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Sidecar Falcon

Todd Bowles Defense

38 posts in this topic

In an earlier post, we discussed Dan Quinn's defense. It received such a positive reception that I wanted to look at Todd Bowles' defense, one of the other candidates the New York Jets are heavily considering for the open head coaching position.

Unlike Quinn, Bowles' defense is much harder to nail down. Quinn's defense is relatively straightforward. Although there are variations, there aren't many and they are easy to identify. That isn't the case with Bowles. To begin with, it's unclear what he would bring over to the Jets. He has operated multiple schemes, both 3-4 and 4-3, and is willing to change schemes completely to fit his personnel. Despite losing Karlos Dansby to free agency, Daryl Washington to a season-long drug suspension, Darnell Dockett to an ACL tear, John Abraham to IR, Tyrann Mathieu for a few weeks, etc., Bowles managed to have the fifth best defense by points allowed. You can compare this to the Jets, who ranked twenty-fourth.

That said, Bowles' defense in Arizona most closely resembles none other than the organized chaos of Rex Ryan. But not the Rex Ryan that we saw the past few years; the Rex Ryan that went to the AFC Championship in 2009 and 2010.

It's aggressive. As Greg Cosell stated, "Now, you could argue that they don't have a pure pass-rusher, but this is where Bowles comes in. This team blitzes more than any team in the NFL, and they blitz more on first down than any team in the NFL, and they're creative with their pressures. They're also very good with disguise."

It adapts to the opponent. When the Cardinals played the Dallas Cowboys, Bowles switched from a predominately 3-4 scheme to a 4-3, simply because it was a better matchup. They won that game 28-17, and ended DeMarco Murray's streak of 100-yard games.

It adapts to the players. To quote Dockett, "This defense is based on guys and what their ability allows them to be good at. What they were drafted for." When Bowles found that he didn't have an elite pass rusher, he balanced it out by adding more safeties... sometimes up to four on the field on any given down. This allowed him to cover athletic tight ends for longer, and had the added benefit of confusing offenses. Bowles doesn't force a round peg into a square hole... he finds another solution.

Unlike Quinn, I can't show you one formation to give you an almost complete understanding of Bowles' defense. It's far too complex and mutates too often to simplify into one article. Instead, what I can do is give you several examples of the type of scheme you'll see under Bowles.

play1.0.jpg

So, this is a good play to show you that not is all it seems from where the players are initially lining up. Here, you have a nickel package. Three down linemen, three linebackers, and five defensive backs. There's an OLB standing up at the top of the formation, and he's going to rush the passer, looping around the right tackle. You have a three-tech defensive end stunting into the A gap, and another linebacker looping down and presumably past the left tackle, who is engaged with the six-tech defensive end. Meanwhile, in the secondary, you have mixed coverage. The outside corners are in man, and you have two safeties, the extra defensive back, and a linebacker in zone.

As I mentioned, this may remind you of Rex Ryan. It's a lot of mixed coverage with a core of man coverage, blitzes from unexpected places, and disguised scheming.

play2.0.jpg

This is the game I mentioned where they changed their scheme completely. Bowles uses a decent amount of 4-3 looks, but this game was an almost wholesale change. In this play, only one lineman actually goes where they're showing.

play3.0.jpg

To avoid some confusion in this play, anyone that is in man coverage has a yellow line. On this play, you have some over the top safety help, and an overload blitz on the weak side. It results in a five-yard sack.

I wish I could give you a simple breakdown of everything Bowles will do, but the fact that I cannot gives you an idea of what kind of defense he runs. It's multiple and confusing as ****. It changes based on what his players can and can't do. On a Jets team that has struggled with players being forced into roles they can't handle, that may be what's needed going forward.

https://www.ganggreennation.com/2015/1/13/7537863/everything-you-need-to-know-about-todd-bowles-defense

 

Edited by Sidecar Falcon

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Thanks Sidecar, this is good stuff.

I would love to see us get Bowles and his aggressive brand of football as our DC.  But I don’t see the problem in our scheme, the problem is the lack of coaching fundamentals. No matter what scheme we run..,.and I seriously doubt Quinn will hire someone who changes the 4-3 Under base.....we’ve got to hire someone who teaches how to tackle, rush the QB, and defend the pass. That’s the shocking thing about Quinn, how fundamentally unsound this defense has been for most of his 4 years here. 

Also, the lack of player development on that side of football. Not just Beasley’s regression, but Takk, Alf, Tru in their primes have all become disappointing football players since Quinn’s been here.  

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1 minute ago, Vandy said:

Thanks Sidecar, this is good stuff.

I would love to see us get Bowles as our DC. But I don’t see the problem in our scheme, the problem is the lack of coaching fundamentals. No matter what scheme we run..,.and I seriously doubt Quinn will hire someone who changes the 4-3 Under base.....we’ve got to hire someone who teaches how to tackle, rush the QB, and defend the pass. That’s the shocking thing about Quinn, how fundamentally unsound this defense has been for most of his 4 years here. 

Completely agree. I think there needs to be a near clean sweep of coordinators, positional coaches, assistants, etc. Blank needs to hand out blank checks (no pun intended) and get the absolute best. Our fundamentals this season were absolute platypus $hit.

Injuries can only be an excuse so long before you can see a trend. I expect to see some improvement, even if it’s minor. We regressed across the board. Top that with a complete lack of motivation and innovation and you get the frustration from even the most pragmatic of this fan base. 

 

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Just now, Sidecar Falcon said:

Completely agree. I think there needs to be a near clean sweep of coordinators, positional coaches, assistants, etc. Blank needs to hand out blank checks (no pun intended) and get the absolute best. Our fundamentals this season were absolute platypus $hit.

Injuries can only be an excuse so long before you can see a trend. I expect to see some improvement, even if it’s minor. We regressed across the board. Top that with a complete lack of motivation and innovation and you get the frustration from even the most pragmatic of this fan base. 

 

Yup. It takes a lot to get me pizzed.

I’m pizzed. 

Sidecar Falcon likes this

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13 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Thanks Sidecar, this is good stuff.

I would love to see us get Bowles and his aggressive brand of football as our DC.  But I don’t see the problem in our scheme, the problem is the lack of coaching fundamentals. No matter what scheme we run..,.and I seriously doubt Quinn will hire someone who changes the 4-3 Under base.....we’ve got to hire someone who teaches how to tackle, rush the QB, and defend the pass. That’s the shocking thing about Quinn, how fundamentally unsound this defense has been for most of his 4 years here. 

Also, the lack of player development on that side of football. Not just Beasley’s regression, but Takk, Alf, Tru in their primes have all become disappointing football players since Quinn’s been here.  

Takk is only in his 2nd year so I'll still give him a few more years before we can judge what type of player he is. Alford and Trufant have been here since 2013 and they have been absolutely disappointing. Enough is enough. 

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Just now, mqg96 said:

Takk is only in his 2nd year so I'll still give him a few more years before we can judge what type of player he is. Alford and Trufant have been here since 2013 and they have been absolutely disappointing. Enough is enough. 

I agree on Takk, I was just piling on to make my point. :ninja:

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Just now, Vandy said:

I agree on Takk, I was just piling on to make my point. :ninja:

Oh yeah I gotcha lol! I blame our coordinators and Dan Quinn's putting more trust in his coordinators instead of being the head coach. Dan Quinn is also the worst head coach in the NFL at halftime adjustments which I've reiterated multiple times at this point. 

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14 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Yup. It takes a lot to get me pizzed.

I’m pizzed. 

Same. When I get the feeling of “square peg, round hole”, I start to get irritated. 

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I thought MM was a terrible promotion.  And as for sark i was completely dissapointed.  I would love to see a true DC and true OC coach this team...  top 5 pick in round 1 and 2 would bring much need help.  

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9 minutes ago, Xfactor said:

Kubiak as OC Bowles as DC that would be nice.

Lol Vandy I cringe every time I see the Quinn commercial about our emphasis on safe tackling.

 

I like that coordinator combo very much, I don't believe any changes will be made at that level.  I do believe that we will see some changes at position coaches......long over due.    

Regardless of who coordinates the offense, we need two upgrades at OG and a developmental player at C.  I would ride with Schraeder one more year, simply because he is relatively cheap and has played better in the past.  Who knows, he may be one of the upgrades at OG.  

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35 minutes ago, Xfactor said:

Kubiak as OC Bowles as DC that would be nice.

Lol Vandy I cringe every time I see the Quinn commercial about our emphasis on safe tackling.

 

I’m more sold on Bowles than I am on Kubiak. Been researching his last gig as a HC and it’s a little bit worrisome. 

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I've called for Bowles in several threads.

The scheme I have already talked about.  What makes it a even BETTER hire is the fact the Falcons could go BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE in the draft.  With Bowles flexibility the Falcons wouldn't be pressured into drafting players for a particular system. 

Also, it would help the players they CURRENTLY have. Beasley for instance. I've watched tape on Beasley when he was at Clemson.   Beasley benefited from a defensive LINE that enabled him to win a lot of one on one matchups because the tackles were getting doubled.   In Bowles defense because Bowles loves to overload blitz, this would free Beasley up to wreck havoc from either the weak linebacker in a 3-4 or end in the 4-3.   The secondary is helped because with the exotic pressures that Bowles brings Trufant and Alford, etc. don't have to cover as long.  The ball is coming out faster.  It would be a brilliant move but as I stated in another thread, Quinn has to go to make that hire work...

Edited by slickgadawg
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Pipe dreams. I would love to see true coaches being brought in. I just think Quinn will find some that will bend to his way of thinking. Not someone that could rock the boat. Take a stand and say no we need to do this with the players we have, not your way Dan. 

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55 minutes ago, Xfactor said:

Kubiak as OC Bowles as DC that would be nice.

Lol Vandy I cringe every time I see the Quinn commercial about our emphasis on safe tackling.

 

Thats what I want, OR,  hire Kubiak as head coach, keep Sark as OC and Bowles as DC.   

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2 hours ago, Vandy said:

Thanks Sidecar, this is good stuff.

I would love to see us get Bowles and his aggressive brand of football as our DC.  But I don’t see the problem in our scheme, the problem is the lack of coaching fundamentals. No matter what scheme we run..,.and I seriously doubt Quinn will hire someone who changes the 4-3 Under base.....we’ve got to hire someone who teaches how to tackle, rush the QB, and defend the pass. That’s the shocking thing about Quinn, how fundamentally unsound this defense has been for most of his 4 years here. 

Also, the lack of player development on that side of football. Not just Beasley’s regression, but Takk, Alf, Tru in their primes have all become disappointing football players since Quinn’s been here.  

This is why I see Kris Richard the most. If he doesn't get HC looks, DQ has to go at him aggressively. He's shown he can grow and adapt his scheme. He was DC in Seattle as the LOB was falling apart, so I don't blame his struggles. He's showing in Dallas that he knows how to call aggressively, coach his players up, and scheme vs his opponent. 

As much as DQ deserves heat for the lack of player development, I think the lack of help from the DC is most glaring. Manuel just lining up and playing isn't putting his guys in the best positions. It works mildly when you have the talent (See: Sark, Offense). But even then, you hit a ceiling when you play teams who actually watch your film and scheme against you. 

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50 minutes ago, vel said:

This is why I see Kris Richard the most. If he doesn't get HC looks, DQ has to go at him aggressively. He's shown he can grow and adapt his scheme. He was DC in Seattle as the LOB was falling apart, so I don't blame his struggles. He's showing in Dallas that he knows how to call aggressively, coach his players up, and scheme vs his opponent. 

As much as DQ deserves heat for the lack of player development, I think the lack of help from the DC is most glaring. Manuel just lining up and playing isn't putting his guys in the best positions. It works mildly when you have the talent (See: Sark, Offense). But even then, you hit a ceiling when you play teams who actually watch your film and scheme against you. 

Richard is an intriguing prospect. I’m not sold on him though. There’s been a trend with former Seattle DCs and their lack of blitzing. Based on interviews I’ve heard with Richard he seems almost like a clone of Quinn. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but I want a DC to take the reigns of the defense and make it their own. I don’t personally feel like Richard is that guy. He may be one of those coaches that’s better off with a positional group. I could be wrong though. 

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3 hours ago, Vandy said:

Thanks Sidecar, this is good stuff.

I would love to see us get Bowles and his aggressive brand of football as our DC.  But I don’t see the problem in our scheme, the problem is the lack of coaching fundamentals. No matter what scheme we run..,.and I seriously doubt Quinn will hire someone who changes the 4-3 Under base.....we’ve got to hire someone who teaches how to tackle, rush the QB, and defend the pass. That’s the shocking thing about Quinn, how fundamentally unsound this defense has been for most of his 4 years here. 

Also, the lack of player development on that side of football. Not just Beasley’s regression, but Takk, Alf, Tru in their primes have all become disappointing football players since Quinn’s been here.  

There’s definitely a problem in our scheme, at least when it comes to our corners. Our corners both are at their best playing man to man. In Quinn’s scheme they have to play zone, and we’ve all seen how bad they’ve been this year. Tru went from top 6 CB to not even top 50. Alford is bottom 5 right now. Maybe if they got to play to their strengths they could get close to what they once were. 

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1 hour ago, vel said:

This is why I see Kris Richard the most. If he doesn't get HC looks, DQ has to go at him aggressively. He's shown he can grow and adapt his scheme. He was DC in Seattle as the LOB was falling apart, so I don't blame his struggles. He's showing in Dallas that he knows how to call aggressively, coach his players up, and scheme vs his opponent. 

As much as DQ deserves heat for the lack of player development, I think the lack of help from the DC is most glaring. Manuel just lining up and playing isn't putting his guys in the best positions. It works mildly when you have the talent (See: Sark, Offense). But even then, you hit a ceiling when you play teams who actually watch your film and scheme against you. 

 

13 minutes ago, Sidecar Falcon said:

Richard is an intriguing prospect. I’m not sold on him though. There’s been a trend with former Seattle DCs and their lack of blitzing. Based on interviews I’ve heard with Richard he seems almost like a clone of Quinn. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but I want a DC to take the reigns of the defense and make it their own. I don’t personally feel like Richard is that guy. He may be one of those coaches that’s better off with a positional group. I could be wrong though. 

 

Sidecar this should put that notion to bed. Look at the bold at the bottom.

Quote

Cowboys news: Kris Richard is calling the defense, is he the “DC”?

Kris Richard has come a long way with the Cowboys in a short period of time, now he’s calling the defense.

By Michael Sisemore@MrSisemore Sep 21, 2018, 4:00am CDT
 

Faith In Kris Richard Includes Play-Calling - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
It's no secret, Kris Richard carries a big stick in the Cowboys organization, that includes calling the defense.

“Yeah, a little bit more here and there,” Marinelli said. “But we just have a feel as we go through the week, especially with the pace and the tempo. It’s been good, really good.

“He’s got a good feel pressure wise, can we hold up, all those things. The thing I’ve always believed in, and it’s one of our standards here, is it’s about the team. Everybody says the word, but the team to me is everything, every decision you make, is how you get the team better. And some of the things he can do, he makes us better.”

Earl Thomas still in Seattle, but a Seahawks import boosts Dallas Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN
Kris Richard has had a noticeable impact on this Cowboys defense, he brings the swagger that made his former unit famous in the Pacific Northwest.

“Just his passion, emotion,” defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said. “He’s got a great understanding of the game and expertise, yeah, definitely. I would never take that away from him. But it’s that and just the fact that he’s got a lot of confidence in himself as a coach, as a great coach. That’s what encourages me. He’s got that.”

Report: Kris Richard called defensive plays in win over Giants - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Are we being fooled? It certainly seems like Kris Richard is every bit of the Cowboys defensive coordinator.

Perhaps this could be an indication that Richard is the team’s defensive coordinator of the future when Marinelli decides to retire. It says an awful lot about their faith in him that the Cowboys would let a coach in his first year with the team call the defensive plays. It says even more that when he did the unit blitzed and got home to the tune of six sacks.

The Cowboys visit the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday where Kris Richard used to coach. It’s safe to say he likely wants to use his new toys to show them what they let walk out the door. Hopefully the Cowboys continue to let him.

Why Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli is just fine leaving the play-calling to Kris Richard - Brandon George, SportsDay
Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli admitted that Kris Richard handled the defensive play-calls in Sunday night's win and he will continue to do so.

Marinelli said Richard called all of the defensive plays against the Giants and primarily handled the duty in the season opener at Carolina, but with Marinelli’s input during the games and the week of practices. Marinelli said Eberflus, who left in the offseason to become the Colts’ defensive coordinator, took on much of the same responsibilities in 2017.

The Cowboys blitzed much more Sunday than they have in previous seasons under Marinelli. Richard is a fan of blitzing often, but Marinelli’s approach has long been to get pressure primarily with his front four along the defensive line.

https://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2018/9/21/17884724/cowboys-news-kris-richard-is-calling-the-defense-is-he-the-dc

 

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I dont know - he had Calais Campbell - those other guys were old - beside HB, dont know if we want to do this complex defense thing we bitched about that for years with Nolan and Smitty. And how we wanted Seattle Def - now almost every team is trying Seattle def and teams are getting ate up, forgot some article I read a month or so ago about how many teams have tried to go that route but you really need the players for that to work and even now, the offenses are always finding new ways to break it because so many teams are running it

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Richard is a Seattle coaching tree guy but isn't above blitzing to get home. And he has Demarcus Lawrence. He's not a passive DC relying on scheme. He wants to take the game to the offense. 

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Bowles has been a good coach for a long time. Whether he is the next Falcons coordinator or not the important thing is if Quinn makes changes, he needs to step outside his comfort zone of Pete Carroll guys and look at the entire league for coaches who can help him. 

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Before we make too many personnel decisions let's bring in the new coordinators. A lot of the issues we see are talented players not playing up to potential. Let's say this... If Beasley can play at or at around 3/4 of his 2016 potential then he might worth keeping. The defense was at their best yesterday when they attacked Rodgers, but they barely did that. The offense has been outright awful the last five weeks. A lot of their issues are extremely bad execution. That too can be fixed with new brains running the offense. Matt will adjust he always does.

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@Cole World 

Read this article a few times. The Cowboys defense has taken some leaps the past few weeks that’s for sure. So it may be attributed to Richard and it may not be. Could be a group think tank. If it is indeed all Richard then expect the Cowboys to get rid of Marinelli and keep Richard. 

That being said Richard is benefiting from a good Cowboys defense with Lawrence, Vander Esch, Smith, Jones and Awuzie. This Cowboys’ makeup is very similar to the Legion of Boom. They get a decent amount of pressure rushing four and the corners playing physical at the LOS. Richard has done an incredible job as the DB coach. 

If he were indeed to come to Atlanta then he wouldn’t have the ability to pressure using only four players. He would be working with less physical corners as well to begin with. I’m not saying he isn’t talented but trying to put things into perspective. 

Edited by Sidecar Falcon

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