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Mike Wright is changing the defense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Seymour93, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Just how awesome is our d-line? Warren and Seymour are two Probowlers (well Warren should be), while Wilfork is a beast. Now Mike Wright wants in.

    http://www.patriots.com/news/index.cfm?ac=latestnewsdetail&pid=21210&pcid=41

    Whether the switch to the 4-3 was forced by Wright's improved play, the lack of fitness/depth at LB, or a combination of the two, it's a rare occurrence this 3-4 team plays in the traditional set. If Wright can keep up with WWS (Warren-Wilfork-Seymour), we could have the second best defensive line in the league just behind the Jags.
     
  2. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    One reason, among several, that I favor the 3-4 over the 4-3 is I believe it limits injury risk to the D-line, our most valuable defensive asset, while still allowing the team to effectively stuff the run. The static line and lack of penetration reduces the chaos at the point of attack, reducing the variables of 300+ lb men falling at odd and unexpected angles. The 3-4 preserves these great players, while the chaos generated by the 4-3, while awe-inspiring, is long term fool's gold over the course of 19 games. Agree on Warren. He may be not only the most underrated defensive player on the Pats, but in the whole league. Plus, he's a team player family man role model. What a draft pick at #14.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  3. wrangler

    wrangler Practice Squad Player

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    Jets HC knew our 3-4, better to play the old switch to 4-3, with wrinkles.??
     
  4. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The switch was probably just a temporary thing, designed to ease the load off the LB's against the Jets because it was Bruschi's first game and Seau is still sort of new to the system. It worked. The Jets running game looked to the equivalent of the 2000 Patriots version.

    With Denver being a run-dominated team, plus their recent QB struggles, the 4-3 will likely be seen throughout Sunday night however. Who knows, it may just stick through the remainder of the season.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  5. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    the 3-4 is the better line for run D

    Jets have no run O to speak of--so the 4-3 was a better formation against Noodlington
     
  6. D-cleater

    D-cleater Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Bingo. I share the belief that

    1) BB threw a curve ball to Mangini. It worked.
    2) We are finally at the point where the Line is clearly the strength of the D. I would say it was last year as well, but what do I know. But if we want the best 11 players on the field, play 4-3 with Vrabel and Colvin on the outside, and Bruschi in the middle .

    This gives Denver a lot to think about this week as well. I can see us mixing it up a lot over the season. We could go right back to the two gap set this very next week.

    Back to Wright though.... you have to be stoked for this guy. Named practice player of the week and the next thing you know he's starting over proven vet Jarvis Green, and former 1st round pick Sullivan. Huge props.

    I'm not sure he's ' changing the defense ', but its nice to see an undrafted free agent amount to something more than a 'project'
     
  7. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Really... is that your opinion or is it generally thought that the 3-4 is better for the run? I've always thought it was the other way around.

    Kevin Barlow is no Terrell Davis granted, he's more of a Mike Bell, but I liked what I saw against the Jets. Our d-line was manhandling them almost every play.
     
  8. fnordcircle

    fnordcircle brady plz PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's been a long time since the terms 4-3 and 3-4 had any application when talking about the NE defense other than what the guys playing had listed next to their name on the rosters.

    When you've got DEs and DTs standing up at the line and linebackers dropping into a 3pt stance it sorta changes what those terms typically meant.
     
  9. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How does an opposing team plan for the Patriots?? BB and crew have quality depth and use so many different formations, the poor D scout teams must have fits to get the first team O ready. Mike Wright is a beast, I agree the trio of Warren, Seymour and Wilfork are in a common man, common sense world all pro. Jarvis Green with his big motor brings a lot and when they start putting Vrabel, Colvin or the LB's as down linemen it gives the offense fits. I really like this D, but gotta get the DB's playing a little better.
     
  10. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    2 gap 3-4 is a run D--not my opinion, just generally held view--big men at the point clog the interior lanes and force the play outside to the waiting OLBs--is the general plan

    thing is--our 4-3 against the Jets is a little different than a typical 4-3, as the smallest guy was Wright at 295--that is a very stout front 4 in which all 4 of them have experience at the NT position. In a traditional 4-3, I would have expected more Warren in the middle and Green on the edge, but it was Wright in the middle and Warren on the edge I believe.
     
  11. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think it depends on execution. I don't see any reason why the Pats can't be just as effective (or more so) against the run in a 4-3.
     
  12. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    correct, but this lends to something I have been repeating for years--the Patriots do not play a 3-4 or 4-3 in the traditional sense--they play a disguised front whose variations are limited only by the personnel--what the Jets faced was likely not a 4-3 in the contemporary sense, but possibly in the traditional sense with larger bodies. A DL like Freeney wouldn't fit in that 4-3, but succeeds in the Dungy 4-3. I personally prefer the large body look--it succeeded in attacking both the pass and the run and set the tone as a very physical game.

    Now take this same 4-3 set, but move Warren inside and put Green outside and you have a swing 4-3/3-4 with Green being an optional edge rusher/DL. Or start with the 3-4 and put TBC or Colvin in a down stance--and you have a 4-3 look that could go either way.
     
  13. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Interesting stuff. My thinking was a little more simplified. In the 3-4, the LB's drop back in pass coverage more and with an extra lineman in the 4-3 the lanes are clogged up for the RB's, so I've always thought the 3-4 was better for the pass, while the 4-3 is the preferred option for run defense.
     
  14. Kasmir

    Kasmir Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Both defenses are general purpose, and as always personnel and execution are much more important than scheme.

    That said, the tendency is for the 3-4 to be stronger vs off-tackle and outside runs and weaker up the middle vs the 4-3. With big OLB's on both ends and ILB's shaded to both sides the 3-4 tends to get a lot of people to the edge quickly. The weakness of the 3-4 is the vulnerability of the NT to multiple double teams, and the size advantage the guards have vs 2 ILB's.

    With a 4-3 you have two big DL inside which makes it somewhat more difficult to run between the tackles, but the MLB has a lot of ground to cover to get outside, so the 4-3 tends to be more vulnerable there.

    The 3-4 also has somewhat more speed and somewhat less power than a 4-3, so particularly when comparing a 2-gap 3-4 with a 1-gap 4-3, the latter tends to be more of an all or nothing run defense, while the 3-4 tends to be more of a containment defense.

    Of course personnel and execution trump scheme, and schemes trump formations, so in the end either formation can be used with success against the run with good personnel and good execution of good schemes.

    A similar analysis pertains to the two formations relative advantages vs the pass.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  15. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I think you're both right. Also, recall that when Big Ted has broken his leg and was sidelined, leaving a huge hole in middle of our base 34 from a couple seasons ago, BB admitted that the D-line had played much more 43 in response. The run D's effectiveness in shutting down the run as reflected in the stats was nearly identical as those of a base 34 with Washington clogging up the middle.

    Forgot to mention that I personally think our current Dline corp top to bottom is by far the best in the league. I even think our starting front three are the best in the league and have felt this way since the SB against the Panthers. Throw in Jarvis Green and now the emergence of Wright, there's really none that comes close. Hell, we even cut a guy who was making plays in last night's game because there wasn't room for the guy in Rodney Bailey.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  16. brady2brown

    brady2brown On the Game Day Roster

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    They can be, of course, just as they can be as more effective against the pass without a nickle back by executing better. But that doesn't mean that the 3-4 defense isn't generally better against the run, and a nickle defense better against the pass by the nature of its formation.

    All this talk is merely playing the odds trying to get a slight edge. You can get a bigger edge by executing better than the other guy, which is exactly what you said. :D

    It's like swapping out third down backs and LBs and putting in a run stuffer on first down. Better execution of the players will negate the need for such nuance substitution, but I notice coaches still do it.

    I think the best method is to use the formation best suited to the situatins AND to execute it well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  17. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    This is a great discussion. One worth keeping a bookmark on.

    Also. The 3-4 provides a little more opportunity to show different looks and movement and last second changes that can make it harder for the offense to execute against. Examples are the flexibility to have the OLBs (who for the Pats are ex-DEs) drop into or out of a down stance and on either side of the line. This can mess up blocking assignments for the OL and result in an OLB not even being covered at times. McGinest's unblocked plays from OLB against the Colts at the goal line in the playoffs are a great example - one ended in a Manning sack and the other in catching James in the backfield for a loss.

    With the 3-4, you have an extra LB to cover RBs and TEs releasing for quick passes where 4 DL aren't going to have time to put on any pressure anyway - the 4th DL is essentially a wasted body.

    To make a more definite point on something that was mentioned, the 3-4 has to have very good physical ILBs because they pick up much greater responsibility to frequently stop running plays up the gut than the ILB in a 4-3. The prize is an ILB who is both physical enough to be a top run stopper - and be smart enough to read the keys and fast enough to help on outside runs and cover sort passes - Bruschi is obviously the prototype of such an ILB.

    The comment was well made that which defense the Patriots use will almost certainly be the one which best fits the other teams offense and/or the particular down situation rather than there being an ideological preference.

    I think Wright got immediately rewarded for practicing well enough to get practice player of the week. Great positive reinforcement. It probably just happened to fit nicely with the game play which had them coming out in a 4-3 to start.
     
  18. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    More and more teams are switching to the 3-4, so its novelty is wearing off. Our opponents have been spending a whole week before the game preparing for it. Now that we have the personnel to use the 4-3, why not throw them off a bit?

    I agree though that ultimately our base defense should be a 3-4 because of it's complexity and advantage in the passing game. Seau has done really well to adapt to our system this fast. He looked like he didn't miss a beat out there against the Jets. He's only here for a season however, so we must find another ILB who has what Monty Beisel didn't; the smarts, experience, and talent to preform the incredible task of an ILB in the 3-4. Vrabel is a last-case option for ILB, because clearly he's a better OLB.
     
  19. Weishuhn

    Weishuhn On the Roster

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    The big body 4-3 alignment could be quite effective against Denver. Denver's OL relies on less physical( and smaller) but more mobile linemen to carry out their blocking scheme (lots of pulling and cut blocking). Having our bigger DL head-up on the guards and tackles would make that much tougher for them to do.
     
  20. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    OTOH, Denver has a one-cut and run scheme that relies on stretch and cut-back plays. And they have a mobile QB who throws on roll-outs and bootlegs. The 3-4 is good at filling the cut-back lanes with the ILB's. Having four LB's makes the pass-rush less predictable, better able to contain a mobile QB (the 4-3 ran all over the field chasing Pennington down with big slow DT's) and better able to seal the edge and quarry an agile RB.

    You have to keep in mind that Plummer, for all his faults, can really run and throw on the run. I like the 3-4 to confuse and contain him.
     

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