1Gap vs 2 Gap D

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JR4, Aug 19, 2009.

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  1. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

    When I hear Seymour talking that they play 4-3 but with two gap I wonder
    what the pros and cons are. Why do most teams play 4-3 1 gap?
    Someone on this board was talking a little about it.

    Does 1 gap mean a D line man can penetrate if his gap is vulnerable?
    Does 2 gap mean a D line man must be more tentative ... must wait
    or delay until the play is determined? If so could this lead to not
    "getting to the QB" as quickly?
    What are the advantages of 2 gap?
  2. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

    Although I can not atest to the quality of the links, this was recently posted.
  3. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

    #24 Jersey

    One-gap is generally a more aggressive attacking defense. Basically, you decide what you are going to do, and you do it.

    Two-gap is generally a more controlling defense. You read what the opposing offense is doing and react to it.

    In a one-gap, you are forcing the offense to try to block you, if they want. The downside is you may shoot the wrong gap and leave an opening.

    At the DL level, one-gap is a bit more about speed and athleticism - to blow through a quick opening or block. Two-gap is more about power and technique, controlling the OL to prevent an opening to either side.

    To stereotype, one-gap is more effective rushing the passer. You are going after the QB, or getting into the backfield - just try to stop it. Two-gap is more effective stuffing the run, by controlling the holes the running back can use. You want to shut down all the holes between the tackles, force the run east-west, and let the OLB's or safeties run the back out to the edge without allowing him to gain any forward momentum.

    While the Patriots have played some 4-3 over the years, they have generally been less effective. Last year they were very poor in the 4-3 formation.

    One can perhaps best point to the Philadelphia Super Bowl as an effective use of the 4-3, but I looked at it much more as a 2-5. The Pats base package included two DL and Vrabel, Bruschi, Phifer, McGinest, and Johnson or Colvin, with Vrabel and McGinest lining up on the edge of the line, sometimes dropping into coverage, sometimes containing the pocket, sometimes rushing McNabb.

    The Pats 3-4 two-gap defense has excelled when there are two OLB's capable of rushing the passer, setting the edge against the run, and dropping into coverage - exceedingly versatile requirements. Vrabel was excellent at this, McGinest was very good for a while, Colvin was much more one-dimensional, and Thomas has the capability but has been inside or injured a bit. Obviously the concern of many on this board has been the failure to develop a versatile three-way OLB like Vrabel at his peak.

    A two-gap front seven allows those outside linebackers to act in unpredictable ways, taking away what the offense wants to do. A 4-3 is often much more predictable - it is harder for a hand-down 4-3 DE to drop into coverage. The zone blitz is the solution to this, but can be defeated like any blitz with a quick pass to the open receiver, covered by a far less agile down lineman.

    Seau and Bruschi have been very effective inside a two-gap system by rapidly reading the play and shooting the right gap to get into the backfield. Almost like free-lancing in a one-gap system, they could immediately understand the play and take a direct route to the ball-carrier. Mayo last year made a lot of tackles, but fewer behind the line because it took him longer to diagnose the play, understand what everyone else was going to do, and then react to his role.

    But with the front seven working together with quick diagnoses, the two-gap can be pretty effective at penetrating the backfield and rushing the passer as well as stuffing the run.
  4. Koettbulle

    Koettbulle Practice Squad Player

    There are countless combinations as well. Didn't Baltimore use two big two-gapping DT's in Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams and allowed the DE's to shoot the gaps and rush upfield alot?
  5. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I think I just used the multi-quote function. Oh well....

    JR4, I didn't get the quote from Richard but what he may stating that "certain defensive line players" will consistently have the 2 gap responsibility.

    Urgent hit the nail on the head with his informative description. Our past 4-3 looks were not very successful due to the personnel on the field. Our starters were pretty much built to execute the 3-4 style. Look at what Urgent wrote above me....I really like the part about the Philly game and how we utilized our Linebacker in almost a 2-5 Defense!

    We resembled the Steelers setup(34)...not exactly but similar positions/gaps/philosophy. Now, we have some good talent on the line as well as some young, athletic linebackers, safeties and corners! So we can mix it up-creating chaos for offenses:mad: We can still disguise our "schemes" and have a better pass rush...but not only that...but a faster pass rush with Warren, Wilfork and Richard shutting down the run game doing the 2 gap or one gap attacking....whatever we want!:cool:-I hope.

    The young dudes need the real time practice and they'll catch on. I'm looking at our D to get stronger as the year continues and that goes for our offense as well.

    We've had some tough, frustrating seasons lately and there's no reason why the new roster can't get us back to the SB to win it.
    We need to earn it and beat the best as usual but you gotta admit....
    We deserve it!
  6. kas

    kas Practice Squad Player

    Urgent has the right idea but I'll try to explain it a little more technically. There are several others who could probably take it even more in depth.

    1 gap:

    A member of the front 7 is assigned a gap. Their responsibility is to shoot their gap and penetrate. A good example are all these cover 2 D's. Players need to rely on explosiveness and athleticism. They are usually slightly undersized and more on the athletic size. Lots of stunts and slants are used to confuse the offense. A DL with 1 gap responsibility usually gives the smaller LB's good protection as the OL must read the DL's gap before engaging the second level. The downside is that a player could easily run himself right out of the play.

    2 gap:

    Each DL is assigned an OL and is responsible for the gap on either side of that player. These DL are usually bigger and more physical as they must engage their man, read the play, then shed the block and clog the running lane. LB's must be bigger as well and must be especially adept at shedding blocks as at least one OL and usually more will be left free to engage them right off the snap. Although a 2 gap defense will rarely cause a 4 yard loss on a run, it is a safer more conservative technique.

    It should be noted that the 1/2 gap technique is not the same as a 34 or 43. We have notoriously been a 2 gap 3-4 D. However, in pass rushing situations the Pats have used 1 gap rushes to get a better pass rush. San Diego and Pittsburgh, on the other hand, are 3-4 defense with 1 gap principles.

    For this year, I expect the Pats to use a bunch of both the 34 and 43 as well as 52 and 61 fronts (first number for DL, second for LB). They will mostly 2 gap, with 1 gapping blitzers and DL being interspersed. This will not change from previous years. The big difference will be a more common use of the 4-3.

    Hope that helps a bit
  7. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    Belichick talked about this at one of the Extra Points Dinner with the head coach that I have attended.

    And a simple point he made about it is that in a 2-gap the idea is to set up a wall at the line of scrimage where you have all holes covered.

    And the simple point he made about 1 gap is that you have your players trying disrupt the play by penatrating through.

    and I don't remember if he made this next point or if it is something I was thinking while listening to him but the 2 gap since it covers all the holes tends to prevent cut back runs better and big run plays but the 1 gap has better potential to blow a play up in the backfield.
  8. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

    Thanks lots of good info.

    Now what you said about 2gap
    "You read what the opposing offense is doing and react to it"

    What I get from this is that the DL players that play 2gap

    1. have to do a lot more mental processing.
    2. need to think fast.
    3. experience reading an offense as it setups and begins execution
    is critical.

    It seems that to defeat this kind of defense you try to see how a Dline
    reads to determine the gap to commit to. Then devise a way to fake it.
    Get the Dline to guess wrong a few time and would have Dline men freezing
    a little more.

    Do you think more coaches know better today how to prepare an offense
    for dealing with a BB defense than they did say 4 or more years ago?

    BB has always been inventive. I wonder if this year's D will be something
    quite different than in recent years or about the same as it has been?
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  9. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    There was one play late in the first quarter where Seymour made a run stuff and they showed the replay from a high angle and you can really see Seymour 2-gaping at its best.

    He is engaged with the blocker and the runner kind of makes an outside in move and Seymour first moved outside to cover that gap and than shifted back in and made the tackle all while engaged with the blocker.
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