Found July 31, 2012 on 60 Max Power O:
Carolina_panthers_v_5a8c

“There is nothing like returning to a place that reminds unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela

In 2011, Bill Belichick set his course, and in an attempt to match his personnel to a scheme that he felt would give him the best chance for success, he changed his base defense. Sound familiar? In part 2 of our series, we explained how Belichick will adjust his scheme to his personnel.

History repeats itself, and so did Belichick. While rebuilding on the fly, he realized he didn’t have the quality depth at linebacker needed to run a full fledged 3-4 defense. Bill reached deep into his playbook and turned to what had helped him get to, and win a Super Bowl in 2001.

Two off-season acquisitions made this transformation happen in 2011 - defensive ends Andre Carter and Mark Anderson were brought on board. Although both can play in a two point stance, they were better suited playing down. Carter, a veteran with an endless motor, set the example of playing hard. Anderson, at age 26, hadn’t reached his potential, but his talent couldn't be ignored and his playmaking ability just needed to be brought out.

Belichick didn’t scrap the 3-4. He redesigned it in the form of a 4-3, taking advantage of his two new defensive ends. He would set four down linemen while still using the two gap philosophy. Belichick would then set the weak side linebacker on the line opposite the left defensive end, thus creating the 52 style that the 3-4 provides. The linebackers would play with more depth in order not to get caught up in trash, and the ability to flow to the ball.

The biggest advantage to playing this style of 4-3 allowed the defense to adjust on the fly and switch into the 3-4. Let’s look at the base personnel:

(LDE) Andre Carter, (NT) Vince Wilfork, (DT) Kyle Love, (RDE) Mark Anderson

(OLB) Rob Ninkovich, (MLB) Jerod Mayo, (OLB) Dane Fletcher/Tracy White

(LCB) Devin McCourty, (RCB) Kyle Arrington, (S) Patrick Chung, (S) James Ihedigbo

Unlike 2001, the elephant position wasn’t utilized as Belichick didn’t have the versatile talent that was Willie McGinest. Carter would stay on the left side, and the closest thing to the elephant was Anderson, who would back up Carter on the left side and play primarily on the right side.

Both ends set the edges, however, Carter had the green light to all out rush, Anderson was run first, then pass rush (which would change when Carter went down with a late season ending injury and Anderson assuming Carter’s role).

Wilfork and Love would clog the middle of the line using the two gap philosophy, and then if it's a pass, rush the passer. The Patriots don’t expect a lot of pass rush production from their tackles, preferring them to hold the point of attack, and maybe push the pocket back enough for the DEs to get to the quarterback.

This 4-3 alignment gave the defensive ends the responsibility to get to the quarterback; they would be the primary rushers, leaving the linebackers the task of being more involved in the coverage schemes for the back seven. The deeper depth for the linebackers was an indication that Belichick wanted the opposing offense to work in front of the defense.

// > //--> After a rough start for the secondary, Belichick saw enough after their first meeting against the Buffalo Bills. Chan Gailey saw on film that when teams went five wide, the Patriots would go man to man. The Bills exploited this concept by motioning running back Fred Jackson into the five wide, forcing the Patriots defense to match up man to man. The results uncovered a major weakness - the Patriots couldn’t cover man to man, and thus setting up the way the secondary would play the rest of the year. Belichick went to zone coverages, and large cushions that would give up a lot of yards until the offense drove into the red zone, then Belichick would crowd the twenty yards in zones, aiming to force field goals instead of touchdowns. Again, adjusting to his personnel, Belichick saw early the inability of his defense to play man to man, and went with the safer zone concepts. Playing a conservative style of defense means that to get some solid production, the defense would have to produce turnovers. So the focus became playing safe and forcing turnovers, in which they did excel at. The Patriots defense ranked 31st in the NFL by season's end, but it’s misleading, the defense played much better than its statistics. Though they ranked next to last in yard given up (6,577), they ranked 15th in a more important and relevant category, yards per game (21.4). Belichick was robbing Peter to pay Paul so to speak, and early on despite the large amount of yardage given up, the Patriots were starting to develop a solid pass rush. Carter was an instant contributor in that category, by keeping everything in front of them, the quarterback would hold onto the ball longer, allowing Carter’s endless motor to eventually catch up to them for the sack. Late in the 2011 season, Belichick decided to go back to the base 3-4 with some help from Tim Tebow. Tebow was hot, taking a 1-4 Denver Broncos team and turning them into playoff contenders. In their week 15 meeting, Tebow and the Broncos’ spread offense shredded the Patriots early, gashing them in the run game. The defense was the 4-3 base, and Rob Ninkovich was struggling to handle the option on his side. Belichick changed the defense to the 3-4 on the fly, giving him an extra inside linebacker and released Ninkovich from having to wait for Tebow to pitch. Instead he would now just go after Tebow and the inside linebacker would pick up the pitch. That demonstrates what the hybrid defense can give in game options and it's ability to adjust on the fly. Expect the Patriots to continue to use multiple fronts, but the addition of two rookie linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones are a strong indication to the return of a full time 3-4 base, along with the 4-3 as a sub package, or for game specific situations. More of the Belichick Defense The Belichick Defense Part 1 - Read and react The Belichick Defense Part 2 - The beginning of the hybrid The Belichick Defense Part 3 - Belichick blue going green The Belichick Defense Part 4 - Squaring a circle The Belichick Defense Part 5 - Return to the 4-3 var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

US Men’s Water Polo Coach Looks Just Like Bill Belichick

That’s US Mes’s Water Polo coach Terry Schroeder who bares an uncanny resemblance to Bill Belichick. The US Men are currently 2-0 in the 2012 Olympics behind the strong coaching of Belichick Schroeder. Let’s just hope the US doesn’t have to play the Giants in the gold medal game. [h/t Barstool Sports]

47 Hottest New England Patriots Cheerleaders & Sexy Superfans

Today we tackle the New England Patriots cheerleaders and superfans. Like most of you, we are itching for football season to start. In the midst of the dog days of summer, many get sick of baseball and start turning their attention to football. Don’t blame you a bit. To help quench your thirst, BC is going on a 32 team, 32 day, 32 gallery tour of NFL cheerleaders & superfans...

Tom Brady was among league's worst in 'bad passes' last season | masslive.com

Tom Brady was among league's worst in 'bad passes' last season | masslive.com: Wow, some really...

New England Patriots: Camp Observations

Defense looks improved The story of the day was the return of linebacker Brandon Spikes to team work. We got the first glimpse of what should be an impressive linebacking corps, as Spikes manned the middle flanked by Jerod Mayo and imposing rookie Dont'a Hightower. All three of these guys are big, physical and athletic playmakers. They were dominant during the team’s goal...

Wes Welker likely in last New England Patriots season

Will this be the last season for Wes Welker in a New England Patriots jersey? (Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne) After the New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker failed to come to a long-term deal this off-season, it looks as though this might be the last season for Welker in New England. Welker is playing under a $9.5 million franchise tender this season, and there are no...

Brady goes deep on Sirius - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

Brady goes deep on Sirius - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston: Great long football-centric...

Wilfork enters 9th season with more new teammates

Vince Wilfork is getting used to new playing partners along the defensive line - again. Entering his ninth season, the New England Patriots slimmed-down lineman is working with veteran newcomers Jonathan Fanene and Trevor Scott and rookies Chandler Jones, a first-round pick, and Jake Bequette, taken in the third. Gone from last season are Andre Carter, Mark Anderson, Shaun Ellis...

Patrick Chung (via Patriots Training Camp Day 5 - Tuesday, July...

Patrick Chung (via Patriots Training Camp Day 5 - Tuesday, July 31, 2012)

2012 Fantasy PPR Sleepers: New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley

  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="650"] Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is a 2012 Fantasy PPR sleeper.[/caption] In the past, New England Patriot running backs are not great fantasy football options. After all, the Patriots are one of the more pass-happy teams in the National Football League and Bill Belichick enjoys rotating his running...

For the New England Patriots, it’s that old 2007 feeling

Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels are going to be working together again leading many to believe that an explosive Patriots’ offense is on the way It would be easy to do the simple thing and sit here and say that I can’t remember an anticipation for a Patriots’ season like this one. The thing is, I would be lying to you. The entire off-season felt exactly like the start of the that...

Patriots Aaron Hernandez gets endorsement deal with Muscle Milk

Pro Bowl tight end Aaron Hernandez has joined up with CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk.  Hernandez has used Muscle Milk to help him recover from his workouts during his college playing days to now earning Pro Bowl honors with the New England Patriots. “I’m excited to be a part of the Muscle Milk team,” said Hernandez.  “I started using Muscle Milk when I was at the...

and-the-distance: Top 100 NFL Players of all time ( according...

and-the-distance: Top 100 NFL Players of all time ( according to NFL.com) 49 - Mike Haynes - July 1, 1953 Defensive Back - New England Patriots, Los Angeles Raiders

Michael Irvin Wants Bill Belichick's Name Alongside Vince Lombardi's on Super Bowl Trophy

Bill Belichick has earned the respect of his peers through his hard work, dedication and success. If it were up to former Cowboys receiver and current NFL analyst Michael Irvin, Belichick would be immortalized alongside the great Vince Lombardi. "I think the world of Belichick," Irvin told the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe recently. "I told him this, 'Man, if it...

Antonio Cromartie once again takes a dig at Bill Belichick

Getty Images New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie agrees with head coach Rex Ryan that he’s the best defensive coach in the NFL. Cromartie also managed to take a dig at Patriots head coach Bill Belichick whiling showing his support for Ryan. “That’s why he got the [head-coaching] job,” Cromartie said. “I mean, it’s him and Dick LeBeau. Rex is first on the list and...
Patriots 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!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.