vel

Who is Bob Sutton?

98 posts in this topic

When Bob Sutton was hired, fans moaned and groaned at the thought of the former DC from the horrendous Chiefs defense being involved in any capacity of coaching defense in Atlanta. With the thought of DQ taking over the defense finally, the last thing fans wanted to hear was any kind of weight holding this group back any longer. Then it was announced that Sutton's official title is Senior Assistant. Homebase quotes "Sutton's responsibilities will include assisting with in-game strategy, clock management, time-out usage, and replay review." As anyone who has ever had a job knows, what your job description says and what you end up doing are two totaling different things. And it's usually in the form of "more". 

While I was doing some digging on the Vikings defensive scheme/philosophy/etc. that I typically do during the week, I came across this:

Quote

NFL1000: Ranking the Best Defensive Schemes

10.Kansas City’s Odd Defensive Fronts

Pass-rushers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, safety Eric Berry and cornerback Marcus Peters are the stars of Kansas City’s defense. However, a lesser-known name that’s been just as important to that defense’s success since 2013 is defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Sutton does have an estimable roster at his disposal, but he’s also expanded and enhanced the Chiefs’ defensive fronts with as many different front concepts as you’ll see in the NFL these days.

Sutton learned a lot about switching up his personnel between linemen and linebackers with their hands on and off the ground when he was the Jets’ defensive assistant and linebackers coach under Rex Ryan from 2009-2012.

What Ryan has always liked to do, and what Sutton does so well with the Chiefs, is to show different fronts to a quarterback and offensive line to make their pre-snap reads more difficult. As a result, you’ll see Kansas City’s defense lining up in all sorts of odd fronts that allow linebackers and defensive backs to do different things.

On one play, he might throw a 1-4-6 alignment with a down lineman, four linebackers and a dime defense in which the linebackers and safeties may or may not be blitzing from any angle. Or, a base 2-4-5 in which Sutton’s defensive backs can patrol the field in nickel coverage.

Sutton’s philosophy is simple and effective: The more looks you throw at an offense, the more confusion you create, and the better your potential to limit the passing game.

Sutton doesn’t talk much about his defensive concepts—he’s known as a “Zen thinker” who speaks more about his players and their motivations—but when you watch the Chiefs on the field, you’ll see a defense that has its roots in other disruptive and diverse defensive ideas while still bringing original schemes to the table

The last thing I would have ever expected to see was a Kansas City Chiefs pro-defense section in this kind of article. Yes, it's Bleacher Report, so it's subjective. But still, it takes noticing. But I want to key in on some parts, which I bolded. It took me back to a board discussion we were having some time ago (TDLover, Fatboi, Vandy, PMF, etc.) regarding our favorite defensive formations and why. It stemmed from the various looks we've seen from DQ and the defense so far through pre-season and how we are seeing some large scale changes with the scheme. 

I kept digging, trying to see where this Bob Sutton philosophy comes from. Through all of the sludge of hate thrown his way given the way things ended with him in KC, I found this excerpt:

Quote

A Variety of Defensive Alignments

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has manned the Chiefs’ defense since 2013 and has unquestionably established a dominant unit with quality talent at all three levels.

The Chiefs operate from a base 3-4 with talented pass rushers Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson working from the second level and forming quite possibly the NFL’s top trio of linebackers. When you add defensive backs Marcus Peters and Eric Berry to the equation, the defense’s flexibility grows exponentially. There is also quality talent behind Peters and Berry in the defensive backfield which ultimately creates what makes the Chiefs so successful: variety.

Their deep defensive back unit leads to many nickel and dime packages that both feature different alignments between the first two levels as they work to confuse the heck out of offenses. When a defense operates with this level of multiplicity, the more efficient their disguised coverages and blitzes become. What’s more, playing with only one or two down lineman, the result of nickel and dime packages, allows Sutton to send the entire trio of aforementioned pass rushers on simple four-man rushes or the designed blitzes his man-heavy scheme is built upon. Regardless, the threatening pass rush the Chiefs have established during Sutton’s tenure leads to premature attempts from pressurized quarterbacks while a talented, numbers-advantaged secondary awaits.

Kansas City has also become dependent on their safety play. When healthy, Berry is the ideal fit for Sutton’s base Cover 1 defense that asks his corners to press along the perimeter and his front seven defenders effectively handle their blitz responsibilities. These man-free concepts put the stress of the single-high defender to handle duties both over the top and from sideline-to-sideline, but Berry is more than adept at playing with the requisite level of aggressiveness and reactive awareness.

I’ve mentioned that the Raiders are the top dog in the AFC West. But the Chiefs had their number both times last season and have kept both systems intact. It’s going to be a tight battle across the division and the Chiefs have the pieces to challenge across the conference.

https://lastwordonsports.com/2017/08/17/breakdown-chiefs-schematic-philosophy/

Variety. Multiple. Different alignments between the first two levels to confuse offenses. Man-heavy scheme. 

Just for kicks, I looked up Sutton's history and one stop made my eyes light up:

The New York Jets

Bob Sutton was with the Jets for a long time. He began in 2000 as a Linebackers coach, was the DC from '06-'08, then to Senior Defensive Assistant & LBs coach '09-'11, and Assistant Head Coach & LBs Coach in 2012, before the Chiefs poached him for a DC position. During that time, he learned a lot of football, but one period is the magic point: 2006-2008. During this time, he met one Dan Quinn. DQ was the DL coach when Sutton was the DC. Under Sutton, the Jets improved from 27th in DVOA to 14th, before he was replaced by Rex Ryan, but kept on staff in a large role shaping the defense. 

Sutton likes running multiple, varied, high pressure schemes with man coverage behind them. He did it before he was with Rex Ryan, he learned it more in depth under Rex, and then branched out and did it on his own with the Chiefs. In 2013, Sutton's first year leading the Chiefs defense, they were 9th in DVOA compared to 30th the year before. They finished 6th in 2015. Dropped to 14th in 2016 before fully falling off a cliff. But at the same time, the Chiefs started to hemorrhage defensive talent. 

During 2017-2018, the two seasons that got Sutton fired, they lost Hali, Berry, Peters, Poe, and Derrick Johnson. Between those five players, they lost 18 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pro nods. You saw what happened to our defense when we just lost Debo, Rico, and Neal. They lost that AND some. So it's no surprise that the Chiefs defense no longer looked the same. Doesn't make Sutton a bad coach. But if nobody valued the wealth of knowledge Sutton brought to the table, there was one man who did. Dan Quinn. 

We keep looking at the trio we have on offense with Koetter, Mularkey, and Knapp and are happy to have various minds putting this together, but we have yet to stop and do the same for DQ. We may be overestimating DQ handling all of the duties of HC and DC. Where a guy like Sutton comes in is as a position he's already held before: Senior Defensive Assistant. Just, he's not focused on the defense, but a general Senior Assistant. I'd be willing to bet every dollar in my bank account Sutton has been tied to DQ's hip reshaping this scheme. Remember, DQ came up in this scheme. So if there is anybody who would have blind spots, it's him. What better than to have a guy you know and coached under to be your #1 guy, who has a long history in multiple defensive fronts, a wealth of knowledge in what went right and what went wrong with each, etc. He's not asking Sutton to call plays or draw up gameplans or anything of the such. That's still going to be DQ. But where Sutton brings a ton of value is in his long running knowledge of schemes and trends that have come and gone in this league and various ways to deploy confusing looks at offenses. I think Sutton being a constant sound board for DQ to make the tweaks he has may prove to be beneficial in the long run. 

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2 minutes ago, Jesus said:

People call out the chiefs defense as weak but when one of their players becomes available there is an endless list of threads begging to sign them.

Individual players vs their defense as a whole. 

Falconsfan567, Drew4719, vel and 1 other like this

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Just now, ya_boi_j said:

Individual players vs their defense as a whole. 

Someone's gotta play in that defense. It's not like it exists in a vacuum.

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9 minutes ago, ya_boi_j said:

Another one that has to be read on the computer lol. Y’all killing me with these long *** articles :lol:

Lol work was very dead today and I was deep down some rabbit holes. You'll find some time for a #2 this evening!

gazoo, PokerSteve, ya_boi_j and 1 other like this

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1 minute ago, vel said:

Lol work was very dead today and I was deep down some rabbit holes. You'll find some time for a #2 this evening!

Touché. Can’t argue that one at all

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59 minutes ago, Jesus said:

People call out the chiefs defense as weak but when one of their players becomes available there is an endless list of threads begging to sign them.

They had a lot of talent, but still ended up being garbage. Mainly due to their CBs and LBs being subpar, and that’s me being generous. 

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Quinn went from having a staff lacking in experience to one with a wealth of experience. This is yet another piece that shows how Quinn "self scouted", was honest about it, and made changes based on the results. That is huge, and quite unheard of. An NFL coach delegating responsibility more after a bad season? Usually it's the other way around.

Having to play Brees and Cam twice a season one must be "multiple", or unpredictable. You just can't sit back in zone against Brees, but you can't go hog wild blitzing him either. You gotta give him a mixture of things to think about.

Quinn has shown he is a good defensive mind, but having Sutton and his experience working with Sexy Rexy is gonna be huge.

 

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38 minutes ago, Fiddlin John's Ghost said:

Quinn went from having a staff lacking in experience to one with a wealth of experience. This is yet another piece that shows how Quinn "self scouted", was honest about it, and made changes based on the results.

I remember a couple of months ago DQ saying that he went all the way back to his time in Seattle self scouting his defense after the season and concluded that teams had figured it out and he needed to change it up.

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I like what Sutton brings, even if there were more than a few times watching that Chiefs defense I was ready to throw the remote watching Justin Houston drop into coverage trying to run with receivers.

 

When DQ got here, I never assumed the we would be a carbon copy of Seattle's package because of all the deep experience he had in other schemes.  I always thought we'd wind up being a lot more multiple and not stick so ardently to the Seahawk package.  First four seasons made a fool out of me.  Can't wait to see what he rolls out there Sunday when it counts.

 

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1 minute ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

I like what Sutton brings, even if there were more than a few times watching that Chiefs defense I was ready to throw the remote watching Justin Houston drop into coverage trying to run with receivers.

 

When DQ got here, I never assumed the we would be a carbon copy of Seattle's package because of all the deep experience he had in other schemes.  I always thought we'd wind up being a lot more multiple and not stick so ardently to the Seahawk package.  First four seasons made a fool out of me.  Can't wait to see what he rolls out there Sunday when it counts.

 

Member when the Saints put Cam Jordan in coverage vs the Rams? I member.

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16 minutes ago, TD_Lover said:

Member when the Saints put Cam Jordan in coverage vs the Rams? I member.

:lol: I remember...

... and to be clear, there may not be hugely apparent scheme changes.  Everything I read out of Quinn's mouth indicated more tweaks than anything, but sometimes tweaks can go a long way.  Heck, even the Seahawks finally started to move away from exclusively single high last season and started to mix in more Cover-4.

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28 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

:lol: I remember...

... and to be clear, there may not be hugely apparent scheme changes.  Everything I read out of Quinn's mouth indicated more tweaks than anything, but sometimes tweaks can go a long way.  Heck, even the Seahawks finally started to move away from exclusively single high last season and started to mix in more Cover-4.

I really hope we see a lot of bump and run man this year.

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3 hours ago, vel said:

When Bob Sutton was hired, fans moaned and groaned at the thought of the former DC from the horrendous Chiefs defense being involved in any capacity of coaching defense in Atlanta. With the thought of DQ taking over the defense finally, the last thing fans wanted to hear was any kind of weight holding this group back any longer. Then it was announced that Sutton's official title is Senior Assistant. Homebase quotes "Sutton's responsibilities will include assisting with in-game strategy, clock management, time-out usage, and replay review." As anyone who has ever had a job knows, what your job description says and what you end up doing are two totaling different things. And it's usually in the form of "more". 

While I was doing some digging on the Vikings defensive scheme/philosophy/etc. that I typically do during the week, I came across this:

The last thing I would have ever expected to see was a Kansas City Chiefs pro-defense section in this kind of article. Yes, it's Bleacher Report, so it's subjective. But still, it takes noticing. But I want to key in on some parts, which I bolded. It took me back to a board discussion we were having some time ago (TDLover, Fatboi, Vandy, PMF, etc.) regarding our favorite defensive formations and why. It stemmed from the various looks we've seen from DQ and the defense so far through pre-season and how we are seeing some large scale changes with the scheme. 

I kept digging, trying to see where this Bob Sutton philosophy comes from. Through all of the sludge of hate thrown his way given the way things ended with him in KC, I found this excerpt:

Variety. Multiple. Different alignments between the first two levels to confuse offenses. Man-heavy scheme. 

Just for kicks, I looked up Sutton's history and one stop made my eyes light up:

The New York Jets

Bob Sutton was with the Jets for a long time. He began in 2000 as a Linebackers coach, was the DC from '06-'08, then to Senior Defensive Assistant & LBs coach '09-'11, and Assistant Head Coach & LBs Coach in 2012, before the Chiefs poached him for a DC position. During that time, he learned a lot of football, but one period is the magic point: 2006-2008. During this time, he met one Dan Quinn. DQ was the DL coach when Sutton was the DC. Under Sutton, the Jets improved from 27th in DVOA to 14th, before he was replaced by Rex Ryan, but kept on staff in a large role shaping the defense. 

Sutton likes running multiple, varied, high pressure schemes with man coverage behind them. He did it before he was with Rex Ryan, he learned it more in depth under Rex, and then branched out and did it on his own with the Chiefs. In 2013, Sutton's first year leading the Chiefs defense, they were 9th in DVOA compared to 30th the year before. They finished 6th in 2015. Dropped to 14th in 2016 before fully falling off a cliff. But at the same time, the Chiefs started to hemorrhage defensive talent. 

During 2017-2018, the two seasons that got Sutton fired, they lost Hali, Berry, Peters, Poe, and Derrick Johnson. Between those five players, they lost 18 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pro nods. You saw what happened to our defense when we just lost Debo, Rico, and Neal. They lost that AND some. So it's no surprise that the Chiefs defense no longer looked the same. Doesn't make Sutton a bad coach. But if nobody valued the wealth of knowledge Sutton brought to the table, there was one man who did. Dan Quinn. 

We keep looking at the trio we have on offense with Koetter, Mularkey, and Knapp and are happy to have various minds putting this together, but we have yet to stop and do the same for DQ. We may be overestimating DQ handling all of the duties of HC and DC. Where a guy like Sutton comes in is as a position he's already held before: Senior Defensive Assistant. Just, he's not focused on the defense, but a general Senior Assistant. I'd be willing to bet every dollar in my bank account Sutton has been tied to DQ's hip reshaping this scheme. Remember, DQ came up in this scheme. So if there is anybody who would have blind spots, it's him. What better than to have a guy you know and coached under to be your #1 guy, who has a long history in multiple defensive fronts, a wealth of knowledge in what went right and what went wrong with each, etc. He's not asking Sutton to call plays or draw up gameplans or anything of the such. That's still going to be DQ. But where Sutton brings a ton of value is in his long running knowledge of schemes and trends that have come and gone in this league and various ways to deploy confusing looks at offenses. I think Sutton being a constant sound board for DQ to make the tweaks he has may prove to be beneficial in the long run. 

Great read.  Thx for the post and your insightful commentary.  Not sarcastic.  100% great stuff.   

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1 hour ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

I like what Sutton brings, even if there were more than a few times watching that Chiefs defense I was ready to throw the remote watching Justin Houston drop into coverage trying to run with receivers.

 

When DQ got here, I never assumed the we would be a carbon copy of Seattle's package because of all the deep experience he had in other schemes.  I always thought we'd wind up being a lot more multiple and not stick so ardently to the Seahawk package.  First four seasons made a fool out of me.  Can't wait to see what he rolls out there Sunday when it counts.

 

Yep. I don't expect wholesale changes. I think he got Sutton to push him on alignments, fronts, different multiple looks to disguise things better. The NFL is constantly evolving. You saw Bradley got dime heavy in San Diego, with great success. You can't just sit back and think you can run the LOB playbook out there these days. Innovate. Like you said, I can't wait for this defense on Sunday. 

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5 hours ago, ya_boi_j said:

Another one that has to be read on the computer lol. Y’all killing me with these long *** articles :lol:

It's even worse when the technically challenged folks quote the whole **** thing and then give some one-liner response.

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I hate to disagree Vel but I believe Sutton's role will be much more in game assisting than scheming.

Sickest moment in your sports' life flashback warning.

During the Super Bowl when Julio caught the ball on the sideline and every person in the world that has ever played Madden knew to run the ball three times and send out the NFL's most accurate kicker what was Quinn doing? Coaching defense. He wasn't focused on game situation that could have saved a franchise and their fanbase what was about to come.

It's why Quinn didn't continue to coordinate his own defense in 2017 and 2018. Why now? Quinn was hired because of his defensive prowess. He wants to be able to coach the defense without the worry of the game imploding while he's got a sharpie in his hand.

It's a gamble on Quinn's part that Sutton can handle what is normally the head coaches' duties during game action. It could change the NFL in a way. Many coaches are hired because they excel on one side of the ball or the other only to hand those duties over to a coordinator when they are hired. If it works other teams could adopt this strategic philosophy.

 

It's not that I don't believe Sutton could have more to offer. I just believe that Quinn knows what he wants to do on defense and Sutton's role will enable him to do so.

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5 hours ago, No.11 said:

It's even worse when the technically challenged folks quote the whole **** thing and then give some one-liner response.

Yep

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9 hours ago, vel said:

Yep. I don't expect wholesale changes. I think he got Sutton to push him on alignments, fronts, different multiple looks to disguise things better. The NFL is constantly evolving. You saw Bradley got dime heavy in San Diego, with great success. You can't just sit back and think you can run the LOB playbook out there these days. Innovate. Like you said, I can't wait for this defense on Sunday. 

Good find vel. All pre season I saw a multitude of fronts. I saw 5-2 with 5 down. 3-4, 2-4-5, 1-4-6. I don’t know if many noticed but I paid attention. The main thing was no matter what the from except for 5-2 takk and Beasley rushed from a 2 point stance. They both benefit from it because they both rushed that way in college. Takk absolutely loves it and I can tell Beasley does as well. Takk said he can see more from a 2 point stance and his get off is more powerful and I’ve seen the same from VB. The different fronts are Sutton. I expect our LB’s to be as successful as my cousin Justin and company was in KC. And probably another reason Bailey was brought in. The experience of playing those multiple fronts. Vic and Takk are playing OLB now even tho they’re listed as DE’s. Everytime they’re in a 2 point stance they’re LB’s and I love it. Looking forward to them throwing crazy looks at cousins. 

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Seems like people are missing the (hopefully) real value of having Sutton on the team:  "Sutton's responsibilities will include assisting with in-game strategy, clock management, time-out usage, and replay review."  

DQ has shown repeatedly that he struggles in making these kind of game time decisions, and now that he's acting as DC it there's no way he could have managed the game without help.  Whether it was Sutton or someone else, DQ had to have someone with experience helping make in-game decisions.

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15 hours ago, Jesus said:

People call out the chiefs defense as weak but when one of their players becomes available there is an endless list of threads begging to sign them.

That’s the thing. Chiefs had some good players and yet their defense was god awful. It wasn’t just weak, it was awful.

i do agree with Vel’s bigger premise, which is that DQ is reshaping his scheme. @Unintentional Grounding had a great piece on this last offseason noticing more 3-4 type players being added to the D. The signing of Davison then Bailey convinced me for sure scheme changes were in the air. 

 

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