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Rebuild the Defense Starting with the Philosophy!


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It's not a mystery to me why this defense is trash.

There are some long standing axioms in every sport that seem to stand the test of time no matter how many times you try to reinvent the wheel. In baseball it's the fact that offense is entertaining but you won't go far without pitching and defense. In golf it's all about the putter, drive for show and putt for dough!  In the NFL the axiom is " Defense wins championships" and to determine what usually is needed to build a good defense in the NFL you have to look at the historically great defenses and the not so great defenses and determine what are the characteristics these defenses have that set them apart, good or bad, from the average defense.

When I look back at these there is one obvious quality of the better defenses throughout history that stands out, the bigger and meaner the better!  Obviously this is a simplification but if you look at the Bears of the 40's and 80's and almost anytime until recently (when they went small), the Browns of the 50's, the Packers of the 60's, the Steelers and Raiders of the 70's, The 49ers, Bears and Giants of the 80's, the Boys and Bills of the 90's, the Ravens and Pats of the 00's and the Pats again of the 10's, they are all big and physical. There have always been people who come along and try to say " the game is different today" but then you look at the playoff teams that go deep every year and you seem to still have that same quality, big and physical defenses, specifically the D-Line and LB's. There are the positions on defense where obviously you can trade size for speed if you have to but even the CB's these days are getting bigger without loss of speed.  

Conversely if you look at some of the underachieving defenses in the past that traded size for speed, they have a tendency to fall short in the long run. The poster defense that I offer up here is every defense the Colts put on the field during Peyton Manning's time. One of the best QB's in the history of the game and if not for Jay Cutler throwing in the towel in a rain soaked superbowl in Miami, Peyton would've been the next Dan Marino, at least in Indy. Indy always had undersized defenses and they always folded come crunch time. Manning always had to outscore his defense. If he leaves ATL Matt Ryan will probably move on to some other team with a traditional defensive philosophy and win a superbowl or two. He could still win one here if one philosophical change was made.

Dan Quinn likes to put guys the size of LB's at Defensive End and Safeties at LB and if you correct just those things, get bigger and more physical at those positions, this defense would improve dramatically. The average 230-260lb guy at DE has to have world class athletic ability and or ultra refined technique in order to keep a 320lb OT with hands the size of a dinner plate from locking him down and riding him out of the play much less being able to hold the edge and get penetration against the run or to hem in the QB. If you're running a 4-3 defense and you're using your DE for coverage, you have a problem with your scheme. If a guy has size and strength at DE he doesn't need to be a circus freak of an athlete to get the job done. Look how John Comminsky played yesterday at the position. Very effective. Then when you find that guy that potentially has size, strength and freakish athleticism all in one package, Marlon Davidson, he slides him inside to DT so the offense can get 2 big bodies and 4 hands on him.

The same holds true at LB. Luckily Deebo is a circus freak but how many Deebo's are there out there and how many LB's have to come and fail before he realizes that his scheme requires too much from these guys? DQ shuttles 3 or 4 guys on and off the field after every play on defense, moving them around based on down and distance and sewing total confusion not for the offense but for his own defense. What ever happened to keep it simple and let them play. The only people he's keeping it simple for are the QB's who read his defense from the huddle based on his substitutions. DQ has lost his focus on defense as did Smitty with their seeming need to reinvent the wheel!

Maybe if AB hires a coach who doesn't stake his professional  reputation on any one defensive or offensive philosophy and just employs what appears to work historically, someone who understands the requirements of the HC position as a separate and unique skill set from the other coaches and not a glorified coordinator. Maybe AB shouldn't hire a coordinator at all. Maybe Baltimore got it right by hiring John Harbaugh with no coordinator experience but all the attributes for the HC job. 

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39 minutes ago, slider said:

It's not a mystery to me why this defense is trash.

There are some long standing axioms in every sport that seem to stand the test of time no matter how many times you try to reinvent the wheel. In baseball it's the fact that offense is entertaining but you won't go far without pitching and defense. In golf it's all about the putter, drive for show and putt for dough!  In the NFL the axiom is " Defense wins championships" and to determine what usually is needed to build a good defense in the NFL you have to look at the historically great defenses and the not so great defenses and determine what are the characteristics these defenses have that set them apart, good or bad, from the average defense.

When I look back at these there is one obvious quality of the better defenses throughout history that stands out, the bigger and meaner the better!  Obviously this is a simplification but if you look at the Bears of the 40's and 80's and almost anytime until recently (when they went small), the Browns of the 50's, the Packers of the 60's, the Steelers and Raiders of the 70's, The 49ers, Bears and Giants of the 80's, the Boys and Bills of the 90's, the Ravens and Pats of the 00's and the Pats again of the 10's, they are all big and physical. There have always been people who come along and try to say " the game is different today" but then you look at the playoff teams that go deep every year and you seem to still have that same quality, big and physical defenses, specifically the D-Line and LB's. There are the positions on defense where obviously you can trade size for speed if you have to but even the CB's these days are getting bigger without loss of speed.  

Conversely if you look at some of the underachieving defenses in the past that traded size for speed, they have a tendency to fall short in the long run. The poster defense that I offer up here is every defense the Colts put on the field during Peyton Manning's time. One of the best QB's in the history of the game and if not for Jay Cutler throwing in the towel in a rain soaked superbowl in Miami, Peyton would've been the next Dan Marino, at least in Indy. Indy always had undersized defenses and they always folded come crunch time. Manning always had to outscore his defense. If he leaves ATL Matt Ryan will probably move on to some other team with a traditional defensive philosophy and win a superbowl or two. He could still win one here if one philosophical change was made.

Dan Quinn likes to put guys the size of LB's at Defensive End and Safeties at LB and if you correct just those things, get bigger and more physical at those positions, this defense would improve dramatically. The average 230-260lb guy at DE has to have world class athletic ability and or ultra refined technique in order to keep a 320lb OT with hands the size of a dinner plate from locking him down and riding him out of the play much less being able to hold the edge and get penetration against the run or to hem in the QB. If you're running a 4-3 defense and you're using your DE for coverage, you have a problem with your scheme. If a guy has size and strength at DE he doesn't need to be a circus freak of an athlete to get the job done. Look how John Comminsky played yesterday at the position. Very effective. Then when you find that guy that potentially has size, strength and freakish athleticism all in one package, Marlon Davidson, he slides him inside to DT so the offense can get 2 big bodies and 4 hands on him.

The same holds true at LB. Luckily Deebo is a circus freak but how many Deebo's are there out there and how many LB's have to come and fail before he realizes that his scheme requires too much from these guys? DQ shuttles 3 or 4 guys on and off the field after every play on defense, moving them around based on down and distance and sewing total confusion not for the offense but for his own defense. What ever happened to keep it simple and let them play. The only people he's keeping it simple for are the QB's who read his defense from the huddle based on his substitutions. DQ has lost his focus on defense as did Smitty with their seeming need to reinvent the wheel!

Maybe if AB hires a coach who doesn't stake his professional  reputation on any one defensive or offensive philosophy and just employs what appears to work historically, someone who understands the requirements of the HC position as a separate and unique skill set from the other coaches and not a glorified coordinator. Maybe AB shouldn't hire a coordinator at all. Maybe Baltimore got it right by hiring John Harbaugh with no coordinator experience but all the attributes for the HC job. 

This is why opposing running backs toss our team around like rag dolls. And our defensive backs can’t fight for balls with tight ends and big receivers.
 

100% agree with you.

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I don't think it's that simple.  Those Tampa Bay teams under Gruden were undersized too.  For that matter, so were the Seahawks when they won it.

But traditionally, in the main, I think you're correct.  I often look at other teams and marvel at how huge their defensive players are, and they still manage to be fast and effective. Especially in the front 7.

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3 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

I don't think it's that simple.  Those Tampa Bay teams under Gruden were undersized too.  For that matter, so were the Seahawks when they won it.

But traditionally, in the main, I think you're correct.  I often look at other teams and marvel at how huge their defensive players are, and they still manage to be fast and effective. Especially in the front 7.

This is wrong . Seattle wasn’t undersized . Red Bryant was a behemoth , Kam , Sherman were all abnormal for their positions . KJ & Wagner were normal sized .. bigger than Debo , Irvin was unique in size & position but like Bennett and their ends were typical size the only one that was oblique was Bennett whenever they slid him inside . 

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5 minutes ago, GeorgiaBoyz said:

This is wrong . Seattle wasn’t undersized . Red Bryant was a behemoth , Kam , Sherman were all abnormal for their positions . KJ & Wagner were normal sized .. bigger than Debo , Irvin was unique in size & position but like Bennett and their ends were typical size the only one that was oblique was Bennett whenever they slid him inside . 

Fair.  I thought Wagner was smaller.  I know their line, with the exception of Red, was smaller than usual.  I'll grant you the LBers, and obviously the corners, but that's a cover 3/Kiffin thing.  They like length at those positions.

Kam is obviously gigantic for a safety.  So I'll stand corrected on that.

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2 minutes ago, Dirtybird56 said:

Yeah I’m not buying this one. Scheme more than size for sure. Takk, Grady, and Debo are all “undersized” yet they’re our best players

We have a coaching and scheme issue, not a size issue

All athletic freaks that don't come along often in the draft. How do you build a defense that requires that?

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

I don't think it's that simple.  Those Tampa Bay teams under Gruden were undersized too.  For that matter, so were the Seahawks when they won it.

But traditionally, in the main, I think you're correct.  I often look at other teams and marvel at how huge their defensive players are, and they still manage to be fast and effective. Especially in the front 7.

Seattle wasnt undersized that defense was scary. Sherman 6'3, Browner 6'5, Kam 6'4. That was normal for Cbs to be that big. KJ and Bobby are both at least 6'2 240 4.5 speed. Avril Clemons Bennett were some big boys with big weight on them. 

Our safeties are a problem, they're all the same size 

Edited by Precyse
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