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The "245" Amorphous D ~ The Next Great Defense??

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Off The Grid, Jul 21, 2012.

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  1. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    #3 Jersey

    I believe so. :eek:

    *Editor's Note: As Always, the following Bits ~ or at least the intelligent parts!! ~ owe a Great Deal to the Author's extensive discussions with Brother MayoClinic, Fellow FootBall Fanatic!!


    Amorphous D ~ Birth of A Bull Market of Deception!!​


    First ~ A bit of FootBall History, Ladies + Laddies:

    It was in 1880 ~ 132 long and lustrous years ago ~ that the number of Players on the Field was reduced from 15...to 11.

    And so the merciless + unrelenting Persecution of Defenses...began!!

    "It Starts."​


    [​IMG]

    1880's dramatic Rule Change effected a substantial impact on the Game ~ in favor of the Offense, of course, as all such reductions in Personnel do ~ and consequently demanded not only that the remaining 11 Defenders become far Quicker and Craftier than before...but also that their Alignments become more Flexible, Unpredictable...and Deceptive.

    And it established a Trend that has persisted to this very day.

    For 132 years, the vast majority of the Paying Public ~ as well as the Innovators who crafted the Games's Evolution before there was a Paying Public ~ have displayed a relentless, ever-increasing appetite for Offense ~ along with a shamefully minimal appreciation for Defense!! ~ as a result of which the Trend of Change in the Game's Rules and Regulations, almost since the Game's very inception, has carved out a 132 Year Offensive Bull Market.

    And there's no end in sight.

    Time for a gratuitously + unnecessarily confusing + complicated Chart:

    Points Per Game Since 1880:​



    [​IMG]

    The sad part is that I actually think I'm being funny. [​IMG]

    So, yes: Virtually since The Dawn of FootBall, Defenses have adapted to this Relentless Persecution by becoming increasingly Quicker, Faster, Smaller, and Smarter...And Defensive Coordinators have indeed been compelled to forge Systems and Schemes that have become increasingly Flexible....and increasingly Unpredictable and Deceptive.

    And as any Student of Warfare ~ or Football ~ will tell you: The more Flexible, Unpredictable, and Deceptive that you wish to be...the fewer Soldiers you should commit to The Front Line BEFORE the Inception of Battle.

    Coach Amos Stagg ~ Revolutionary FREAK!!


    [​IMG]

    In 1890, The GodFather of all FootBall Revolutionaries ~ Coach Amos Stagg of the SpringField Young Men's Christian Association Training Center, which eventually became SpringField College ~ tore up the Competitive LandScape ~ one of about 8 million times he would do so ~ by trumping the classic "92" Defensive Formation with the introduction of the "722" ~ And in his spare time he played in the very first BasketBall game in History!!

    This Relentless Persecution of Defenses would compel numerous Evolutions in Strategy and Scheme in the decades to come, as described eloquently yet understandably by Jene Bremel of the New York Times:

    * In the late 1940's, Coach Greasy Neale of the Philadelphia Eagles forged a Dynasty with a dominant "524".

    * But on Opening Day 1950, the 2 Time Defending World Champion Eagles were shredded by the phenomenal Tactics of Coach Paul Brown's CleveLand Browns...and the rest of the NFL scrambled, in more or less sheer panic, to try to find some way to combat this new and Revolutionary CleveLand Offense. The result: The "43".

    * In the 1970's, we saw the rise of the "34". It receded in the 1980's, but is now rapidly taking over the Game.

    Time for another gratuitously complex + complicated Chart to illustrate the Point:

    Number of Base Defensive Down Linemen Since 1880:


    [​IMG]

    Yes, but at least I'm amusing myself. :D

    So I've got that going for me.

    Which is nice.

    [​IMG]

    1880 ~ 11 Men on the Line of Scrimmage in Base Defense.

    2011 ~ 3 or 4.

    You, um...get the picture.

    What Does The Future Hold?


    The Running Game hasn't been outlawed ~ yet ~ so it might be a bit premature, at this point, to field 11 CornerBacks.

    But we're seeing the first signs, ere the last few years, of even Smaller, more Flexible, and less Decipherable Defenses gaining Market Share with some of the bolder, more creative Defensive Coordinators and Head Coaches:

    * New EngLand Patriots ~ the 155!!

    * PittsBurgh Steelers ~ the 245 + 155!!

    * GreenBay Packers ~ Nickel + Psycho Packages!!

    * Seattle SeaHawks ~ the Amoeba Defense!!


    Mind you: all of these are instances of the "155" and the "245" being employed as Sub Packages.

    Nobody's talking about installing the "155" or the "245" as a Base Package.

    Well, except for me. :eek:
  2. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Amorphous D ~ Birth of A Bull Market of Deception!!


    [​IMG]

    "ALL War is based on Deception." ~ Sun Tzu


    Indeed, the concept of Sub Packages, itself, is undergoing a Revolution: The changes in the Rules ~ and the implementation of the Rules ~ have been so severely detrimental to Defenses since 2003 that ~ just in order to survive without getting "40 Burgers" dropped on them every single week ~ DC's've been compelled not only to adapt with increasingly indecipherable Defenses that keep their options open ~ hence the recent rapid resurgence of the 34!! ~ but have indeed needed ~ for sheer survival's sake ~ to seek out and try to field personnel who can morph between multiple formations, in order to Multiply the Indecipherability of their Strategy + Schemes!!

    Relentless Persecution, Part 12: The "No Huddle" O!!


    [​IMG]

    Just when you might think that Defenses are starting to recover from the combined onslaught of Pansy Polian's Punishment of Physical FootBall and Gutless Goodell's Flag FootBall Foolishness and Flatulent Phuckery...

    The Greatest, Most Merciless Evil in The History of Defensive FootBall...Strikes.

    I refer, of course to:

    Tom Brady ~ Scourge of Gods!!


    [​IMG]

    As if Defenses didn't already have enough disastrous changes to deal with ~ what with the multitudinous Evils wrought by The Conspiracy to Maddenize FootBall ~ along comes Tom Brady, who makes note that Defensive Schemes are rapidly becoming more fragmented ~ in other words: Sub Packages are exploding, as DC's desperately rotate more and more Specialists in and out ~ Run D Specialists, Pass D Specialists, Nickel Packages, Dime Packages ~ in a frantic effort to stem The Relentless Tide of Maddenization...

    So what does General Tom do??

    Why, he waits until he's got the best Match Up of Personnel on both sides of the Ball...and then he hits the Gas!!

    There's No MERCY in FOOTBall!!


    [​IMG]

    The No Huddle Offense has, of course, been with us for a very long time, historically employed as The 2:00 Drill. And while its application as a Primary Offense ~ in order to exploit Bad Matchups and to exhaust Defenses ~ is much more recent, it still goes back to the Boomer Esiason Cincinnati Bengals of the 1980's.

    But the increased Specialization of today's Defensive Personnel ~ "Specialist" being of course a clever euphemism for "Not Good Enough To Be A Starter" ~ offers savvy QuarterBacks an unprecedented multitude of Opportunities to strike Defenses when they're most vulnerable...and to drive them all the way downfield before they can recover!!

    Mind you: Not everyone can do what Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers can do.

    Not on their Scale.

    But as soon as the rest of this famously "CopyCat" League fully embraces the stunning enormity of this gaping hole that the explosive growth of Sub Packages has exposed Defensive Schematics to ~ and I believe that the 2012 season will reveal that, in fact, they already have ~ the FloodGates will truly be thrown wide open.

    I'm not joking: I believe that Tom Brady and a few others have already proven ~ via The No Huddle Offense ~ that the entire premise behind the recent explosion of Sub Packages is fundamentally and fatally flawed!!

    And therein, I believe, lies the Vacuum.

    My GOD...What's a Defense to DO??


    [​IMG]

    We all know that Nature Abhors a Vacuum.

    And I have posited that Sub Packages have been exposed...and are about to be shredded on a league-wide basis.

    Furthermore, it has been argued that any Base Defense that doesn't have at least three Down Linemen ~ in other words: the "245" or the "155", to say nothing of sending out zero Down Linemen!! ~ can be run on all...day...long.

    Ladies and Laddies?

    I call "BULLSCHITTE."

    Because that, Ladies and Laddies...is what they once said about the 34!!

    Well, they were wrong, then, weren't they?


    [​IMG]

    Indeed, I'd bet cold, hard Cash that that's also what they said about the "43", when it replaced the "52" in the 50's!!

    And while I wasn't privy to the meetings ~ to the best of my recollection ~ I'll bet that Coach Stagg got hit with a ton of PushBack, back in 1890, when he moved from the "92" to the "722"!! Hah!!

    "They're gonna run the ball down our THROATS, Coach!!"

    WRONG!!!


    [​IMG]

    Despite the Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth over the years, with every Schematic Change, the facts are crystal clear:

    Defenses have evolved from the "92" to the "722" to the "524" to the "43" to the "34" over the last 132 years, as they've scrambled to react to the introduction ~ in 1906 ~ of the Passing Game, and to its explosive expansion.

    And they are now forced to pay a tiny fraction of attention to the Running Game that they once did, back in the day.

    And yet D's are still able to compete against the Run, to this very day.

    "How in the name of God is that even possible??", one might ask.

    One word, Ladies and Laddies:

    Evolution.

    We Improvise...We Adapt...We OVERCOME!!


    [​IMG]

    Evolution


    The Game ~ by dint of the dramatic changes in Rules and Implementation over the last 10 years ~ has evolved.

    Again.

    And there's no sense in DC's kidding themselves.

    In order to survive ~ and in order, ultimately, to thrive ~ Defenses must once again evolve with it.

    I won't venture a TimeLine, but I believe, yes, that the "43" Base Defense is about to rapidly disappear from the NFL.

    And I wouldn't be surprised to see the "34" Base vaporize in the next decade or so, either.

    "74" Schemes ~ such as the "34" and the "43" ~ are about to fade away, I believe.

    "65" Schemes ~ such as the "155", "245", "335", and "425" ~ are about to explode...as Base Defenses!!

    Remember where you read it first, if you'd do me that Honor!! :D

    How To Approach This Insanity?


    I'll leave the details to the Experts, of course, but I have a few ideas.

    The two most critical Principles, in my view, both of which I've touched on, are these:

    1 ~ Embrace "65" Base Schemes and leave "74" Base Schemes behind: D's that hope to compete against the Flying Circuses of the 21st Century had damned well better deploy 5 Defensive Backs. At is simplest, it is far better to have an extra Corner or Safety occasionally attack upfield against the Run...than to ask a MidFielder ~ "Middle LineBacker", Earthlings ~ to be constantly backpedaling downfield, desperately trying to keep up with a guy 30 pounds lighter than'm!!

    2 ~ Substitution and Specializing can be fatal: Aggressively seek out Players with the Intelligence, the Athleticism, and the Character to play effectively in the "155", the "245", the "335", and the "425", or at least two of them. I believe that it's the D's that can seamlessly morph between Schemes ~ thus eliminating The No Huddle's greatest advantage ~ and then disruptively implement those Schemes, who will come to dominate the League in the not so distant future.

    An Amorphous D that can seamlessly morph between Multiple "65" Fronts IS The Wave of the Future!!

    Am I out'f my mind??

    Quite Possibly!!

    But...then again...

    It...Could...WORK!!!


    [​IMG]
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :youtheman: Fabulous stuff, Brother. Love the history lesson.

    Some thoughts:

    1. With offenses spreading the field more and more, having 5 DBs will be the "base" and not the "sub", so I agree with you that "6-5" fronts will be the norm. I also think that 5-6 fronts (6 DBs) will be at least as common as "7-4" fronts. It's time to talk stoping about a 4-3 or 3-4 "base" and a sub defense.

    2. The ability to move guys around within your "front" group - whether it consists of 5, 6, or 7 guys - will be key. I prefer talking about 5 / 6 / 7 man fronts instead of talking about 1-4, 4-1, 1-5, 5-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-2, 2-4, 4-2, 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, or about "base" and "sub" - with the right personnel, defenses will morph between all of those combinations to a varying extent. So finding defenders who can play in multiple schemes will be key. Guys who can play DE in 3 and 4-3 man fronts and either move inside or stand up in more asymmetric formations will be valuable. And you need at least 1 and preferably 2 studs in the middle.

    3. With an emphasis to more DBs on the field, having DBs that can both play a variety of coverage schemes and support the run will be important.

    4. Finding guys who can play in such a scheme is challenging. It requires guys with great football intelligence and processing speed as well as the athletic ability to play in different fronts and schemes.
  4. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I guess that's okay but I just wish you had put a little more effort into your presentation.
















    :D
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's Grid - all substance, but no style.
  6. hovis

    hovis Rookie

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    That sucked. We need more threads about how Belichick the GM has failed Belichick the Coach.
  7. hovis

    hovis Rookie

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    What do you see as being the optimal personnel prototypes for the Front 6?

    A 3-4 NT and a 4-3 DT/3-4 LDE up front; two "Elephants" on the outside; and two 4-3 OLBs in the middle?
  8. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Rookie

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    Grid, promise me you'll never switch to decaf;)
  9. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We have always played this defense in sub packages.
    We have (almost) always done it as a 4 man front with players who are DE or DT/NT is a base defense as the 'DTs' inside and players who are 3-4 OLBs as the DEs, who rush virtually 100% of the time.

    The issue isn't that a new defense is being created, this issue is that as passing frequency increases, it is used much more than ever. We have used nickel on first down in situations, and in full games vs certain teams.

    With our current personnel, in this package you would see players from among the following:

    DT Fanene, Wilfork, Deaderick, Pryor, Warren, Love, Brace
    DE Jones, Ninko, Hightower, Scott, Cunningham
    LB Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Ninko, Carpenter
  10. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sounds like a good start to me.

    If I were picking my ideal front 6 it would probably look something like Vince Wilfork and Haloti Ngata up front, with JJ Watt and Jason Pierre-Paul outside and Patrick Willis and Sean Lee in the middle. The "ends" are athletic enough to play standing up or out of a 3-point stance and probably strong enough to move inside, the tackles are strong enough to play inside on a 2, 3, or 4 man front and athletic enough to play outside on a 3 man front (and maybe even 4-3 LDE for Ngata). The LBs have enough range and coverage ability to play out of a 4-2-5 scheme. I'd probably have another "elephant" for NASCAR kind of situations where I wanted more up front pass rushing. Aldon Smith would be a nice option for that role.
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As we've discussed in other threads, this is true. The 1-5-5 article that Grid quotes was from 2008. The ideas are not new. What has changed are the extent to which a 6 man front becomes the "base" rather than a "sub" package, the amount of hurry up affecting substitution, and above all the ability of the defensive personnel to execute the scheme. 2008 was not coincidentally the end of the Seymour-Bruschi-Vrabel-Rodney era. It's taken 4-5 years to fully re-load on personnel, and that has limited the ability to execute different schemes.
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To use guys from our dynsaty era, Seymour was one of the best nickel DTs I have ever seen in the NFL. Otherwise, smallish 34 DEs have done some damage too, such as Jarvis Green, Mike Wright, etc.
    At the nickel DE spot, McGinest is the standard, and Colvin was very good. Vrabel only really played that role a couple of years and was good, but he played as much sub LB as sub DE.
    The LBs, again Vrable was probably the prototype, well, other than Bruschi. Adalius Thomas, before he gave up, was, like Vrabel used in both roles, with varying degrees of success.

    My front 6 in the sub using Patriots only would be:

    DTs Seymour, Wright, Green
    DEs McGinest, Colvin, Vrabel, Carter
    LBs Bruschi, Mayo, Vrabel(I list him 3rd in each but he would be on the field in either role almost all the time)
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Knew I forgot someone. Hopefully Bequette can be in the conversation this year.

    I actually believe the 'rebuild' started early. I have long felt that after 03-04 we were sitting with a team that it would take at least 150% of the cap to resign. One by one, choices needed to be made because we won (as most teams do) with players in a contract that underpaid their ultimate performance.
    As they came due, the turnover started (along with the aging process).
    Frankly, this team had no right to stay competitive without a down period while that was going on. This board rips personell moves a lot, but when you consider the talent on that 2004 team that either came up for a new contract or aged and needed to be replaced, while there was no where near enough money to find a like replacement, it is astounding that 05-11 has seen so much success, albiet not lincluding any rings.
    I think it has been remarkably overlooked how there was no chance to keep or replace the pieces on that team due to the cap, and the dropoff was so limited.
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with most of this. Some of it's been discussed elsewhere, and Deus in particular has argued eloquently that the "evolution" of the defense is not so new as many make it out to be:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...d/10/918347-evolution-belichick-defense.html

    Between age and contract/cap issues, it is indeed impressive that the Pats could field perennial playoff and mostly SB contenders from 2005-2011.
  15. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    #3 Jersey

    Thank ye KINDLY, my Esteemed Brother!! High Praise, indeed!! [​IMG]

    I'll pull your Comments out'f the Quote, so responders have them, as well:

    MayoClinic​


    1. With offenses spreading the field more and more, having 5 DBs will be the "base" and not the "sub", so I agree with you that "6-5" fronts will be the norm.

    I also think that 5-6 fronts (6 DBs) will be at least as common as "7-4" fronts.

    It's time to talk stopping about a 4-3 or 3-4 "base" and a sub defense.


    2. The ability to move guys around within your "front" group - whether it consists of 5, 6, or 7 guys - will be key. I prefer talking about 5 / 6 / 7 man fronts instead of talking about 1-4, 4-1, 1-5, 5-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-2, 2-4, 4-2, 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, or about "base" and "sub" - with the right personnel, defenses will morph between all of those combinations to a varying extent. So finding defenders who can play in multiple schemes will be key. Guys who can play DE in 3 and 4-3 man fronts and either move inside or stand up in more asymmetric formations will be valuable.

    And you need at least 1 and preferably 2 studs in the middle.

    3. With an emphasis to more DBs on the field, having DBs that can both play a variety of coverage schemes and support the run will be important.

    4. Finding guys who can play in such a scheme is challenging. It requires guys with great football intelligence and processing speed as well as the athletic ability to play in different fronts and schemes.

    Off The Grid​


    1 ~ Excellent points!! I especially like the bit about the "56" Fronts ~ 6 DB's ~ eclipsing the "Market Share" of "74" Fronts!! As Radical as that notion would've been so recently...I'll bet you're right!! :eek:

    2 ~ I agree 1000%: It's no secret that I am a frothing fan of D Tackles ~ as are you!! ~ and if I'm correct about the "245"'s Market Share exploding in the years to come, the fact that the D Tackles would often be the only Down Linemen would make them even more vital to the Fortunes of their teams...if that's possible!! :eek:

    3 ~ Concur!! This is, indeed, an element of the Game where Darwinism will strike hard, I suspect. As you say, the necessity of deploying fewer "In The Box" Defenders translates to greater Run Defense responsibilities for the Secondary. The Processing Speed to Rapidly Read + React, combined with the Fluidity, Lateral Agility, and Verticity to explode in any direction at the drop of an hat will be essential to D Backs...and very hard to come by, I suspect!! :eek:

    4 ~ How true!! The landscape is so violently skewed against Defenses, today, that I believe we will virtually need to develop a new breed of Defenders!!Phenomenal Processing Speed and outrageous Athleticism will be at a steep Premium!! Darwinism, indeed!! :eek:
  16. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    This, this is your brain on drugs.

    Too tired tonight after serious partying to do the mind bending need to read this thread but it has to be one of the best off season threads here.
  17. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think that we are already seeing an unprecedented amount of creativity and versatility in the use of defensive personnel - especially front 6/7 personnel - in the college ranks. Alabama used to drop Marcell Dareus into coverage at times (as the Ravens have done with Haloti Ngata) and moved Dont'a Hightower all over the defense while coordinating multiple fronts. It's now common to see 320+# guys used at 3-4 DE as well as at 4-3 DT and NT and 3-4 NT. John Jenkins and Johnathan Hankins have both been used that way, and Jesse Williams has played both outside and at the nose for Alabama. Meanwhile SMU used 6'8" Margus Hunt at 3-4 NT on occasion last year with some success, and Missouri used 6'5" Aldon Smith inside at DT quite a bit as well. Willie McGinest was a bit of a freak for his time, but it's now pretty common to see guys like Jason Pierre-Paul, Aldon Smith, Chandler Jones and Devin Taylor with the length, size and strength to play as 4-3 ends, the strength to play inside on occasion, and the athleticism to stand up. These guys aren't prototypical 3-4 OLB conversion prospects who are undersized as DEs. Oregon has used 6'7" Dion Jordan as an outside press CB at times, with fair success. As college defenses get more creative and players are used in more complicated roles, I think that there will be an evolution in the "processing speed" or the defensive personnel.

    Unless the NFL reverts to 15 defenders and we see 4-4-7 schemes, Darwinism will heavily favor prospects who are athletic, versatile, and smart enough to play multiple roles successfully.
  18. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Terrific food for thought, Gents!! I'm at work, and we are getting CRUSHED, but I look forward to reading up when I have more leisure to do so!! :D :eek:
  19. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    #3 Jersey

    Umm...:D

    Believe it or not, my friend, Faux Joe ~ "DeCaf", to you Earthlings ~ is all I drink!! :eek:
  20. pdangle

    pdangle Rookie

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    While I agree with the idea in theory. Yes, pass prevention is now every team's primary defensive focus. Why not a 3-3-5, or a 2-6-3, or 1-5-5, etc. You get the point. (and forgive me if this was brought up in the OP. It was a long read)

    Basically it seems like your saying sub packages are now the norm, no matter what you call them. Not really breaking news.

    However I'd be more inclined to say the NFL has become a matchup game on D. If your opponent is a smash mouth run heavy yet efficient team (relative to league averages I mean), I'm not quite sure a 245 would be the Next Great D to stop it.

    You need to have the best personnel to scheme across multiple styles, with ability to execute it at high level, intelligence to quickly implement (which usually hinges on basic high football IQ) , and of course the field general to pull it all together and change it on the fly. That's the best D to stop that weeks oppopnent, no matter what you decide to call it that week.

    Or in other words, a D that can equally dominate in 3-4, 4-3, Nick, Dime, Quarter and Hyrbrid/Amorphous... Now THAT'S the next great D.
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