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Basic Concepts Of A 3 - 4 Defense (What Most People Don't Understand)


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Your comments make no sense. Teams play a 2 - 4 - 5, 3 - 4. WTF does that mean???

And it is complicated, that is why most people don't understand it when the coach says we lost an edge. They have no concept of how difficult playing a particular position in a particular alignment is. Simplify it all you want. Reality is one thing and coming up with a 2 - 5 - 4, 3 - 4 is totally another.

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The 4-3 Under has a 4-3 UT, a NT, and a 5-tech.

The Sam covers the TE and provides run support on run downs. The FS and SS can both be used to provide under help for the outside corners. The SS can also be used in the box while the FS covers the deep middle of the field on specific plays.

The Seahawks do this a lot.

On occasion a Sam may cover a TE under certain defenses but the Sam in a 4 - 3 is usually your largests and slowest LB who plays the strong side and sees most of the lead blockers, pulling Olinemen and is responsible for stuffing the lane at the LOS. If a team consistently used Sam to cover a TE I would run a post or deep slat with the WR to the the TE side to drive the SS back and run a 7 or 5 route with the TE. IF he is any good he will be wide open on every play. I'm not saying it does not happen, just that fundimentally if the Sam is covering man it's usually first man out of back field and flats in zone. If the SS has some other coverage than yeah I could see the Sam cover TE sometimes, but I think you would probably roll the Mike to TE in say a SS blitz or two deep man under. But who knows, DC's do all sorts of weird stuff now.

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On occasion a Sam may cover a TE under certain defenses but the Sam in a 4 - 3 is usually your largests and slowest LB who plays the strong side and sees most of the lead blockers, pulling Olinemen and is responsible for stuffing the lane at the LOS. If a team consistently used Sam to cover a TE I would run a post or deep slat with the WR to the the TE side to drive the SS back and run a 7 or 5 route with the TE. IF he is any good he will be wide open on every play. I'm not saying it does not happen, just that fundimentally if the Sam is covering man it's usually first man out of back field and flats in zone. If the SS has some other coverage than yeah I could see the Sam cover TE sometimes, but I think you would probably roll the Mike to TE in say a SS blitz or two deep man under. But who knows, DC's do all sorts of weird stuff now.

SAM is usually the strongside coverage LB that also provides run support.

Von Miller is the Broncos SAM LB. He is fast and covers TEs and providing strongside run support when he is not rushing the QB.

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Your comments make no sense. Teams play a 2 - 4 - 5, 3 - 4. WTF does that mean???

And it is complicated, that is why most people don't understand it when the coach says we lost an edge. They have no concept of how difficult playing a particular position in a particular alignment is. Simplify it all you want. Reality is one thing and coming up with a 2 - 5 - 4, 3 - 4 is totally another.

4defenses-812x1024.png

There really isnt anything that complicated about how teams align. Coverages? Blitzes? Those can get complicated. But base and sub fronts? They are all pretty basic

Edited by Mike Kenn
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Your comments make no sense. Teams play a 2 - 4 - 5, 3 - 4. WTF does that mean???

And it is complicated, that is why most people don't understand it when the coach says we lost an edge. They have no concept of how difficult playing a particular position in a particular alignment is. Simplify it all you want. Reality is one thing and coming up with a 2 - 5 - 4, 3 - 4 is totally another.

Are you serious?
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There really isnt anything that complicated about how teams align. Coverages? Blitzes? Those can get complicated. But base and sub fronts? They are all pretty basic

A well known scout turned NFL GM once said, "The problem with football is, people who don't understand football very much try hard to overcomplicate it. Those who know football are tuned out because the truth is far too basic and boring."

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A well known scout turned NFL GM once said, "The problem with football is, people who don't understand football very much try hard to overcomplicate it. Those who know football are tuned out because the truth is far too basic and boring."

I hope it wasn't TD that said this...LOL!

Best Falcon move pre- F/A or Draft...Pioli.

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Lots to read, but I don't know if anyone has brought up that a base 3-4 is not run very much in some schemes. For instance, I spent a good while on the Packers' forum, and it turns out the Packers only run a 3-4 about 30-35% of the time. The rest of the plays, they run some form of nickel, essentially a 2-4-5. Many 3-4 players are ill equipped to handle this because with only 2 defensive linemen, the linebackers either have to be bigger to take on the o-linemen and not as good in coverage, or better coverage guys who get destroyed in the run game. This is why many Packers fans are calling for the team to switch to a 4-3. Just some food for thought.

Edited by dchen46
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Lots to read, but I don't know if anyone has brought up that a base 3-4 is not run very much in some schemes. For instance, I spent a good while on the Packers' forum, and it turns out the Packers only run a 3-4 about 30-35% of the time. The rest of the plays, they run some form of nickel, essentially a 2-4-5. Many 3-4 players are I'll equipped to handle this because with only 2 defensive linemen, the linebackers either have to be bigger to take on the o-linemen and not as good in coverage, or better coverage guys who get destroyed in the run game. This is why many Packers fans are calling for the team to switch to a 4-3. Just some food for thought.

This is what I was getting at when I said 2-4-5. It is a nickel front run commonly run by 3-4 defenses. It takes the NT off the field. Thats why people always say that NT can be a bad investment, because they come off the field too much. 3-4 teams can also run a 3-3-5 nickel look. This keeps the NT on the field but removes a LB, usually an ILB. I think what Packer fans want is a hybrid defense like ours!! smile.png
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This is what I was getting at when I said 2-4-5. It is a nickel front run commonly run by 3-4 defenses. It takes the NT off the field. Thats why people always say that NT can be a bad investment, because they come off the field too much. 3-4 teams can also run a 3-3-5 nickel look. This keeps the NT on the field but removes a LB, usually an ILB. I think what Packer fans want is a hybrid defense like ours!! smile.png

Thing most hybrid detractors don't realize is you HAVE to have NT, OLB, 5-Tech players for a hybrid to run right. It also is and isn't the same as everything else and most don't use a hybrid as much as they have multiple fronts.

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This is what I was getting at when I said 2-4-5. It is a nickel front run commonly run by 3-4 defenses. It takes the NT off the field. Thats why people always say that NT can be a bad investment, because they come off the field too much. 3-4 teams can also run a 3-3-5 nickel look. This keeps the NT on the field but removes a LB, usually an ILB. I think what Packer fans want is a hybrid defense like ours!! smile.png

Yeah I've wondered why don't run a 3-3-5 more as well. I actually only read the first post haha so I'm sure I missed a lot of good stuff in this thread.

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Thing most hybrid detractors don't realize is you HAVE to have NT, OLB, 5-Tech players for a hybrid to run right. It also is and isn't the same as everything else and most don't use a hybrid as much as they have multiple fronts.

Yep, we having been struggling so much against the run the past 2 years because of our lack of beef up front. Adding the big NT and 5 tech is gonna be huge for us. Now we just need the truly dominant pass rushing threat. I think Kroy can stick with us for now, but Barr/Mack would be a much better fit in that role.
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Yeah I've wondered why don't run a 3-3-5 more as well. I actually only read the first post haha so I'm sure I missed a lot of good stuff in this thread.

Having the NT gives us a better 3-3-5 package. I would expect more of that this year. The 2-4-5 is a better nickel due it having more pass rushers on the field, but the 3-3-5 can be useful at times. Edited by Mike Kenn
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It's difficult to have all of the "prototypical" guys for a 4-3 and a 3-4, but if you have guys with certain traits, either can work.

For instance, a 5 tech DE and NT who both only occupy blocks are pretty one dimensional, and limit you to a classic 3-4. However, a 5 tech who is disruptive, and an NT who can collapse a pocket fit very well in either scheme. The 5 tech can make a legit LE in 4-3, and the NT can be the 2nd DT.

So, I guess everyone can be correct, in that it is difficult for a small 4-3 DE to play 3-4 DE, or for an immovable 3-4 DE to play 4-3 DE.

In essence, get guys who can hold their ground or display some violence and push their man back, and those guys fit in both schemes. Those guys also enable both schemes to be quite effective.

Now, this year, we just have to see if we have those guys (the LBs/4-3 DEs are relatively easier than getting those two guys who make it work)

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Yep, we having been struggling so much against the run the past 2 years because of our lack of beef up front. Adding the big NT and 5 tech is gonna be huge for us. Now we just need the truly dominant pass rushing threat. I think Kroy can stick with us for now, but Barr/Mack would be a much better fit in that role.

With the moves today TD gets a pass just for hiring Pioli (one of my faves next to Ozzie) and Nolan (my fave for nearly 20yrs). I'm a huge fan of both guys. I even pattern my style after Nolan.

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With the moves today TD gets a pass just for hiring Pioli (one of my faves next to Ozzie) and Nolan (my fave for nearly 20yrs). I'm a huge fan of both guys. I even pattern my style after Nolan.

Yeah, Pioli and Nolan are both great. I'm hoping Nolan stays around a while. They both seem to enjoy their roles here.
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Well this thread was a failure if I ever saw one. It was nice to see that a lot more ppl than I thought actually pay attn to Def tho. I hope to see more of this in TATF (esp since I can't participate in Pure Football).

So 3-4 is better vs teams like Sea, SF, Carolina?

You need to go back and read through the thread, excluding the OP and anything he wrote...

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Are you serious?

A well known scout turned NFL GM once said, "The problem with football is, people who don't understand football very much try hard to overcomplicate it. Those who know football are tuned out because the truth is far too basic and boring."

Thing most hybrid detractors don't realize is you HAVE to have NT, OLB, 5-Tech players for a hybrid to run right. It also is and isn't the same as everything else and most don't use a hybrid as much as they have multiple fronts.

You know. Watch and play enough football and you will see just about everything. As far as the coach turned GM you paraphrased, well there are dozens of others out there that would simply say that football conceptually is a simple sport, you run, catch and tackle but fundamentally it is very complicated. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just ignorant which is fine for fans, but stop trying to act like you know something. There are only something like 1600 NFL pro football players in the world in one year, so yeah I think that it is a little more complicated than some people on this board make it out to be.

What is really funny is the number of people in this forum who have 35k post who talk a lot but the more they post it is apparent they really don't know that much. It's really equivalent to political bandwagoning. Find an issue, make a general and broad, but very simple statement that appeals to a few people, and then constantly drive it until a lot of people follow. That is what a lot of the posters do on this board. They really don't have a clue, see an issue (our defense is bad), make a simple but inaccurate statement (going to a 3 - 4 will make a difference), and then drive it with a couple hundred posts in a number of threads. It's like the mock drafts people put on these boards. We have to draft this person, or that person now here are my 500 posts saying why it's correct. How about spending 1/10 of the time researching some fundamentals about how to play the game or better yet go out and join a full contact rec team and then making a suggestion and try to defend it.

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Very good point. It is all about personnel. But like I said before. It is hard to play both a 4 - 3 and 3 - 4 at every position. There are subtle difference and once you learn a technique it is hard to adjust to something fundimentally different. I was, because of my size a better fit for a 3 - 4 weak MLB. I had a hard time in college because I was only 235 and in the '80s strong MLB in a 3 - 4 needed to be around 245. I could also play 4 - 3 OLB and MLB but I was too slow against big schools to stand up at MLB in a 4 - 3, my technique was not good enough to shed unblocked OG's against the run.

I agree. I coached HS level only amd it was tough conveying the difference and I know the pros are much more complex..look at Nolan's past rosters (search my topics you'll find); he has a lot of role or situational players.

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