Category Archives: Defensive Fronts

3-4 Cover 2 Man Under Defense

In the era of the spread offense it has become essential to employ a defense that can maximize numbers in the box and still provide excellent pass coverage. Offenses are using the entire field and defenses must be able to defend from sideline to sideline and still have enough players in the box to stop the run. Our base defense was a 4-2-5 this past season, but we played a 3-4 cover two man look versus pure spread teams (Air Raid / Tony Franklin System).

In our classification we see mostly 21/22 personnel but when we play teams that are mainly 10/11 personnel we utilized our 3-4 cover 2 man defense. The following paragraphs will detail the reads, alignment and assignment of each position in our two man package.
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Defending the I Formation like Pete Carroll’s Seahawks Defense

The Seattle Seahawks dominated many I formation teams this year. Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks defense had a nice little adjustment to pro style formations, like the I formation.

Especially in 21 personnel, 2 backs and 1 tight end, the Seahawks defense matched up well. One way they did that was playing a “heavy” end on the weakside.

Many defenses declare passing strengths instead of declaring it to a tight end and then they set the shade side, or open side, to either the tight end or the split end.

seahawks defense vs pro formation

How Many Teams Play the Over Front vs 21 personnel

The Seahawks do it a little differently. While the Seahawks defense in 2013 set the reduction, or 3 technique side, to the tight end in many situations. The nose and Sam linebacker get set to the split end. The strong safety, who I call the Rover, is set to the 3 technique side.
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Demolishing Weakside Iso with the 4-3 Over Front

Often considered the longtime nemesis of the 4-3 over front is the weakside iso play. Because of the “large” gap between the outside linebacker and the inside linebacker, the play has some success.

The key to defending the weakside iso play with the 4-3 over front is the personnel matchup.

Many coaches, including myself for a while, always set the “Sam” to the tight end, regardless of whether or not they are in the 4-3 over front or under front. The Will played on the “weakside”.

The Will for many is an undersized player. Because of this, when he’s set over an open guard, he’s usually got a matchup problem, especially with a tough guard or fullback. This tends to happen on Weaskside Iso plays.

This article should give you an overview on how to stop the this often gut-wrenching play by thinking of your 4-3 defense a little differently in terms of identifying roles of your players and setting your strength. Continue reading

The Popularity of the 3-4 Defense: What’s Old is New

Guest Blog Post

This is a guest blog post by Cameron Soran, a lawyer. While not a coach, I think you’ll find he has a strong football mind and understands a lot about the game.

“There’s a lot of ways to play football,” Chip Kelly told  room full of reporters. “Trends go one way and the other. … if you weren’t in the room with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne when they invented this game, you stole it from somebody else.” While ostensibly Kelly was discussing offenses, his insight equally applies to the opposite side of the ball. More and more it seems, NFL and college teams are moving to 3-4 defense (or 3-3-5) defenses over the 4-3 counterparts. To some, this might signal that the 3-man front is somehow a superior defensive system. But recent trends in football are just that: trends. While the 3-4 defense offers certain advantages, it is by no means superior. To explain some of the reasons for the recent change, and to understand the numerous different flavors of 3-4, I think, to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, that “a page of history is worth a pound of logic.”  Continue reading

4-3 Blitz Package: Making an Easy Blitz Look Complicated

Intro: Last spring, I was approached by the head coach of the school I am currently at now to design and implement a new 4-3 Cover 2 defense. As I began researching the different ways to play 4-3 Cover 2, I realized that I needed to simplify what we were going to do with our players as they would be switching from Fritz Shurmur’s Eagle 5 defense to something totally different.  So we began to look at a cover 1 4-3 blitz package.

We would be changing from boxing/contain to spilling as well as jamming and funneling. Knowing this, I knew that when we needed to get pressure, what we would be doing couldn’t be that difficult to implement and practice as we would be spending more time repping Cover 2 fundamentals. Continue reading

Tips for Understanding Defensive Line Techniques

I find this as a common question, that really a lot of coaches can’t answer. What are the popular defensive line techniques, and why are they called that?

Well, great question. First of all, let’s find the “genius” (please notice the quotes…) of the system. Continue reading

The 4 Most Important Aspects of the Under Front Defense

The 3-4 or 4-3 under front defense is popular, especially versus 21 personnel. In my opinion, there are 4 critical elements of the defense that as a defensive coordinator, you need to know them as your strengths. As an offensive coach, you can try to break down for some success.

Under Front Defense: The Tandem

The tandem is one of the 4 most important elements of the under front defense. The tandem basically is the outside alignment on two adjacent linemen on the end of the line of scrimmage. Versus 21 personnel sets, you get this to both sides. Continue reading