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Does not project well into the 3-4?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by fourthandmiles, Apr 16, 2009.

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  1. fourthandmiles

    fourthandmiles Rookie

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    What is it that makes a LB successful in the 3-4? What skill set is needed/desired? What is it that most LBs lack that makes them a bad fit? Both for ILB and OLB.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  2. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From what I've learned from these boards, it is the ability to play coverage
    as well as the run while being an ever present pass rusher so a 3-4 lb may be more athletic than the 4-3 lb.
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    OLB: 1) gotta be stout enough to set the edge 2) fluid enough to drop in coverage 3) explosive enough to rush the passer

    The problem is that college 4-3 DEs are often question marks on both #1 & #2, and are more often not, notable because of their ability to rush the passer on the edge. College 4-3 OLBs are generally just too small to do either #1 or #3 for us, and often project inside in a 3-4.


    ILB: 1) strong enough to stack & shed blockers 2) fluid enough to drop in coverage 3) added bonus is any interior pass rushing ability

    The problem here is that not many college LBs, OLB or ILB, really show much stack & shed ability. There's a lot of sideline to sideline guys, guys who run around blocks.

    You should check out the draft board here, there is constantly interesting discussions about these above issues.
  4. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That depends on which 3-4 you are running, but Patriots specific:

    - An ILB needs to be able to take on blockers such as...
    -- Offensive Linemen trying to block the second level to create a rush lane;
    -- Tight Ends lead blocking for the runner;
    -- Full Backs lead blocking for the runner;
    -- and Wide Receivers cracking back to clear an outside lane.
    - The ILB can either stack & shed the blocker(s) to make the tackle, or just stack him to close the hole and redirect the runner, or slip around the blocker with good hand technique and quickness to beat the runner into the hole.
    - The ILB needs to be STRONG or capable of getting stronger, QUICK with great feet for moving through trash without getting tripped up and beating blockers with quick hands to keep them from locking onto him, SMART to not only make play calls and adjustments, but to also read and understand blocking schemes, ALERT and AWARE to read and adjust and to find the ball amidst a sea of big bodies.
    - That's the run game. He also needs to learn to cover Running Backs, Tight Ends, and Wide Receivers working within his area.
    -- He needs to understand coverages,
    -- his role in the coverage,
    -- and be capable of playing his assignment in Man and Zone.
    -- He needs to be able to find the ball in the air.
    - It helps if he can generate a pass rush, but it's not as important a function for an ILB.
    - Finally, he needs to be able to TACKLE - the most critical skill of them all and one too often overlooked (like with Maualuga's fan club who discount all the missed tackles he doesn't make).

    All of the ILB's skillset applies to the OLB, the big difference is the OLB really needs to be able to get pressure on the Quarterback in the passing game. Sacks are nice, but there are other ways to create pressure (clogging the throwing lane, collapsing the pocket, hurrying the throw, forcing the passer to move and reset his feet, stripping the ball out of his hands to force a fumble, and batting the ball down at the Line of Scrimmage).
  5. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    Don't forget about brains and work ethic. The Pats LB definitely breaks the stereo-type of the rock head linebackers that play for other teams.
  6. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Nice summary, but what about the relative priority of the characteristics? Here is my take on your list:

    OLB:
    1) gotta be stout enough to set the edge

    Must have or the defense unwinds like pulling a loose thread on a sweater. This is why a clearly limited Vrabel was so valuable for the 2008 Pats and is the biggest question mark for his replacement.

    2) explosive enough to rush the passer

    Most of the QB pressure is applied from the OLB and we know what happens with a lack of pressure. Vrabel had nothing left is this area and is likely why he is in KC now. AD is a demon here and IMO needs to be kept outside.

    3) fluid enough to drop in coverage

    I listed this lower since the Pats OLB seem to drop into shallow zones a lot. However, this is the skill that can really make a huge difference if done well. Before his latest injury, Colvin was doing a great job in reading routes and quickly getting in the right area.

    ILB:
    1) fluid enough to drop in coverage

    The game has changed and that is why I tune out anyone who mentions Ted Johnson or Two-down. So many teams throw quick passes on first down to get into workable down-distance situations. If an ILB isn't solid in disrupting these West Coast routes, I'm not sure how you keep them on the field for anything but short yardage. Bruschi still has the instincts, but the physical skills have diminished to the point where he just can't make plays in the passing game.

    2) strong enough to stack & shed blockers

    May be strange to see this 2nd, but I think you can be a successful Pats ILB without excelling here. The OLBs seal the edge (2 blockers) and the DL eats up the OL (at least 4 blockers). Add in the QB and the RB and that only leaves 3 potential blockers left, including wideouts. As long as the ILBs don't get blown up, it is likely one of them will be clean enough to make a tackle if they hit the right hole at the right time. Again, Bruschi seems late to the party more times than not.

    Stack? Sure, can't run around blockers and can't let them put you on the ground. Shed? Great if you can get it, but not at the expense of #1 above.

    3) added bonus is any interior pass rushing ability

    I'm hoping this becomes a more important part of the Pats scheme. But for now, it would seem to be an "added bonus" as you indicated.
  7. strongside

    strongside Rookie

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    Gotta be stout enough to take on guard head on. not just running in space.
  8. Wheelssps

    Wheelssps Rookie

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    As a question related to this thread, I'm wondering if someone who knows the NFL and this team back further than I can remember (at least into the 80's and 70's) can give a little history of the 3-4. Who invented it? Did it come to the Patriots from the Bill Parcells coaching tree? or earlier or later than that? What trends have existed for the 3-4 over time. i.e., has it come in and out of popularity? It seems to be on the rise now compared to 10 years ago, but I'd appreciate a bit more info than I have on the matter. Thanks.:)
  9. T-ShirtDynasty

    T-ShirtDynasty Moderator

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    American football strategy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  10. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Don't forget communication. Very important in the Pats defense.

    I think; if we ever get decent play out of the CB's; BB is going to cut Merriweather lose more to blitz. The kid showed me a lot last year and with better technique, he could be a big play machine.
  11. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    The 3-4 is just a pro version of the 5-2 "Okie" Defense, invented by Bud Wilkinson in the 50's or around then.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  12. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    OK...this is a LITTLE better than my explanation.:)
  13. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    I like your discussion of the obsolescent TJ and questioning the reputed need to stack and shed.

    Tedy in his time was never a real tough stack & shed guy. It was his rare INSTINCTS and quickness to get to the hole before the blocker. When he met his blocker very early they ended up blocking the hole for the runner. As Tedy said about playing ILB.

    "...I just go to where the hole IS GOING TO BE, and tackle the runner when he gets there...."

    Tedy was a superior penetrating DT in college and he did it by slipping blocks or beating the blockers with his quickness. Stack and shed had relatively little to do with his play.

    His block slipping let him become a feared inside pass rusher. You can't rely on only the OLBs to provide your pass rush. The two gap linemen are too slow to collapse the pocket, unless you are a Richard Seymour. Tedy would shoot the gap and slip a tackle to get his blitz sacks. Him coming intimidated some QBs from even attempting to step up, and the OLBs could get to the QB and not slide by behind the QB.

    Similarly his INSTINCTS let him anticipate where the receivers were going to go over the middle, and he frequently stepped in front of them for a game changing INT, when he was in his prime. The mind is still there the quickness is not.

    The only guy I see in this draft with both those instincts and quickness is James Lauranitis, and I hope we pick him at 23. His 13 INTs and 9 sacks are unduplicated by any one else; they don't even come close. His speed was only OK, at 4.7 but his 3 cone was bettered by only a few DBs. And that measures quickness. No LB candidate including Curry was even close.

    As for stack & shed or slip blocks, he had 363 tackles in his collegiate career, an enormous number; so he must doing something right to avoid or shed all those blockers to make that many tackles.
  14. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Tedy played a lot of Will LB, where taking windows and rip & run is more available as an option due to heavy strong side run team tendencies. When he played a lot of Mike, he seemed to struggle.
  15. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :nono: The 'we don't need no stinkin' stack&shed' crowd are on a roll, don't cool them down with reality - James Laurinaitis is the next Tedy Bruschi. :D




    34 year old version. :(
  16. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Can't speak for others but that isn't what I was saying.

    #1 referring to coverage ability. My point being that a Pats ILB better not be a liability in coverage or else every noodle-armed, dim-witted QB will put together 10-play TD drives by throwing 7 yard dumps and slants. If you can find an ILB candidate that can stack-n-shed while still holding up in coverage (like Mayo), the Pats should do whatever is needed to get him.
  17. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    I suppose it depends on whether you want a monster Guard killer (Ted J) or a quick pass/cutback guy (Bruschi, in his heyday). They don't usually come in a complete package. You can't draft a Jerod Mayo every year, ya know?
  18. Robdude

    Robdude Rookie

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    It's funney, the more people write about what is needed in an OLB, the more I think that the skill set is impossible to identify in a rookie.Also with an OLB that cannot handle all of the responcibilities the defense can get pretty vanilla fast
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