Playbook 2016 (Defense)

[url=http://www.buffalorumblings.com/2011/1/11/1927873/examining-multiple-defensive-fronts-featuring-kyle-williams]http://www.buffalorumblings.com/2011/1/ ... e-williams[/url]

So with the addition of Vaughn Martin, I've been thinking about how we can optimize our defensive fronts for maximum penetration (pass rush or run stopping).

There are certainly different things we can do as a defense, and the formations will vary according to down and distance (and injury). However, I particularly like the Hybrid Bullough-Fairbanks 3-4 Defense with Gap Shooting Weak-side End front in the article above. Here's the image:

In this formation, Cash (#96) lines up over the center in "zero" technique (control both A gaps), functioning essentially as a nose tackle. Cash played this a lot last season anyway, and he's exactly the kind of big body who can come off his block to stop the run in either A gap.

Martin (#98) lines up over the tackle in "five" technique, controlling both the B and C gaps on that side. Bowman (#90) is in a three-point stance matched up against a receiver or tight end on the strong side, which is a good mismatch for us. On the weak side, Knapton (#95) shoots the B gap from an open stance (three technique) with either Hebert or Venable (#55) coming off the edge. If a tackle leaves a block to take Knapton, he leaves Venable matched up against a running back or fullback in pass protection, which favors us. If the guard blocks Knapton, Woods (#51) has direct access to stopping the running back (in run-stopping) or even flowing to the quarterback on a delayed blitz.

Of course, this is one front, and I fully expect Thorpe to deploy a wide range of fronts, formations, and coverages through the course of each game. But I do think it's crucial for us to maximize the play of our front seven, not just for the usual reasons, but because our secondary is a work in progress (Hefney and Brown gone). This is our front seven:

DE: Knapton
DT: Cash
DT: Martin (Klassen)
DE: Bowman (Lavarias)
Will: Venable (Hebert)
Mike: Woods (Elsworth)
Sam: Cox

That is a murderers' row of linemen and linebackers -- a front seven that I would put up against any other group in the league. I guarantee you that no offense is going to enjoy dealing with this group. So it's up to Thorpe to put these players -- Martin in particular -- in a position to succeed. We haven't had a genuine inside threat since Eric Wilson/Keron Williams in 2009.

But you forgot Nic Boulay :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol:

Heh. Yeah, our game-breaking national linebacker. :lol:

This is a strong, athletic, versatile front seven that can beat you in many different ways. I expect lots of twisting up front, lots of stunting to let different players come free, and different plays run out of the same looks or formations. And I haven't even gotten into how we can use Cox in blitz packages.

Am also going to be curious to see our DL technique with new position coach Anwar Stewart in charge.

Assuming they can stay healthy... Woods, Martin and Klassen haven't exactly been the durable type.

Well, if injuries occur, the team is very used to playing a 30 defense with four linebackers, so it shouldn’t be the end of the world. And you have to think Woods is due for a run of good health.

C'est précisément les questions que je me pose à leur sujet, particulièrement dans le cas de Woods. Ce dernier n'a connu qu'une seule séquence soutenue depuis le début de sa carrière et je crains qu'il ne cède encore une fois un moment donné cette saison. Dans le cas de Klassen, je crois qu'il sera en meilleure santé cette saison. Il a perdu du volume mais gagné du poids (il me l'a confirmé). Ceci veut dire qu'il a gagné de la masse musculaire et devrait donc être plus solide. Pour ce qui est de Martin, j'attendrai de voir le résultat, mais s'il devait se blesser, je crois que les Alouettes ont de bons atouts pour composer sans lui, notamment avec Klassen qui peut être épaulé de temps à autre par Joseph de temps en temps pour lui permettre de souffler.

I get your concern, LeStaf, but we have to roll the dice with Woods. Also, we have Elsworth behind him and MLB is the easiest position to recruit as far as linebackers go. Yes, Woods has been an injury machine, but the last time he was healthy, he was an absolute beast for us on the way to a DPOW nomination. There is risk with our D but also enormous potential. I like what Popp the GM has done with our front seven. The secondary? Well, we'll have to wait and see, but Jim has never had trouble recruiting DBs and the best form of coverage is a relentless pass rush that forces incompletions, sacks, and picks. :wink:

From the standpoint of second and long coverage, I'd like to see more cover 3 shells from Thorpe (and the buzz/cloud variants). We've got strong corners in Johnson and White, both of whom have good recovery speed. They can press up (man) at the line to pattern-match any vertical release or stem, funneling the post/dig routes to the middle of the field where safety help is waiting. The zone defenders -- some check combination of Venable, Cox, Hebert, Parker, and a situational dimeback -- can establish depth while keeping their eyes on the QB, in good position to aggressively pursue flat or RB checkdown routes. Our front four -- Bowman, Knapton, Cash, and Martin -- should be able to get a good enough push to force a checkdown which can then be stopped well short of the first down marker.

I'm really going to be looking hard at what Thorpe is doing on second and long this year. We're in year four of his defense. We cannot keep letting teams convert with impunity on second and 10 or second and 15. Once in a while, sure, your opposite number dials up the right play and catches you off-guard, but it happens too frequently to us for it to be a coincidence. Thorpe needs to get his head out of his a$$ and install a second-and-long scheme that suits our personnel.

[i]This is the weakest part of Thorpe’s defence! For starters, he needs to throw in the garbage, that stupid scheme of rushing 3 players and dropping 9 into coverage. It is horrible! :thdn:

He schemes aggressively (and very effectively) on first down. He usually limits the offense to a short or no gain. But, he loses his balls on second and long and goes to that rush 3 prevent crap. :roll:

It DOES NOT WORK! :cowboy: [/i]

DP: You are always good at mapping out a strategy be it offensive or defensive. Hats off for you for studying up on the NFL and, translating this to the Als players. You are so good with the x's and o's. I'll vote for you as our OC any time!

Thanks, Niagara! I appreciate the kind words. Actually, every time I post one of these X and O threads I wind up learning a lot about football through research. For example, the importance of gap technique as it pertains to D-linemen wasn't something that was on my radar. Now it is. :slight_smile:

I feel pretty confident about what our defensive front can do after watching the TOR preseason game. Martin and Cash were a force in the middle and that was running vanilla coverage schemes and few tricks up front.

One thing I saw, on one play, is Martin lined up at DE for a snap. I wonder if there is potential to run a "bear" front with five D-linemen (Martin, Cash, Bowman, Knapton, and Klassen or Lavarias) in specific down and distance scenarios. Thorpe loves to make his defensive ends play "joker" out of an open stance, sometimes dropping into shallow coverage (Lavarias does this frequently). This opens up the possibility of overloading one side of the offensive line with an extra D-tackle, just putting brute drive-back pressure on a tackle and guard and taking away the QB's sight line. It also increases the likelihood of a gap opening up for a LB on a delayed blitz and could be a formation out of which we run zone blitzes.

After the first couple of seriesToronto needed to double team Martin every snap. Als are going to need to be creative.

Go ahead and double-team Martin. You do that and Cash, Bowman, and Knapton will eat you alive. :smiley: We finished the game with something like 7 sacks and limited TOR to 150 yards of passing offense. They could not handle us for 60 minutes.

Exactly.. IMO they struggled on 2nd-and-long because Thorpe didn't want to get burned with a big play while blitzing, and blitzing was virtually the only way for him to get pressure on the QB. The result was the QB having more than enough time to pick apart his conservative, drop-everyone-into-coverage 2nd-and-long packages.

This year I think the defense will be much improved in 2nd-and-long not because Thorpe will turn a new leaf, but because his 4-man front will generate so much more pressure on the QB this season.. it will make him a better coach.
The same way a good goalie makes a good coach in hockey.

I hope you're right and wrong. Right in that the four-man front gives us more success in second-and-long situations. Wrong in that Thorpe hopefully starts calling a better second-down game. :slight_smile:

Si ma mémoire est bonne, c'était l'équipe B des Argonauts qui était sur le terrain. Nous en saurons plus après la partie de demain.

toronto's 1st team OL was on the field against martin!!

Ugly sneak by Bridge.

Bridge got in because Sutton pushed him in. Carter might helped with the push.

I think I'm in a time warp circa 2012. That was when Paul LaPolice was the HC in Winnipeg where they almost never did anything on offense in the first half.