Some stuff you should read thread ...

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BaconGrundleCandy

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Not too long ago there was some debate about how much of an influence the college game has had on the pros. From schemes/systems to how we look at and use players. To how we value players. Remember when people thought RPO/misdirection was cheating :thumbsup:?

Poor one out - rip to fallen soldiers of that debate :coffee:.

The games are becoming ever closer and NEP/Bill has been watching, borrowing, adapting and using the college game to better his team for some time now. Both on offense and defense. Whether he's studying or looking at Riley's offense in OK or Iowa St's defense. Saban in Bama. Patterson in TCU. He's not shy about learning from others.

Lots of outstanding stuff on nickel/big nickel, tite/mint front, 3-S rotation, Iowa St (Big12 D) ... possible 3 high S looks? Just some really cool stuff from some really, really smart people.






Few snips from the 3-S look by Seth

"In 2017, Iowa State burst into the spotlight with an 8-win season — two more wins than its previous two seasons combined — playing with three deep safeties. Could this be the next evolution in football? We’ve already seen a change in the type of defensive player on the field. Nickel defense is the new base defense, and dime packages are on the rise as well. These have all been personnel changes. What Iowa State did was change the defense structurally".

"A perennial Big 12 doormat, Iowa State saw its defensive EPA/play drop from 0.097 in 2016 to -.119 on first and second down when it played a base three-safety look. This was a huge turnaround. While the team hasn't quite reached that peak in the two years since, it still produced a negative EPA/play in both campaigns.

Programs like Baylor and Clemson turned to this structure in 2019 for big results on early downs as well. Baylor went from .107 EPA/play in 2018 to -.155 in 2019. Playing with a three-safety shell allows for a greater number of possible coverages a team can get into from the same look. Clemson, Iowa State and Baylor each played four different coverages on early downs for at least 60 snaps last season. For reference, LSU played two. There’s such a wide variety of things you can get into from that three-safety set".

"In order to gain a safety, we have to remove a box player. If we remove a box player, we can’t possibly stop the run very well, right? Baylor finished 10th in EPA/play against the run last season. In their breakout 2017 season, Iowa State finished ninth. Clemson was also elite against the run, but they are elite on defense every year no matter the scheme.

Three-safety teams are going to run a three-man defensive line in order to mitigate some of the cost of not having an extra box player. Each team has its own setup, but generally there is at least one defensive linemen tasked with “two-gapping.” Depending on how the offensive linemen block, his gap assignment changes.

The nose tackle is almost certainly going to be a two-gap player in both A-gaps, while the alignment of the defensive end will dictate his role. Playing inside the offensive tackle, he will generally have one gap, but playing as a wider edge player, he has to control both the B- and C-gap based on the block he gets by the tackle".

"The idea here is to find a way to clog the interior and force the ball-carrier to bounce outside. Even though there is no direct C-gap, the “apex” Nickelback or Sam linebacker (called “overhang” players) will clean up the running back when he has to start moving horizontally.

In these systems, you’ll often see the inside linebackers play hyper-aggressively when they see run action. It’s another attempt to clog the middle and “spill” the ball to free players.

Against RPOs, these teams sort of have to perform what is called “slinging the fit.” Because you don’t have enough players in the box, you can steal an extra player on RPOs based on where the quarterback is looking. Almost regardless of the direction of the run action, the overhang player who the quarterback is looking at needs to freeze in the passing window. The opposite overhang can now attack the running play. The quarterback can only throw the RPO where he’s looking".
 

Ross12

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Interesting info considering Bill is doing so much with safeties/big corners right now. Curious if there will be overlap.
 

DropKickFlutie

In the Starting Line-Up
So basically instead of 4-2-5 nickel, teams like the Pats are playing more 3-2-6 dime using special safeties like Patrick Chung in the box who can tackle like a linebacker yet cover a little too.

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BaconGrundleCandy

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So basically instead of 4-2-5 nickel, teams like the Pats are playing more 3-2-6 dime using special safeties like Patrick Chung in the box who can tackle like a linebacker yet cover a little too.

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That might be a way to get Dugger on the field. I think some have pigeonholed him as this or that too soon.

If healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a Chung-like stat line at the end of the year to a lesser extent on snaps. Los/DL, Box/LB, SAF/High, Slot ..

@Mark Morse mentioned this as well.

Bill definitely has a distinct plan in mind. I mentioned several times last summer about the fact that he's acquired a bunch of the same types.

We saw it come together last year and I think we'll just continue to see that part of the defense evolve while making sure we keep that secondary together.


More speed up front. KC for example absolutely feast off of so many easy leak-sneak routes that eat up easy yards, convert 3rd down or break for big gain. It's nice to have an extra DB/LB - Hybrid on the field unless your DE's are freaks that can really move to chase guys like Kelce down, or some RB.

I'm really intrigued to see someone else take a chance like Bill is. He's obviously in a unique spot that he's built for himself but coaches are going to have to get creative going forward with these offenses.

Remember the days when you needed two solid corners? Nowadays you need everyone except IDL to cover at one point. I think the same goes for WR. Teams and coaches are just too good at creating space.
 

One-If-By-Sea

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
We traded Harmon for salary cap space, but also maybe because he does not fit the 3 safety prototypical size profile? I do not know I am asking. Instead of replacing Harmon "one for one" with another player, will we switch formations completely? Is trading Harmon and drafting "a bunch of the same types" actually both part of the same defensive philosophy change?
 

BaconGrundleCandy

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We traded Harmon for salary cap space, but also maybe because he does not fit the 3 safety prototypical size profile? I do not know I am asking. Instead of replacing Harmon "one for one" with another player, will we switch formations completely? Is trading Harmon and drafting "a bunch of the same types" actually both part of the same defensive philosophy change?
Honestly don't have a big feeling one way or other regarding Harmon. He definitely was our type, might have just been his time?

So when I say types in this instance I'm referring to HT, Wino, Bentley, Jennings, Uche, even Rivers if he can get on the field. Guys that can rush, cover, play the run - interchangeable pieces in the box/edge.

So I don't think it's a deviation. I think Bill is where he wants to be.

It'll be interesting who's asked to step up and where next year.
 

One-If-By-Sea

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Honestly don't have a big feeling one way or other regarding Harmon. He definitely was our type, might have just been his time?

So when I say types in this instance I'm referring to HT, Wino, Bentley, Jennings, Uche, even Rivers if he can get on the field. Guys that can rush, cover, play the run - interchangeable pieces in the box/edge.

So I don't think it's a deviation. I think Bill is where he wants to be.

It'll be interesting who's asked to step up and where next year.

Thanks BGC, what I meant by "type" was height and weight. It seems like BB has been drafting bigger guys, maybe to play the 3 safety defense more regularly? Harmon is 6'0", 196lbs at the combine, a long ways from the 210lb to 220lb guys BB has been drafting lately. BB chose to ship out Harmon because we did not get any great return for him - 5th back for Harmon and a 7th. If we play the 3 safety more often, BB is going to need at least 4 such safeties, maybe 5 (inevitable injuries). So there is not place for Harmon?
 

Flash

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
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It's kind of an interesting trend that is also happening in other sports (ex. NBA and European soccer). Teams are looking for versatile players instead of specialists. The NBA is getting simultaneously smaller and bigger, as small PGs and traditional bigs who can't shoot or dribble are getting phased out. In European soccer, defenders are required to be good in passing and dribbling, in addition to their usual defensive duties. Midfielders have to be good at everything, while forwards are required to defend instead of staying up front all the time. Isn't it the same case here? Instead of traditional defensive linemen (who can only pass rush or defend the run) and small CBs (who aren't going to be the best tacklers), teams are using slightly bigger safeties and smaller LBs to do a bit of everything.

Maybe the best defense 20 years later will feature 11 athletes who have the athletic profile of LeBron James. Big, strong, fast, super versatile.
 

supafly

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Thanks BGC, what I meant by "type" was height and weight. It seems like BB has been drafting bigger guys, maybe to play the 3 safety defense more regularly? Harmon is 6'0", 196lbs at the combine, a long ways from the 210lb to 220lb guys BB has been drafting lately. BB chose to ship out Harmon because we did not get any great return for him - 5th back for Harmon and a 7th. If we play the 3 safety more often, BB is going to need at least 4 such safeties, maybe 5 (inevitable injuries). So there is not place for Harmon?
I believe that Harmon was not only a fine fit but a key part of the defense, seeing roughly half of the snaps. He had a ton of big game experience and lots of key moments in the system. I think that he had a bit of a high cap hit for a 3rd safety, and seeing as how we’re still cap strapped even after the move, may have simply been a tough cut. It’s also possible that Belichick knew that the position of safety would be targeted in the draft, and that may have made Harmon more expendable. I’m just speculating, but I don’t think that being a poor fit was necessarily the issue.
 

One-If-By-Sea

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I believe that Harmon was not only a fine fit but a key part of the defense, seeing roughly half of the snaps. He had a ton of big game experience and lots of key moments in the system. I think that he had a bit of a high cap hit for a 3rd safety, and seeing as how we’re still cap strapped even after the move, may have simply been a tough cut. It’s also possible that Belichick knew that the position of safety would be targeted in the draft, and that may have made Harmon more expendable. I’m just speculating, but I don’t think that being a poor fit was necessarily the issue.

I agree that Harmon was a fine fit and a key part of the Pat's defense. So why is he gone? Salary cap casualty? I think it might be more than that. I agree Harmon was experienced, not too old and clutch, but I am suggesting that he WAS (not IS) a key cog because BB is trying to remold the defense to counter the new RPO offenses. BB new approach may include multiple big safeties to allow for flexibility. It appears as though the flexibility to cover a TE or a RB or tackle the QB (Lamar Jackson is 215 lbs.) requires a larger safety, someone who is taller and stronger, a mini-LB. So we had Chung and in the last two years we have added Williams, Philips and Dugger, all of them about 215 lbs. and fast. Now with 3 safeties on the field, we can stop the RPO including the TE, RB and QB and still be very flexible to counter various options afforded the offense.

Do not confuse the three safety defense with stopping Derrick Henry (250 lbs) - that is still an issue in my mind although the Titans only scored 20 points so maybe BB is not as concerned with that scenario as the PatsFans Forum is.
 
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