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  • Wild Idea: 4-4 and 5-2 a possibility?

    In parallel with the thread "A possible hidden premium??", I thought it might be interesting to explore whether Shanahan's real secret plan is to gain 4-4 and 5-2 capabilities. Rather than bury this in the interminable debates on the merits of 4-3 vs. 3-4, I thought this topic deserved its own thread.

    There's a link on Wikipedia that makes it seem at first glance that we might now have the personnel to run a 4-4 defense or even a 5-2 on occasion, because of our exceptionally good cornerbacks. Does anyone know anything about these defenses and whether they might work with the linebackers and linemen that we now possess? All I know is what I read.

    According to the link, 4-4 and (even moreso) 5-2 defenses are very good for stopping the run but weak against the pass because they require a lot of man coverage. In a division with Larry Johnson and LaDainian Tomlinson but playing on teams with questions at quarterback and weak WR corps, that's a nice capability to have, especially if the cornerbacks you're asking to play man have names like Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly. The descriptions of penetrating DTs who can also play 2-gap seem to nail the descriptions of draft pick Thomas as well as players like Warren who can obviously play 2-gap but also like to penetrate now and then. The very fast DEs used in the 4-4 who can occasionally play like LBs sounds suspiciously like Jarvis Moss (who also worked out at LB at the combine) and maybe Elvis Dumervil and Ken Lang too. Also, the ability to bring pressure from as many as 8 different players sounds ideal against the likes of Peyton Manning (which is also a virtue of the 3-4). The Rover position sounds like an ideal role for Ian Gold.

    From the link:

    4-4:

    The 4-4 defense is based around speed, athleticism and intelligence rather than relying too heavily on size and strength as many other defenses do. Versatility is a key as every player can have a variety of roles from one play to the next. It is an attacking defense stocked with multiple blitz packages that can be easily concealed and altered. The top priority of the 4-4 defense is stopping the run and with 8 men in the box (around the line of scrimage) on every snap, it puts your defense in a very good position to do just that. In addition, with 8 men in the box, it is difficult for the offense to pin point exactly where the pressure will be coming from when the defense blitzes. One final significant advantage of the 4-4 defense is that it can easily adjust to the offense. The 4-4 can shift into a nickel or dime coverage simply and effectively.

    The only major drawback to the 4-4 defense is the potential to give up the big play, both through the air and on the ground. Shifty scat backs with breakaway speed are most successful against the 4-4. If they can cut their way through the layer of linebackers, they will likely only have 1, maybe 2 men to beat in the secondary and depending on their coverage assignments; they may not even be in position to make a tackle anyway. The other way the defense is exposed is on the deep pass. The cornerbacks are often left on an island (with out help from the Safeties), either in man coverage or playing in a 3 deep zone. If a speedy receiver gets past his defender, there likely is nothing between him and the end zone. The hope, however, is that even if a receiver opens up deep, the quarterback won’t have time to deliver the ball because of the pressure.

    Defensive Tackles

    While size is definitely a plus for defensive tackles in the 4-4, its not as important as quickness and the ability to use leverage to manipulate the offensive linemen. Its imperative for the defensive tackles to hold their ground. They cannot allow themselves to get turned around and under no circumstances can they allow themselves to be base blocked, one on one. Again, size is great and certainly helps, but a smaller tackle can be just as effective if he is a good technician. In the base 4-4, the defensive tackles will generally line up in the B gap in a 3 technique (outside eye of the guard). Depending on the read, the defensive tackle will either be asked to penetrate the line of scrimmage, or hold his ground and attempt to take on both the guard and offensive tackle.

    Defensive Ends

    The defensive end's primary role in the 4-4 defense is to get to the quarterback as fast as possible. They need to be strong enough to fight their way past offensive tackles; however they also need to be athletic enough to act as a linebacker because there are plenty of scenarios in the 4-4 defense that requires the defensive ends to drop into coverage, just as an outside linebacker would do. The ends should do whatever they can to get to the quarterback and on running plays they should pursue down the line of scrimmage, but be careful not to over commit as they need to be ready for a potential cutback.

    Inside Linebackers

    There are two inside linebackers in the 4-4 scheme known as the Mike and Buck linebackers. While they both play inside, Buck will shade to the strong side of the offense, Mike shades to the weak side. It is important for these inside backers to be aggressive and have a nose for the ball. As in most defenses, the Mike backer acts as the quarterback of the defense and is often the defensive leader. The primary responsibility of both Mike and Buck is to stop the run. The Buck backer will generally be more active in pass coverage than the Mike. Because of this, the Buck backer needs to be athletic enough to drop and almost play like a strong safety.

    Outside Linebackers

    As there are two inside linebackers, there are also two outside linebackers. These outside backers are known as Sam and Rover. The Sam linebacker typically sticks to the strong side. Sam does his fair share of blitzing, however he also needs to play the run and will usually be relied upon to cover the tight end or potentially a back out of the backfield. Rover will generally play on the weak side, however he can be moved to just about anywhere to better suit the defensive call or adjustment. The rover is probably the single most versatile position in the 4-4 defense. Depending on the call and the personnel in place, the Rover’s job could be purely to get after the quarterback or to drop into coverage. In a blitzing situation, the Rover is the most likely player to get to the quarterback. The Rover position can be played by a variety of athletic types ranging from an outside linebacker, to a strong safety.

    Secondary

    The cornerbacks are often on islands in man coverage or in a deep zone, and they need to possess exceptional speed and change of direction skills. They also need to be intelligent when diagnosing the play and when in zone coverage, must be able to play the ball. The corners will generally line up 3 to 5 yards off the ball, but will rarely jam because of the risk of a big play. If the corner jams and the receiver is able to get past him, it has a high probability of ending up a big play for the offense. Of course it helps to have corners that can assist in run support, however, their primary responsibility is to shutdown any receiving threat they are assigned to. The safety in the 4-4 defense should be one of the team’s better athletes. He needs to be fast enough to play in coverage and strong enough to help against the run. He needs to have a nose for the ball and be able to diagnose the play to put himself in a position to make a play. The safety will almost always be assigned to the deep middle of the field, however he can also be blitzed in various packages.


    5-2:

    A 5-2 defense is a defense with 5 defensive lineman and 2 linebackers. The defensive lineman almost always line up to the strong side, with the backside lineman on the outside shoulder of the end man on the offensive LOS.

    Because the extra defensive lineman makes this a strong defense against the run, it is more popular in leagues (or specific situations) that favor the running game. Thus, this defense is most often used in middle school and little league, and occasionally in different looks and variations in the NFL or college. However, the 5-2 used to be more popular in college football, when the running game was much more prevalent; for example, teams in the 1980's would often employ the 5-2 to combat the extremely run-oriented offenses of the time. Currently, the Arizona Cardinals use this defense regularly, in addition to their base 4-3.

    The benefit of having a 5-2 is that it adds size to your defense by replacing a linebacker with a defensive lineman. This helps in short-yardage situations where you want to stall the line of scrimmage and not give up the inside run. The disadvantage is in pass coverage -- most 5-2 teams will rush all 5 defensive linemen leaving only 6 pass defenders. In some circumstances a 5-2 team will drop one of the linemen, typically an end, off into coverage. This is primarily a situational defense however, and not often used in situations where downfield pass coverage is a significant concern.
    Last edited by CasualFan; 06-09-2007, 03:01 PM.

  • #2
    I rly like the idea of the 4-4 to be used.

    We have all the players to fit it:

    D-line:
    DE: Moss(get after QB)
    DE: Dumervil(get after QB)/Crowder(get after QB and Flow and be Strong end)
    DT: Adams(big and quick)
    DT: Warren(Big and pretty quick)/Kennedy(Big and Quick and can penetrate)


    Linebackers:
    Buck: DJ Williams(athletic to drop back and stop run)
    Mike: John Lynch(good at stopping run)
    Sam: Holdman(can cover and is good at stopping run and plays SAM in 4-3)
    Rover: Ian Gold(the most versatile and the best at rushing the passer/blitzing)

    Secondary:
    CB: Champ(can cover half the field)
    CB: Dre Bly(pro bowler who can be left on island)
    Safety: ?????( Maybe Fergy, Brandon, Foxworth, Abdullah, Rodgers) -basically whoever is the fastest and the bast in coverage so I would say one of these three in this order: Abdullah, Foxworth, Rodgers



    Dont get me wrong we probs wont do this in real life and all. But I like the idea and hope we at least use it a little. Anyways I think I am going to try this out on my Madden franchise.

    B-Marsh owning Al Harris(Aka: the supposed most physical corner in the league)

    Mock Draft:

    **If Ellis/Dorsey fall**

    1) Dorsey or Ellis(whoever falls)
    2) Devin Thomas
    4) Frank Okam
    4) Beau Bell

    **If Ellis/Dorsey dont fall**

    1) Desean Jackson
    2) Pat Sims or Trevor Laws(whoever falls)
    4) Frank Okam
    4) Beau Bell

    Comment


    • #3
      To be fair, our base 4-3 plays more like a 4-4 at times with Lynch up as support......

      Again, the whole trick is in disguising what we want to.
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      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah but Phil Simms say's that if you use coverage players (8 men in the box) to stop the run, that's "cheating"!

        "....the Broncos have to cheat to stop the run"--Phil Simms (I put a heavy emphasis on the word "cheat" here because Simms did)

        Besides making these formations work full time in the NFL is probably best left to geniuses like Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan.

        Not sure Bates is on the same level....
        Last edited by stnzed; 06-09-2007, 05:23 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stnzed
          Yeah but Phil Simms say's that if you use coverage players (8 men in the box) to stop the run, that's "cheating"!

          "....the Broncos have to cheat to stop the run"--Phil Simms (I put a heavy emphasis on the word "cheat" because Simms did)

          Besides making these formations work in the NFL is probably best left to geniuses like Bill Belichick.

          Not sure Bates is on the same level....
          I bet you if Bates WANTED to he could do just as good as Belichick. He just doesnt have the need to or want to. Heck Coyer made the 9-2 and the 8-2(or whatever we did when we sent everyone to the line except our corners) work for us in 2005 when we went to the AFC Championship Game. Of course in the Championship game it failed but it got us there

          B-Marsh owning Al Harris(Aka: the supposed most physical corner in the league)

          Mock Draft:

          **If Ellis/Dorsey fall**

          1) Dorsey or Ellis(whoever falls)
          2) Devin Thomas
          4) Frank Okam
          4) Beau Bell

          **If Ellis/Dorsey dont fall**

          1) Desean Jackson
          2) Pat Sims or Trevor Laws(whoever falls)
          4) Frank Okam
          4) Beau Bell

          Comment


          • #6
            Whenever we bring Lynch into the box we are basically playing a 4-4 defense. I think it would be cool to see the 4-4 actually implemented. That would be pretty cool.

            CP for the reasearch and all that!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by broncs2bowl
              I bet you if Bates WANTED to he could do just as good as Belichick. He just doesnt have the need to or want to. Heck Coyer made the 9-2 and the 8-2(or whatever we did when we sent everyone to the line except our corners) work for us in 2005 when we went to the AFC Championship Game. Of course in the Championship game it failed but it got us there

              Dude! Why would anyone NOT want to be as good as Belichick? (And if Bates was even close he would not have been out of football last year. Some team would have made it worth his while to work)

              And I'm talking about making it work as a base defense, not in use as packages....

              Comment


              • #8
                We will not see the 4-4, the 5-2, or anything other than Bates' version of the 4-3 as the base defense. That's what he does, that's what he will do. He might show other fronts at times to confuse offenses, but the base will be the 4-3.
                My Opinion isn’t determined by what the Popular Opinion is. Sometimes I agree with the Majority, Sometimes I Don’t. If My Opinion is Different than Yours, I have to Ask One Question:
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                Comment


                • #9
                  College teams can get away with running 4-4 and 5-3 but that wont work in the pros.
                  John 11: 25-27

                  My Adopt-A-Bronco is D.J. Williams



                  Thanks Snk16

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by stnzed
                    Dude! Why would anyone NOT want to be as good as Belichick? (And if Bates was even close he would not have been out of football last year. Some team would have made it worth his while to work)

                    And I'm talking about making it work as a base defense, not in use as packages....
                    I meant I bet he could make the defense just as good as Belicheck. Of course though Belechick still has to work an offense and ST and he has to organize the whole team and make personel decision and call the plays.

                    I am just saying Bates could make the 4-4 Base Defense probs just as good as Belichick, he just does not choose(want) to because his base 4-3 is working good.(He hasnt been below top 10 defense in his career I believe)

                    B-Marsh owning Al Harris(Aka: the supposed most physical corner in the league)

                    Mock Draft:

                    **If Ellis/Dorsey fall**

                    1) Dorsey or Ellis(whoever falls)
                    2) Devin Thomas
                    4) Frank Okam
                    4) Beau Bell

                    **If Ellis/Dorsey dont fall**

                    1) Desean Jackson
                    2) Pat Sims or Trevor Laws(whoever falls)
                    4) Frank Okam
                    4) Beau Bell

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TXBRONC
                      College teams can get away with running 4-4 and 5-3 but that wont work in the pros.
                      The Wikipedia link I cited said that the Arizona Cardinals used the 5-2 on a regular basis:

                      Currently, the Arizona Cardinals use this defense regularly, in addition to their base 4-3.
                      Also of note that they're doing this with one Bertrand Berry at DE, a former Bronco the front office let get away.

                      Great coaches adapt their schemes to fit the talents of their players. I think the reason the whole tiresome 4-3 vs. 3-4 discussion keeps bubbling to the surface over and over and over...is because people are sensing that our defensive players have capabilities that aren't being fully utilized. With a rigid, unadaptable Larry Coyer running the show I can see how that would happen. It's at least interesting that our players appear to have some 4-4 and 5-2 capabilities and that the personnel choices made during the offseason increased our defensive flexibility in that regard. Maybe there's a gleam in Shanahan's eye for a reason....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We played the Cardinals last season and don't remember seeing them run a 5-2 defense.
                        John 11: 25-27

                        My Adopt-A-Bronco is D.J. Williams



                        Thanks Snk16

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by broncs2bowl
                          I meant I bet he could make the defense just as good as Belicheck. Of course though Belechick still has to work an offense and ST and he has to organize the whole team and make personel decision and call the plays.

                          I am just saying Bates could make the 4-4 Base Defense probs just as good as Belichick, he just does not choose(want) to because his base 4-3 is working good.(He hasnt been below top 10 defense in his career I believe)
                          I hope so! He should stick to his defense and not try to be like Belichick. Because he definately is not Bill Belichick!

                          He may in the top ten every year in defense, but I have never seen anyone here compare Bates to Belichick until Bates was hired by the Broncos.....

                          ....Now all of a sudden he's Belichicks equal?

                          Aaaaaa....No!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            this 4-4 or 5-2 I agree would make sense in our conference w/ LT and LJ....I agree our players provide some flexibility, we'll have to see what happens this year

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The only major drawback to the 4-4 defense is the potential to give up the big play, both through the air and on the ground. Shifty scat backs with breakaway speed are most successful against the 4-4. If they can cut their way through the layer of linebackers, they will likely only have 1, maybe 2 men to beat in the secondary and depending on their coverage assignments; they may not even be in position to make a tackle anyway. The other way the defense is exposed is on the deep pass. The cornerbacks are often left on an island (with out help from the Safeties), either in man coverage or playing in a 3 deep zone. If a speedy receiver gets past his defender, there likely is nothing between him and the end zone. The hope, however, is that even if a receiver opens up deep, the quarterback won’t have time to deliver the ball because of the pressure.

                              I'd rather not



                              Comment

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