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Old 03-24-2013, 07:54 PM    (permalink
DrewyVuitton
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Default Smallest 4-3 DE duo in the league -- what will be the outcome?

Since the hiring of Monte Kiffen, I've been suggesting that the Cowboys will have major issues in the run game due to lack of size at DE. I'm curious what non-fans of the team think about it.

http://bloggingthebeast.com/2013/03/...nd-the-league/

This article I stumbled across this weekend posts the avg weights of all the 4-3 DE duos in the league.

At the bottom of the list is Dallas with an average weight of 252 lbs between DeMarcus Ware & Anthony Spencer

The NFL average is 273.6 lbs

And at the top of the list are the Seahawks with an avg weight of 291.5 between their DE's

The Cowboys are reportedly looking to extend Spencer to a long term deal, essentially going all in on and tying themselves to this smallest DE duo in the league, what will be the outcome?

I'm predicting a failure. The Cowboys don't have the ability to jump out to large leads forcing the opposition into a pass-heavy comeback mode, allowing Ware & Spencer to do what they do best, which is rush the passer.

Instead, they'll be playing from behind, like they were all of last season, seeing heavy power formations with the opposition ramming the ball down their throat and having the players wear down as the season progresses.

Looking for thoughts from outside the Cowboy fan base on this to get unbiased opinions
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:09 PM    (permalink
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Is it fact ware will be a de?
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:15 PM    (permalink
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The 49ers played an even front 70% of the time in 2012. Both Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are sub-260.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:19 PM    (permalink
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Is it fact ware will be a de?
Yes, RDE and Spencer at LDE.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:20 PM    (permalink
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The 49ers played an even front 70% of the time in 2012. Both Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are sub-260.
Was Brooks a DE in that front?
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:29 PM    (permalink
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Was Brooks a DE in that front?
Yep.

Aldon Smith | Justin Smith | Ray McDonald | Ahmad Brooks
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:51 PM    (permalink
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Yep.

Aldon Smith | Justin Smith | Ray McDonald | Ahmad Brooks
And they ran that over 70% of the time? Interesting if true. What was behind them? Bowman/Willis/CB or are you saying they were in a 4-3
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:57 PM    (permalink
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Simeon Rice was sniffing at Canton when he played under Kiffin in the same scheme, and he's not much bigger than Ware.

I think Kiffin values pass rush more than the ability to set the edge against the run for his DEs. I don't think it will be that big a problem for Dallas.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:29 PM    (permalink
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Having watched Freeney/Mathis play the same spots on the same defense for a long time, I can honestly say the scheme isn't' set up to defend the run. This is esp true with undersized DEs. The entire notion of Kiffin's defense rests on playing with a lead. The Tampa2 based upon the 70s Steelers defense calls for elite DTs to help stuff the run. You'll basically see 4 guys rush on most downs regardless what the offense does.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:42 PM    (permalink
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Having watched Freeney/Mathis play the same spots on the same defense for a long time, I can honestly say the scheme isn't' set up to defend the run. This is esp true with undersized DEs. The entire notion of Kiffin's defense rests on playing with a lead. The Tampa2 based upon the 70s Steelers defense calls for elite DTs to help stuff the run. You'll basically see 4 guys rush on most downs regardless what the offense does.
Yes, this is another point I've brought up.

The Cowboys played from behind in nearly every game last year. This isn't Peyton Manning's Indy offense setting up his DE's to rush the passer.

They will undoubtedly see teams running power formations right down their throat.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:44 PM    (permalink
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And they ran that over 70% of the time? Interesting if true. What was behind them? Bowman/Willis/CB or are you saying they were in a 4-3
They were in a nickel a lot of the time. So it was Willis and Bowman with a third corner usually Carlos Rogers in the slot with Brown and Culliver playing on the outside.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:47 PM    (permalink
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Simeon Rice was sniffing at Canton when he played under Kiffin in the same scheme, and he's not much bigger than Ware.

I think Kiffin values pass rush more than the ability to set the edge against the run for his DEs. I don't think it will be that big a problem for Dallas.
Simeon Rice was 268 and an inch taller, Greg Spires was 265.

Their avg weight was 266.5, 14lbs larger than Ware & Spencer at 252.

And they played with a 1st ballot HOF 3-tech in Warren Sapp and Booger MacFarland in their prime, not Jason Hatcher and Jay Ratliff in their 30's.

Also consider those guys were DE's their entire career.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:48 PM    (permalink
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They were in a nickel a lot of the time. So it was Willis and Bowman with a third corner usually Carlos Rogers in the slot with Brown and Culliver playing on the outside.
In Cover 2, also... so no safety in the box.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:50 PM    (permalink
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They were in a nickel a lot of the time. So it was Willis and Bowman with a third corner usually Carlos Rogers in the slot with Brown and Culliver playing on the outside.
Well, it's a decent comparison but not exactly what I'm interested in.

Ware & Spencer have played DE in nickel their entire careers and can handle that role.

I'm talking about base defense, playing against 1st & 2nd down power formations.

I'm worried the fact they're undersized, likely wont be playing with a lead, and will likely get worn down as the season goes on is a disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:59 PM    (permalink
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I'm talking about base defense, playing against 1st & 2nd down power formations.
Yeah, but how many teams constantly do that anymore? The pass is being emphasized more than ever and teams are spreading defenses out. The 49ers probably wouldn't prefer to be in the nickel as much, but they have to adjust to how offenses decide to play them.

Not sure about Dallas situation since I don't follow them that closely. I think San Francisco had an issue last year towards the end of the season with the defense being worn down due to them not rotating anyone in that much, but I think that might change a little this year.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:02 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, but how many teams constantly do that anymore? The pass is being emphasized more than ever and teams are spreading defenses out. The 49ers probably wouldn't prefer to be in the nickel as much, but they have to adjust to how offenses decide to play them.
I hope that's the case. I'd prefer they be in more of a pass rush role. But say they played against the 49ers, Seahawks, Ravens, or another team with the ability to play physical and what happens?

How will these guys play the run? I don't see them being able to do it successfully.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:07 PM    (permalink
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Not sure about Dallas situation since I don't follow them that closely. I think San Francisco had an issue last year towards the end of the season with the defense being worn down due to them not rotating anyone in that much, but I think that might change a little this year.
With Ware being one of the highest paid defensive players in the league and Spencer reportedly about to sign a long term deal, there will be a lot of pressure for these guys to play big and play a lot.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:20 AM    (permalink
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The 49ers played an even front 70% of the time in 2012. Both Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are sub-260.
Does PFF chart this? Do they chart coverages? I couldnt' find it.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:42 AM    (permalink
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Does PFF chart this? Do they chart coverages? I couldnt' find it.
Wondering the same. I've heard it said most teams play nickel 60% of the time but I'm curious to see actual figures.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:41 AM    (permalink
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I watched this system for years. First off Dallas will be fine, second Kiffen's D's plays the run on the way to the QB. Tampa 2 has some easy rules 1. Nothing cheap and nothing deep 2. Get to the QB and 3. Rally to the ball.

You never see one guy bringing down a RB. Its one hitting him then 2,3,4 and 5 coming in to clean up. It's how his D's play ball.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:47 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by gpngc View Post
Does PFF chart this? Do they chart coverages? I couldnt' find it.
I think this may have been a report a while back from one of the local beat writers. Or maybe Mike Sando from ESPN who covers the NFC West. Or it could have come from Pro Football Outsiders. And I'm pretty sure Pro Football Focus does chart coverages. They do literally analyze every single snap of every single game and grade every player on every play according to their metrics.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:06 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by bigbuc View Post
I watched this system for years. First off Dallas will be fine, second Kiffen's D's plays the run on the way to the QB. Tampa 2 has some easy rules 1. Nothing cheap and nothing deep 2. Get to the QB and 3. Rally to the ball.

You never see one guy bringing down a RB. Its one hitting him then 2,3,4 and 5 coming in to clean up. It's how his D's play ball.
Oh, well since you've watched this scheme with different, larger players playing in it. That makes perfect sense that these other, much small players will have the same success.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:26 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by DrewyVuitton View Post
Well, it's a decent comparison but not exactly what I'm interested in.

Ware & Spencer have played DE in nickel their entire careers and can handle that role.

I'm talking about base defense, playing against 1st & 2nd down power formations.

I'm worried the fact they're undersized, likely wont be playing with a lead, and will likely get worn down as the season goes on is a disaster waiting to happen.
Your concern is valid but you have to consider how often they'll actually face power formations. It's a worthwhile gamble if the percentages are low.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:52 PM    (permalink
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The Cover 2 defense definitely sells out the run for an all out pass rush which is why teams like Indy for years had small DE's. The Cover 2 is simply a great defense against great QB's because it defends the pass as its primary objective, but definitely isn't as good against the run.
However, Kiffin in the past had reasonably sized DE's unlike Indy, but their main purpose is still to rush the passer.
I'd be a lot more worried about Kiffin's age and his ability to still physically coach a pro team, after all, he seemed to fail at USC.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:35 AM    (permalink
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Kiffin's team in Tampa just seems way more talented than this team. Hard to point to the lack of success of a running game against them because they had Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and Lynch. Great players can hide the problems of scheme. I wouldn't say because they didn't struggle it meant small DEs could be effective against the run. That team has a lot going for it that Dallas doesn't.
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