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Help Understanding the Niners and Giants Defense

 
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Jazzaloha


Joined: 20 Nov 2013
Posts: 1126
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:00 pm    Post subject: Help Understanding the Niners and Giants Defense Reply with quote

I have some impressions about the defense both the Giants and Niners played against Seattle (both excellent by the way). These impressions are vague, and I don't really trust them or my knowledge of defenses. So I'm starting this thread to get some help.

I'm going to write some of my impressions, and I hope others will correct, affirm or expand on them:

1. Both play a 4-3 and they seemed to keep the linebackers away from the line. This formation seemed really effective in shutting down the run.

2. From this formation they seemed to get good pressure (only occasionally sending in another linebacker on pass plays).

My sense is that Seattle couldn't run or pass effectively--unless they went to more of empty set spread formation.

Are my impressions correct? Can anyone point out errors or expand on what I'm seeing?

(By the way, one of the reasons I'm starting this is because I think other teams could emulate what the Niners and Giants did--including Arizona, who also has a really good front seven. The Rams also have the capacity to do this. In the playoffs, I could see the Panthers doing something like this and, of course, the Niners. I'm wondering what would be the best way to counter/attack this defense.)
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SupeRG00F


Joined: 12 Aug 2012
Posts: 1465
Location: Vancouver, Wa
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Niners run a 3-4. They hardly ever blitz. But they figured out how to contain Wilson for the most part.

The giants just played a solid game in my opinion. Bevels play calling wasnt at its best again obviously. But they seemed to really play and tackle well all game. It's too bad their offense couldn't sustain drives to give them more rest or it could have been a different outcome for sure.

Overall I think the offense gameplan needs to be much better. Not so much defenses have figure out how to stop us. More so the playcalls just not being at least average.

I think we'll do well against Arizona and struggle against the Rams.

We shall see.
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Jazzaloha


Joined: 20 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SupeRG00F wrote:
The Niners run a 3-4. They hardly ever blitz. But they figured out how to contain Wilson for the most part.


It didn't look like a straight 3-4, though. It seemed like they have four pas rushers on the line of scrimmage with three linebackers (maybe one safety) several yards behind the line of scrimmage--like a conventional 4-3 alignment.[/quote]

In any event, that type of formation--with maybe four or five pass rushers and linebackers/safeties filling gaps to stop the run--seemed to be very effective. The impression I got was that the Seahawks had to go to a spread attack to counter this defense as their plays from other formations weren't as effective. But, again, I'm not sure if this impression is correct or not.

Quote:
The giants just played a solid game in my opinion. Bevels play calling wasnt at its best again obviously. But they seemed to really play and tackle well all game. It's too bad their offense couldn't sustain drives to give them more rest or it could have been a different outcome for sure.


Yeah, I thought the Giants should have ran more. Brown is a good, strong RB. I think you can hurt Seattle if you're willing to be patient with the run.


Quote:
I think we'll do well against Arizona and struggle against the Rams.

We shall see.


Will Arizona run and patiently stick with it, or will it just be something they sprinkle in there?

Can Arizona get pressure on Wilson without blitzing?

If yes, I think they have a decent chance of winning. I think you can beat Seattle if you have decent running game and you stick with it. If you throw a lot (and get predictable), it's tough to beat them. Palmer has a tendency to throw picks, too.

Wilson seems to handle blitzes well, so I don't think that's a good route to go for their defense.
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sirensong


Joined: 13 Mar 2007
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Location: Vancouver BC
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 49ers absolutely run a 3-4.

Brooks is a criminally underrated player on that team. Hes probably the extra guy dropping into coverage that you see, he gets used in a variety of different ways including rushing the passer.

But they absolutely run a traditional 3-4 form everything I've seen. Smith and Brooks are as good an OLB tandem as there is on any 3-4 in this league.

Brooks would look fantastic at the SAM in our system.
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Specialist11


Joined: 03 May 2013
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Location: Orange County, CA
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 49ers mostly run the 4-3 Under with traditional 3-4 personnel.

People get thrown off and incorrectly call them a classic 3-4 defense , but those people are failing to realize that a) the 49ers' defensive line largely one-gaps b) Brooks usually drops into a short zone in their base defense, meaning they rush with the same four guys over and over again c) they rarely disguise anything. These are all hallmarks of the 4-3 Under, not the 3-4. Really, they're only perceived as a 3-4 because people are lazy and think that because both Smith and Brooks stand up the vast majority of the time, the 49ers must run a 3-4, regardless of the players' actual assignments.

And this isn't to say that they don't run a 3-4 sometimes; they'd be stupid not to since Bowman/Willis/Brooks are ridiculously versatile and can play WILB/SILB/SOLB and WLB/MLB/SLB respectively at very high levels. But the extent to how often they run this 3-4 is way, way overblown.

TL;DR: The 49ers' base defensive front is much more similar to that of the Seahawks than most would think. They have a guy who plays standup DE and rushes 90% of the time, three biggish linemen (3-Tech, Nose Tackle, 5-Tech) who line up next to him and mostly one-gap, and a SAM that rarely blitzes. The only big difference I'm seeing there is the "standup" DE part.
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straighthate


Joined: 15 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Niners run a base 3-4 but have quite a few packages that don't resemble a 3-4. To the poster who said people are misinformed to classify our defense as a 3-4, you're only partially right. Most think that when Dorsey or whoever our NT is at the time comes out, we're switching to a nickel formation or 4-3, but not necessarily the case. Watch enough and you'll see even in those packages Aldon will still drop into coverage at times. Brooks is highly underrated btw and deserves at least Pro Bowl consideration.

You're also right that they don't disguise too much. Usually Aldons gonna rush the passer but sometimes he's even played inside this year in nickel situations with his hand in the dirt.

I guess my whole point in posting is to say don't oversimplify like most do and think because they don't have a big NT in that they aren't in a 3-4. Most assume its some type of 4-3 they are switching to, but it's really not. Otherwise Willis and Bowman wouldn't be able to play every down and still operate like ILB in that defense.
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Specialist11


Joined: 03 May 2013
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Location: Orange County, CA
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

straighthate wrote:
The Niners run a base 3-4 but have quite a few packages that don't resemble a 3-4. To the poster who said people are misinformed to classify our defense as a 3-4, you're only partially right. Most think that when Dorsey or whoever our NT is at the time comes out, we're switching to a nickel formation or 4-3, but not necessarily the case. Watch enough and you'll see even in those packages Aldon will still drop into coverage at times. Brooks is highly underrated btw and deserves at least Pro Bowl consideration.

You're also right that they don't disguise too much. Usually Aldons gonna rush the passer but sometimes he's even played inside this year in nickel situations with his hand in the dirt.

I guess my whole point in posting is to say don't oversimplify like most do and think because they don't have a big NT in that they aren't in a 3-4. Most assume its some type of 4-3 they are switching to, but it's really not. Otherwise Willis and Bowman wouldn't be able to play every down and still operate like ILB in that defense.


I think what you're saying (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that Aldon Smith is assigned to do more than just rush the passer and therefore acts as a traditional 3-4 OLB, but I'm not sure if I agree with that. Aldon isn't given any more non-DE responsibilities (such as dropping into coverage) than the glut of "LEOs" that now exist in the league, and that's considered to be a largely one-dimensional position.

As for Bowman and Willis both playing like ILBs in your opinion, again, I don't see it. I can just as easily say they play WLB and MLB most of the time, respectively, especially when their physical makeup (both small-ish and rangy, with neither being in the 3-4 TED mold) is considered. This all relates to the lines between 4-3 and 3-4 blurring, and that the difference in assignments between the two with the proliferation of hybrid defenses (such as Seattle's and SF's) is minimal.

Overall, like I wrote earlier, I don't see how we can definitively call SF's "base" (even though it's not used over 50% of the time anymore) defense a 3-4. Like most defenses in the league now, it's a hybrid, and if forced to give it a label, I'd still lean towards 4-3 Under. Philosophically and alignment-wise, they're prototypical. They run multiple-gap concepts but lean towards one-gapping, they rush with the same guys over and over again in their base defense, and they don't disguise much. None of these things exist in traditional 3-4 defensive philosophy. Likewise, all of their personnel fits the 4-3 Under mold, not the traditional 3-4 mold.

It's just the edge-rushers standing-up that misleads people, I swear.
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straighthate


Joined: 15 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Specialist11 wrote:
straighthate wrote:
The Niners run a base 3-4 but have quite a few packages that don't resemble a 3-4. To the poster who said people are misinformed to classify our defense as a 3-4, you're only partially right. Most think that when Dorsey or whoever our NT is at the time comes out, we're switching to a nickel formation or 4-3, but not necessarily the case. Watch enough and you'll see even in those packages Aldon will still drop into coverage at times. Brooks is highly underrated btw and deserves at least Pro Bowl consideration.

You're also right that they don't disguise too much. Usually Aldons gonna rush the passer but sometimes he's even played inside this year in nickel situations with his hand in the dirt.

I guess my whole point in posting is to say don't oversimplify like most do and think because they don't have a big NT in that they aren't in a 3-4. Most assume its some type of 4-3 they are switching to, but it's really not. Otherwise Willis and Bowman wouldn't be able to play every down and still operate like ILB in that defense.


I think what you're saying (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that Aldon Smith is assigned to do more than just rush the passer and therefore acts as a traditional 3-4 OLB, but I'm not sure if I agree with that. Aldon isn't given any more non-DE responsibilities (such as dropping into coverage) than the glut of "LEOs" that now exist in the league, and that's considered to be a largely one-dimensional position.

As for Bowman and Willis both playing like ILBs in your opinion, again, I don't see it. I can just as easily say they play WLB and MLB most of the time, respectively, especially when their physical makeup (both small-ish and rangy, with neither being in the 3-4 TED mold) is considered. This all relates to the lines between 4-3 and 3-4 blurring, and that the difference in assignments between the two with the proliferation of hybrid defenses (such as Seattle's and SF's) is minimal.

Overall, like I wrote earlier, I don't see how we can definitively call SF's "base" (even though it's not used over 50% of the time anymore) defense a 3-4. Like most defenses in the league now, it's a hybrid, and if forced to give it a label, I'd still lean towards 4-3 Under. Philosophically and alignment-wise, they're prototypical. They run multiple-gap concepts but lean towards one-gapping, they rush with the same guys over and over again in their base defense, and they don't disguise much. None of these things exist in traditional 3-4 defensive philosophy. Likewise, all of their personnel fits the 4-3 Under mold, not the traditional 3-4 mold.

It's just the edge-rushers standing-up that misleads people, I swear.


I don't have time to look up stats but if you watch the niner games or go into the niner forum you will see plenty of complaining about how often smith drops into coverage or at the very least lines up in coverage on the outside.

And as for Bowman and Willis, I can see why you say that, because Spikes played a much more traditional Ted. Bowman did at first, but as he became more of a playmaker, they stopped using Bowman as more of the block occupying role that Spikes had. Once again, I don't have stats on this, but I haven't missed a game in about 15 years.

It's definitely a hybrid, I agree with you there. My main point is the lack of a true large NT at times doesn't mean it's not a 3-4. And Aldon and Brooks play OLB. I've never seen a 4-3 DE asked to do the things in coverage they are.
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Specialist11


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, well I'm glad we at least reached some common ground. It's rare to see that on most any forums.
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J-ALL-DAY


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, Aldon certainly drops back in coverage and is given more then one responsibility (rushing the passer).
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