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Old 05-12-2009, 12:23 PM    (permalink
Matthew Jones
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Default 4-2-5 Defense?

I've been thinking about this for about a year now, ever since Belichick signed Tank Williams to play the "Rover" (LB/SS hybrid, for those that don't know.) After this draft, it really seems to me like New England could mask some of its linebacker deficiencies and integrate their draft picks into a new defense. The 3-4 is great and all, but since everyone's using it, finding players cheap just doesn't happen, and it's getting easier and easier to gameplan against. Here's how I imagine the 4-2-5 "Rover" defense looking:

LE: Ty Warren
DT: Vince Wilfork
NT: Ron Brace
RE: Richard Seymour

MLB: Jerod Mayo
OLB: Adalius Thomas

CB: Shawn Springs
CB: Leigh Bodden
FS: James Sanders
SS: Brandon Meriweather
ROVER: Patrick Chung

Chung would play up near the line of scrimmage over the tight end like a linebacker on most plays (which Rodney Harrison did last year), but also drop into coverage. This is a skillset Harrison had, which is why I'm thinking New England took Chung. With the four down linemen all being bigger guys, it'd be hard to block all of them, and you could also blitz guys like Adalius Thomas, Chung, and Shawn Springs (who's one of the better blitzing CBs in the league - in 2004, he had 6 sacks.) What do you guys think of that idea? Just trying to figure out how to get the best 11 players on the defense onto the field.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:31 PM    (permalink
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Wouldn't that leave the weak side just too open? What about two tight end sets?
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:32 PM    (permalink
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I was thinking about this yesterday actually. I wasn't exactly thinking 4-2-5, but the idea of more looks as a defense when you consider a surplus of big and powerful defensive linemen and a lack of linebackers, plus 3 talented safeties.

On passing downs, Seymour and Warren (even though Warren is a natural end) could move inside to tackle and we could play Jarvis Green and Crable/Redd at end. Imagine running the ball on that DL on first and second down?

Thomas and Mayo would be nice LBs behind that big DL, they are both big and athletic. Having two big guys in Wilfork and Brace in front of Mayo would make Jerod that much better since he wouldn't have to worry about shedding blocks that much. Chung would be an ideal fit as a rover. The only thing is I don't know if Chung could hold up as being essentially a WLB, he could be a good in the box type but you would get burned in the NFL having only two true LBs on the field.

Although we have the personnel for it, I just don't see a defense like this as an effective NFL defense. We are built for the 3-4 and we have some injuries, but we will be OK. We have added a lot of young talent to our defense in the last 2 years and I think we will be OK barring more injuries. I do think we will be seeing some more looks with 4 DL, though.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:10 PM    (permalink
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I think that defense would be absolutely perfect in situations like 1st down inside our 10 yard line with the offense running two receivers, one TE and a RB and FB. On obvious run downs it would be tremendous because an O-line would struggle to block that D-line and it leaves athletic playmakers to make the tackles, but also leaves enough athletes on the back end to drop into coverage. However, against teams like the Cardinals etc who have a multitude of receiving options I fail to see how much of a pass rush can be made.

Now if you play Seymour at 3 technique, Wilfork at nose, Ty Warren at strongside end and Crable/Redd(Jason Taylor???) at weakside then maybe but if it is an obvious passing down I would prefer to sub Sanders for Butler or Wheatley and just use a nickel package.

Overall though I see the Patriots using more 4 man fronts next year simply to increase the playmaking ability of Mayo who needs to be kept clean, and sub packages like this one could be used a lot because there are not enough playmaking LBers on the roster.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:13 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfProphecy View Post
LE: Ty Warren
DT: Vince Wilfork
NT: Ron Brace
RE: Richard Seymour

MLB: Jerod Mayo
OLB: Adalius Thomas

CB: Shawn Springs
CB: Leigh Bodden
FS: James Sanders
SS: Brandon Meriweather
ROVER: Patrick Chung

Chung would play up near the line of scrimmage over the tight end like a linebacker on most plays (which Rodney Harrison did last year), but also drop into coverage. This is a skillset Harrison had, which is why I'm thinking New England took Chung. With the four down linemen all being bigger guys, it'd be hard to block all of them, and you could also blitz guys like Adalius Thomas, Chung, and Shawn Springs (who's one of the better blitzing CBs in the league - in 2004, he had 6 sacks.) What do you guys think of that idea? Just trying to figure out how to get the best 11 players on the defense onto the field.
Regarding getting the best guys on the field I think it would maybe be more like

LE: Ty Warren
DT: Vince Wilfork
NT: Ron Brace
RE: Richard Seymour

MLB: Jerod Mayo
OLB: Adalius Thomas

CB: Darius Butler
CB: Leigh Bodden
FS: Shawn Springs
SS: Brandon Meriweather
ROVER: Patrick Chung

I just think BB will want to get Butler on the field as much as possible and if it is mainly in this defensive scheme then it could work
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:41 PM    (permalink
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AntoinCD hits on the point I was thinking: Sanders is not necessarily worthy of the "best guys on the field" tag. I don't recall a single Pats fan who, pre-draft, said anything even close to "we'll be fine with Sanders starting back there."

The 4-2-5 Defense looks ok on (the digital equivalent of) paper, but I just don't know that I would be that comfortable watching it on a regular basis.

Call it the "Big Nickel" and I think we have a winner - but Wilfork on passing downs would probably result in a constant need of oxygen for the big man. Mixing it in against the run occasionally is one thing, but on a regular basis I could see a sweep happy rushing attack destroying it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:08 PM    (permalink
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Mike Nolan ran a lot of this last year. Then he got fired. It didn't work.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:11 PM    (permalink
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I think we have the ability to run a hybrid defense sort of like Miami's more than anything. I know we give a lot of different looks, but we will have the ability to do that a lot now.

Here is what I think our traditional 3-4 look will end up being:

LE: Warren/Wright
NT: Wilfork/Brace
RE: Seymour/Green

WOLB: A. Thomas/Redd
WILB: Bruschi/Guyton
SILB: Mayo
SOLB: Woods/Crable

4 Man front-

LE: Warren/Green
NT: Wilfork/Brace
UT: Seymour/Wright
RE/LB: A. Thomas/Crable/Redd

SLB: A. Thomas/Woods
MLB: Mayo/Bruschi
WLB: Crable/Guyton

We have a lot of LB's who still can play with their hand on the ground (Adailus/Crable/Redd/possibly Woods), which would make that hybrid type of defense so nice for us. We may be sort of thin at LB but if these young guys show improvement we will be in good shape. We will be sticking with mainly 3-4 but we have always mixed up our looks and we will continue to do so.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:38 PM    (permalink
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As long as Belichick is coaching this team I don't see them changing from the 3-4 as their base defense. That's his preferred alignment. Of course they can mix other formations in there, and hopefully they will start doing that. It was a key to their success during the SB runs.

However, in the 4-3 alignment Seymour and Warren are pretty much both DT's rather than ends. Where would the pass rush come from in this 4-2-5? The Pats don't have pass rushing DE types, other than possibly Jarvis Green.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:49 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNPatsFan View Post
As long as Belichick is coaching this team I don't see them changing from the 3-4 as their base defense. That's his preferred alignment. Of course they can mix other formations in there, and hopefully they will start doing that. It was a key to their success during the SB runs.

However, in the 4-3 alignment Seymour and Warren are pretty much both DT's rather than ends. Where would the pass rush come from in this 4-2-5? The Pats don't have pass rushing DE types, other than possibly Jarvis Green.
Warren is a natural end, he is just very big ala Tyson Jackson. He could shift inside on passing downs in a 4 man front too. You are right about the pass rush, that would be an issue with that defense. I'm not saying Seymour and Warren can't get to the QB, the speed in the pass rush would just be an issue. On passing downs Seymour and Warren could shift inside and Adailus and Green/Crable/Redd could play end with Mayo and Guyton at LB. The defense we have now is what we were built to run and we will continue to do so, but we still give a lot of looks as you said.
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:09 PM    (permalink
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I really see The Pats defense playing a lot like the Cardinals did last year(hopefully at a better standard) with a mixture of 34 and 43 looks. The line is prototypical for a 30 front but at the minute we don't have the linebackers capable of sustaining a high quality front 7.

AD is definitely suited for the outside and Bruschi is a great fit inside, but apart from those two, who are both on the wrong side of 30, the fits aren't necassarily there. I was surprised last year at the Mayo pick(happy now) because he didn't seem to fit the mold of an ILB in a 34. While Guyton, Redd, Crable etc have extremely limited experience.

A lot of the deficiencies at LB are covered up by the d-line however with Bruschi's obvious decline and the loss of Vrabel there is a lack of players completely competent in the 34 which is whythere may be more 43 looks than usual.

I imagine the front 7 would then look like this

Warren
Seymour
Wilfork
Crable/Redd

AD
Mayo
Guyton

Although Mayo and Guyton would be interchangeable at WILL
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:48 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borat View Post
Mike Nolan ran a lot of this last year. Then he got fired. It didn't work.
Mike Nolan didn't have the personnel or overall knowledge/game-planning ability Belichick does though. I actually agree with someone who put Springs at FS over James Sanders though. I think the team is okay with Sanders at free safety most of the time as well, though. I also think it's a mortal lock that Shawn Springs is starting at CB opening day when the Bills line up Terrell Owens at WR.

It would be painful to see Darius Butler lining up opposite Owens. TO looks like an action figure. Darius Butler looks like a Barbie.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:06 AM    (permalink
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The Pats always use a lot of different looks. They ran this defense a lot last year with Meriweather, Sanders, and Harrison.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:53 AM    (permalink
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I doubt we change our base defense, btu with alot of the guys we drafted this year and last year (Mayo, Crable, Brace, Chung, etc.) it allows us to show many different looks and to maximize each players versatility.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:08 PM    (permalink
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I just think a lot of people are too stuck in basic defenses - 3-4, 4-3, nickel, dime, prevent, goal line, etc. I remember Crennel's creative defenses with one down lineman or five or six linemen, and moving people around, etc. The defenses put out by Pees recently are classic fronts, but the thing is people already know how to gameplan for most stuff.

Think about when you take a test in school - the best way to go in confident and do well is by preparing for what questions are going to be on it. If they throw in a question you didn't research or weren't expecting, you're going to be worried and confused. Look at what the Dolphins did with the Wildcat - the Patriots weren't expecting it and got manhandled, then were prepared the next time around. Don't give the questions they know the answers to if you want them to fail.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:19 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfProphecy View Post
I just think a lot of people are too stuck in basic defenses - 3-4, 4-3, nickel, dime, prevent, goal line, etc. I remember Crennel's creative defenses with one down lineman or five or six linemen, and moving people around, etc. The defenses put out by Pees recently are classic fronts, but the thing is people already know how to gameplan for most stuff.

Think about when you take a test in school - the best way to go in confident and do well is by preparing for what questions are going to be on it. If they throw in a question you didn't research or weren't expecting, you're going to be worried and confused. Look at what the Dolphins did with the Wildcat - the Patriots weren't expecting it and got manhandled, then were prepared the next time around. Don't give the questions they know the answers to if you want them to fail.
Right, which is why I think we will use a defense like this at times. We ran something like it at times last year and when you consider Chung a great fit as an in the box type I think we will use a similar look at times this year as well. We can give so many different looks because we draft players that are versatile and can line up in different spots. We don't like one dimensional players and that is why we pass on players that us as fans really like sometimes (Maualuga).
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:01 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenOfProphecy View Post
I just think a lot of people are too stuck in basic defenses - 3-4, 4-3, nickel, dime, prevent, goal line, etc. I remember Crennel's creative defenses with one down lineman or five or six linemen, and moving people around, etc. The defenses put out by Pees recently are classic fronts, but the thing is people already know how to gameplan for most stuff.

Think about when you take a test in school - the best way to go in confident and do well is by preparing for what questions are going to be on it. If they throw in a question you didn't research or weren't expecting, you're going to be worried and confused. Look at what the Dolphins did with the Wildcat - the Patriots weren't expecting it and got manhandled, then were prepared the next time around. Don't give the questions they know the answers to if you want them to fail.
A base defense just means that that is what, generally, you play or start out in most of the time. Even when we had only one down lineman, or the 5 or 6 guys walking around at the LOS, we still had a base defense. At times we switched it up (something I'd like to see more of right now), but we still had a base defense. Chung and Brace allow for us to switch around the looks quite a bit (assuming both stay healthy and play well enough).
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