Re: Defense Expectations
posted at 6/10/2013 4:21 PM EDT
The Chris Brown article on Grantland is far better, and much more in depth. Go to that as a source.
Ultimately what BB has put together is a kind of Fairbanks-Bullough 43. Here is why, and why I expect more of it.
The article in Grantland is basically what I was laying out two summers ago in August. BB was really candid in a short QA session about the switch (noting he ran predominant 43 fronts in the early 2000s) and also noting that although Mayo was being listed as an OLB he would still be playing between the tackles.
The question was .... how do you preserve Mayo as a between the tackles guy in the 43 without forcing him to sort through the kind of trash a traditional "read and react," "tampa" or "Miami 43" will see?
He did this by using the same type of alignment people have used in college. What set it off from that was that BB uses far, far more two gap assignments on the front line.
Sometimes that is just Fork, as it was in the 34 front, he would have the other guys attacking a gap upfield or reacting. Other times, I call it an "inside out" line, where he flexs the two gap assignments over and has Love and Fork on one side and has Jones and Nink on the other. It's an imbalanced line.
At any rate, it presents the defense with a five man front similar to a 34 defense, except four of them have their hands in the dirt.
The shift to the 43 under and over, presents little in the way of philosphical change. Wilfork is essentially two-gapping, with one other tackle. Before it was usually him and a 3 tech end. Sometimes he is alone in this, or they shift that off to Love (I suupose TK will do this now).
Yeah, it's a bit lighter, but it still presents the same conservative "tackling" defense BB's fairbanks has always been (it's still the kiss of death to West Coast offenses the way it's been since the 80s: see the Texans games where they have their heads spinning).
Yeah, they have an extra defensive end, but when you play the over alignment it just doesn't matter because you can mix the pressure up just as efficiently as you can with a 34 front.
A difference between this and the old 34 and other 43 fronts that is due to change?
I think they are going to go with less two-gap. They got rid of Love, who was a lot more like a nose tackle. For a while it was a jumbo defense ... kind of akin to the old 5-2 fronts and 46 fronts that the Ravens (and Jests) and Bears/Eagles of yore ran in that it presents two large Tackles (over 310 lbs) that are two-gap style players.
I think bringing in TK and Armstead is telling in that neither is a pure two-gap kind of guy. TK more than Armstead.
My guess is that they will run more 43 over/under assignments, but with slightly different personnel and more "attacking" type front end assignments.
Nink/Collins : Wilfork : Armstead/TK : Jones
Mayo Hightower/Spikes HTWR/Collins
That's as a base set for the majority of downs they aren't forced into some kind of nickle setup. It keeps Mayo "protected" and allows the bigger guys like Hightower and Spikes to engage. It allows BB to keep Jones with his hand in the ground where is he better suited, but gives him the flexibility to use the Fairbanks-Bullough concepts of disguising where the pressure is coming from without resorting to blitzes (6 or more rushers) by using traditional 43 zone-exchanges. We saw BB do this in flashes where he moved Wilfork around the front like a wild-card. I think we'll see more.
BB used to do something exactly like this with McGinest when he first came here and they didn't have the big pieces like Seymour AND Ty Warren. Running a traditional 34 front like the Fairbanks is a bit of a luxury. You really need the pieces.
But ... as BB is showing people ... you can apply its systemic tendencies and capacities to a 43 and "fake it." It's still confusing to QBs, it's still fundamentally conservative, and it still tries to keep one of it's LBers that play "between the tackles" (in this case the MLB and either the SAM or WILL depending on whether they are over or under) jersey's clean like a Fairbanks 34 likes to do.