A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Rymans 3-4 thread (dispelling myths)

    Ok there are some myths that need dispelling, I see several normally intelligent posters saying things like " well we just need to give it a year because it takes time to get the players to be effective in a 34." or " everyone knew this was gonna take time to rebuild this defence" or worse yet " this team has no talent on defence."

    some truths
    1- This defence has several talented players, we just dont use them correctly.
    2- No Hybrid 3-4 was ever as succsesful as a team that went full on 3-4 HOWEVER, No team ever made the switch as poorly timed as the Redskins.
    3-despite what some stupid people may have told you, the 3-4 requires a completely skillset from almost every player in the front 7. and contrary to popular belief, its not all physical.
    4- being big strong and fast doesnt guarentee successful switching.

    I found this post by a Packers fan who was looking for stuff about the change to a 3-4 when his team was doing it last year, there are some very interesting facts in his post.

    Credited to Waldo
    "So.....an unbiased review of all the teams that I could come up with that have switched from pure 4-3 to either a hybrid or 3-4 base in the last 10 years. I compare their season prior to the switch to the season they made the switch, in an effort to study many of the truths, half truths, and myths about converting from one defense or the other. The raw data used is the performance stats of the defense. The first post goes team by team to examine each situation and look at the stats. The second post is a roll up analysis comparing all situations to each other, looking at the change, positive or negative, from one year to another. My thinking has been greatly altered by undertaking this exercise, I learned many things that I did not expect to discover.

    Raw Data and Commentary of the individual situations:

    There were 10 teams running 3-4 or hybrid defenses in the 2008 season. How they changed:

    (Pittsburgh is excluded as they have been running the defense for decades, making data difficult to find, and it was done prior to the current era of free agency):

    Abbreviations used: PPG = Points per game (scoring defense), YPC = Yards per carry (run defense), YPP = Yards per pass (pass defense), PRA = Passer rating against (Pass defense), 3D = 3rd down % (sub package defense), Sk = Sacks, Int = Interceptions, Pen = Penalties

    (fumbles were ignored due to random nature of recoveries)

    San Fransisco 49ers:
    The 49ers began the change to a 3-4 defense in 2005 when Mike Nolan took over, primarily a 2 gap 3-4 base. The defense never really took and yearly the team would waiver between a 3-4, 4-3, and Big Nickel as the base defense, until Singletary took over full time in 2008 and fully committed to a 1 gap 3-4 front.

    2004 performance (2-14): 28.2 PPG (32nd), 4.0 YPC (12th), 7.5 YPP (25th), 96.5 PRA (29th), 40% 3D (23rd), 29 sk (29th), 9 int (29th), 107 pen (10th)

    2005 performance (4-12): 26.8 PPG (29th), 3.8 YPC (11th), 8.0 YPP (32nd), 94.2 PRA (29th), 38% 3D (18th), 28 sk (28th), 16 int (14th), 120 pen (20th)

    San Francisco's defense showed slight improvement overall despite a very poor offensive showing. The biggest improvement came in turnovers, where the defense noticeably improved. There were slight improvements to the overall scoring defense, run defense, and 3rd down defense, however the defense yielded a lot of big plays and was penalized more. There was no improvement to the pressure applied by the defense.

    San Diego Chargers:
    Martyball came to San Diego in 2002. After two dreadful years running a 4-3 defense, he fired his DC and hired the head honcho of the 1 gap 3-4 in the NFL, Wade Phillips, to transition the defense to a 3-4. Unlike the situation in San Francisco, the team already had a young NT entering his prime that toiled in obscurity in the 4-3 alignment, and heavy draft resources were dedicated to the effort.

    2003 Performance (4-12): 26.7 PPG (31st), 4.3 YPC (20th), 6.8 YPP (18th), 94.3 PRA (32nd), 42% 3D (29th), 30 sk (24th), 13 int (23rd), 110 pen (21st)

    2004 Performance (12-4): 19.6 PPG (11th), 3.7 YPC (6th), 6.9 YPP (14th), 76.6 PRA (9th), 35% 3D (10th), 29 sk (29th), 23 int (3rd), 109 pen (12th)

    The returns from the switch in San Diego was immediate drastic improvement, improving from one of the leagues worst squads to a solidly above average squad. The most notable areas of improvement were huge improvements to the run defense, interceptions, and 3rd down efficiency. The one area that notably did not improve was the defenses ability to apply pressure, however their star pass rusher was not added until the following season.

    Dallas Cowboys:
    The Big Tuna was brought to Dallas in 2003 by Jerry Jones to turn the sinking franchise around. Unlike the previous two examples, Parcells slow played the transition and didn't make the switch until he had acquired many of the pieces. The year the switch was made (2005), heavy resources were dedicated to the effort, including a FA NT, 2 DE's via the draft and 2 OLB's via the draft. Bill Parcells is the standard bearer in the NFL of the old style Fairbanks 2 gap 3-4 prevalent in the NFL in the 1980's.

    2004 Performance (6-10): 25.3 PPG (27th), 4.2 YPC (17th), 7.4 YPP (23rd), 94.2 PRA (27th), 39% 3D (22nd), 33 sk (26th), 13 int (24th), 104 pen (7th)

    2005 Performance (9-7): 19.2 PPG (12th), 4.2 YPC (22nd), 6.7 YPP (13th), 75.1 PRA (9th), 35% 3d (6th), 37 sk (14th), 15 int (19th), 142 pen (32nd)

    The Cowboys defense overall saw marked improvement after making the switch, moving from an overall poor unit to an above average unit the first year. Unlike SD and SF, the biggest gains were to the pass defense, where the unit improved across the board, with a very good showing on 3rd downs. The run defense changed little in the first year. The squad did see an increase in pressure, somewhat bucking the trend. One thing that stands out is that the unit was heavily penalized in the first year.

    Miami Dolphins:
    I'm actually going to consider a 3 year period for the Dolphins, due in part to the relevance to the Packers of today. Prior to 2005, the Dolphins had been running a Jim Bates 4-3, which he brought to Green Bay and installed after the hiring of Nick Saban. When Saban was hired, he began to transition the defense towards a 3-4 defense, and for a few years the team ran a complex 4-3/3-4 hybrid, at first primarily coached by Saban, but after the firing of Dom Capers from Houston he was brought on board to coordinate the defense full time in 2006.

    2004 Performance (9-7): 22.1 PPG (20th), 4.3 YPC (18th), 6.5 YPP (5th), 76.9 PRA (10th), 32% 3D (5th), 36 sk (21st), 15 int (19th), 107 pen (10th)

    2005 Performance (9-7): 19.8 PPG (15th), 3.7 YPC (7th), 6.7 YPP (13th), 82.4 PRA (22nd), 40% 3D (23rd), 49 sk (2nd), 14 int (23rd), 105 pen (7th)

    2006 Performance (6-10): 17.7 PPG (5th), 3.5 YPC (3rd), 6.6 YPP (9th), 84.4 PRA (21st), 38% 3D (17th), 47 sk (3rd), 8 int (31st), 91 pen (13th)

    Over the course of the hybrid period, the defense improved from a below average unit to an elite unit over the course of two seasons, being an average unit in the first hybrid year. During this period the run defense continually improved, whereas the pass defense slightly declined. Notable, the 3rd down performance drastically declined after Bates' departure, and the interception totals slumped, however the pressure drastically improved. There were no effects on the penalties called against the team.

    New York Jets:
    The New York Jets is one example of a 4-3 to 3-4 switch done while doing little to alter the personnel immediately, especially odd considering the previous defense, a 4-3 Tampa-2 incarnation led by Herm Edwards, had personnel fairly poorly suited to running a 3-4. But that didn't stop Eric Mangini from making the change, opting to quickly make the switch in lieu of slow playing it or a hybrid period. Mangini's version is straight from the Parcells/Bellicheck tree and is a modern incarnation of an old style Fairbanks 2 gap 3-4.

    2005 Performance (4-12): 22.2 PPG (23rd), 3.9 YPC (12th), 6.5 YPP (7th), 73.1 PRA (6th), 42% 3D (28th), 30 sk (25th), 21 int (5th), 115 pen (16th)

    2006 Performance (10-6): 18.4 PPG (6th), 4.6 YPC (26th), 6.5 YPP (6th), 78.0 PRA (12th), 36% 3D (10th), 35 sk (15th), 16 int (17th), 105 pen (29th)

    Though the defense struggled with run defense in the first year, slumping from an above average unit to a bottom dweller, overall the defense improved from a well below average unit to a borderline elite unit in the first season. The really notable area of improvement is the 3rd down performance of the squad, which drastically improved. The pass defense declined a little, especially in the turnovers, but he was able to create more pressure in the first year in the defense. The defense however was highly penalized, slumping from an average unit to a bottom dweller. There are similarities in how this switch went and how the switch went in Dallas, notable due to the similarities of the scheme (fairly dissimilar from Dom's concepts).

    New England Patriots:
    Bill Belichick was hired in 2000 to return the Pats to glory. He followed the Parcells model to transition to the 3-4, acquiring the pieces over a few years (and playing the occasional 3-4 look) before fully making the switch in 2003 (though they waiver between 3-4 looks and 4-3 looks even today). The year of the switch they dedicated draft resources to the change, and acquired several pieces in FA, including experienced NT Ted Washington. Notably they won the super bowl the year they made the switch.

    2002 Performance (9-7): 21.6 PPG (17th), 4.7 YPC (29th), 6.4 YPP (8th), 78.2 PRA (15th), 43% 3D (26th), 34 sk (20th), 18 int (12th), 99 pen (7th)

    2003 Performance (14-2*): 14.9 PPG (1st), 3.6 YPC (6th), 5.6 YPP (1st), 56.2 PRA (1st), 34% 3D (7th), 41 sk (6th), 29 int (1st), 107 pen (19th)

    This was another soft change, time was taken to build the pieces, and the team had occasionally run 3-4 concepts even predating Bill, but they changed to a 3-4 base in 2003 in a dramatic fashion. The unit shot from average to elite overnight, placing first in many categories. It has the hallmarks of the Fairbanks 2 gap 3-4 switch however, drastic improvement in 3rd down performance, increased pressure, and an increase in flags. However unlike Mangini and Parcells, Belichick's change was accompanied by drastic run defense improvement, which propelled the unit to the very top and won a Lombardi trophy.

    Cleveland Browns:
    When Romeo Crennel was hired in Cleveland off of New England's staff, the first thing he set out to do was sweep away Butch Davis' 4-3 defense and install his own brand of a Fairbanks 2 gap 3-4. Again like Mangini in NY, little effort was paid to actually acquire new players prior to making the switch or running a hybrid period.

    2004 Performance (4-12): 24.4 PPG (24th), 4.3 YPC (18th), 6.7 YPP (9th), 79.0 PRA (16th), 36% 3D (15th), 32 sk (27th), 15 int (19th), 109 pen (12th)

    2005 Performance (6-10): 18.8 PPG (11th), 4.2 YPC (22nd), 6.7 YPP (7th), 78.2 PRA (16th), 40% 3D (20th), 23 sk (32nd), 15 in (19th), 97 pen (3rd)

    Romeo's defense didn't follow the typical Fairbanks 3-4 transition, the 3rd down performance declined and the penalties declined. In fact very little improved aside from the defense's ability to prevent scoring. But that most important aspect did improve, again following the trend of improvement shown by teams switching to a 3-4 or hybrid.

    Baltimore Ravens:

    The Ravens have been a hybrid defense for some time, switching back and forth between the defenses almost at will for many years. The start of that defensive style began when coordinator Marvin Lewis was hired to coach the Bengals and Mike Nolan took over as defensive coordinator, prior to the 2002 season. The Ravens are a little different case, there was a large exodus of retirements and players leaving after the 2001 season, the switch was based as much on necessity (an excess of linebackers and lack of bodies on the DL) as it was a purposeful change to go in a new direction.

    2001 Performance (10-6): 16.6 PPG (4th), 3.4 YPC (2nd), 6.0 YPP (1st), 72.8 PRA (12th), 31% 3D (3rd), 45 sk (7th), 16 int (17th), 105 pen (30th)

    2002 Performance (7-9): 22.1 PPG (19th), 3.7 YPC (1st), 6.7 YPP (16th), 73.4 PRA (5th), 40% 3D (21st), 33 sk (22nd), 25 int (2nd), 104 pen (20th)

    The Ravens are an interesting case, simply because the initial motivation was a little different than most. Following the 2001 season they lost several players, notably Tony Siragusa; Mike Nolan took the defense in a different direction and fielded what worked well for his personnel. Also notable is they are the only elite squad to switch away from a pure 4-3. They did struggle a good deal preventing scoring (relative to the previous season), the main problems stemmed from a decrease in pressure and poor 3rd down performance. However the run defense did not significantly decline, nor did the pass defense, and penalties were largely unchanged.

    Arizona Cardinals:
    When Ken Wisenhunt was hired to coach the Cardinals in 2007, one of his goals was to move the team away from the pure 4-3 defense they had been running, eventually reaching a 3-4 defense. They have largely been using the Miami model, taking their time running a hybrid scheme and acquiring personnel prior to fully transitioning to a 3-4 scheme, which has not yet occurred.

    2006 Performance (5-11): 24.3 PPG (29th), 4.1 YPC (14th), 7.5 YPP (31st), 85.4 PRA (24th), 41% 3D (21st), 38 sk (12th), 16 int (17th), 95 pen (17th)

    2007 Performance (8-8): 24.9 PPG (27th), 3.9 YPC (10th), 6.9 YPP (14th), 85.8 PRA (22nd), 40% 3D (17th), 36 sk (13th), 18 int (10th), 118 pen (30th)

    The Cardinals are almost the exact opposite of the Browns. When looking at the Browns individual stats for the parts of the defense, there was little to suggest large improvements in the scoring defense; the Cardinals however did improve slightly in a number of categories without any improvement to the bottom line.

    Some now defunct attempts at a switch to a 3-4:

    Minnesota Vikings:
    In the final year of the Mike Tice era, Minnesota flirted with the idea of running a 3-4 defense, though they never really committed to it 100%. The biggest positive still remaining from the attempt is NT Pat Williams, who was brought in via FA to hold down the nose. When Brad Childress was hired, that idea was all but abandoned. But, they did occasionally use a 3-4 alignment in 2005.

    2004 Performance (8-8): 24.7 PPG (26th), 4.6 YPC (26th), 7.6 YPP (27th), 95.5 PRA (28th), 46% 3D (30th), 39 sk (12th), 11 int (28th), 110 pen (15th)

    2005 Performance (9-7): 21.5 PPG (19th), 4.0 YPC (15th), 6.6 YPP (10th), 75.2 PRA (10th), 43% 3D (31st), 34 sk (22nd), 24 int (2nd), 137 pen (30th)

    The pressure went down a bit, and the flags were flying, but overall there was improvement across the board, with a drastic increase in the number of interceptions (no doubt TT letting Sharper go played a big role). 1 or 2 more wins that season and a playoff appearance, there is a decent chance Tice wouldn't have been fired and that the 3-4 would have stuck in Mn, at least for a little bit.

    Atlanta Falcons:
    The Falcons had a short lived flirtation with a 3-4 defense in the earlier part of this decade while Wade was defensive coordinator, prior to his transition of the Chargers defense. Unlike the Vikings, Atlanta fully committed to a switch and ran a 3-4 for 2 years, prior to the hiring of Jim Mora and his subsequent transition back to a 4-3. Notable is that it was the Falcons first year running a 3-4 defense under Phillips that handed Green Bay their first ever playoff loss at Lambeau Field.

    2001 Performance (7-9): 23.6 PPG (24th), 4.8 YPC (30th), 8.0 YPP (30th), 93.3 PRA (30th), 46% 3D (31st), 37 sk (19th), 18 int (13th), 97 pen (20th)

    2002 Performance (9-6-1): 19.6 PPG (8th), 4.6 YPC (27th), 7.0 YPP (25th), 72.8 PRA (4th), 40% 3D (20th), 47 sk (4th), 24 int (3rd), 112 pen (25th)

    The 2002 Falcons were playmakers, sacks and ints galore. The fundamental defense, run, pass, and 3rd down, all improved, however the flags flew. The improvement towards the bottom line, preventing scoring, was dramatic.

    Jacksonville Jaguars:
    Jacksonville was one of two new expansion teams in the mid 1990's. Both teams found almost immediate success, being playoff powerhouses by their second year. After many of the initial wave of players moved on due to roster turnover, Jacksonville saw a decline in the performance of their defense in the late 1990's, Dom Capers was brought in to revive the unit by Tom Coughlin. He immediately set about to transform the defense to his preferred 3-4 base from the 4-3 that they had been running under Jaron. This is perhaps the most relevant case study as it relates to the Packers 0f 2009. In Miami the team had already begun transforming into a hybrid prior to his arrival, and Head Coach Nick Saban was a defensive minded coach that surely had a hand in the defense along with Dom, Saban also being a 3-4 proponent. Coughlin on the other hand ceded near complete control of the defense to Dom. This team also dedicated heavy draft resources to the defense, spending all but 2 picks on on the defense. They also added a defensive end and safety via free agency. Notable is that there was no prototypical giant NT on the roster, nor was one acquired, they used a rotation of starter Seth Payne (6'4", 300 lb) and rookie Larry Smith (6'5", 295 lb).

    1998 Performance (11-5): 21.1 PPG (17th), 4.4 YPC (26th), 6.5 YPP (8th), 80.1 PRA (19th), 36% 3D (11th), 30 sk (27th), 13 int (21st), 109 pen (13th)

    1999 Performance (14-2): 13.6 PPG (1st), 3.9 YPC (13th), 6.3 YPP (4th), 71.0 PRA (11th), 34% 3D (9th), 57 sk (1st), 19 int (12th), 93 pen (8th)

    Another instance of dramatic improvement. Dom turned a slightly below average unit into an elite unit overnight. The only primary indicator where the team was elite was in pass defense, which improved, but the team saw a dramatic improvement in pressure, with almost every starting defender notching at least 1, both OLB's and a DE managed more than 10. Just like in Miami, the squad had a better pass defense than run defense, though the run defense moderately improved, the pressure went way up and the penalties went down, and just like Miami the 3rd down performance was not commensurate with the overall quality of the defense, lagging behind the scoring performance.

    ....these are all the pure 4-3 to 3-4 or hybrid transformations that I am aware of in the last 10 years. If anybody is aware of any more, let me know and I'll post the results.

    There is only 1 example that I am aware of where where a previously hybrid team finished the deal and became a full blown 3-4, however the San Francisco 49ers will probably be added to that category this season.

    Miami Dolphins:
    It seems that Miami lost their way after Saban's departure. Saban initially set out to transform into a 3-4 over time, however the defense found success as a hybrid and never really finished the transformation until Bill Parcells was brought in to complete what was begun 3 years prior.

    2007 Performance (1-15): 27.3 PPG (30th), 4.5 YPC (29th), 7.8 YPP (31st), 92.4 PRA (29th), 47% 3D (32nd), 30 sk (24th), 14 int (23rd), 73 pen (1st)

    2008 Performance (11-5): 19.8 PPG (9th), 4.2 YPC (16th), 7.0 YPP (17th), 77.0 PRA (9th), 38% 3D (10th), 40 sk (8th), 18 int (8th), 86 pen (14th)

    Bill drafted and brought in via FA a number of players for the defense, including NT Jason Ferguson. The defense dramatically improved across the board, in all areas but penalties, sticking with a typical Parcells tree switch. The run defense improved a little. The biggest gains were on 3rd down performance (another Parcells hallmark) and in pass defense.
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  2. #2
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    Now his analysis
    "Now, some analysis.

    (Hybrids are noted with a (H). Elite squads (top 5) are noted with a *, very good squads (top 10) are noted with a ^. Only the initial year when the team moved away from a pure 4-3 is considered in this list.)

    Overall Defense:
    In nearly every case you can point to improvement in the defense's bottom line, though it seems the various systems and coaches each seem to improve in different ways. All extremes of switching are represented, from a hard switch with little personnel effort on a ill suited team, to a soft
    switch done over the course of a few years. One thing however has stood out, hybrid defenses don't seem to improve as much as the full blown switch, and Baltimore is the only team to sustain any success using a hybrid. It seems that a team should move on quickly to finishing the
    switch instead of lingering long term as a hybrid, spending no more than a season as a hybrid.

    Drastic Improvement (>6 PPG)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (7.5 PPG)*
    2004 San Diego Chargers (7.1 PPG)
    2003 New England Patriots (6.7 PPG)*
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (6.1 PPG)

    Good Improvement (5.99 - 3 PPG)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (5.6 PPG)
    2006 New York Jets (3.8 PPG)^
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (3.7 PPG)^
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (3.2 PPG)(H)

    Slight Improvement (2.99 - 1 PPG)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (2.3 PPG) (H)
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (1.4 PPG)(H)

    No Improvement (.99 - -.99 PPG)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (-0.6 PPG)(H)

    Decline (<-1 PPG)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-5.5 PPG)(H)

    Dissecting this further. Just do it. Unless the personnel is totally ill suited to using a 3-4, there is little reason to use a hybrid period, as the transition tends to bog down, chances are the coordinator won't have the time to see through the change, Miami being the only team to actually complete the transition.

    Of the 7 teams that skipped the hybrid period, 2 turned in 1st place performances, 2 more turned in top 10 performances, the 3 remaining were knocking on the door of the top 10, 2 of them were bottom 5 performers the previous year. Truthfully I was not expecting these results, at all.

    One thing though is that many of these teams were not able to sustain their first year success. Though the team may "struggle" to adapt to the new defense, there is a flipside that I think isn't talked about enough, that opponents struggle to counter the stuff thrown at them. After all, immediately after a switch, opponents have virtually no game tape on performances, and have no idea of any play calling tendencies of the coordinator. By the time the tape book begins to be written and opponents get a bead on the defense, the defense has already come through the initial error filled period (~3-6 games). I think this also explains how teams like the Pats and Steelers that will run a lot of 4-3 stuff and frequently vary what they do, can sustain success over the long haul. Opponents simply have no idea of what they are in for each week.

    Run Defense:
    One of the things that I expected to see as I went into this was an improvement in the run defense of a team, as I believe that the 3-4 formation is a schematically superior run defense than a typical 4-3 defense (46 variations excluded). While the results were not as dramatic as I thought I would find, they were telling nonetheless.

    Drastic Improvement (>0.61 YPC)
    2003 New England Patriots (1.1 YPC)^

    Good Improvement (0.60-0.31 YPC)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (0.6 YPC)(H)^
    2005 San Diego Chargers (0.6 YPC)^
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (0.6 YPC)(H)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (0.5 YPC)

    Slight Improvement (0.30 - 0.11 YPC)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (0.2 YPC)(H)^
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (0.2 YPC)(H)
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (0.2 YPC)

    No Change (0.10 - -0.10 YPC)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (0.1 YPC)
    2006 Dallas Cowboys (0.0 YPC)

    Decline (<-0.11 YPC)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-0.3 YPC)(H)*
    2006 New York Jets (-0.7 YPC)

    Of the 12 teams under consideration, only two saw their run defense decline, and one of those two has a caveat, the Ravens run defense did decline, but they were still the best run defense in the NFL the season they switched. The only team to significantly decline were the Jets, and they are notable as a cold turkey switch on a ill suited team with little personnel turnover. They didn't have even a serviceable NT when the switch was made. There is no pattern to the hybrid defenses here.

    It is also notable that though some of the teams were very good defenses overall, only the Ravens fielded an elite run defense the first year, though more than a third of the others were able to muster a top 10 performance the first year. The bulk of the defenses saw slight to good improvement in their run defense the first year. 8 of the 12 teams under consideration were in the top half of the league in run defense the first year.

    Struggling against the run the first year is frequently cited as a drawback to switching to a 3-4, but I think this data shows quite the opposite, that some improvement to the run defense should be expected, especially if the team has at least a serviceable NT. But with the caveat that it is doubtful that the team will field an elite run defense during the first year, even if the overall defense is elite.

    Pass Defense:
    Pass defense is a little more difficult to quantify, as there are different indicators that mean different things. The relationship of yards per pass (YPP), passer rating (PRA), and ints give us an idea of what is happening. If all show good improvement, obviously the pass defense overall improved. However you also see a declining performance in the YPP stat, an increased (or roughly even) performance in the PRA stat, and an increase in interceptions, it suggests that the defense is making more big plays in the passing game, but likewise is getting burned more as well (suggesting a lot of blitzing and gambling). On the flipside is an increasing performance in the YPP stat and declining or even performance in the PRA stat, and little change to the ints, suggesting that the defense is giving up more underneath stuff but getting burned less (a la the linebackers struggling with zone drops).

    As the pass defense is a little more independent and varies widely in implementation from defense to defense, I didn't expect to really see any notable trends.

    Overall Improvement
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (1.0 YPP, 20.3 PRA, 13 int)(H)^
    2002 New England Patriots (0.8 YPP, 22.0 PRA, 11 int)*
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (1.0 YPP, 20.5 PRA, 6 int)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (0.7 YPP, 19.1 PRA, 2 int)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (0.2 YPP, 9.1 PRA, 6 int)^

    Playmaking Improvement, Average Effectiveness Decline
    2004 San Diego Chargers (-0.1 YPP, 17.7 PRA, 10 int)^
    2005 49ers (-0.5 YPP, 2.3 PRA, 7 int)(H)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-0.7 YPP, -0.6 PRA, 9 int)(H)^

    Give Up More Short Stuff
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (0.6 YPP, -0.4 PRA, 2 int)(H)

    Very Little Change
    2005 Cleveland Browns (0.0 YPP, 0.8 PRA, 0 int)
    2006 New York Jets (0.0 YPP, -4.9 PRA, -5 int)^

    Declined
    2005 Miami Dolphins (-0.2 YPP, -5.5 PRA, -1 int)(H)

    Again here I was surprised by the results. Almost every hybrid improved their playmaking at least somewhat, and overall there is very little decline in anything.

    I expected more in the "Give up more short stuff" category, with the results that I found, I am inclined to say, that whole "struggling in coverage" thing attached to some OLB's really doesn't matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, after all, you'd expect to at least see some signs of that, which really don't exist. Perhaps the white elephant aspect of it is a much bigger overall help than commonly thought. It isn't really discussed much at all, but every short play given up is a long play not given up, if the defense can consistently swarm (to be expected with zone coverage) and prevent the short pass from turning into much (especially first downs), why not give the QB and easy outlet underneath that in reality gains him very little, but helps to cut down on potential big plays.

    What really surprises is that all but 1 full change either improved or had no change, only the Chargers fell into a sub category, and overall they sharply improved even though their YPP slightly dipped. I think one thing that can be read into this is perhaps that most of the DC's that are doing the switch, have extensive secondary experience and view it as more of the starting point than the front line.

    Also surprising is that 10 of the 12 teams increased their number of interceptions, only the Jets saw significant decline, and they were coming off of a very good year the prior year, decline was almost expected.

    Sacks:
    Pressure is a frequently cited positive of the 3-4 alignment, the common thought is that it is better to "bring the heat". Lets see if that is true, after all, if it is the defense and not the talent, you would expect positive results right away out of most defenses making the switch.

    Drastic Improvement (>9.9 sk)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (27 sk)*
    2005 Miami Dolphins (13 sk)(H)*
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (10 sk)*

    Good Improvement (>4.9 sk)
    2002 New England Patriots (7 sk)^
    2006 New York Jets (5 sk)

    Slight Improvement (>1.1 sk)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (4 sk)

    No Change (1.1 > sk > -1.1)
    2004 San Diego Chargers (-1 sk)
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (-1 sk)(H)

    Decline (<-1.1 sk)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (-2 sk)(H)
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (-5 sk)(H)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (-9 sk)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-12 sk)(H)

    Here again we have strong delineation between the hybrid teams, and the teams that fully switched. 4 of the 6 teams that showed no change or decline were hybrid teams, whereas 5 of the 6 teams that showed at least some improvement were teams that fully switched. There was an overall fairly even spread to the data, though the teams that improved tended to improve more than the teams that declined.

    I don't really think that there is a really strong trend here with a superiority of scheme for pressure. However it is true that many of the best pass rushing teams in the league are 3-4 defenses. I think that the best explanation for this is that a good % of the athlete types that make the best pass rushers in the NFL aren't much more than situational players in a 4-3 defense, and few 4-3 teams carry many, if any, of them. The 3-4 scheme allows the elite pass rushers to have a place on the field every play without "wearing down" trying to hold the point against the run. However most 4-3 teams do not have these guys, and the good ones aren't typically available as free agents; it is a position that a 3-4 team usually must draft and develop, hence the lack of much first year impact.

    I think that the data shows that it is the players that get the pressure, not the scheme, though the scheme allows certain players to explode in sacks, however typically teams in transition don't have those types of players (at their peak) yet.

    3rd Down Defense:
    While it is nice to have a great base defense that shuts down offenses on first and second down, games are won and lost on 3rd down; the ability to convert, and the defenses ability to prevent the opponent from converting. One would expect little difference in the pass coverage between the 3rd down pass defense of a 4-3 team and the 3rd down pass defense of a 4-3 team, however differences in the number of and type of bodies that the defense keeps may have a profound impact on the front line performance of the primary 3rd down sub packages (pin the ears back rush pass D (3rd and long) and a big line of heavies for short yardage). Honestly I had no idea of what to expect.

    One key point to remember is that 3rd down performance and it's relationship to overall defensive scoring performance is a good identifier for under and over performing units on the scoreboard, speaking as much to the overall talent level of the defense as the points allowed does. A defense bleeding points that is good on 3rd down are a bunch of underachievers (also suggesting an inordinate amount of negative flukes), likewise a team shutting opponents down on the scoreboard that is struggling on 3rd down are a bunch of overachievers and that success may be fleeting for the group (suggesting an inordinate amount of positive flukes).

    Significant Improvement (>6.9% 3D)
    2002 New England Patriots (9% 3D)^
    2004 San Diego Chargers (7% 3D)^

    Good Improvement (>3.9% 3D)
    2006 New York Jets (6% 3D)^
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (6% 3D)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (4% 3D)^

    Slight Improvement (>1.9% 3D)
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (3% 3D)(H)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (2% 3D)^
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (2% 3D)(H)

    No Change (1.9% > 3D > -1.9%)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (1% 3D)(H)

    Decline (<-1.9% 3D)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (-4% 3D)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (-8% 3D)(H)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-9% 3D)(H)

    Here is another place where the full switch teams drastically outperformed their hybrid counterparts. No hybrid team showed any more than a 3% improvement, and only 2 of the 7 full switch teams failed to at least improve by 4%, one of them (1999 Jaguars) was a borderline top 10 team on 3rd downs prior to the change, and they did improve. The Browns were the only team that fully switched year 1 that showed any decline in year 1.

    I think that this shows that running a 3-4 defense does leave the team with a better assortment of body types for the 3rd down sub packages, whereas hybrid teams are still generally keeping the same numbers of player types as 4-3 teams on the roster, making their 3rd down performance at best slightly better than the previous year.

    There are benefits to having several OLB's (4-3 situational pass rushers), several big huge ends (4-3 pass rushing UT's), and a backup big man (2 giant NT's) on the roster, which come in handy on 3rd and long and 3rd and short. The player types of front line players that typically aren't the best for 3rd downs, run stopping UT's (a la Cole) and run stopping left ends (a la Montgomery), aren't generally kept by 3-4 teams. I think this data clearly shows the benefits of the player types and numbers that a 3-4 team keeps vs a 4-3 team on the performance of the 3rd down defense.

    Also noticeable is that no team making the switch, either full blown or hybrid, produced an elite performer on 3rd down, despite an overall elite defense on the scoreboard. This suggests at least enough mental errors on any team associated with a switch to prevent the team from becoming an elite 3rd down performer in the first season, though 5 of the 12 teams, all 5 being teams that fully switched year 1, produced top 10 performers on 3r down. Something that is very telling IMO."
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    Now his analysis
    "Now, some analysis.

    (Hybrids are noted with a (H). Elite squads (top 5) are noted with a *, very good squads (top 10) are noted with a ^. Only the initial year when the team moved away from a pure 4-3 is considered in this list.)

    Overall Defense:
    In nearly every case you can point to improvement in the defense's bottom line, though it seems the various systems and coaches each seem to improve in different ways. All extremes of switching are represented, from a hard switch with little personnel effort on a ill suited team, to a soft
    switch done over the course of a few years. One thing however has stood out, hybrid defenses don't seem to improve as much as the full blown switch, and Baltimore is the only team to sustain any success using a hybrid. It seems that a team should move on quickly to finishing the
    switch instead of lingering long term as a hybrid, spending no more than a season as a hybrid.

    Drastic Improvement (>6 PPG)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (7.5 PPG)*
    2004 San Diego Chargers (7.1 PPG)
    2003 New England Patriots (6.7 PPG)*
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (6.1 PPG)

    Good Improvement (5.99 - 3 PPG)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (5.6 PPG)
    2006 New York Jets (3.8 PPG)^
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (3.7 PPG)^
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (3.2 PPG)(H)

    Slight Improvement (2.99 - 1 PPG)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (2.3 PPG) (H)
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (1.4 PPG)(H)

    No Improvement (.99 - -.99 PPG)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (-0.6 PPG)(H)

    Decline (<-1 PPG)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-5.5 PPG)(H)

    Dissecting this further. Just do it. Unless the personnel is totally ill suited to using a 3-4, there is little reason to use a hybrid period, as the transition tends to bog down, chances are the coordinator won't have the time to see through the change, Miami being the only team to actually complete the transition.

    Of the 7 teams that skipped the hybrid period, 2 turned in 1st place performances, 2 more turned in top 10 performances, the 3 remaining were knocking on the door of the top 10, 2 of them were bottom 5 performers the previous year. Truthfully I was not expecting these results, at all.

    One thing though is that many of these teams were not able to sustain their first year success. Though the team may "struggle" to adapt to the new defense, there is a flipside that I think isn't talked about enough, that opponents struggle to counter the stuff thrown at them. After all, immediately after a switch, opponents have virtually no game tape on performances, and have no idea of any play calling tendencies of the coordinator. By the time the tape book begins to be written and opponents get a bead on the defense, the defense has already come through the initial error filled period (~3-6 games). I think this also explains how teams like the Pats and Steelers that will run a lot of 4-3 stuff and frequently vary what they do, can sustain success over the long haul. Opponents simply have no idea of what they are in for each week.

    Run Defense:
    One of the things that I expected to see as I went into this was an improvement in the run defense of a team, as I believe that the 3-4 formation is a schematically superior run defense than a typical 4-3 defense (46 variations excluded). While the results were not as dramatic as I thought I would find, they were telling nonetheless.

    Drastic Improvement (>0.61 YPC)
    2003 New England Patriots (1.1 YPC)^

    Good Improvement (0.60-0.31 YPC)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (0.6 YPC)(H)^
    2005 San Diego Chargers (0.6 YPC)^
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (0.6 YPC)(H)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (0.5 YPC)

    Slight Improvement (0.30 - 0.11 YPC)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (0.2 YPC)(H)^
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (0.2 YPC)(H)
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (0.2 YPC)

    No Change (0.10 - -0.10 YPC)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (0.1 YPC)
    2006 Dallas Cowboys (0.0 YPC)

    Decline (<-0.11 YPC)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-0.3 YPC)(H)*
    2006 New York Jets (-0.7 YPC)

    Of the 12 teams under consideration, only two saw their run defense decline, and one of those two has a caveat, the Ravens run defense did decline, but they were still the best run defense in the NFL the season they switched. The only team to significantly decline were the Jets, and they are notable as a cold turkey switch on a ill suited team with little personnel turnover. They didn't have even a serviceable NT when the switch was made. There is no pattern to the hybrid defenses here.

    It is also notable that though some of the teams were very good defenses overall, only the Ravens fielded an elite run defense the first year, though more than a third of the others were able to muster a top 10 performance the first year. The bulk of the defenses saw slight to good improvement in their run defense the first year. 8 of the 12 teams under consideration were in the top half of the league in run defense the first year.

    Struggling against the run the first year is frequently cited as a drawback to switching to a 3-4, but I think this data shows quite the opposite, that some improvement to the run defense should be expected, especially if the team has at least a serviceable NT. But with the caveat that it is doubtful that the team will field an elite run defense during the first year, even if the overall defense is elite.

    Pass Defense:
    Pass defense is a little more difficult to quantify, as there are different indicators that mean different things. The relationship of yards per pass (YPP), passer rating (PRA), and ints give us an idea of what is happening. If all show good improvement, obviously the pass defense overall improved. However you also see a declining performance in the YPP stat, an increased (or roughly even) performance in the PRA stat, and an increase in interceptions, it suggests that the defense is making more big plays in the passing game, but likewise is getting burned more as well (suggesting a lot of blitzing and gambling). On the flipside is an increasing performance in the YPP stat and declining or even performance in the PRA stat, and little change to the ints, suggesting that the defense is giving up more underneath stuff but getting burned less (a la the linebackers struggling with zone drops).

    As the pass defense is a little more independent and varies widely in implementation from defense to defense, I didn't expect to really see any notable trends.

    Overall Improvement
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (1.0 YPP, 20.3 PRA, 13 int)(H)^
    2002 New England Patriots (0.8 YPP, 22.0 PRA, 11 int)*
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (1.0 YPP, 20.5 PRA, 6 int)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (0.7 YPP, 19.1 PRA, 2 int)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (0.2 YPP, 9.1 PRA, 6 int)^

    Playmaking Improvement, Average Effectiveness Decline
    2004 San Diego Chargers (-0.1 YPP, 17.7 PRA, 10 int)^
    2005 49ers (-0.5 YPP, 2.3 PRA, 7 int)(H)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-0.7 YPP, -0.6 PRA, 9 int)(H)^

    Give Up More Short Stuff
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (0.6 YPP, -0.4 PRA, 2 int)(H)

    Very Little Change
    2005 Cleveland Browns (0.0 YPP, 0.8 PRA, 0 int)
    2006 New York Jets (0.0 YPP, -4.9 PRA, -5 int)^

    Declined
    2005 Miami Dolphins (-0.2 YPP, -5.5 PRA, -1 int)(H)

    Again here I was surprised by the results. Almost every hybrid improved their playmaking at least somewhat, and overall there is very little decline in anything.

    I expected more in the "Give up more short stuff" category, with the results that I found, I am inclined to say, that whole "struggling in coverage" thing attached to some OLB's really doesn't matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, after all, you'd expect to at least see some signs of that, which really don't exist. Perhaps the white elephant aspect of it is a much bigger overall help than commonly thought. It isn't really discussed much at all, but every short play given up is a long play not given up, if the defense can consistently swarm (to be expected with zone coverage) and prevent the short pass from turning into much (especially first downs), why not give the QB and easy outlet underneath that in reality gains him very little, but helps to cut down on potential big plays.

    What really surprises is that all but 1 full change either improved or had no change, only the Chargers fell into a sub category, and overall they sharply improved even though their YPP slightly dipped. I think one thing that can be read into this is perhaps that most of the DC's that are doing the switch, have extensive secondary experience and view it as more of the starting point than the front line.

    Also surprising is that 10 of the 12 teams increased their number of interceptions, only the Jets saw significant decline, and they were coming off of a very good year the prior year, decline was almost expected.

    Sacks:
    Pressure is a frequently cited positive of the 3-4 alignment, the common thought is that it is better to "bring the heat". Lets see if that is true, after all, if it is the defense and not the talent, you would expect positive results right away out of most defenses making the switch.

    Drastic Improvement (>9.9 sk)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (27 sk)*
    2005 Miami Dolphins (13 sk)(H)*
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (10 sk)*

    Good Improvement (>4.9 sk)
    2002 New England Patriots (7 sk)^
    2006 New York Jets (5 sk)

    Slight Improvement (>1.1 sk)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (4 sk)

    No Change (1.1 > sk > -1.1)
    2004 San Diego Chargers (-1 sk)
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (-1 sk)(H)

    Decline (<-1.1 sk)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (-2 sk)(H)
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (-5 sk)(H)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (-9 sk)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-12 sk)(H)

    Here again we have strong delineation between the hybrid teams, and the teams that fully switched. 4 of the 6 teams that showed no change or decline were hybrid teams, whereas 5 of the 6 teams that showed at least some improvement were teams that fully switched. There was an overall fairly even spread to the data, though the teams that improved tended to improve more than the teams that declined.

    I don't really think that there is a really strong trend here with a superiority of scheme for pressure. However it is true that many of the best pass rushing teams in the league are 3-4 defenses. I think that the best explanation for this is that a good % of the athlete types that make the best pass rushers in the NFL aren't much more than situational players in a 4-3 defense, and few 4-3 teams carry many, if any, of them. The 3-4 scheme allows the elite pass rushers to have a place on the field every play without "wearing down" trying to hold the point against the run. However most 4-3 teams do not have these guys, and the good ones aren't typically available as free agents; it is a position that a 3-4 team usually must draft and develop, hence the lack of much first year impact.

    I think that the data shows that it is the players that get the pressure, not the scheme, though the scheme allows certain players to explode in sacks, however typically teams in transition don't have those types of players (at their peak) yet.

    3rd Down Defense:
    While it is nice to have a great base defense that shuts down offenses on first and second down, games are won and lost on 3rd down; the ability to convert, and the defenses ability to prevent the opponent from converting. One would expect little difference in the pass coverage between the 3rd down pass defense of a 4-3 team and the 3rd down pass defense of a 4-3 team, however differences in the number of and type of bodies that the defense keeps may have a profound impact on the front line performance of the primary 3rd down sub packages (pin the ears back rush pass D (3rd and long) and a big line of heavies for short yardage). Honestly I had no idea of what to expect.

    One key point to remember is that 3rd down performance and it's relationship to overall defensive scoring performance is a good identifier for under and over performing units on the scoreboard, speaking as much to the overall talent level of the defense as the points allowed does. A defense bleeding points that is good on 3rd down are a bunch of underachievers (also suggesting an inordinate amount of negative flukes), likewise a team shutting opponents down on the scoreboard that is struggling on 3rd down are a bunch of overachievers and that success may be fleeting for the group (suggesting an inordinate amount of positive flukes).

    Significant Improvement (>6.9% 3D)
    2002 New England Patriots (9% 3D)^
    2004 San Diego Chargers (7% 3D)^

    Good Improvement (>3.9% 3D)
    2006 New York Jets (6% 3D)^
    2002 Atlanta Falcons (6% 3D)
    2005 Dallas Cowboys (4% 3D)^

    Slight Improvement (>1.9% 3D)
    2005 Minnesota Vikings (3% 3D)(H)
    1999 Jacksonville Jaguars (2% 3D)^
    2005 San Francisco 49ers (2% 3D)(H)

    No Change (1.9% > 3D > -1.9%)
    2007 Arizona Cardinals (1% 3D)(H)

    Decline (<-1.9% 3D)
    2005 Cleveland Browns (-4% 3D)
    2005 Miami Dolphins (-8% 3D)(H)
    2002 Baltimore Ravens (-9% 3D)(H)

    Here is another place where the full switch teams drastically outperformed their hybrid counterparts. No hybrid team showed any more than a 3% improvement, and only 2 of the 7 full switch teams failed to at least improve by 4%, one of them (1999 Jaguars) was a borderline top 10 team on 3rd downs prior to the change, and they did improve. The Browns were the only team that fully switched year 1 that showed any decline in year 1.

    I think that this shows that running a 3-4 defense does leave the team with a better assortment of body types for the 3rd down sub packages, whereas hybrid teams are still generally keeping the same numbers of player types as 4-3 teams on the roster, making their 3rd down performance at best slightly better than the previous year.

    There are benefits to having several OLB's (4-3 situational pass rushers), several big huge ends (4-3 pass rushing UT's), and a backup big man (2 giant NT's) on the roster, which come in handy on 3rd and long and 3rd and short. The player types of front line players that typically aren't the best for 3rd downs, run stopping UT's (a la Cole) and run stopping left ends (a la Montgomery), aren't generally kept by 3-4 teams. I think this data clearly shows the benefits of the player types and numbers that a 3-4 team keeps vs a 4-3 team on the performance of the 3rd down defense.

    Also noticeable is that no team making the switch, either full blown or hybrid, produced an elite performer on 3rd down, despite an overall elite defense on the scoreboard. This suggests at least enough mental errors on any team associated with a switch to prevent the team from becoming an elite 3rd down performer in the first season, though 5 of the 12 teams, all 5 being teams that fully switched year 1, produced top 10 performers on 3r down. Something that is very telling IMO."


    Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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    PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:39 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
    All right. Done.

    I'm finished with raw data collection, individual team analysis, and overall analysis.

    I thought I noticed some trends when going through collecting data and writing it out, but going through each of indicators and charting them individually was at times shocking IMO, and led to a number of conclusions that I think are overlooked.

    Namely:
    1) There is very little point to fielding a hybrid team. Teams that fully switch, with or without the necessary pieces, tend to outperform the hybrids.

    2) Teams switching to a full 3-4 will almost surely at least improve a little, some drastically. The myth of "struggling" the first year has been debunked.

    3) It is entirely possible to field an elite team the first year of the switch. 12 teams have switched to a 3-4 or hybrid in the last 10 years, 2 of them fielded the best defense in the NFL that season on their first try (both fully switched). More than half the teams that fully switched (4 of 7) fielded a top 10 unit on the first try.

    4) The struggles of the scheme change for the team making the change seem to be lesser struggles than the struggles of their opponents trying to game plan against them (with almost zero game tape and no idea of what the DC is going to call). An oft overlooked aspect of the scheme change but apparently very important.

    5) The run defense does not struggle and should in fact improve, possibly significantly, for teams making the switch that at least have a serviceable nose tackle. In conflict with popular opinion.

    6) The fact that the OLB's suck in pass coverage may in fact have the opposite effect than thought, that the plays they give up are more than offset by the fact that the QB isn't trying to throw one deeper and is taking the easy underneath play, one that a good swarming defense can prevent form doing much damage.

    7) Almost every team that made the switch saw their ballhawking improve.

    8) Apparently it isn't the scheme that creates the sacks. It seems that it is the fact that the scheme allows an elite pass rusher body type to be on the field every play as opposed to the situational use that they receive on a 4-3 team, however the team still needs the elite players to get the pressure, which often are not in place (or are rookies) at the time the switch is made.

    9) The body types and numbers that a 3-4 team keeps on the roster apparently are better 3rd down situational performers (3rd and long / 3rd and short) than their 4-3 or hybrid counterparts, and often games are won and lost on 3rd down.
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    Now , before people think that this means I supported the move to a 3-4, I did not I do not now nor have I ever supported this move. What was lost in much of the debate about this was In every case each team had several 3-4 ready players or spent high draft picks to get them. in the case of Gb last year drafted two first round front 7 defensive players AND had two returning starters AND a first round pick appearing healthy enough to contribute immediately.

    WE HAD NO TRUE 3-4 PLAYERS EVEN ON OUR ROSTER, ONE GUY WHO FAILED AT IT IN SAN FRAN, A TRUE 3 TECH BEAST WHO OPENLY SAID HE DIDNT WANT TO PLAY NT AND NOONE ELSE ON OUR ROSTER WHO WAS EVEN REMOTELY A 3-4 TYPE PLAYER.

    We were short at DT with really only AH and Gholston (most 3-4 teams use converted Dt's at DE.) we were short at OLB (only Rak) and forced to use Carter at OLB and we all know what an epic fail that was. and worst of all we had no NT, we depended on a guy making a miracle recovery from an achilles injury and a guy who was a third stringer for the jest at NT.

    Shannahan has never shown an inkling of defencive knowledge or understanding which is odd considering his knowledge of offence. This move was motivated by something truly disturbing, because he claimed he watched hours of film of both our team and top 3-4 defences. I cant see how anyone with a brain thought this was even a decent Idea.
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  5. #5

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    James Madison

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    Ok Ryman, excellent posts. Two things stand out. First, I thought his analysis on teams adjusting to the 3-4 is good, though discouraging for us, if we have been giving teams new looks this season and are still getting shredded, I wonder what next year will be like, should we continue? Yikes.

    Second, I wonder how the Hayneworth drama fits into all this. Shanahan pretty much announced his intentions to run a 3-4 from day one, and i would guess he planned for Fat Al to be his NT. You obviously know a lot more about schemes than I do, but it seems to me from my limited knowledge that the NT is pretty much the key to the 3-4. The NT allows the LBs flow to the ball and make plays, right? At any rate, I would theorize that Shanny envisioned Fat Al being his stud DT. Why he didn't do his research ahead of time on this is beyond me. Why make the announcement without talking to and selling the key piece in your defense? Did he think given the opportunity, he could sell Haynesworth on it? Probably. But by announcing it in the media first, he pretty much screwed himself. No one likes hearing from anyone other than their boss what they are going to be doing at work. Haynesworth chapped, and handled his side of things poorly, and sorta sunk the whole thing.

    I know Haslett said eventually that he intended Fat Al to play DE, but that probably wasn't the original plan. I would guess they were shocked by Haynesworths reaction, and switched m to DE to save face. That's not so different from what a lot of us do at work when we are caught in a difficult situation, i would guess.

    And i know, i know, there is no way to KNOW any of this. Just guessing. But it sure seems like Shanahan was banking on Fat Al, but didn't check with him first.

    And Ryman, I am not disagreeing with you that we don't have personnel to run the 3-4. I think Fat Al could have made it marginally better though, had the coaching staff handled him the right way.
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    While I don't think this defense is going to make any drastic turnarounds at this point, its fair to note that there isn't a full-season of data yet to analyze. A lot of teams, particularly Green Bay and the Jets, took about half a season to come around IIRC. giving up 52 points isn't going to help much, but I'm just sayin...
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    I appreciate the write up and have enjoyed your presence here Ryman, welcome aboard, but what if someone were to do a report on 4-3 defenses who had coaching changes? Wouldn't there be similar statistics? I mean, these numbers merely suggest that it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, usually depending on the coaching staff and proper personnel. Couldn't that be said of any style of defense or offense for that matter?
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    I am with Elephant on this one. I also have to say that I am behind the switch to the 3-4. I think this team lacks talent anyways..3-4...4-3...it does not matter. I think that is why we saw Blache play it safe so much last year and not bring any pressure. We are talent deficient.

    If we lack the talent to run either scheme properly or one scheme 'slightly' better, then why not make the switch? Before the past game, we have been doing o.k. with PPG. IT was at 21.25. Last year our ppg was at 21.00. Not a big enough difference to even note. The Eagles hiked that number up to 25.4, which really sucks, but we still have quite a few games left.

    Where our defense is way better are turnovers. This year we have 19 takeaways with a touchdown and I think last year we had total of 18 with no touchdowns. I could be slightly off on the 18, I am having a hard time trying to find out the exact number. But, if you are letting in roughly the same amount of ppg and obtaining more turnovers, then why not switch?

    I have to think that our D will only improve next year. We are having some growing pains, but I think it is better than last year even though it is painful to watch at times. I think we hid a lot of the negatives from last year with soft play. Our team is not playing safe this year and we are able to evaluate which players fit this system better.

    Cannot say that I am against the switch at all. We just need better talent.
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    UTEP

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    I thought his analysis on teams adjusting to the 3-4 is good, though discouraging for us, if we have been giving teams new looks this season and are still getting shredded, I wonder what next year will be like, should we continue? Yikes.

    Second, I wonder how the Hayneworth drama fits into all this. Shanahan pretty much announced his intentions to run a 3-4 from day one, and i would guess he planned for Fat Al to be his NT. You obviously know a lot more about schemes than I do, but it seems to me from my limited knowledge that the NT is pretty much the key to the 3-4. The NT allows the LBs flow to the ball and make plays, right? At any rate, I would theorize that Shanny envisioned Fat Al being his stud DT. Why he didn't do his research ahead of time on this is beyond me. Why make the announcement without talking to and selling the key piece in your defense? Did he think given the opportunity, he could sell Haynesworth on it? Probably. But by announcing it in the media first, he pretty much screwed himself. No one likes hearing from anyone other than their boss what they are going to be doing at work. Haynesworth chapped, and handled his side of things poorly, and sorta sunk the whole thing.

    I know Haslett said eventually that he intended Fat Al to play DE, but that probably wasn't the original plan. I would guess they were shocked by Haynesworths reaction, and switched m to DE to save face. That's not so different from what a lot of us do at work when we are caught in a difficult situation, i would guess.

    And i know, i know, there is no way to KNOW any of this. Just guessing. But it sure seems like Shanahan was banking on Fat Al, but didn't check with him first.

    And Ryman, I am not disagreeing with you that we don't have personnel to run the 3-4. I think Fat Al could have made it marginally better though, had the coaching staff handled him the right way.
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    You are exactly right about NT.

    about the other stuff,Thats the point, several people have said " give it time" or worse" no 3-4 is ever good right away after a switch" both are fallacies, when it works, it works right away IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT. running a hybrid rarely works and was only done BY US because several people questioned the logic of this switch. if you are still in favour despite all the evidence then I wouldnt know what to say lol. its obvious its going to be another year of beatdowns if they stay with this joke.

    Shannahan fell into a classic hole with AH, many coaches who never were position coaches, think they can coach guys up as long as the guy has the right physicality, AH is big, strong, quick and explosive, you would think he would be a great nosetackle by looking at him, EXCEPT he mentally isnt suited for it at all and he simply isnt sturdy enough. Over hie whole life he has developed a skillset that works for him. Its muscle memory now, how many times do we see him struggle to hold himself back and then get washed out?
    Shanny showed that when it comes to defence he is not very knowledgable about players or schemes, AH is a guy who has spent his entire life attacking, shooting gaps, disupting, moving forward, to suddenly expect him to take up blocks rather than make plays, to stand his ground and maintain gap control rather than get in the back field and disrupt, was stupidity of the highest magnitude. We didnt sign him for a 100mil to take up blocks.

    the problem was that Blache misused him a lot too, last years D needed a DT who could two gap a lot, and AH is simply not a 2 gap player.

    Shannhan and Haslett fell into this with Carter as well, at 6-4 and 265 he is prototype size for an OLB, he runs a good 40 and is very athletic when rushing, the problem (and any long time fan could have told them) is that he is stiff in the hips, doesnt redirect well and is very uncomfortable in space, he is much better moving forwards than backwards. YET IT TOOK THEM ALMOST 4 GAMES TO FIGURE THAT OUT EVEN AFTER THEY HAD FILM OF HIM FAILING IN SAN FRAN. Thats why we got him on the cheap.

    In my mind the job of a GOOD DC is to put the players he has into the best position to make plays and win games, whining that we dont have a NT or real 3-4 DE or a Buck or a Will, is moot, we dont have them. I dont hear other teams trying to use that as an excuse. they just run with what they have.



    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    what if someone were to do a report on 4-3 defenses who had coaching changes? Wouldn't there be similar statistics? I mean, these numbers merely suggest that it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, usually depending on the coaching staff and proper personnel. Couldn't that be said of any style of defense or offense for that matter?

    This is about something that directly affects OUR team, now as I have said , we would have had far better results had we just amped up the aggression in our scheme and added 1-2 key players, the turnovers we are now seeing are not results of the 3-4, as a matter of fact most of them came when we were in 4 man fronts or running nickel (with a 4 man line). We would have seen the same improvement had we simply been more aggressive with our old 4-3.

    I agree that you will see changes any time you have a coaching change, the fact that we have been so terrible is an indictment against Haslett and Shanny for forcing him to run a 3-4. The truth is that we didnt have the right players for this and making the switch was stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by the Omniscient View Post
    I am with Elephant on this one. I also have to say that I am behind the switch to the 3-4. I think this team lacks talent anyways..3-4...4-3...it does not matter. I think that is why we saw Blache play it safe so much last year and not bring any pressure. We are talent deficient.

    If we lack the talent to run either scheme properly or one scheme 'slightly' better, then why not make the switch? Before the past game, we have been doing o.k. with PPG. IT was at 21.25. Last year our ppg was at 21.00. Not a big enough difference to even note. The Eagles hiked that number up to 25.4, which really sucks, but we still have quite a few games left.

    Where our defense is way better are turnovers. This year we have 19 takeaways with a touchdown and I think last year we had total of 18 with no touchdowns. I could be slightly off on the 18, I am having a hard time trying to find out the exact number. But, if you are letting in roughly the same amount of ppg and obtaining more turnovers, then why not switch?

    I have to think that our D will only improve next year. We are having some growing pains, but I think it is better than last year even though it is painful to watch at times. I think we hid a lot of the negatives from last year with soft play. Our team is not playing safe this year and we are able to evaluate which players fit this system better.

    Cannot say that I am against the switch at all. We just need better talent.

    TO- You are wrong, the reason for our drop off is NOT talent we didnt suddenly lose a bunch of probowlers to go from 5th to 32nd, if anything, this team is fairly talented on the defencive side of the ball as evidenced by the turnovers we have gotten DESPITE terrible schemeing. the more film people get on us the more terrible we will look, we beat the hell out of philly the first time we played them because we ran 4 man fronts aggressively and mixed up our coverages with 2 man and soft zone, mixed with blitzing, the secodn time we panicked and went two man and soft zone with no pressure and a lot more 3man rushes, and Vick killed us because they knew exactly where to attack.

    Now Imagine if we not only increased our turnovers but STAYED SOUND, and allowed less yardage as well? its not the 3-4 that gets the turnovers, we have gotten most of them when in four man fronts or multiple rush (which you can do in a 4-3 scheme as well) if we werent struggling in the 3-4 perhaps we could actually get stops once in a while lol.

    I did a thing on another forum where I basically asked, BUILD YOUR PERFECT DEFENCE 3-4 OR 4-3 and we will compare what we have to YOUR IDEAL defence. I did it to show that in point of fact we do have talent on this team its just being misused. we actually have many of the pieces of an elite 4-3, we are actually only a few players away from having one of the marquee defences in the league. in a 3-4 we have ONE player who could be considered ideal and one player who the scheme affects him less than his position (landry).

    so lets do that, you post what you think would make an ideal 3-4 defence, pick the best players in the NFL at each position, seriously, its the easiest way for me to show you why what you think is actually worse for us.

    heres my ideal 4-3
    rush De-Jared Allen
    base DE- Mario Williams
    3 tech DT- Albert haynesworth
    Base DT-Pat williams

    sOLb-Clay matthews
    MLB-Pat willis
    wOLB-JOnathon Vilma
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post





    This is about something that directly affects OUR team, now as I have said , we would have had far better results had we just amped up the aggression in our scheme and added 1-2 key players, the turnovers we are now seeing are not results of the 3-4, as a matter of fact most of them came when we were in 4 man fronts or running nickel (with a 4 man line). We would have seen the same improvement had we simply been more aggressive with our old 4-3.

    I agree that you will see changes any time you have a coaching change, the fact that we have been so terrible is an indictment against Haslett and Shanny for forcing him to run a 3-4. The truth is that we didnt have the right players for this and making the switch was stupid.
    I agree 100%! I would even go so far as to say we would likely be tied with the Eagles and Giants for first in the division had we maintained a 4-3 with a more aggressive approach as you pointed out. The Lions and Rams games come to mind, but maybe even the Colts or Texans games. I could see us winning 2 of those games if we were scheming to our defenses' strengths instead of forcing the current scheme on a team ill equipped for it.

    I was not disputing the fact that this is an issue that affects our team, I was merely suggesting the numbers don't mean as much as you suggest. In my eyes, all those numbers mean is that good coaches with the right personnel made teams better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elephant View Post
    I agree 100%! I would even go so far as to say we would likely be tied with the Eagles and Giants for first in the division had we maintained a 4-3 with a more aggressive approach as you pointed out. The Lions and Rams games come to mind, but maybe even the Colts or Texans games. I could see us winning 2 of those games if we were scheming to our defenses' strengths instead of forcing the current scheme on a team ill equipped for it.

    I was not disputing the fact that this is an issue that affects our team, I was merely suggesting the numbers don't mean as much as you suggest. In my eyes, all those numbers mean is that good coaches with the right personnel made teams better.
    I think we misunderstood eachother lol because I feel the same way lol.
    and yes I should have been more clear, MOST OF THE TIME when a team makes the switch, it does so because it fits the current personelle and it does it with a competant DC who knows what he is doing. usually the team dedicates a lot of resources immediately to the change as well.

    my bad.
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    Ryan, excellent thread. I know Waldo myself from conversing with him on the Packers site I visit. He is indeed quite intelligent and very knowledgeable.

    I have a question. One site I visit, Cold Hard Football Facts, has among the stats it collects one called Bendability-a measure of the difficulty opposing team have in scoring against your offense measured as the ratio between total yardage and points scored. Until about three weeks ago, the Redskins were consistently ranked very high in this stat-as high as second to the Steelers-usually in the 20+ yards per point scored by opponents. In the last three weeks, however, they have dropped precipitously and are currently ranked 14th with a Bendability of 16.32 yards per point scored by an opponent meaning that for some reason opponents have suddenly found it easier to score against the Skins D. I wonder if you might have spotted something that may have recently changed to have caused this, or could it just be that OCs have finally watched enough tapes to be able to effectively scheme against our D-which in itself could be an indictment of the 3-4 installation in a "square peg in a round hole" approach.-at least here anyway.

    Last season the Redskins were also rated fairly high-consistently in the top ten-on this stat as well. It seems almost ironic that Blache's "bend but don't break" philosophy was working in one aspect but as has been mentioned-and was complained about consistently last season-lacked an aggressive quality.
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    I'm giving it a 2-4 year window. Looking for improvement in all areas. Redskins, you're on the clock.

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    Serv, thats a great question and you actually answered it yourself.

    early on noone really knew what to expect from us in the way of who would line up where, to be honest this unpredictability was due to the fact that early on we did several things that were in fact very unsound schemewise. for instance against the cowpies we blitzed a corner (Clos) and didnt cover his area with anyone else, now whether that was a missed assignment (which I hope it was but it was missed twice) or a scheme issue I cant say, what I can say is that as a former QB I was taught that if a blitz was coming, you didnt throw simply to the vacated area, you threw to where the guy covering for the blitzer would be coming from, for instance when an OLB comes on an outside blitz, most of the time the guy covering for him would be the MLB leaving the vacated area as the short middle of the field, and if it was the SS covering for him then the deep middle was the area to hot read. early on we effectively fooled people because noone covered for the blitzer lol leaving someone wide open .

    QB's reads are very set , they have key reads and those reads are progressive, when you mess with those reads sometimes you can really slow the QB decision making down and you can get turnovers. however if a QB is very prepared even if you get pressure on him they can exploit holes in your scheme.

    What I have noticed is that teams like the bears with an arrogant " what we do works" type OC are more susceptible to a free form unsound defence because they dont adjust and just keep "doing what works" even when it isnt, on the other hand teams who rely on preparation and adjustments will do very well against us. any decent coach who watches any film should be able to scheme our defence easily now. especially in the 3 man front because its so bad its almost pathetic. Only one of our 3 man linemen would start anywhere else and even he is a decent to marginal guy at best (Carriker).

    we essentially took the strength of our team and turned it into a weakness.

    Bend but dont break defences arent always bad, but after watching Blaches defences for 2 years most of us wanted something more aggressive, I wanted balance, more big plays but not selling the farm to get them. early on we got very lucky when teams would get confused by us playing such unsound football, like when Landry was supposed to be up in the box as a decoy against the texans and couldnt recover to get back into his zone) in the late second Q the texans adjusted and moved the ball at will.

    The redskins actually have pretty solid talent if used correctly, as I stated about my ideal 4-3 lets look at it again

    Pass rush end? Ideal Jared allen we have Rak who is almost as good who could rotate with carter, between the two I think they are pretty close to as good as allen
    3 tech tackle there are only a couple superlative 3 techs and we just paid one a hundred million, so yes we have this piece (which isnt easy to find)
    Base tackle Ideal Pat williams, we have Gholston who at best is a high effort rotational player but base DT's are the easiest players to find for a 4-3, we could get by with Gholston rotating with kemo and holliday.
    Base end- no we dont have a guy who is as good as Mario Williams however we have a pretty solid rotation with daniels and Jarmon and holliday in a pinch

    Sam- we need one, this would count as a hole that needs to be filled asap.
    Mac- Fletch is not as good as Willis however he is still considered to be a top MLB and will be for proabbly 2 more seasons.
    Will-Rocky is underrated and now that hes recovered form his knee injury he is at least solid enough to start for most teams if not a probowler.

    so as you can see if running a 4-3 we are actually remarkably closer to having an elite defence than people assume, with only one hole in our front seven and a mild need at DT and DE that could be filled by developmental (late round picks and FA) players.

    Now lets look at how far away we are with a 3-4 (although im disappointed nobody stepped up with their perfect 3-4 lol)

    LDE- carriker- he is nowhere near the best 3-4 lde's but he is at least decent so one starter.
    NT- we have Kemo who is nowhere near elite, so we need a starter at NT
    RDE- AH hasnt shown the ability to soak blocks and hold ground so we need another starter at RDE

    ROLB- rak, ok Rak has played well at this spot. not quite elite but very good
    RILB- Fletch has looked slow and made most of his tackles well down the field he simply lacks the size to bang inside especially without a big NT protecting him.
    LILB- Rocky too has gotten pounded, he has made a pile of tackles but he misses a lot and frankly he makes a lot of downfield tackles as well, he is a better fit at Will in a 4-3.
    LOLB- Lorenzo- he is slow but very instinctive, sadly just too slow and not agile enough in space, he is an upgrade over AC but lets be honest on any other team he is a back up at LB at best. (i think he could play inside ala levon kirkland perhaps)

    so in a 3-4 from we have one competant player in carriker and one standout in Rak, AT EVERY OTHER SPOT WE NEED AN UPGRADE AND STARTING PLAYER.

    what does this mean?

    It means that in a 4-3 we would need one high draft pick or marquee free agent to have an elite front seven. with all the issues on offence and in our secondary this is huge. We already have star quality players at 5 positions and we have decent depth. an injection of youth would be nice but not essential immediately.

    in the 3-4 our of seven players we need to replace 5 with only carriker and Rak being starter quality and only Rak being star quality. We have no depth and would need an injection of both youth and depth asap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post
    (although im disappointed nobody stepped up with their perfect 3-4 lol)
    Ha Ha!! Lol!!! <- yes, sarcasm.....just because I do not answer your post within 4hours does not mean you have to call me out. Sorry, I cannot sit on this board all day with the hope that the great Ryman will converse with me. Until this week, I have not posted on here in about three months.

    Also, I find the 'create your perfect 3-4' game quite trivial....just for the simple fact that anyone here can go through rosters, pick out scouting reports on websites, spew the information on the board and pretend like they know something. This is a damned if you do and a damned if you don't situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post
    Shanny showed that when it comes to defence he is not very knowledgable about players or schemes, AH is a guy who has spent his entire life attacking, shooting gaps, disupting, moving forward, to suddenly expect him to take up blocks rather than make plays, to stand his ground and maintain gap control rather than get in the back field and disrupt, was stupidity of the highest magnitude.

    Shannhan and Haslett fell into this with Carter as well, at 6-4 and 265 he is prototype size for an OLB,

    TO- You are wrong, the reason for our drop off is NOT talent we didnt suddenly lose a bunch of probowlers to go from 5th to 32nd, if anything, this team is fairly talented on the defencive side of the ball as evidenced by the turnovers we have gotten DESPITE terrible schemeing. the more film people get on us the more terrible we will look,
    I agree that AH does not have it mentally. A lot of coaches, like Shannahan, believe that they can turn players around, in fact, many of them do. There is evidence of guys being able to play in both systems such Ted Washington, he was a bit larger than Haynesworth, but still played both.

    I do not think that I can fault Shannahan for thinking that Haynesworth could be one of those guys. It think it takes a lot of confidence and you have to be a bit cocky in order to be one of the best coaches. You cannot be an 'aww shucks' kind of guy, Zorn. You have to believe you can turn guys around and push them in way they have never been pushed. Therefore, I can see where Shannahan was coming from on this one.

    We will disagree on Haynesworth til the end...I am sure of it.

    I agree with you on Carter. There was plenty of evidence prior to him being in Washington that he would not work well in the 3-4. This was dumb on their part.

    Also, I am not wrong that the reason for our drop off was a lack of talent. If you read my post, I never even hinted at a drop off, quite the contrary. We had a horrible game against Philly, as of right now, I am saying that was an abberration. I did say that this team lacks talent. We are on par for similar ppg, which is not the best, but the turnovers have made the difference. Prior to the 2 td's this year, I do not remember the last time we scored on defense, in fact, I think it may have been Sean Taylor.

    If the talent on this team has gotten the turnovers and none of it was scheme, then where were the turnovers the last several years?

    I also think that the offense hurts this defense. This offense cannot sustain a drive to save its life. The defense gets worn down. Although this is not much difference than years past.

    You also say that the more teams obtain film on us, the worse it will get. That could be true, or maybe not. You are making an assumption that everything stays static. There is no way to tell if this will be right or wrong. You have a fifty fifty shot at being right. Now, I am kind of worried about injuries right now, Rogers is not looking good for this week, Landry has an achilles problem...overall there is a lack of depth no matter what scheme we are running. This could factor into poor defense on down the road.

    I am not ready to give up on the 3-4 after an unspectacular start. Look, you probably know more than I do, but hey, I never claimed I knew it all. But, I do not think Shannahan is going to leave this club without doing his best to put in a sound defense. He is not coming here to be embarrassed and leave his legacy a mess. If he thinks this is going to make us better in the future, not necessarily now, but in the future, then I will support it.

    Coaches make mistakes, it happens all the time. This could be a Shannahan mistake, but we do not know yet. Even you really do not know what he is thinking at this moment about the defense. He could agree with everything you are saying and scrap it, or he could say full steam ahead. Either way, I am going to sit back and watch him make either the biggest mistake ever, or I will watch him build us into an annual playoff team. I hope it is the latter.

    Now, I am going to bed. I did not say everything I wanted to say, but I am tired. I am not going to be on here for a few days, life and all, so don't get upset!

    Also, I have the right to change my mind when presented with new evidence. I find most decent people do. I do it quite often....so do not be surprised if one day I say you were right. As of right now, I am sticking to my guns.
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    TO-My point in asking anyone who likes the 3-4 decision to post their ideal 3-4 was simply to point out how very far we are from having even a decent 3-4 defence and how much work would have to go into it as well as draft and FA resources. and no worries I wasnt insinuating you were avoiding it or that anyone else was, I was home from work today (kidney issues) so I was hanging out on the interweb.

    I completely fault shanny for thinking AH would be an effective NT, a decent NT has to have certain characteristics, and surprisingly its not just being big and strong. They need to be durable, they need to have a certain mentality, most of all they need to have a certain style, they are the ultimate stack type who play better when engaged than in space, their pass rush moves usually consist of bull rush and rip moves and not fakes spins and jab steps like AH tends to use with his swim moves. Lots of people dont understand what a transition from a 3tech to NT is, very few NT types would be even decent at playing a 3tech and very few 3techs play NT even competantly, the skills are not the same, its much like FB and HB, the positions look the same but with a FB the emphasis is on blocking and receiving, where the RB is obviously there to carry the ball. the NT is there to maintain the LOS and prevent the interior linemen from getting to the LB, while a 3 tech is supposed to get upfield and disrupt.

    TO,You said "I think that is why we saw Blache play it safe so much last year and not bring any pressure. We are talent deficient.

    If we lack the talent to run either scheme properly or one scheme 'slightly' better, then why not make the switch"

    My point is that not only are we not talent deficient but that we in fact do not lack the talent to run a 4-3 slightly better, we have the talent to run a 4-3 VASTLY better than we run the 3-4. we are depth deficient and youth deficient lol.

    The turnover bonanza that you and other 3-4 supporters mistakenly attribute to the 3-4 is actually because of the aggression of the new scheme not the alignment itself. in fact many aggressive 4-3 teams get piles of turnovers (saints, Vikes, Giants, Colts) all come to mind. We have not gotten many "turnovers" the past few seasons but one could argue that 3 and outs were the same as turnovers (thats blaches argument not mine lol) but thats because we rarely blitzed or turned loose our 100mil dollar man.

    I agree that this offence has hamstrung us a bit but that was why in years past we were so conservative on D, we knew we werent gonna score so we were very careful, I personally prefer an attacking 4-3 like petitbons or Ryans, frankly I think the defence is easiest part to build as well as the most important and we have the key pieces we just dont use them.

    Heres where I have a conspiracy theory, you see I think Shannhan knew how flawed we were on offence and if we had a seriously elite defence rocking peoples worlds and the offence wasnt holding up its end at all, who would be getting the bulk of the screaming directed at him? I think he knew the offence was gonna need multiple years to fix and to take the heat off he brought in a lame duck DC who is known as a motivator to get guys to buy in. he then created this impasse with AH to both show off who was boss as well as get rid of our most talented defender. This way everyone is talking about firing Haslett and not Kyle and nobody is paying attention to the fact that despite several upgrades this offence is actually worse than last seasons pathetic unit.

    I think Shannahan given time may get the offence running, thats what he is known for, but unless he admits that this 3-4 move was a fail, we will have yet another year of one sided beatings to look forward to.

    when it comes to defence, you dont do what is best "for the future" unless that entails getting young guys on the field to develop.
    you damn sure dont run a scheme that you dont have the players for so that in the future the new players you will replace them with can run it more smoothly? the players you will be replacing (in our case almost all of them) will be gone. You run the defence that puts the players you have, in the best possible position to maximise their strengths and minimise their weaknesses.

    and its all good im not gonna be on as much over the weekend either. have a good one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post
    TO-My point in asking anyone who likes the 3-4 decision to post their ideal 3-4 was simply to point out how very far we are from having even a decent 3-4 defence and how much work would have to go into it as well as draft and FA resources. and no worries I wasnt insinuating you were avoiding it or that anyone else was, I was home from work today (kidney issues) so I was hanging out on the interweb.
    We definitely agree here. I do not think we have the talent to run the 3-4. We just disagree with some of the other issues, but that is o.k. No problems there, although I cannot subscribe to your conspiracy theory
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    Ryman-on the "ideal 3-4" thing, I'll tell you what.

    Let others select the players, my only contribution will be to demand that Dom Capers set it up and run it.
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    I'm giving it a 2-4 year window. Looking for improvement in all areas. Redskins, you're on the clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by servumtuum View Post
    Ryman-on the "ideal 3-4" thing, I'll tell you what.

    Let others select the players, my only contribution will be to demand that Dom Capers set it up and run it.
    No way!! Dom is ours and you can't have him!!






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    Quote Originally Posted by servumtuum View Post
    Ryman-on the "ideal 3-4" thing, I'll tell you what.

    Let others select the players, my only contribution will be to demand that Dom Capers set it up and run it.
    I think thats what gets overlooked when people talk about the 3-4, certain guys are very very good at running it and it skews the numbers. either way im hoping shannhan admits he was wrong and goes back to a 4-3 but keeps the aggression up.
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    Ok one of the biggest arguments for this transition was it was supposed to maximise the strengths of the guy they thought should be our DMVP. Hasletts exact words were " we dont want Rak playing the run or dropping into coverage, his strength is rushing the passer so we will try to get him about 800 rushes last year he had about 300."

    2009 Washington Redskins 37 13 11 3.5 1 0 2 0 0 0
    2010 Washington Redskins 35 17 9 3 1 0 2 0 0 0

    in 2009 the bulk of raks sacks came while playing DE, although he lined up at OLB most of the time, for some odd reason despite supposedly being "unleashed" by this move to the 3-4 one number stands out, HE HAS 2 FEWER sacks this year despite playing on a defence that was on the field A LOT and playing against teams that passed far more than last year.

    heres what I learned so far about this scheme
    1- Haslett said they would run a lot of one gap, but we didnt, we ran a lot of two gap and some stupid amoeba crap and some unsound unbalanced formations.
    2- this was supposed to unleash our supposed best defencive player in Rak and get him doing what he does best and thats rush the QB, he had more chances and had less sacks.
    3-this scheme did get more turnovers but it also failed us in key down and in key games, the best games we had defencively we ran 4-3 looks a lot more and Haynesworth was playing a lot more, its not a coincidence.

    So players who were hurt, marginalised or played ineffctively by the change in scheme...

    London Fletcher- our heart on defence, looked out of place , made far more downfield tackles this season and spent lots of time in coverage of getting mauled on the second level.

    Rocky- racked up a lot of tackles, not many for a loss and I dont know if he even got a sack, so much for blitzing from all angles and being unpredictable. people thought his numbers meant he was playing well but a tackle 10 yards downfield is not the same as a TFL or at or near the los.

    Jarmon- told to lose and then gain weight all while rehabbing a knee injury, showed flashes of why we gave up a 3rd for him but hes out of place.

    AH- leagues highest paid passing down specialist and bench warmer, was dominant when used correctly which wasnt often.

    AC- my favourite player, absoluetly failed as an OLB, simply didnt have the lateral mobility or the comfort in space.

    Players who benefitted from the scheme change
    Carriker- too slow to play de in a 4-3 and too weak to play dt in a 4-3 he is a tweener who played decently overall and far better than he did as a ram.
    Landry- his numbers were vastly inflated by the fact that at the start of the year we were given bad angles to our front seven and he made a huge number of tackles, but being used closer to the LOS saved his career.
    Hall- the emphasis on turnovers worked for him, hes never been a great shutdown corner, but he is a turnover getter and when he risks he will make plays, and get burned. still he had a career year, but how much because he was on the field so much?

    you will notice rak is not on this list, look at his stats.
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