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Not X's and O's, but a picture I saw on the Vikings page regarding their signing of Josh Doctson. Naturally, it's a pic including our very own Isaiah Oliver: I know we have some fans who hav

Players, not plays.  Brilliant schemes are great, but football is still elemental.  You still gotta be able to whip the man in front of you.

Makes me think of the hit Debo put down against Detroit. If it were Debo and he makes the catch that's what we see.

Not X's and O's, but a picture I saw on the Vikings page regarding their signing of Josh Doctson. Naturally, it's a pic including our very own Isaiah Oliver:

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins

I know we have some fans who have trouble with corners giving up catches, of any kind might I add, in the NFL. They think a 0 catch day should be the norm and if it's not, cut that corner. Here is an example of both textbook technique and the upside with Oliver. This was him as a rookie. As you see, he's not playing the ball, a gripe some fans have with corners. The problem is you just can't play the ball in every situation. This is one of them. Because of that, you need corners who are comfortable playing with their back to the ball and playing the catch point. This is as clear a shot as I've seen recently of this happening. Oliver isn't panicking, he's under control and has his hand right in the catch point, ready to break up the pass. You see his wingspan in action, as he's still on the ground while Doctson is in the air and he's got his hand right there. He made the degree of difficulty for Doctson to complete this catch as hard as possible. The first time this happened in the game, he broke it up. This time, he didn't and it ended up being a TD, but that was more a heIl of a catch than poor coverage. You can even see in the jumbotron image behind them how little room for error the QB had to throw this ball. If he's comfortable in these situations as a rookie, which is one of the things that impressed me most, I can't wait until he truly settles in. 

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I didn't know whether to put this in the Vikings thread or here. It's a video breakdown for the NE-LA Super Bowl:

The reason I wanted to post it is how the Patriots attacked the Rams offense to shut down the run. Most of the first part of the video discusses the various things the Pats did to accomplish this. But you notice the expanded front they used to prevent much traction on zone run looks. I think you'll see a good bit of this on Sunday. We've already seen it to degrees during the preseason, but I think it will become more common vs outside zone heavy teams. 

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How defenses are countering spread offenses by packing themselves in Tite

As college offenses have evolved, defenses have evolved with them. The newest defensive scheme proliferating the landscape is the Tite front. A response to the spread-’em-out, RPO world offenses now live in, the Tite front has become a ubiquitous response from defensive coordinators trying to take the wind out of offenses’ sails.

From LSU to Iowa State to Army to Colgate (the university, not the toothpaste), it felt like every school made the decision to at least try out the Tite front in 2018:

This is what it looks like.

Three linemen, two inside backers, two outside backers, and four players in the secondary, with some linebacker adjustments depending on what the offense does:

 

tite_front_full.jpg

 

One of the things you’ll notice first is how many players are inside the offensive tackles. There’s a nose tackle, two defensive ends, and two inside linebackers. The goal is to plug up everything on the inside to force offenses to win a race to the outside.

Defensive coordinators call this “spill and kill”. It rhymes.

The shortest way to the end zone is the north-south route, so defenses are fine with offenses trying to go east-west before they are able to get downhill.

The Tite front eliminates this perpetual conflict for linebackers.

In a Tite front, there are no open B gaps. The gaps that are open are the C gaps (outside the offensive tackles), but, again, defenses are fine with the ball-carrier having to run east-west before turning his shoulders and dashing to the end zone. Linebackers can be a little more passive and less committal as they wait for the ball to go downhill.

One of the most interesting parts of the Tite front has been the hybridization the edge rusher. When defensive coordinator Dave Aranda arrived at LSU for the 2016 season, he inherited Arden Key, a stellar defensive end. With his length and size, Key became a standup outside linebacker who could rush the passer or drop into coverage, based on the call.

 

key.jpg

Here’s how that alignment looked on the field:

 

keybama.jpg

And here’s how it looked in action on one play:

giphy__2_.gif

The Tite front does have its weaknesses, and it starts with the lack of edge rushing opportunities. That’s why it’s not a huge thing in the NFL.

Most teams align with only one true outside of the offensive tackle edge rusher. This limits the chances of getting to the opposing quarterback, especially if you don’t have a Key.

Putting three players inside the offensive tackles doesn’t give the defense enough man-on-man scenarios between defensive linemen and offensive linemen. The defense needs these one-on-ones to succeed when rushing the passer. A college defense can get away with only have 1 pure edge rusher on the field for early downs. Most Tite front coordinators will bring in a 2nd or 3rd pass rusher when they can get the offense behind the sticks.

The O-line can just clamp down and wedge the defense inside. This forces the defensive ends to work all the way outside from their inside position to become edge rushers.

 

3man_rush.jpg

Putting a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker on the field alleviates some of these problem, but teams are still missing the opposite edge rusher that 4-2-5 teams have handy.

You can get away without having a second edge rusher on the field in run-heavy leagues, which make up most of college football. You can’t get away with it much in the NFL, where the pass is now king. The pro league pays too much for edge talent to have it sit inside.

The Chargers played a few snaps of the Tite against the Ravens in their Wild Card game, and it worked against the Ravens rushing attack, which got 90 yards on 23 carries:

 

chargers.png

However, I’m not sure having Joey Bosa lined up inside for more than 10 snaps a game is something you wanna show against the pass-heavy teams of the league.

Plus, the offense can create matchup advantages by using three receivers against the Tite front. Only so many NFL linebackers can both cover and play the run well.

Iowa State and some other teams have tried to find a way around the lack of outside rush by placing defensive ends outside the tackles. The Cyclones have the ends crash inside against run plays but stay outside when they read pass.

The other weakness is that the Tite front limits the coverages you can play behind it. Teams are almost forced to play zone coverage with the C gap open. Man coverage doesn’t work, because the two outside backers can’t both be in man coverage and responsible for a gap.

LSU’s favorite zone coverage is a version of quarters coverage. The Tigers lock the outside receivers in man-to-man and then play everyone else in a two-high safety, zone defense.

 

lsu_tite_4.jpg

That looks like this:

giphy__3_.gif

Iowa State, with their 3 safety defense, chooses to play a form of Tampa 2 defense.

 

tampas2.jpg

That looks like this:

giphy.gif

To play man coverage, LSU’s Aranda will switch into a 4-2-5 look so no linebacker is conflicted between man-to-man and run responsibilities.

 

cover1_good.jpg

Like all defenses, there are ups and downs to the Tite front. But it’s become the defense du jour.

That’s because it defends what spread offenses have evolved to be good at: picking on linebackers and then either throwing past them or running over their teammates.

Eventually, teams will adapt to playing football in a Tite world. Then defenses will adjust again. But for now, get ready to see a lot of it in 2019.

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Using the Tite front allows you to play with, at minimum, six speed defenders to help cover the areas of the field. In the Tite front, because you are gapped out along the interior gaps, you can bring your speed guys onto the field to play the perimeter run game and pass game. This gives you the advantage of having your larger players being able to play the box while your speed guys get to handle the edge. For teams like the LSU Tigers, the Tite front allows them to play with hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end types of players. These individuals can play in space but also can play down in the box when teams bring the H-back or tight end onto the field. The flexibility this allows defenses is they do not need to sub packages onto the field to adjust to formations they are being presented. Throughout the season LSU faced a variety of teams that presented various challenges in the spread offense, but the presence of the Tite front helped shut down more than a few offenses.

The Tite front allows your inside linebackers to play without being an “in conflict” player. In the modern-day offense, regardless of the level of play, you are going to be faced with offenses that want to run some sort of run pass option. The toughest part about playing an even front is that eventually you are going to run into a point where a linebacker either needs to exit the core and go out and play in space, or they are going to be a run-gap defender and a pass dropper at the same time. Offenses have evolved to the point that quarterbacks are reading defenders to see their next move. If they don’t step up, the quarterback hands the ball off. If they leave their designated pass drop, the quarterback throws the hot route right behind them. What the Tite front does is allows your defenders to not in be in conflict when they are in the core of the formation. Because you are gapped out with four defenders on the interior, your fifth player is a free hitter and your sixth man in coverage has edge run responsibilities but can play the pass first by alignment.

https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/7253/the-tite-front-why-defenses-are-tightening-down-the-interior-of-their-defense

Another look at some potential formation alignments you might see from the Falcons this year. I think this is more of what we've been seeing to combat the interior runs in preseason. I will look once I get home to see if I can confirm. 

Added: I think this is also why you've seen Takk and Vic stand up more, Takk get in better shape, and the depth chart looking odd. I think the base 4-3 Under is being shifted a little bit to include more of these Tite looks. With the interior essentially bottled up with your bigger, physical players, your faster athletes are free to run and chase. In more condensed looks like base packages offer, this should be able to highlight the athleticism we have in the middle of the defense. 

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4 minutes ago, vel said:

Another look at some potential formation alignments you might see from the Falcons this year. I think this is more of what we've been seeing to combat the interior runs in preseason. I will look once I get home to see if I can confirm. 

This is it.  This is one of the fronts I've seen us use in the preseason, especially when offenses have put those big boy formations out there with 2 and 3 tight ends.

Slight sidenote, that twin 4i look is also one that Zimmer with play around with in sub packages, especially when he thinks you're going to try to run from the gun.  

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3 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

This is it.  This is one of the fronts I've seen us use in the preseason, especially when offenses have put those big boy formations out there with 2 and 3 tight ends.

Slight sidenote, that twin 4i look is also one that Zimmer with play around with in sub packages, especially when he thinks you're going to try to run from the gun.  

Yep. I was rolling with the 3-4/5-2 look discussions but it was just something else to it that was different and I think this is it. Like you said, with the 2 and 3 TE looks, you need to find a way to tip the balance back in your favor. 

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14 hours ago, vel said:

Yep. I was rolling with the 3-4/5-2 look discussions but it was just something else to it that was different and I think this is it. Like you said, with the 2 and 3 TE looks, you need to find a way to tip the balance back in your favor. 

Good stuff my man.

Keep em coming!

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On 8/27/2019 at 4:14 PM, slickgadawg said:

Very good breakdown.  You even beat me to my next question, the technique that Crawford was playing.  I knew that had a effect on the play also but I'm not familiar with what techniques they are suppose to be playing when they got two hands in the ground on the defensive line in that alignment.  Regardless, I can see the chess match that you are talking about.  Its those little things that you and @vel keep pointing out that can make or break a defense. 

I honestly believe that one of the major reasons Quinn shifted to his 3-4 scheme in the first place is to take further advantage of the speed of his defensive front,  particularly linebackers, but its a give and take.  This scheme can cause havoc or it can be beat badly.  I've said over and over that I believe the defense is gonna look like the Legion of Doom on one play, and look like the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the next because its those little things you guys are pointing out that have to be done with precision over and over...

Here’s a good breakdown of what Quinn and Carol looked for in DL players in Seattle’s scheme. It’s 6+ years old but I see a lot of similarities with ours now. It’s the main reason I’m so excited about this upcoming season:

 

https://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/6/4/4350052/seahawks-defense-pete-carroll-leo-and-5-tech

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22 minutes ago, NWFALCON said:

I have an odd request. Is there any thing successful special teams do scheme or technique wise that allows them to net more positive yards compared to say how the falcons have been the last few years? Or is It just fundamentals??

Yes, there are return techniques but it's so hard because guys are running full speed with heads full of steam. It comes down to fundamentals. The advantage is to the kicking team. 

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2 hours ago, Fiddlin John's Ghost said:

Great stuff.

What's next in the evolution of the chess match between offenses and defenses?

3 man backfields and the wing T like we ran in high school?

On a serious note, i was thinking that. using a WING T concept with a TE/FB hybrids might be advantageous.

i know there are high schools who have transitioned to what would functionally be a spread wing T. you can google them.

Edited by 215FalconsFanatic
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23 hours ago, Vandy said:

Here’s a good breakdown of what Quinn and Carol looked for in DL players in Seattle’s scheme. It’s 6+ years old but I see a lot of similarities with ours now. It’s the main reason I’m so excited about this upcoming season:

 

https://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/6/4/4350052/seahawks-defense-pete-carroll-leo-and-5-tech

Looking this over.   

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On 9/5/2019 at 10:44 AM, Vandy said:

Here’s a good breakdown of what Quinn and Carol looked for in DL players in Seattle’s scheme. It’s 6+ years old but I see a lot of similarities with ours now. It’s the main reason I’m so excited about this upcoming season:

 

https://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/6/4/4350052/seahawks-defense-pete-carroll-leo-and-5-tech

From what I got,  Carroll was stating that he could switch between 4-3 and 3-4 concepts because of the way he played his gaps and that his defense is rooted in the 4-3 but he could  " hybrid"  it with 3-4 concepts because of his gap controls.  Another thing that made it LOOK like a hybrid is the type of players he drafted to play the 4-3 but they didn't necessarily have the size to play the traditional 4-3.  ( he wanted speed ).   With the gap responsiblities that he uses, the player doesn't necessarily have to have the size to tie up offensive linemen.  He will have ONE player usually doing that while the other linemen are running one gap responsibilities so that they can attack.

Now, I get this but and its innovative what he did in Seattle.  What I don't like is how people  downplay the 3-4 as a base scheme.  The 3-4 base concepts is what allows Carroll to tinker with his 4-3. In fact, even though what Carroll is doing is innovative, the 3-4 scheme came about years ago as a way of doing back THEN what Carroll and Quinn are doing with the defensive ends.  In other words, a player like Beasley would have been drafted as a linebacker back in the days when teams played strictly a 4-3 or 3-4.  With the innovations and the speed of the game today,  Beasley could have been drafted to play either the defensive end OR linebacker position.  Thats the main innovation I see Carroll and Quinn doing ( along with Saban), is drafting or acquiring players who are more of a hybrid type player.

I was rambling a bit so I hope you could keep up with the points I was making. lol...

Edited by slickgadawg
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@slickgadawg which is why I keep trying to say Quinn didn’t suddenly switch schemes because he rolled out these 3-4 looks in the preseason. This type of stuff has always been in the package.

Also the scheme predates Seattle. Pete really started putting this hybrid notion together when he was San Franciso’s DC under George Seifert. And Seifert was a true innovator. He was the one who pioneered that Elephant position where you had a chess piece you moved around who could do a little bit of everything End/Linebacker, he even used to slide Charles Haley inside to rush from time to time.

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24 minutes ago, slickgadawg said:

From what I got,  Carroll was stating that he could switch between 4-3 and 3-4 concepts because of the way he played his gaps and that his defense is rooted in the 4-3 but he could  " hybrid"  it with 3-4 concepts because of his gap controls.  Another thing that made it LOOK like a hybrid is the type of players he drafted to play the 4-3 but they didn't necessarily have the size to play the traditional 4-3.  ( he wanted speed ).   With the gap responsiblities that he uses, the player doesn't necessarily have to have the size to tie up offensive linemen.  He will have ONE player usually doing that while the other linemen are running one gap responsibilities so that they can attack.

Now, I get this but and its innovative what he did in Seattle.  What I don't like is how people  downplay the 3-4 as a base scheme.  The 3-4 base concepts is what allows Carroll to tinker with his 4-3. In fact, even though what Carroll is doing is innovative, the 3-4 scheme came about years ago as a way of doing back THEN what Carroll and Quinn are doing with the defensive ends.  In other words, a player like Beasley would have been drafted as a linebacker back in the days when teams played strictly a 4-3 or 3-4.  With the innovations and the speed of the game today,  Beasley could have been drafted to play either the defensive end OR linebacker position.  Thats the main innovation I see Carroll and Quinn doing ( along with Saban), is drafting or acquiring players who are more of a hybrid type player.

I was rambling a bit so I hope you could keep up with the points I was making. lol...

Didn’t seem like rambling slicky. I was able to keep up, those are all very good points. 

I would just add Carroll looked for 3-4 types (ala Red Bryant, Mebane) to play in a 4-3....3 of those 4 were there more as run stuffers, with the LEO primarily a pass rusher. We’ve been building our DL to be like that all along. The similarities I saw this past offseason that has me so excited was in us adding Bailey  & Davison, and even Cominsky for later. 

PMF is right, we’re not switching schemes, we just now have all the right personnel to run what Quinn did in Seattle.  

Here’s another good article:

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/seahawks/defense-101-understanding-how-the-seahawks-play/

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17 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

@slickgadawg which is why I keep trying to say Quinn didn’t suddenly switch schemes because he rolled out these 3-4 looks in the preseason. This type of stuff has always been in the package.

Also the scheme predates Seattle. Pete really started putting this hybrid notion together when he was San Franciso’s DC under George Seifert. And Seifert was a true innovator. He was the one who pioneered that Elephant position where you had a chess piece you moved around who could do a little bit of everything End/Linebacker, he even used to slide Charles Haley inside to rush from time to time.

Charles Haley was an underrated (by media, not by team or coaches) big part of that 49er D.  Such a bad ***.

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1 minute ago, Vandy said:

Charles Haley was an underrated (by media, not team and coaches) big part of that 49er D.  Such a bad ***. 

AB-so-lutely. I’ve never seen a player completely tip the balance of power like he did when he got traded from San Fran to Dallas. He was just scary, and come playoff time, didn’t matter what kinda injuries he had, how banged up he was, he was money.

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4 hours ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

AB-so-lutely. I’ve never seen a player completely tip the balance of power like he did when he got traded from San Fran to Dallas. He was just scary, and come playoff time, didn’t matter what kinda injuries he had, how banged up he was, he was money.

Scary is the right word my man.

And Vic just doesn’t have that in him. I’m hopeful they are grooming Takk to eventually be our Haley. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 11:19 AM, Vandy said:

Charles Haley was an underrated (by media, not by team or coaches) big part of that 49er D.  Such a bad ***.

I always see Haley & Dent in similar lights.  Does the general public know their names?  Yes.  But are they recognized for just how great they were?  Not really.  Dent was a freak

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