4 defense on the field, we played the run and pass pretty well last year.  But we rarely had that defense on the field.

 

So, are you trying to say that when a team goes 3 wide, a 4-3 base can't sub? Let's at least compare apples to apples. Let me explain the differences when you go to a 4-2-5 with a 4-3 base. First, you can either stay in your original DL personnel group, or do what we do now, 2 DT and 2 LBS with their hand in the dirt. This, is obviously good for pressure, but poor against the run, which is one of the base issues with the 3-4. So, you actually have a little more versatility. Your 2nd point, about Cravens, doesn't just apply to a 4-3, but it also applies to a 3-4. So I introduce you to Josh Harvey-Clemons, a former safety that has been moved to LB. Fills the same role as Cravens. And then the run and pass defense. Passing was decent, 9th and 15th in yards and TD's. Run was different, 32nd, 19th, and 29th in yards, TD's and ypc. And run defense is the area that the 3-4 is weak in. It's also very difficult to find a 2 gap NT that can stuff double teams, which is why more and more teams that run a 3-4 got with a 1 gap attacking D, but it also opens them up if they guess wrong.

 

2 hours ago, KillBill26 said:

Interesting take.  You probably know more than me regarding how individual players would transition from 3-4 to 4-3, but I feel making the transition to a 4-3 now would be strange.  We finally got our nose tackle, maybe even 2, and our depth in the front seven is the best it's been in a long time.  In years past, with situations where hood was playing nt, I could see the reasoning to make the switch. But now we have the proper personnel, and I think our lbs are well suited to run a 3-4.  The biggest knock on that unit is inexperience, and a change in base defense isn't going to do anything to help that.

 

I think everyone agrees that we are loaded on the DL, but I think a lot of people think we're thin at LB. I do. So, moving to a 4-3, you keep more of the guys that you really like, and now have less spot to cover in a area in which you are thin. Now, I do agree that our outside guys are good, and I like Brown and Foster, and that is something you have to think about. But I don't know if we have much depth inside after that. I'll also add, I don't know if we have our NT yet. Payne seems obvious, but then I hear that Gruden plans on moving him around a lot. Taylor hasn't played in 4 years. Then it's guys like Pipkins and Settle, both are projects. So I don't know if we have a NT just yet.

 

And..........I don't know if I know more than anyone else on here. I'm just old and have watched a bunch of games and played some when I was a kid. I'm definitely no expert, and I'm finding that I'm I recognize less and less every year. :)

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3-4, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 46, Bear, Eagle, ****erspaniel....

 

Those are just simplifications of defensive systems to satiate the general population's thirst for labels (it took me 5 minutes to come up with all the big words).

 

Defenses are about personnel matches, language and schematics.

 

A better way to define them is by assignment structure (but even that is murky).

 

1-gap, cover 2.

 

2-gap, cover 3.

 

But that's simple, too. I could take 11 linebackers and line them up in a 3-4 or 4-4 or 4-3 and it's still 11 linebackers on the field. 

 

With Kerrigan on the edge, we typically look more like a 3-4 even if he's on the front, but what actually defines a "4-3 defense"? I have never figured that out. I mean, I've used the term, sure... But what IS a 4-3 defense? Just the alignment structure? The personnel?

 

Can I have 3-4 personnel lined up in a 4-3 structure and still call it a 3-4?

 

It's all so open to interpretation.

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5 hours ago, KDawg said:

3-4, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 46, Bear, Eagle, ****erspaniel....

 

Those are just simplifications of defensive systems to satiate the general population's thirst for labels (it took me 5 minutes to come up with all the big words).

 

Defenses are about personnel matches, language and schematics.

 

A better way to define them is by assignment structure (but even that is murky).

 

1-gap, cover 2.

 

2-gap, cover 3.

 

But that's simple, too. I could take 11 linebackers and line them up in a 3-4 or 4-4 or 4-3 and it's still 11 linebackers on the field. 

 

With Kerrigan on the edge, we typically look more like a 3-4 even if he's on the front, but what actually defines a "4-3 defense"? I have never figured that out. I mean, I've used the term, sure... But what IS a 4-3 defense? Just the alignment structure? The personnel?

 

Can I have 3-4 personnel lined up in a 4-3 structure and still call it a 3-4?

 

It's all so open to interpretation.

 

 

EXACTLY!

 

I get into this with people who concern themselves so much with what Madden and NFL.com list as our base defense.  

 

What is listed as our 'base' isn't even the formation we're in the most frequently. 

 

Everyone gets so caught up with 4-3 meaning we have 3 down lineman, and 4 linebackers.  Thing is, we regularly have at least 1 of our OLBs with their hand in the dirt.  The emergence of the slot receiver, as well as teams desperate to find a matchup killing TE forces us to play with an additional DB the overwhelming majority of the time.   

 

Matchups are what's important from play to play, defensive base alignment is an archaic piece of information because it's all about getting the right PEOPLE on the field now, not trying to align specific positions.  

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I was just re-watching the first Cowboys game from last year, and one play in particular had me shaking my head for the next 15 minutes. 

 

With 4 minutes to go in the 1st quarter, we stopped them short on 3rd down.  It was 4th and a LONG 1. They come out in 11 formation, with 3 WRs lined up in bunch formation on the right, showing that’s it’s either going to be a screen or a run straight up the gut. 

 

What do we do to counter it?  We line up in a 3-4 with Matt I. at Nose, Hood at RDE and KERRIGAN at LDE, with Zach Brown and Gallette at OLB.  

 

What do the Cowboys do?  Well, what would you do?  They run it straight up the gut for an easy first down. 

 

Whoever thought it it was a good idea to have our smallest possible line-up in there on 4th down, in an obvious run situation, against the Cowboys, needs to watch that play over and over until it sinks into his head that he gave our guys no chance from the outset, and we can only hope he never does it again. 

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8 minutes ago, HTTRDynasty said:

I was just re-watching the first Cowboys game from last year, and one play in particular had me shaking my head for the next 15 minutes. 

 

With 4 minutes to go in the 1st quarter, we stopped them short on 3rd down.  It was 4th and a LONG 1. They come out in 11 formation, with 3 WRs lined up in bunch formation on the right, showing that’s it’s either going to be a screen or a run straight up the gut. 

 

What do we do to counter it?  We line up in a 3-4 with Matt I. at Nose, Hood at RDE and KERRIGAN at LDE, with Zach Brown and Gallette at OLB.  

 

What do the Cowboys do?  Well, what would you do?  They run it straight up the gut for an easy first down. 

 

Whoever thought it it was a good idea to have our smallest possible line-up in there on 4th down, in an obvious run situation, against the Cowboys, needs to watch that play over and over until it sinks into his head that he gave our guys no chance from the outset, and we can only hope he never does it again. 

 

 

IIRC we didnt have much of a choice.  Taylor and Allen were out at that point, so Kerrigan at DE may have been our best option?  I probably would not have lined up in a 3-4 but then they would have hot optioned into a pass because we'd be overmatched in the secondary.  

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4 hours ago, OVCChairman said:

 

 

EXACTLY!

 

I get into this with people who concern themselves so much with what Madden and NFL.com list as our base defense.  

 

Everyone gets so caught up with 4-3 meaning we have 3 down lineman, and 4 linebackers.  Thing is, we regularly have at least 1 of our OLBs with their hand in the dirt.  The emergence of the slot receiver, as well as teams desperate to find a matchup killing TE forces us to play with an additional DB the overwhelming majority of the time.   

 

Matchups are what's important from play to play, defensive base alignment is an archaic piece of information because it's all about getting the right PEOPLE on the field now, not trying to align specific positions.  

 

It's actually more than that. I'd go into more detail, but I have a feeling you are not interested.

 

1 hour ago, Warhead36 said:

Our primary defensive front will probably be Smith-Allen-Payne-Kerrigan up front with Brown-Foster-Anderson behind them. We're basically a 4-3 at this point.

 

In formation, yes. In personnel, no. What you are missing, is a 285+ lbs DE that helps to shore up the run game. Instead you have a 265 lbs guy that is likely going to get moved out.

 

24 minutes ago, OVCChairman said:

 

 

IIRC we didnt have much of a choice.  Taylor and Allen were out at that point, so Kerrigan at DE may have been our best option?  I probably would not have lined up in a 3-4 but then they would have hot optioned into a pass because we'd be overmatched in the secondary.  

 

Whoa. You just said 4-3 vs 3-4 was for people that concern themselves with Madden, and here you are throwing those terms around here? Maybe you should rescind that comment.

 

4 hours ago, Koolblue13 said:

People should have to lead with "43" in their comments so we can just stop reading and move on. 

 

Don't read anymore of my posts then. Ever. :P

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34 minutes ago, Morneblade said:

 

 

Whoa. You just said 4-3 vs 3-4 was for people that concern themselves with Madden, and here you are throwing those terms around here? Maybe you should rescind that comment.

 

 

 

I'm assuming you misinterpreted my point... I've added a sentence to try to help clarify.  

 

It is when you're talking about what our 'base' scheme is.  I never said there was no such thing as a 3-4 / 4-3 / 4-2-5 alignment, because there is.  Clearly there are different defensive alignments based on the positions on the field.  People get caught up in our 'base' scheme being a 4-3 vs 3-4, yet neither one is the defense we run the most.  The defense we run the majority of the time vs the defense we show as our 'base' package on madden are not the same thing.   

4 hours ago, OVCChairman said:

I get into this with people who concern themselves so much with what Madden and NFL.com list as our base defense.

 

 

Never once said those packages dont exist, nor did I ever say they dont have their place being aligned at any point in a game.  I simply said the argument that we need to switch 'base' packages is tired, because we dont even line up in a 3-4 very often, and I wouldnt have done it there.  

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I was listening to Ziggy Hood being interviewed a few days ago he said he's going to play 4 technique. 

 

So I gather Hood is typically going to be in the 3-4 formation on top of the tackle.   If McGee is out for the season or most of the season -- he was the stalwart on the LDE spot last year in the 3-4.  McClain (especially after Allen got hurt) played a lot of RDE.   So I am guessing Hood subs in at LDE.

 

Jay's comments about Settle being a nose and Payne playing all over the line, I thought was interesting too. I haven't watched Settle at all but I notice there are plenty including some of the PFF guys who say he looks like a nose but plays more like a one gap penetrator as opposed to hold the point of attack-swallow the A gap type.  Apparently, Tomsula sees it differently.

 

As for Payne, my thoughts about him are the reverse of some others.  I don't see him as this nose tackle monster who just swallows double teams -- at times yes but at times no from what I've watched. I think he can be a good nose but wonder if he'd be great -- regardless that's an improvement over what we had.   But I like his initially burst, motor and do think we can get some decent pass rush out of him (unlike some of his critics) so on reflection I like the idea of moving him around the D line.

 

All of this is leading to Phil Taylor.  Taylor hasn't played in eons but he was good in camp last year.  If McGee is out, I can see him making the team.  Finlay was talking about it recently.   Last year in some games they used the 3-4 lineup to give a breather to the 4-2 guys.  The 4-2 at the beginning of the season was almost always:  Ionnaidis-Allen-Kerrigan-Smith.  It was the 3-4 where you were more likely to see even the edge rushers sometimes get subbed in -- on occasion Anderson, Gallette.  Hood and McGee were almost always in.  Allen sometimes in the 3-4, sometimes out.

 

So with the 3-4, I don't think its crazy if Taylor makes the team that you can have on occasion -- Settle-Taylor-Payne.  If you bring in McPhee and Anderson, too -- you potentially got quite the run stopping formation.    

 

I talked about this months ago on the Payne thread where I was charting the D line, play after play in multiple games and some things stood out to me that I really didn't think about before.  Their 4-2 formation was much more prevalent and by extension more important than the 3-4.  Jonathan Allen wasn't a given in the 3-4 formations but in one game (maybe it was the Chiefs one if I recall) he played it a lot.   They don't sub as much in the 4-2 formation as they did in 3-4.   After the injuries, they really rode Ioannidis hard, he was in all the time it seemed.  In obvious passing down, they at times will put their D line pass rushers like Lanier right on top of the center (0 technique).  From what I recall the game where they had guys play on the D line in spots they often didn't much in previous games -- was the SD game.  If I recall in that one Ryan Anderson played more than usual.

 

Edited by Skinsinparadise
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1 hour ago, Skinsinparadise said:

I was listening to Ziggy Hood being interviewed a few days ago he said he's going to play 4 technique. 

 

 

 

Okay.  But  still not that crazy about Hood getting significant playing time.  I'm fine with him being a locker room guy, and leading from the sideline.  He's not productive enough on the field.

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1 hour ago, Vanguard said:

 

Okay.  But  still not that crazy about Hood getting significant playing time.  I'm fine with him being a locker room guy, and leading from the sideline.  He's not productive enough on the field.

 

Yeah, I don’t buy this excuse that he’s only been so terrible out on the field because he was forced to play Nose. That logic expects me to forget all the times I saw him lose 1 on 1 battles against the Center. If he was consistently losing at the POA because he was constantly being double-teamed, but held his own against single blocks, then yeah, I could buy that him playing 4 technique would allow us to see a much better version of him. But with him consistently losing 1 on 1 battles against Centers (who typically weigh less than Guards) he’s going to get destroyed going up against Guards and Tackles 1 on 1. Sure, he’ll be double-teamed less, but that won’t really matter if they can just easily wash him out of the play with one blocker. 

 

This has echoes of the Kool-Aid the coaching staff expected us to drink when they said not to worry about the NT position last year because Tomsula could “make” a Nose. I wasn’t buying that then, and I’m not buying the “Hood being terrible because he was forced to play Nose” excuse now. 

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How many DL will we be keeping? I'm happy to have Hood as a locker room and weight room presence if we don't have to cut someone with a real future to make that happen. 

Also, as good as Phil Taylor looked in the preseason last year, what are the odds that he starts in the 3-4. I could easily see our starting 3-4 DL as Payne, Taylor, Allen with Ioannidis playing a bigger role as a pass rushing presence in the 4-2 and with frequent rotations. 

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23 hours ago, Koolblue13 said:

Please no. KDawg, our resident expert already dumbed it down enough to move on from this debate again. 

 

23 hours ago, OVCChairman said:

 

point taken

 

My major point was going to be more about personnel. The actual players you have on the team, the kind of players you target and how they fit a scheme, as opposed to x's and 0's. Like how our front 4 in a 4-2 is very weak against the run because he have 2 OLB playing end.

 

Kind of like having light and mobile ZBS linemen and then always wondering why you can't make any short yardage runs when you need them.

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6 hours ago, Morneblade said:

 

 

My major point was going to be more about personnel. The actual players you have on the team, the kind of players you target and how they fit a scheme, as opposed to x's and 0's. Like how our front 4 in a 4-2 is very weak against the run because he have 2 OLB playing end.

 

Kind of like having light and mobile ZBS linemen and then always wondering why you can't make any short yardage runs when you need them.

 

 

Dont think anyone is disputing that... and I don't understand how that means I should rescind my statement on a different subject.  

 

We dont have the team that can afford to live and die in a 3-4... and we dont...

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