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Anatomy of the Best 3-4 Defenses

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  • #16
    Originally posted by MindField View Post
    Ngata plays NT, DT and DE in the Ravens defense, depending on what they are running.

    Also, if Timmons was such a good player last season, why did Foote start over him at all?
    Ngata is a d-coords dream. He is big enough and strong enough to play NT, but also athletic enough to play any other position on the line, 3-4 and 4-3.
    Adopted 2010 Bronco: Chris Kuper
    Adopted 2011 Bronco: Brian Dawkins

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    • #17
      In looking at these defenses, I think you have to have two or three very good players that are also tremendous leaders.

      When the Broncos played better defense in say the 2005 season, we had two leaders and a focal point of the defense in Al Wilson and John Lynch.

      We have that to some degree now with Brian Dawkins, but the question is how many years does he have left? When we got Lynch, we were fortunate to get three quality years. If we get that with Dawkins, we should consider ourselves lucky.

      I also think that is why San Diego's defense fell of so dramatically last year, because Merriman has such a dramatic effect on what they do.

      So what do the Broncos have now besides Dawkins?

      Is D.J. Williams that type of player? Maybe, if he can stay and grow into a position without moving every year. He should have that chance to do that now.

      As far as Nolan, I think he will do a good job, and is a top 10 DC, but he is currently signed to a two year deal, so the spectre of turnover remains for our DC.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by MindField View Post
        Ngata plays NT, DT and DE in the Ravens defense, depending on what they are running.

        Also, if Timmons was such a good player last season, why did Foote start over him at all?
        Timmons didnt start as they was unsure at the start of the season but he proved he has the talent. 5 sacks from a guy who was the 3rd string is a great effort.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by broncsfan21 View Post
          Ngata is a d-coords dream. He is big enough and strong enough to play NT, but also athletic enough to play any other position on the line, 3-4 and 4-3.
          When Gregg is healthy, he has been the NT, and last year I saw Ngata do alot of things for the Ravens, just as you stated here.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by 15thebeast View Post
            Timmons didnt start as they was unsure at the start of the season but he proved he has the talent. 5 sacks from a guy who was the 3rd string is a great effort.
            We'll see how he does this year as a full time starter.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by jcdavey View Post
              i'd say the thing you need most to be a great 3-4 defense, truely great

              is a good to great safety, or very competent safety play

              san diego , that's been keeping them back (well aside from last year when merriman's injury kept them back) from appraoaching ravens pitt status

              now that NE doesn't have rodney, they're going to have to have some safety step up if they're going to get back to elite D status


              pitt and baltimore, as long as their safeties are healthy, are fine

              we've seen both pitt and baltimore fall off for a season when polamalu and reed missed time due to injuries

              as for dallas, they also need a safety

              what's been keeping them from elite status was the rapid decline of roy williams before they released him (he was declining for YEARS) and pat watkins flat out sucked at times. maybe he'll get better


              IMO having competent safety play, or a great safety, will make alot of difference


              and of course you have to have a good dline, that's a no brainer
              good point..i hope dawkins can help develop mcbath and brunton into the future
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              • #22
                Jim Johnson

                Originally posted by iowabronco24 View Post
                I don't really think that having great safetys make your defense great, I think they just put the icing on the cake. The front 7 makes your defense great. Pitt had (IMO) one DB that was above average (granted that was Troy P and he is elite) but still, the other 3 guys looked like pro bowlers because of that front 7. Pitt would constantly be forcing oppenents into 3rd and long (obvious passing situations) and then just put there nose down and get after that QB, usually with only 4 or 5 guys coming at the most. I just think as long as you don't have terrible safety play (Roy Williams in coverage), a truly dominant front 7 is the key to a great defense.
                The late Jim Johnson (requiescat in pace) stated the key to his D was the Safeties. :salute!:
                "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                • #23
                  Thanks, MindField ...

                  ... for the listing and analysis of the front sevens of those five 50/3-4 Ds.:salute!:

                  First, the sizes of the players was interesting to note. In that area the Broncos are comparable.

                  Secondly, how each player was acquired showed, as we might expect, a lot of first rounders (16 of the 35), three each 2nd & 3rd, four each 4th & UDFA with two each 6th & 7th. We don't know who the starters for the Broncos will be, but there are a couple of firsts, a second, a third, three fourths, three fifths (sounds like a party), a sixth, a seventh and five or more UDFAs. Ideally you might want more first rounders, but the jury is out on a bunch of these guys and how well they play, individually and collectively, will determine draft & FA priorities in '10.

                  Finally, when discussing the anatomy of the 50/3-4 D we need to remember that there is more to it than size and how a player was acquired.

                  The 50/3-4 is an alignment with variations how each guy may line up on the O. Beyond that is how it is played. Passively? Aggressively? Two-gap? One-gap? Blitz-O-Rama? Base? Mostly zone? Mostly man?

                  We will need to wait for preseason to see how Coach Nolan has this thing planned. Thank goodness for DVR!

                  Thanks once again and, as we say in NM, E I O U A.
                  "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by getlynched47 View Post
                    FYI Haloti Ngata plays Nose Tackle for the Ravens now if I'm not mistaken.

                    Also, your assessment of Lawrence Timmons is unfair and unjustified. Did you see the kind of stats he posted as the #3 inside linebacker??? That's why the Steelers were more than happy to part with Larry Foote, because Lawrence Timmons is an upgrade in ALL areas at that second inner linebacker position.
                    agreed...Also, he didn't start since it wasonly his second year in the league. He was drafted in the first round to be a starter and now he lived up to that. He will be great for them. Lets hope our 1st round LB can live up to that as well.
                    Last edited by broncos SB2010; 08-04-2009, 06:44 PM.
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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by MindField View Post
                      In looking at these defenses, I think you have to have two or three very good players that are also tremendous leaders.

                      When the Broncos played better defense in say the 2005 season, we had two leaders and a focal point of the defense in Al Wilson and John Lynch.

                      We have that to some degree now with Brian Dawkins, but the question is how many years does he have left? When we got Lynch, we were fortunate to get three quality years. If we get that with Dawkins, we should consider ourselves lucky.

                      I also think that is why San Diego's defense fell of so dramatically last year, because Merriman has such a dramatic effect on what they do.

                      So what do the Broncos have now besides Dawkins?

                      Is D.J. Williams that type of player? Maybe, if he can stay and grow into a position without moving every year. He should have that chance to do that now.

                      As far as Nolan, I think he will do a good job, and is a top 10 DC, but he is currently signed to a two year deal, so the spectre of turnover remains for our DC.
                      I have heard good things about Andra Davis' vocal leadership qualities. He is no al wilson, but better than anything we had last year. Paired with Dawk it should fire up the troops
                      Adopted 2010 Bronco: Chris Kuper
                      Adopted 2011 Bronco: Brian Dawkins

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                      • #26
                        If im not mistaken, doesn't the 3-4 follow the scheme as follows?

                        The linemen eats up blockers leaving the LB corp to run around and make plays. The linebacker that lines on the LOS (ROLB?) either rushes/drops back into coverage depending on the situation. If the LB on the LOS drops back, that leaves a LB to rush, ususally a ILB. Sounds to me that the ROLB is going to play a very important role.

                        Please correct me if im wrong.

                        Also, you normally have 4 rushers in a 3-4 right?

                        It would be awesome to see some of the organic chaos defense that Baltimore does... (something like 6 LBs on the field)
                        Advocate: Pistol Formation

                        "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them." - Isaac Asimov

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MoonDoy View Post
                          If im not mistaken, doesn't the 3-4 follow the scheme as follows?

                          The linemen eats up blockers leaving the LB corp to run around and make plays. The linebacker that lines on the LOS (ROLB?) either rushes/drops back into coverage depending on the situation. If the LB on the LOS drops back, that leaves a LB to rush, ususally a ILB. Sounds to me that the ROLB is going to play a very important role.

                          Please correct me if im wrong.

                          Also, you normally have 4 rushers in a 3-4 right?

                          It would be awesome to see some of the organic chaos defense that Baltimore does... (something like 6 LBs on the field)
                          I think Nolan said it best in his interview. sending 4 is normal. Less than that is a Prevent defense, more than that is a blitz. He also said the front 3 will rush but the 4th could come from anywhere, it could the ROLB, it could be an ILB or other OLB. It could also be a CB or safety...one of the benefits of the 3-4. IN tc they have been practicing blitzing with the ILB and also stunting with DOOM from the ROLB spot.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by broncsfan21 View Post
                            Ngata is a d-coords dream. He is big enough and strong enough to play NT, but also athletic enough to play any other position on the line, 3-4 and 4-3.
                            i think we've got a similar, if currently inferior, version of him in marcus thomas.
                            disclaimer: if the above post appears to contain outrageously illogical content, ITS PROBABLY SARCASM

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by MoonDoy View Post
                              If im not mistaken, doesn't the 3-4 follow the scheme as follows?

                              The linemen eats up blockers leaving the LB corp to run around and make plays. The linebacker that lines on the LOS (ROLB?) either rushes/drops back into coverage depending on the situation. If the LB on the LOS drops back, that leaves a LB to rush, ususally a ILB. Sounds to me that the ROLB is going to play a very important role.

                              Please correct me if im wrong.

                              Also, you normally have 4 rushers in a 3-4 right?

                              It would be awesome to see some of the organic chaos defense that Baltimore does... (something like 6 LBs on the field)
                              Mike Nolan had a good definition: D reads pass, 4 rushers is base (3 DL + 1 OLB); 3 rushers is prevent; 5 rushers is blitz. An inherent advantage of the 50/3-4 D is the uncertainty of from where the 4th Pass Rusher will come.

                              How any D plays run depends on the read and the call. The 50/3-4 is an alignment as is the split-front/4-3, but the call determines gap responsibility. Each alignment has strengths and weaknesses. It's harder to run outside a 50 than a split-front. OL blocking assignments differ when facing them.
                              "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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