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The 4-3 D alternative

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JR4, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In a Reiss blog entry, about today AM practice, he says:

    "Quite a bit of four-man defensive line work in this session, with Mike Wright and Ty Warren at end, and Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork at tackle. "

    I wonder if PATs will use the 4-3 a lot if their ILB position is weak.
    With Bruschi status undetermined and Beisel just returning and without
    any significant indication that one of the youger LB is steping up ... maybe the
    4-3 D option in becoming more important. Just a thought.
    With Sullivan back and other DLine guys there seems to be good depth at
    that postion.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces/
  2. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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  3. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    I'm not really sure we have an ideal candidate to play MLB if we do it full time. I suppose Bruschi could, but it's a lot different than ILB. Vrabel maybe could learn, but Ted Johnson was our last MLB-type.
  4. mavfan2390

    mavfan2390 Rookie

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    There's no point in running a 4-3 with the Pats because of Seymour, he is a one man wrecking crew, and he anchors a defensive line that is extremely tough to run against. Our weak line is pass D, and more linebackers can help with that.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2005
  5. jimleehunt

    jimleehunt Rookie

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    JR4- okay-im NOT being cranky. (im shakin in my boots at keegs calling this a cranky response) BUT-i really thought you had a better handle on the Pats and their personnel than to suggest a 4 -3 base D-thats something only a casual fan would suggest. Im not trying to be aknow-it-all. but,cmon JR4, this is pretty BASIC. 1. Since installing the 3-4 as their base, the pats have used plenty of 4-3, along with plenty of more exotic looks. NFL ocs are not stupid-BB always has mixed things up to keep from being too predictable. but for the past few seasons, the 3-4 has been the base. 2. the pats DO NOT have the dl personnel to be a 4-3 base defense. there are NO des. NONE. Seymour is a dt-he could play 4-3 de-but that would be wasting his talents since hes the best in the nfl from inside. all the rest of the dl on the roster would be dts in a 4-3. jarvis could play it for ashort time, as could warren. but NOT on a regular basis. theyd be the SLOWEST 4-3 des in nfl history. This goes back to really understanding the 3-4. even if the pats were weak at ilb(which theyre not)-theyd still be more suited for the 3-4. the olbs are really des in a 3-4.(though they also have much more responsibility than a passrushing de-they stop the run, cover and even rush from INSIDE sometimes.) seymour and wilfork do such a great job in the middle that having weaker ilbs is not as much of an issue for the pats as having weak olbs. theres really only 2 guys on the roster who could be fulltime 4-3 des: vrabel and colvin. and theyre needed and better suited for olb. even if bruschi goes down with an injury(gawd,please no) the pats would still keep the 3-4 as their base. they will mix things up, as always-but theres no team in the nfl whose personnel dictates a 3-4 more than the pats. i hope i wasnt cranky-but it seems this has come up several times before. and being called cranky would be absolutely devastating to my fragile self esteem.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2005
  6. mcbee

    mcbee Banned

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    They might be slow as DEs but they'd be tough to run against. And they'd have great pressure on the passer. It would free up Colvin to come against a TE/RB.

    Maybe use 5 DBs full time too.
  7. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bit testy there weren't you? :eat3:
  8. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    If New England did play a 4 man D Line, they would be much better off playing a nickel behind them, probably with two SS types. At least one of them stationed very close to the LOS.

    New England no longer possesses true speed LBs, so the 4-3 probably wouldn't work for more than a series or two.
  9. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! Rookie

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    Sullivan is back just in time to be let go. According to PFW, he is being manhandled by the third string O-Linemen like Dan Stephenson, and doesn't even look as good as Kevin Smith.

    Hill has missed all of camp after day two, and so has Jarvis Green.

    We are running a 4-3 with Wright as the DE.

    As far as our effectiveness in going to a 4-3 for a whole season, I think Jimleehunt is exactly right. We have a roster full of DTs that are good in a two gap. We don't have a single Jason Taylor style DE, somebody who can rush the passer and actually get there early.

    We badly need inside LBs right now! We could stuff the run with a 4-3, but it would be a waste on passing downs.
  10. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    Cart -- Horse ??
    Horse -- Cart ??

    It's pretty apparent that Belichick has decided some time ago that the 3-4 defense is the most effective primary defense. He doesn't run the 3-4 because that is the personnel he has - he drafts and staffs the roster with personnel to suit the 3-4 - AS WELL AS to run the 4-3 where that is appropriate..

    The Pats do just fine with the LBs they have in the particular situations they use a 4-3 for - there is no drop off of effectivess. Also note that at times they use the 4-3 consistently. In the Jacksonville playoff game, they used the 4-3 from the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter all through the ENTIRE 4th quarter.
  11. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    This is an intriguing and I think great idea, especially since we have two SS's - Rodney and now James Sanders.

    We'd have:
    A secondary of Rodney, Sanders, Wilson, Hobbs, and Samuel/Hawkins.
    Two linebackers, rotating between Bruschi, Colvin, and Vrabel.
    A defensive line of Seymour, Warren, Wilfork, and Sullivan/Green.

    Rodney and Sanders could play all over the field to help either contain the run or defend the pass, depending on the situation.

    .
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  12. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First of all , if you re-read my intial post I was questioning a larger role for the
    4-3 option. I didn't say abandon the 3-4.

    Not going to call you cranky but you do sound like a text book.
    You know far more that I do about this stuff I am quite sure.
    What you say may be technically correct but I think you may
    underestimate what some the PATs players can do.

    Can PATs put a very fast front 7 like Colts ... no. But is that the only way
    you can have a successful 4-3?

    Consider Seymour and Wilfork in the middle. Those two alone give you
    a massive advantage. Would you try to run a lot on that tandem?
    Assume not. Then that gives you an advantage in playing the run.
    I also contend that with those two in the middle, offenses will
    limit to some extent what they can do because they will have to game
    plan for those two.

    Green certainly has shown as a DE he can be a good rusher. The
    big question is Warren. But we have seen him in pursuit often and being
    pretty good at it. Certainly he can hold his own at RDE. I thought I read
    Wright would be a good DE in the 4-3.

    But LB is where it could be a problem unless Beisel, one PATs fastest LBs, becomes
    a good MLB that gives him the range he'd need. Also he has the smarts to do the job I believe.
    Clovin? Wasn't he herald as one of the best OLB in the league when in
    the Bears 4-3? So that leaves Vrabel. We have seen him in coverage and
    he does OK. The only concern might be his speed. But there are probably
    other options here. Tebucky has been taking turns at LB .. He has size speed
    and coverage ability. ... there mybe options here rather than just saying
    PATs can't do it and it would be terrible.

    But then there is Belchick. Do you really believe he could not put together
    and effective 4-3 D with the players he has? I wouldn't bet on it.
    I really think you underrate our players. Again they won't be a fast front 7
    like Colts but that is not the only one way to man a 4-3 D. Right?

    If because of injury PATs are weak at the ILB position
    which becomes a liability like last year what do you do? Say ... we are a
    3-4 D and we'll just stay in this alignment and personnel grouping even though
    there may be other options?
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  13. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    And is this based on one practice, or two? BB won't make a decision based on one or two practices. He'll make a decision based on 15 or 20 of them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2005
  14. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    guess I wasn't the only one thinking about using more 4-3 D.


    Tuesday afternoon’s practice featured a 4-3 base set with veteran free agent acquisition Barry Gardner manning the middle linebacker spot. Mike Vrabel and Rosevelt Colvin manned the outside positions behind a front that included Ty Warren and Mike Wright outside and Le Kevin Smith and Vince Wilfork inside. The team also worked plenty of four-man fronts during the morning session.

    Obviously the alignment doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the 3-4. Belichick spends plenty of time every year working on a variety of fronts and looks and this camp has been no different. But perhaps with such a paucity of depth at linebacker he believes he’ll need more 4-3 work – at least early in the season if Bruschi is out for any extended period.


    http://www.patriots.com/news/index.cfm?ac=latestnewsdetail&pid=20378&pcid=44

    I guess Belichick doesn't know he hasn't got the players to run a 4-3 D. :confused:
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2006
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    But does he have the players to run the 4-3 FT. I'm not sure he would, even if he had the players to do it.

    Maybe we should appoint someone to chart defensive fronts, used in the Atlanta game.
  16. b_btrick

    b_btrick Rookie

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    I think he would change. Its just my opinion, however, one of the key characteristics of Belichick that somehow seems to have been forgotten in everyone's focus on the '3-4' is that he will take a player and adjust his defense (and offense) to what that (those) player(s) can do.

    Given the personnel to play an outright 4-3 without need to disguise anything, then I believe that is what he would do. I do NOT believe they have that kind of talent on the team right now, however, I do believe they have the talent to use it as their base defense the way they now use the 3-4 as their base.

    They have three speed linebackers in Beisel (this was one of the main things Belichick complimented him for when he brought him in last year along with his ability to play in coverage which is a definate need for a 4-3 linebacker), Alexander (who has as much speed as Beisel and has been reported to be spending a large portion of his time learning coverage) and ... dang ... ahhhh ... cant remember his name ... the rookie they got this year who was running something like a 4.6 which is well into the speed range for a LB. They also have Gardner who has experience and some ability in the 4-3.

    Unfortunately this leaves their three top 3-4 LBs on the sideline ... Bruschi, Vrabel and Colvin. Their best bet to play would be as the Sam and Will LBs in a heavy package (obvious run downs) though I remember reading somewhere that both Colvin and Vrabel were pretty good in coverage and thus would be perfect in all situations allowing edge support against the run without compromising pass coverage. It would also bring in two more 'linemen' that could rush the passer when desired thus causing Belichicks trademark confusion on who the o-line will have to block ... much the way they now use them in the 3-4).

    All told this gives them a good 'speed' package to field as well as a good 'heavy' package while still maintaining some ability to confuse the offense as to what exactly the defense will do.

    Bottom line though, is that, it will all hinge on what Belichick feels puts the best players on the field and thus gives the team the best chance to win, not on some need to stick with the 3-4 at all costs and try and force players into that allignment even if they dont fit it.
  17. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    Good grief.
  18. jimleehunt

    jimleehunt Rookie

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    JR4- The Pats are not practicing significantly any more 4-3 than they have the last few years. They do NOT have the personnel to be a fulltime 4-3 D. As I said previously,tho-they have used a lot of 4-3(and other looks) the last few years,while maintaining the 3-4 as their base. That will not change this year. And why would you want to? The 3-4 is a far superior defense to the 4-3. If you know how to implement it and have the right players-it causes much more matchup problems for offenses. BB drafted and signed players he thought would work well in his 3-4 2gap. You asked rhetorically if the Pats had to play a fulltime 4-3 with their current personnel, would bb be effective? thats really not a relevant question. why would you want to? but no,it would not be anywhere near as effective(on a "fulltime" basis) as the 3-4. Part of the reason the Pats have done well with the 4-3 is that it is a change of pace defense from what teams expect the pats to do. its like why kevin faulk always seems to taer off 10 yerd gains every time he runs-hes achnge of pace-could he do that full time?-no way. bb is a bona fide genius- but even hed tell you-the Pats D would be fairly mediocre as a fulltime 4-3. we really dont need to worry. it would take a lot of injuries to scrap the 3-4-more than just bruschi going down. but we have very versatile players on our d-because bb trains them that way. expect alot of 4-3-but i'll bet you the farm the 3-4 remains the base regardless of what happens this year. and thats a GOOD thing.
  19. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    Well said. So far, it is pretty apparent that Belichick feels that the 3-4 is the more effective base D - as you say. And he HAS drafted and signed players with the particular capabilities to play the 3-4. He is not going to 'accidentally' add personnel that just 'happen' to be better for a 4-3. The only valid reason to predict that he might shift is to do the analysis that the majority of offenses in the league have changed their offensive schemes in such a manner that a 4-3 would be more effective as a base D. Until that occurs, speculating that he will go to or even emphasize the 4-3 doesn't have much substance.

    I also don't quite understand why folks seem to feel that the Pats don't have the personnel to play the 4-3 effectively. For the DL, Jarvis Green is already used in pass rush situations as a DE. Seymour can certainly play a pass rush DE for gosh sakes. Warren plays NT at times already and can certainly anchor the middle of a 4-3 with Wilfork. Or you can even put Seymour inside with Wilfork (deadly middle), as they have done many times, and use Warren and Green on the outside or use any of the LBs who were originally DEs anyway and who many times drop to down position as outside DEs in the 4-3 already. I won't go into LBs, but I really don't see ANY problem there effectively playing a 4-3.

    As I have commented on before, there have been games where the Pats have played 4-3 exclusively for stretches at a time. Prime recent example is the Jacksonville playoff game where they played exclusively 4-3 from the last couple plays of the 3rd through the entire 4th period - and held JAX scoreless. That isn't exactly a weak performance for their 4-3 defensive set.
  20. jimleehunt

    jimleehunt Rookie

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    arrelbee- I agree only to a point. yes, when the pats have plyed the 4-3-they have excelled-like the jags game. As amatter of fact-the best pass rush ive seen generated by the pats has been from the 4-3-primarily because seymour, whether playing dt or de, gets turned loose from his 2 gap responsibilities and has been unstoppable. BUT-this success would be short-lived if the pats were a fulltime 4-3. green is too slow to be a ft 4-3 de. sey could do it-but his talents would best be maximized as a 4-3 dt. that means wilfork sits on the bench. and hes too good for that. if we still had willi,then maybe. but i think a lot of reason thyve done well with the 4-3 is because its not expected. if teams could scheme against it regularly-the pats would have problems.

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