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  1. #1
    Purple Floyd's Avatar
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    Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    As more and more teams have been switching to a 3-4 defense ( 6 teams ran a 3-4 in 2006 and 15 ran it in 2010) in order to counter the WCO it seems that right now with a new staff it would be prudent to look at the best way to counter the 3-4 ( 3 out of the 4 teams in the conference championship games ran a 3-4 and both SB teams ran it). And add to that the fact the the damn Packers run the 3-4 and it seems to me that there is no choice but to build our offense around beating that defense.

    OK, with that thought established, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the 3-4 and how do we stop it?

    Starting with the QB we need a guy who can get the ball down the field and spread that defense out. He doesn't have to be mobile as Mike Vick but he needs to be able to slide around and get the ball to the second and third levels. because of the speed of the linebackers I don't see much value in the screen passes or the short 3 yard YAC routes so I am looking for a guy that can stick the ball in anywhere but he has to be very smart because the 3-4 is designed to create confusion in the passing game by not knowing where the pressure is coming from.

    Moving to the OL, I would be fine with the OT's right now because the offense I am proposing can use their dominant size and won't ask them to do things their size doesn't allow. On the interior I would look for a much thicker, more athletic C to take on the NT's all game long and i would look for more bulk in the guard positions too. Hutch can hold his own but he is getting up there in age and will need to have a replacement ready in a few years. Herrera just might be OK if he comes back healthy and from all accounts he is the heart and soul of the line.

    I would absolutely run out of the 2 TE sets the bulk of the time. We have Shank who can occupy one of the OLB's and neutralize him by forcing him into coverage and Sauce who can knock the hell out of the other one and make a long day for him. The 2 TE set can really spread out the LB's and take away their ability to disguise coverages and pressures and it opens up the field to create more gaps on the field to exploit.

    That leaves us with 2 WR's and since we are a bit low in that dept we can lessen the risk we are exposed to at that position.

    At RB that leaves us with a single back who is the most electrifying back in the league and by spreading out those 3-4 defenses he will have the ability to get some great productivity.


    As I stated earlier in another thread if Julio Jones would happen to slip to us then he would be a great WR to put on the field opposite Harvin and that would allow us to let Rice go if he gets a better offer. Then in the 2nd we could take Stanzi out of Iowa. That kid is mentally tough, has the size and the arm strength and would give us a young nucleus that would be there for years.


    OK.

    I went out on a limb which is something I never do in the pre draft period so now feel free to pick my ideas apart and feel free to counter with a plan of your own.

  2. #2
    Mr Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Good idea for a thread.

    How exactly a 2 TE set with 2 WRs "spreading out the defense?"

    I think you beat the 3-4 by forcing them into nickel with 3 and 4 WR sets. Then you run. I'd much rather deal with safeties on their heels, 3 down linemen, 3 linebackers, and 3 corners with the 2 latter groups in the box than 7+ in the box.

    With 2 TEs:


    We have: 5 offensive linemen and 2TEs vs 4 LBs and 3 DLinemen/2WRs and 2TEs vs any combination of linebackers/safeties/corners.

    I don't really see that as favorable for our running or passing game. There are two "weak" blockers, not necessarily true, hence the quotation marks, but I just mean non-linemen going against what are typically big OLBs, tweener types who can put their hand in the dirt. I think there is just too much room for error on every play with TEs trying to make those blocks. In the passing game, we have 2 "weak" receivers(same as above with the quotation marks, they're non-receivers) and two real receivers going against 4 DBs/LBs/Safeties playing a lot of zone.

    I'd really prefer:

    Where you have 5 offensive linemen and a TE against 3 LBs and 3DLinemen.


    No matter the formation, I think it comes down to moving offensive linemen. Pull at least 1 lineman per play. Don't your guard(s) or center tied up by a mammoth NT, don't let strong DEs take on a tackle and guard. We do not want double teams. Pull the C and let a guard get a good angle for a downblock on that big NT. Or pull both guards and let the C just cut block the NT. We want to get one on one matchups on the line of scrimmage and 2 linemen to the next level.

  3. #3
    Purple Floyd's Avatar
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Good post Mr A.

    My reasoning comes down to the versatility that you can get from the 2 TE sets.

    For instance you can bring them both in close in a Jumbo package to get maximum blocking and the the 2nd TE ( Sauce) is more effective IMO than a FB or WR would be at blocking an OLB plus you can send them out in a pass pattern if the OLB decides to cheat in and rush and you can also send the TE into the backfield as a defacto FB which is something Sauce has done in the past. In the end if you control the OLB's in the 3-4 you control the key to the defense and make it vulnerable because you just negated their pass rush or forced them to commit someone from the secondary to rush and that opens up the passing game down field.

    The notion is to dictate to the 3-4 what they have to do Vs letting them dictate to us.

    I understand what you are saying about spreading the defense out with 4-5 WR's but I was also considering what we already have personnel wise and the fact that we are no where close to being settled at QB and no where near 5 deep quality wise in the WR position led me toward the 2 TE set.

    And the 2 TE set is without a doubt effective in the running game because it gives you lots of beef up front and lets you pound the defense. By spreading the defense out you get some big runs but you also get lots of negative plays due to the penetration of the defense and a lack of blockers at the point of attack.

    Great points though.

  4. #4
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Seems to me that the 3-4 relies on a lot of speed in the linebacker core. Run right at them, make those linebackers tackle Peterson and Gerhart 30-40 times a game. Getting a big physical QB(newton?) could help wear down the defense even further.

  5. #5
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    No QB will be a great long term solution if you turn them into a running back IMHO. We just need a guy that can give the ball to the guys who can take the pounding.

    I agree with running right at the LB's and that is what a big nasty OL and the 2 TE formation would do. Also running plays that get the DL running laterally so that they are tired by the second half and gassed in the 4th quarter.

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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Quote Originally Posted by "Purple Floyd" #1091089
    No QB will be a great long term solution if you turn them into a running back IMHO. We just need a guy that can give the ball to the guys who can take the pounding.

    I agree with running right at the LB's and that is what a big nasty OL and the 2 TE formation would do. Also running plays that get the DL running laterally so that they are tired by the second half and gassed in the 4th quarter.
    Bring it!

    :P :P :P

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Wex7GHeGiQ

    :P :P :P

    Good thread.

  7. #7
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Quote Originally Posted by "Purple Floyd" #1091089
    No QB will be a great long term solution if you turn them into a running back IMHO. We just need a guy that can give the ball to the guys who can take the pounding.

    I agree with running right at the LB's and that is what a big nasty OL and the 2 TE formation would do. Also running plays that get the DL running laterally so that they are tired by the second half and gassed in the 4th quarter.
    Not saying turn him into a running back, but a big guy like Cam will be able to break linebacker tackles in the pocket. A running QB would not be good as the defense is built for speed and will catch up to all QB's not named Vick very quickly. I want a QB similar to what Roethlisburger does. Rushing linebackers will get to the Qb if he's trying to go down field.

  8. #8
    Mr Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Quote Originally Posted by "Purple Floyd" #1091066
    Good post Mr A.

    My reasoning comes down to the versatility that you can get from the 2 TE sets.

    For instance you can bring them both in close in a Jumbo package to get maximum blocking and the the 2nd TE ( Sauce) is more effective IMO than a FB or WR would be at blocking an OLB plus you can send them out in a pass pattern if the OLB decides to cheat in and rush and you can also send the TE into the backfield as a defacto FB which is something Sauce has done in the past. In the end if you control the OLB's in the 3-4 you control the key to the defense and make it vulnerable because you just negated their pass rush or forced them to commit someone from the secondary to rush and that opens up the passing game down field.

    The notion is to dictate to the 3-4 what they have to do Vs letting them dictate to us.

    I understand what you are saying about spreading the defense out with 4-5 WR's but I was also considering what we already have personnel wise and the fact that we are no where close to being settled at QB and no where near 5 deep quality wise in the WR position led me toward the 2 TE set.

    And the 2 TE set is without a doubt effective in the running game because it gives you lots of beef up front and lets you pound the defense. By spreading the defense out you get some big runs but you also get lots of negative plays due to the penetration of the defense and a lack of blockers at the point of attack.

    Great points though.
    I don't think beef up front equates to success against the 3-4. And I said 3-4 WRs, you're right about us not having the personnel to go 5 wide. 4 we can pull of once in a while though.

    I just think that having 2 TEs as opposed to 1 TE and 3 WRs allows the defense to keep a LB on the field that they would in all likelihood replace in nickel. And like you said, control the OLBs, control the defense. I think the best way to control an opposing player is to keep him on the sideline.

    6 on 6 with 5 offensive linemen will be more successful than 7 on 7 with 5 offensive linemen, Kleinsasser included. But like I said before, no matter what we do, we need to move offensive linemen. The whole point of a defensive line in the 3-4 is to eat up blocks, on every play. And with 4 LBs out there, we need to get linemen up field.

  9. #9
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Quote Originally Posted by "jmcdon00" #1091087
    Seems to me that the 3-4 relies on a lot of speed in the linebacker core. Run right at them, make those linebackers tackle Peterson and Gerhart 30-40 times a game. Getting a big physical QB(newton?) could help wear down the defense even further.
    Bingo......(except the Newton part).

    Just want to add one piece to that. You need to have a balanced offense that can both pass and run out of its base set, whatever that is. That forces the defense to show their hand first (pre-snap) in an effort to figure out if you are going to pass or run out of your base.

    The base offense, best suited for a WCO IMHO is the following:



    WR T G C G T WR
    QB TE

    FB
    RB

    I think one of the minor changes to this over the years is the move of a few times (Vikings being one of them) to a H-back instead of a FB. Don't know how many times I saw the Vikes in a single back set only to have Dugan drop back into a FB position based on what the defenses showed presnap.

    Again, you (the defense) don't know what the H-back is really going to do (run block or go out into a pass).

    On a side note, something I saw the PUKERS doing alot last year (they practice against the 3-4) was the inverted wish bone. I'm not that familiar with it, but it sure seemed to work for them against 3-4 defenses, especially considering how weak their run game was last year.
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    Re: Building an offense to beat the best defenses

    Quote Originally Posted by "Marrdro" #1091101
    Quote Originally Posted by "jmcdon00" #1091087
    Seems to me that the 3-4 relies on a lot of speed in the linebacker core. Run right at them, make those linebackers tackle Peterson and Gerhart 30-40 times a game. Getting a big physical QB(newton?) could help wear down the defense even further.
    Bingo......(except the Newton part).

    Just want to add one piece to that. You need to have a balanced offense that can both pass and run out of its base set, whatever that is. That forces the defense to show their hand first (pre-snap) in an effort to figure out if you are going to pass or run out of your base.

    The base offense, best suited for a WCO IMHO is the following:



    WR T G C G T WR
    QB TE

    FB
    RB

    I think one of the minor changes to this over the years is the move of a few times (Vikings being one of them) to a H-back instead of a FB. Don't know how many times I saw the Vikes in a single back set only to have Dugan drop back into a FB position based on what the defenses showed presnap.

    Again, you (the defense) don't know what the H-back is really going to do (run block or go out into a pass).

    On a side note, something I saw the PUKERS doing alot last year (they practice against the 3-4) was the inverted wish bone. I'm not that familiar with it, but it sure seemed to work for them against 3-4 defenses, especially considering how weak their run game was last year.
    Not only did the Packers do that inverted wishbone they had Finley and Quarless roll into that short set as a blocker who can release if pressure dictates.

    I think that the Pack was successful in spreading Pittsburgh out in the Super Bowl keeping Polamalu away from the line of scrimmage where he is most effective. This lends creedance to the spread em out and gash em approach as mentioned by others.

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