The Football Educator is continually amazed by the sophistication of NFL fans and their self-motivated curiosity to understand the various nuances of the game of professional football. There are a number of various websites that you can go to that have BIG NETWORK LETTERS in front of their “dot-com” address, with many writing for these sites or reporting on their shows as being the experts in this or that. Most fans seek the path of least resistance and head straight for what they believe to be the “gospel” of NFL reporting.
TGC Bank of microphonesBut there are other sources of information that can easily be accessed (especially through TheFootballEducator.com) if fans just open up to the idea that there are other knowledgeable options to the same old news from the same old sites. The great thing too is that this information can be reviewed, revised, and debated across a spectrum of social media and authors are all to willing to adjust or modify their philosophies as they continue to absorb and learn. This is EXACTLY what I’d hoped would happen after reaching out for expanded content for this website.
TGC Field NotesWe all have our own personal perspectives of the game and look at professional football through our own unique prism. There really is no right or wrong in our presumptions and assumptions, especially when analyzing the aspects revolving around our favorite players, coaches, and teams.
What is wrong is to blindly take the explanations of the so-called experts from the BIG LETTERS. The game is there for your own analysis, there’s just too much data and tape now available for fans of any age, level of understanding, or direction of influence not to become highly skilled at doing so.
The gameplan then is to go find these writers and bring them to the forefront of discussions from any and every angle. Here’s one such example of exactly what I’m speaking of. Oliver Thomas of NEPatriotsDraft.com breaks down the use of defensive personnel and their employment in the Patriots’ scheme to create a 4-3 hybrid defensive front. Quality stuff!
The Essential Faces of the New England Patriots Defensive Front
NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas
TGC Vince WilforkThere is a basic goal shared between all 32 NFL defensive fronts:
Be versatile but deceptive against both the run and the pass.
The problem, however, is that this goal is only a goal. And as former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards once said, “A goal without a plan is a wish.”
He was right.
Being versatile but deceptive against both the run and the pass is a concept that can only be attained through a sound plan of X’s and O’s, as well as personnel fits. Not every system has the pieces to compose a scheme; not every piece has the skillset to thrive in a scheme.
It’s about finding a medium in the front seven. It’s about finding an interchangeable identity.
The New England Patriots — while not alone — have been able to do so.
Head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as well as director of player personnel Nick Caserio have worked together to build an adaptable unit of players; ones that can face off against the ever-changing game plans of NFL offenses.
Part of being a scheme-flexible defense, though, is accepting that you are neither a 4-3 nor a 3-4. You are both.
In a 2011 news conference, Belichick divulged his thoughts on the value of defensive alignments. As CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran transcribed, Belichick’s thoughts forecasted the alterations now visible across the football landscape:
“There are a lot of different alignments out there, you see 4-3 teams use odd spacing, you see 3-4 teams use even spacing. Look, you have 11 defensive players. You can put them in various positions. Whether you want to put it in the pregame depth chart as one thing or another I think is a little bit overrated.”
Needless to say, Belichick doesn’t like to classify the Patriots defense as one thing or another.
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