| FTBL The 3-4

G

Guest

Thread Starter
I was doing some reading on the 4-3 vs 3-4

I was wondering how do you think this year defense will stack up compared to Kines..I myself never have like the 3-4 seems to like we got ran over alot or so I thought, then I would hear the ol'd bend but not break philosophy. :shock:

In the 3-4 defense, you need one http://www2.jsonline.com/packer/arc/image/bearsc12/tbrown.jpg]really large nose tackle. This NT has to be a real monster of a guy, 350 pounds or so,[/url] because his job is to take on the center and one of the guards simultaneously on every single play. Then you get two more defensive tackles at around 300 pounds each, and play them up against the offensive tackles. All three of the defensive tackles have what is called two-gap responsibility. They are expected to hit the offensive linemen head on, and watch the play to make sure the running back doesn't come through on either side of them. Also, they're expected to hold their block so that the offensive linemen can't get out and block a linebacker.

In the 3-4 system, the linebackers are expected to make most of the plays. In the 3-4 system, the DTs play a more physical game as they are taking on one or two offensive linemen directly, play after play. Unlike the DTs in the 4-3, the DTs in the 3-4 are responsible for every single gap in the offensive line. Although the DTs get relatively few chances to make tackles or sack the quarterback, anything bad that happens is still ultimately their fault.

In the 3-4, you have four linebackers. Two of these guys are inside linebackers, and are expected to weigh roughly 240 pounds and be quite athletic. You also have two outside linebackers. These guys are sometimes called "tweeners," as they are in between the normal size of defensive ends and linebackers. These guys should weigh perhaps 255-265 pounds and also be quite athletic. Because these are linebackers, they tend to be faster than the heavier defensive ends. Their presence makes it much more difficult for the quarterback to roll out, as he will be rolling out directly into the path of one of these linebackers.

In the football today, there are many running backs who are incredibly athletic.IMO Jim Brown was perhaps the first of these, but today there are perhaps a dozen of them. These guys are very shifty and hard to chase down. Defensive linemen simply can't do it. So the solution was to remove one of the DL from the defense and substitute a fourth linebacker. These linebackers have the speed to chase down such running backs. The 3-4 defense was motivated by two factors: the difficulty in getting good defensive ends, and the need to stop very fast running backs. This is the strength of the 3-4. The DTs keep the offensive linemen off your linebackers, leaving them free to roam the field and bring down runners.

Unfortunately, the 3-4 has a weakness. Three DTs cannot reliably collapse the five offensive lineman pocket on the quarterback, so it becomes much harder to pressure the quarterback. Traditionally, the 3-4 has struggled against the pass. The modern solution to this problem was worked out by Dick LeBeau, and it's called the Zone Blitz. In a normal blitz package, you have five or six guys rushing the passer. The remaining linebackers and defensive backs often played man coverage, which is relatively dangerous. Wide receivers in todays games, tend to be taller than defensive backs, so they often win the one-on-one battles.


Do we have said players that can plug the holes as needed? I don't if we do I know we have the linebacking core, but I'm not sure we have the meat in the middle... The one thing I've never like about the 3-4 is Bigger teams use the BIG UGLY'S up front to run the ball down the throat of the other team.
 

BamaFan14

Verified Member
Sideline Club
very good analysis...a major strength to this defense is the fact that Saban usually walks atleast one OLB up to the LOS (sometimes two) so really, most of the time there will be a 4 or 5 man front, and with LB's being able to roam around much easier than down linemen, it is much easier to confuse an offense by sending blitzes. and this defense also gives you more blitzes that you can use (4 LB's can do more than just 3)...the only concern for me is that of which you mentioned before, that a lot of times teams can run it down your throat with only 3 down linemen...this defense really begins with the NT, if he can't pull his weight it makes it that much tougher on the inside LB's to fight off blocks, and ultimately make tackles

I for one can't wait to see what the defense looks like this year, keep in mind this isn't the first time that we have dealt with a 3 man front, Kines ran a 3-3 a good bit last year
 

TerryP

Misomaniac
Ivory Club
Comparing to Kines isn't apples to apples...mainly because you are looking at a 3-3-5 vs a 3-4-4. However, both use the nickel package a lot...as well as single coverage for the DB's.

Different schemes when it comes to pressure, directing the play for the DL...the list continues.
 

Swamptick

Verified Member
Scholarship Club
Good food for thought. I think that one way Coach Saban's schemes are different than alot of 3-4-4s in that he has a very complex blitz package. Moreover he also has tended to have one of his MLBs read the offense and given him some allowance for calling audibles. This requires an Urlacher type LB but can create ALOT of headaches for the Quarterback.
 
G

Guest

Thread Starter
You can get a lot of crazy blitz packages out of the 3-4, most teams that run the 3-4 are always sending someone in the backfield if a tightend is down.
And it takes a offensive lineman responsibility to pealing to a line backer which wears them down more and creates back gaps for blitzes
 

BamaFan14

Verified Member
Sideline Club
TerryP said:
Comparing to Kines isn't apples to apples...mainly because you are looking at a 3-3-5 vs a 3-4-4. However, both use the nickel package a lot...as well as single coverage for the DB's.

Different schemes when it comes to pressure, directing the play for the DL...the list continues.

Kines defense was more of a gap control defense, instead of an attacking/blitzing defense in which Saban will use...I wasn't comparing the fact that they were similar defenses, I was comparing the fact that they have 3 men fronts...those defenses are completely different. Kines rarely blitzed anyway.
 
G

Guest

Thread Starter
Good anaylsis of the 3-4. The two OLB/DE's must be studs because they have pass coverage on the weak side of the field. Personally, I like a big, quick NG instead of a kid that cant move. The DT's cover from inside shoulder of the OG to the inside shoulder of the TE depending on the techinque called. As you said, the 3 down lineman have to plug holes on a consistent basis with the LB's getting the majority of tackles.
 

ericd

Sideline Club
i don't know, but i can't wait to find out. However, i do like an aggressive attacking style defense with alot of QB pressure. Even if it is a little more risky.
 

TidePride50

Verified Member
Extra Point Club
TerryP said:
Comparing to Kines isn't apples to apples...mainly because you are looking at a 3-3-5 vs a 3-4-4. However, both use the nickel package a lot...as well as single coverage for the DB's.

Different schemes when it comes to pressure, directing the play for the DL...the list continues.
The 3-3-5 defense that Kines used was his nickel package, it wasnt a true stack 3 defense. We based out of a 4-3 with Kines. Now, granted it seemed like the last 2 seasons under Kines we stayed in the nickel over half the time.
 
G

Guest

Thread Starter
I am kinda looking forward to the 3-4, mainly because with 4 linebackers the blitz possibilities are endless. Also, if you have speed at the linebacker position, they can cover the shallow middle of the field on passing downs and still have a backer left to blitz with. The down side, I guess, is that with only 3 down lineman the run opens up some.
 

RollTidePGH

Verified Member
Registered
Overall nice breakdown of the 3-4!

As a lifelong Steeler fan the 3-4 seems perfectly natural to me. So maybe the questions and worries that people have about the defensive scheme don't really register with me, I'm just so familiar with seeing it.

Watching Dick LeBeau work his magic with the steelers over the years has been a thing of beauty, but I'm pretty sure the style of defense that Saban will be running (I think) will be more of the Patriots / Bellichick - Parcells style of 3-4. A little less zone blitz and the LB's doing more of a hybrid DE and LB position. LeBeau also prefers more action from the safeties than the typical 3-4 has.

You are right on about the NT being one of the most important pieces in the 3-4, for an example of the perfect NT take a look at Casey Hampton from the Steelers. 6'0" 330 lbs and takes on double team every play. The DE's in the 3-4 really aren't as active as you would expect but they do need to get a good rush going to make the space for the linebackers to make big plays. You are also dead on about the 3-4 being a haven for linebackers. Athletic and aggressive LB's will excel in the defense. It's probably why Saban is going after so many of them in recruiting. You can never have enough LB's on the roster when you run the 3-4, they will be all over the place on every play.

If you want a good reference for what guys size should be check out the Steelers or the Patriots rosters and that should give you a feel for the size that their looking for, for each position. http://news.steelers.com/team/player/

Personally I love the 3-4 it's a fun D to watch. Lots of motion and excitement. Hopefully the players take to it quickly!
 

AlabamaSlammer

Verified Member
Sideline Club
Being an X QB myself, I have to say that I hated playing teams that went with a 3-4. To many chances to throw and INT with LB's playing a Robber position on just about every play. So you got that in your head then the next possesion you are getting blindsided by a LB or Cb coming on a blitz while worrying about throwing another INT.

I'm excited to see them go 3-4, Should be pretty fun to watch.
 
G

Guest

Thread Starter
Swamptick said:
Good food for thought. I think that one way Coach Saban's schemes are different than alot of 3-4-4s in that he has a very complex blitz package. Moreover he also has tended to have one of his MLBs read the offense and given him some allowance for calling audibles. This requires an Urlacher type LB but can create ALOT of headaches for the Quarterback.

Ahh but theres also an old saying as well, live by the blitz die by the blitz. Over all I'm not sure we have the meat in the middle to contain teams like LSU,Tenn, and Barn. Because WE don't have the DT's and NT to plug said holes. Over all I feel we are lacking SIZE so can anyone shed some light as to who will playing? These O so important positions..


RollTidePGH said:
Overall nice breakdown of the 3-4!

As a lifelong Steeler fan the 3-4 seems perfectly natural to me. So maybe the questions and worries that people have about the defensive scheme don't really register with me, I'm just so familiar with seeing it.

Watching Dick LeBeau work his magic with the steelers over the years has been a thing of beauty, but I'm pretty sure the style of defense that Saban will be running (I think) will be more of the Patriots / Bellichick - Parcells style of 3-4. A little less zone blitz and the LB's doing more of a hybrid DE and LB position. LeBeau also prefers more action from the safeties than the typical 3-4 has.

You are right on about the NT being one of the most important pieces in the 3-4, for an example of the perfect NT take a look at Casey Hampton from the Steelers. 6'0" 330 lbs and takes on double team every play. The DE's in the 3-4 really aren't as active as you would expect but they do need to get a good rush going to make the space for the linebackers to make big plays. You are also dead on about the 3-4 being a haven for linebackers. Athletic and aggressive LB's will excel in the defense. It's probably why Saban is going after so many of them in recruiting. You can never have enough LB's on the roster when you run the 3-4, they will be all over the place on every play.

If you want a good reference for what guys size should be check out the Steelers or the Patriots rosters and that should give you a feel for the size that their looking for, for each position. http://news.steelers.com/team/player/

Personally I love the 3-4 it's a fun D to watch. Lots of motion and excitement. Hopefully the players take to it quickly!

I agree with you, the defense will be a Patriots / Bellichick/Parcells style of 3-4. Not so much blitz as it will use its speed to contain and confuse the QB with its many 5 nickel configurations and LB really playing as LB/DE position depending on assignment.
 

bamatrout

Registered
RollTidePGH I'm with you on the 3-4. Once the personnel are in place, the NT especially, the 3-4 is an exciting defense. I suspect Saban's 3-4 will be very similar to what the Cowboys ran this past year under Parcells. You didn't see a lot of blitzing, even with Ware coming off the left side. Each LB had a zone that was their responsibility, with not much pursuit. That said, once the players knew their assignments, the D was very disruptive and caused plenty of turnovers (see Colts at Dallas last year). I imagine that Saban will move to more blitzing packages once he has the people in place, similar to Pittsburgh's or San Diego's schemes. Two things are certain either way -- more sacks and more turnovers ... never a bad thing.
 

ijijmijij

Verified Member
Sideline Club
Well, here is the depth chart, although I remember hearing Saban saying very emphatically that the depth chart is not to be looked at as gospel and his style of coaching is against saying, "this is the guy for this position." He seems to be very aware of how this affects the psychology of his players, he doesn't want anyone to get comfortable with being THE starter I guess.

(this is from july 30th scout.com)
DEFENSE Returning Starters: 5

DE 92 Wallace Gilberry 6-4 264 Sr.
90 Milton Talbert 6-2 233 RFr.

NT 66 Brian Motley 6-1 284 RFr.
97 Lorenzo Washington 6-4 285 Soph.

DE 93 Bobby Greenwood 6-5 260 Jr.
95 Brandon Deaderick 6-4 271 Soph.

SLB 47 Ezekial Knight 6-4 238 Jr.
46 Zach Schreiber 6-1 211 Soph.

ILB 94 Keith Saunders 6-2 248 Sr.
98 Brandon Fanney 6-5 253 Soph.

ILB 21 Prince Hall 5-11 255 Soph.
45 Charlie Higgenbotham 5-10 225 RFr.

WLB 57 Darren Mustin 6-2 237 Sr.
32 Eryk Anders 6-2 221 Soph.

LCB 2 Simeon Castille 6-1 189 Sr.
3 Kareem Jackson 5-11 185 Fr.

FS 49 Rashad Johnson 6-0 186 Jr.
27 Justin Woodall 6-1 213 Soph.

SS 20 Marcus Carter 6-0 200 Sr.
26 Ali Sharrief 5-9 212 Soph.

RCB 16 Lionel Mitchell 6-2 184 Jr.
24 Marquis Johnson 5-11 178 Soph.
========================================

But don't forget about 280 lb. Luther Davis who could be somewhere in thosse top 3 i'm guessing
 

BamaFan14

Verified Member
Sideline Club
I think the amount of blitzing will be determined by how well our secondary can cover in man on man situations, because they will be the ones being put on an island...there will definately be an adjustment period for our defense (I've never heard of a high school team running a 3-4)

As for who I think will be playing at the NT position, I think B. Motley will start no question, and I hope to see Josh Chapman get in there and mix it up when Motley needs a breather...but you're right, we don't have a lot of quality depth, as far as experience goes
 
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