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…


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tony Parker hopes to play 20 seasons with San Antonio Spurs

Pagano 'supremely confident' about chances vs. Pats

Nick Saban to Alabama fans: 'Don't have an arrogant attitude'

Kobe on 93rd ranking: ‘Don’t ask me about silly stuff like that’

Boomer Esiason: 49ers have ‘ruined’ Colin Kaepernick

Adrian Beltre ruled out for Game 2 of ALDS with back injury


Parise’s hat trick sparks comeback win in Wild’s opener

Report: Bill O’Brien won’t commit to Texans starting QB

Steve Sarkisian takes blame for USC loss to Washington

Dion Lewis signed extension to repay Patriots for giving him chance

Report: South Carolina to start Perry Orth at QB vs. LSU

Mark Giordano: Flames’ effort in opener was 'unacceptable'

On fandom, leverage and emotional barometers

H.S. QB ‘inappropriately’ touched center, suspended

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

T.Y. Hilton trolled Texans fans with bye-bye wave

Chip Kelly-to-USC hype train has left the station

Blue Jays surprise nine-year-old fan who lost father to cancer

Kershaw-deGrom to rival Arrieta-Cole matchup

Green Bay's deceivingly stingy defense

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Matt Hasselbeck was ‘on his death bed’ before Texans game

WATCH: Jets' Burmistrov lays dirty hit on Bruins' Bergeron

Report: Cowboys ban filming offense in practice with Patriots next on schedule

Maryland HC Randy Edsall responds on Twitter to firing reports

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Women in sports this week: Is this 2015 or 1965?

Three reasons each AL team can win the pennant

Garrett addresses Hardy's comments about Gisele

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 5

Rex makes players do push-ups in practice after penalty calls

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker