THE 4-3 UNDER SCHEME

Posted February 23, 2013

WHILE it hasn’t been officially announced that we’re running a 4-3 Under on Defense, I figured I’d break the monotony by starting a discussion about what we may be rooting for, to those who don’t specifically know what it is, but don’t want to look like they’re the only one who doesn’t. (Relax. You wouldn’t be.)

Basically it looks kind of like a 5-2 or a 3-4 as there are 5 guys at the line even before adjustments are made. First, here’s how they’re different:

In a 5-2 you have 5 D-lineman, one of which is a NT. That carries an inherent disadvantage of having no one to run with a RB who flexes out, or simply goes in motion, leaving you to move a Safety down  to cover, which would leave a CB out on an island. This opens up the potential to give up big plays downfield. (This is why you never see a 5-2 alignment outside of the redzone.)

In a 3-4 you only have 3 D-linemen, which is fine if you get an early lead or play ball control offense. But if the other team gets the lead and/or features a power running game, your LB’s will wear down taking on those O-linemen. (That’s why there’s a formula for beating Pittsburgh for example. They’ve done the same thing on both sides of the ball since the 1970’s and only dumb teams haven’t figured it out.)

The 4-3 Under gives you the 4 D-linemen, and a LB who can run with the “flex”, plus you can even “shift” your LB’s to match the Offense if it attempts to unbalance a side. So it’s very much like a 4-3, right? Yes, except when Offenses try to play it straight up. That’s where this Defense starts to shine.

In a traditional 4-3 the DT’s play either over the A-gaps, or directly “over” the G’s. Sometimes you’ll even see an A-gap DT next to an “over” DT. Either way the DT’s are in that G-C-G box. In the Under, the Weakside DT moves outside of that box and plays the B-gap between the G and the T, not the A-gap between the C and the G. The Weaskside DE now has the OT mano-a-mano, with no help to come unless the Offense calls a “Back stay” (to block) or goes to a Max Protect.

Now the bit that makes the whole thing special is that the SLB is now primarily a passrusher. He isn’t a blitzer. He doesn’t shadow TE’s. He’s a pass rusher. Similar to what you’d see in a 3-4, but with more size and strength backing him up on the line. He could be called upon to cover, but won't often. So it's 5 rushers on most downs.

So this system would use the best parts of what we have and turn a weakness into a potential strength. By this I mean the fact that we have 2 good LB’s in Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans and everyone else is so-so. If Brandon Graham (or Phillip Hunt) can cover underneath well enough to get moved out to SLB, we’d already (pre-Draft or Free Agency) be set with our front seven.

I’ve seen the Raiders use it effectively. I’ve seen the 49ers win the 1994 Super Bowl with it (they called it the Elephant). We have way more talent up front than either one of those teams did when they used it. So if we’re running this, we should be good up front.

Now about that Secondary…

 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

WATCH: John Harbaugh, Jay Gruden get into shouting match

WATCH: Brian Hartline drags toes on great TD catch

Julio Jones, Falcons agree on 5-year contract extension

WATCH: Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion blasts three homers, extends hit streak

WATCH: Ricardo Mayorga taunts Shane Mosley in ring, loses

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

Mets acquire RP Addison Reed from Diamondbacks

WATCH: James Rodriguez scores unreal goals

Vin Scully: I believe next year will be my last

Charles Barkley wants to blow his former agent’s brains out

The Texas Rangers are firing on all cylinders

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker