The NFL's rush to the 34 defense...

ZOD

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I've been thinking about this topic for a while. I don't think many have breached this topic in this way so if you will indulge me. I don't think this will be just another "Miami 34" topic.

The main thing I've been wondering about a reported 13 teams turning to the use of the 34 defense is "Why now?" It's not like it's a new defense. It's not like most of these coaches have not contemplated utilizing this defensive front in their 15 to 30 year careers. Every year they re-evaluate their programs. So why all the rush now?

"It's a copy cat league." That's the easy reasoning that some of us have used. Some of us (including me) have looked at the success teams that use the defense have had in recent years. We all know of the successes of Pittsburgh, the Patriots, and the Eagles. We've bought that line that's so often used by some writers or "talking heads" that don't care or don't have time to dig a little deeper.

With alot of help, I've come to the conclusion that the "emphasis" placed on the pass interference rules have more to do with this "34 push" than any other reasoning.

Ironically, to assert that thought the discussion must start with the "Miami 43" (Hurricanes that is :)). It's the defense that Jimmy Johnson brought to Dallas and achieved heralded success. From that moment of success it seems the focus of defense in the NFL became "get after the quarterback". Nothing would stop teams from this one goal. The Miami 43 was a blueprint of success. In order to stuff the run with the upfield rush from DE's such as Jason Taylor the strong safety position became more important than ever in defending against the run. Down after down offenses will face eight in the tackle box. It made over a decade of teams searching for franchise cornerbacks. Jam the receivers! No receiver must get a free release off the ball. It was pretty simple and it made for a great defensive show.

Enter the 2003 Playoffs.......There was a coach out there. One that knew defense and knew how the rules were being enforced. The only problem that arose was the excellent camera work of the CBS crew. Replay after replay showed receivers being hit beyond 5 yards down the field. Shizit! Who am I kidding? They were holding!! The coaches mindset was "If they are going to allow Miami to make a living off of it, we'll do it too." One Head Coach even said it plainly for all the NFL world to hear (Mike Holmgren).

So with the latest enforcement rules defenses were faced with 6'5" receivers that can overpower most all of the 5'10" cornerbacks. The defenses only option becomes to back off. A Cover 2 seemed to be the answer for most 43 teams. Absent a dominant strong safety most of them were toast. The zone blitz still had it's successes to get after the QB from the 43 but for the most part defenses became easy prey.

Overall, scoring was up. Receiving yardage was up. Rushing yardage was up. Heck, even Dan Marino's "never to be broken" TD passing record was obliterated.

The 34 (it's back)............

It's the simplest option. Take a man out of the tackle box. Bend but don't break now seems to be the prevailing motto. Once again, some excellent camera work from a CBS playoff coverage crew can show you why.

Flood the zones!!! What did New England do to a seemingly unstoppable pass offense from Indianapolis? They rushed three almost the entire game. The linebackers first instinct was to drop into zone coverage. Hindsight being mine, I've deduced that if Edgerinn James had 40 carries in that game Indianapolis may have had a shot at the win. They refused to. They danced with what brought them to that game. They fell behind and they lost. In my opinion it was an embarrassing defeat. Peyton Manning got all the blame just as he gets all the credit during the regular season but I don't believe it was his fault. These guys were out-coordinated. That's right I said "out-coordinated" not out-coached. I believe the players were prepared to perform their assignments. Their assignments were just poorly chosen.

Career years!! Who would have been the NFL offensive MVP in 2004 had Peyton Manning not won the award? With 4717 yards I say it would have been unquestionably Daunte Culpepper. Just behind him?

Trent Green- 4591 yards
Peyton Manning-4557 yards
Jake Plummer-4089 yards
Brett Favre-4088 yards

Let's put this into perspective here. Dan Marino only eclipsed the 4000 yard mark 6 times in his entire 17 year career. He only eclipsed Trent Green's and Daunte Culpepper's mark twice! Huh?

So as a coach, you decide. What's killing your defense? Is it the run? I believe and the numbers kind of point that it's the pass. What's the simplest way to defend that 3rd and long?

Take a man out of the first level of the tackle box. Assign him to the second level of the defense. That strong safety that you had hoped would fill the gap against the draw? He's dropping back in pass coverage now.

Eight in the box is all but gone.....
 

Megatron

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ZOD said:
I've been thinking about this topic for a while. I don't think many have breached this topic in this way so if you will indulge me. I don't think this will be just another "Miami 34" topic.

The main thing I've been wondering about a reported 13 teams turning to the use of the 34 defense is "Why now?" It's not like it's a new defense. It's not like most of these coaches have not contemplated utilizing this defensive front in their 15 to 30 year careers. Every year they re-evaluate their programs. So why all the rush now?

"It's a copy cat league." That's the easy reasoning that some of us have used. Some of us (including me) have looked at the success teams that use the defense have had in recent years. We all know of the successes of Pittsburgh, the Patriots, and the Eagles. We've bought that line that's so often used by some writers or "talking heads" that don't care or don't have time to dig a little deeper.

With alot of help, I've come to the conclusion that the "emphasis" placed on the pass interference rules have more to do with this "34 push" than any other reasoning.

Ironically, to assert that thought the discussion must start with the "Miami 43" (Hurricanes that is :)). It's the defense that Jimmy Johnson brought to Dallas and achieved heralded success. From that moment of success it seems the focus of defense in the NFL became "get after the quarterback". Nothing would stop teams from this one goal. The Miami 43 was a blueprint of success. In order to stuff the run with the upfield rush from DE's such as Jason Taylor the strong safety position became more important than ever in defending against the run. Down after down offenses will face eight in the tackle box. It made over a decade of teams searching for franchise cornerbacks. Jam the receivers! No receiver must get a free release off the ball. It was pretty simple and it made for a great defensive show.

Enter the 2003 Playoffs.......There was a coach out there. One that knew defense and knew how the rules were being enforced. The only problem that arose was the excellent camera work of the CBS crew. Replay after replay showed receivers being hit beyond 5 yards down the field. Shizit! Who am I kidding? They were holding!! The coaches mindset was "If they are going to allow Miami to make a living off of it, we'll do it too." One Head Coach even said it plainly for all the NFL world to hear (Mike Holmgren).

So with the latest enforcement rules defenses were faced with 6'5" receivers that can overpower most all of the 5'10" cornerbacks. The defenses only option becomes to back off. A Cover 2 seemed to be the answer for most 43 teams. Absent a dominant strong safety most of them were toast. The zone blitz still had it's successes to get after the QB from the 43 but for the most part defenses became easy prey.

Overall, scoring was up. Receiving yardage was up. Rushing yardage was up. Heck, even Dan Marino's "never to be broken" TD passing record was obliterated.

The 34 (it's back)............

It's the simplest option. Take a man out of the tackle box. Bend but don't break now seems to be the prevailing motto. Once again, some excellent camera work from a CBS playoff coverage crew can show you why.

Flood the zones!!! What did New England do to a seemingly unstoppable pass offense from Indianapolis? They rushed three almost the entire game. The linebackers first instinct was to drop into zone coverage. Hindsight being mine, I've deduced that if Edgerinn James had 40 carries in that game Indianapolis may have had a shot at the win. They refused to. They danced with what brought them to that game. They fell behind and they lost. In my opinion it was an embarrassing defeat. Peyton Manning got all the blame just as he gets all the credit during the regular season but I don't believe it was his fault. These guys were out-coordinated. That's right I said "out-coordinated" not out-coached. I believe the players were prepared to perform their assignments. Their assignments were just poorly chosen.

Career years!! Who would have been the NFL offensive MVP in 2004 had Peyton Manning not won the award? With 4717 yards I say it would have been unquestionably Daunte Culpepper. Just behind him?

Trent Green- 4591 yards
Peyton Manning-4557 yards
Jake Plummer-4089 yards
Brett Favre-4088 yards

Let's put this into perspective here. Dan Marino only eclipsed the 4000 yard mark 6 times in his entire 17 year career. He only eclipsed Trent Green's and Daunte Culpepper's mark twice! Huh?

So as a coach, you decide. What's killing your defense? Is it the run? I believe and the numbers kind of point that it's the pass. What's the simplest way to defend that 3rd and long?

Take a man out of the tackles box. Assign him to the second level of the defense. That strong safety that you had hoped would fill the gap against the draw? He's dropping back in pass coverage now.

Eight in the box is all but gone.....
ZOD rules.:cooldude:
 

phish729

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for a second i though this thread was about the weed smoker
 

Iamlegend

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everyones switching to 3-4 because the pats made it work.... Now everything they did is what every other team is trying to mimic... but its not gonna work. It's been done already...
 

Pericles349

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Iamlegend said:
everyones switching to 3-4 because the pats made it work.... Now everything they did is what every other team is trying to mimic... but its not gonna work. It's been done already...

No, it's not because the pats made it work. I agree with ZOD. The leage has placed heavy emphasis on passing (ie. the pass interference rules, etc) so subsequently we are seeing a lot more passing. If teams tend to pass more than they do run, and if they hurt you the most with their passing, not their running, then it would make sense to install a 3-4 vs a 4-3.

I still think that having a 4-3 as a base defense is a better way to go. My reasoning? 1st down is still very much a running down. Very few teams pass when they have their split T or I Formation offense, thus, it would make sense to have a 4-3 to stop the run. Then, once the offense switches to more than 2 WR's the dilema is solved because your team will obviously run 5 or more DB's, thus solving how many LB's you have on the field. :D
 

ZOD

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<----------(rapidly losing faith)
 

Gitrdone

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The 3-4 defense is more flexible then a 4-3, hence one of the reasons for the switch. The larger OLB's can easily come up to the line to rush or make a 4-5 man line with 2 backers. It allows more blitzing options, there really is so much more you can do with it. The teams that use a 3-4 still use the 4-3 also. The 3-4 is only about 20-30% of the time.

The Fins have had a bend but don't break Defense for a long time now using a 4-3. I would love to see a more of an attack style defense. It's all about changing the looks for the offense so they don't know whats next. NE outsmarted Indy.

I think Jason Taylor coming from a OLB spot where he can standup on the line will be nasty as a pash rush. That boy can flat out run. I hope we go to an attack style defense.
 
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