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83-Steelers-43
04-02-2007, 12:58 AM
Don't completely rule out 4-3 Steelers defense

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 2, 2007

The NFL is a no-nonsense league, and Mike Tomlin is a no-nonsense coach.

Whatever inclination Tomlin may have had to convert the Steelers from their traditional 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 in his first season was tempered by the fact that he doesn't have the personnel to pull it off.

2008? Maybe.

2009? Perhaps.

But not in 2007, not when the Steelers don't have enough speed-rushing defensive ends and an active, space-eating middle linebacker to do more than experiment with the 4-3.

"Really, I think my philosophy in terms of style of play falls in line with what's been done in Pittsburgh," Tomlin told reporters last week at the owners meetings, when he made it official that the Steelers will stick with the 3-4. "Whether you do it out of a four-man or a three-man line, the attacking personality and mentality is the same."

And convenient.

The Steelers' defense will continue doing what it does best, led by players best suited for the 3-4.

That doesn't mean the Steelers, who retained veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, won't present 4-3 looks from time to time. Fact is, the Steelers already have.

Last season, when LeBeau moved ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel inside and turned outside linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans into defensive ends on passing downs, the Steelers adopted a 4-3.

"Some successful defenses do it week-to-week," Tomlin said. "I think New England's done it for quite some time. Believe me, Dick's played some 4-3 or some four-down (linemen) packages.

"Football is football. I think sometimes X's and O's are overrated. It's about us putting our guys in position to play well."

Bottom line: The Steelers lack the personnel to play 4-3 all the time.

Even if Smith moved to defensive tackle full-time next to Casey Hampton, which he could do with relative ease, that would still leave the Steelers short at defensive end.

Keisel was impressive in his first year as a starting defensive end, but he isn't the prototypical pass rusher (such as Tampa Bay's Simeon Rice and the Colts' Dwight Freeney) needed to make the 4-3 work as an every-down defense.

The Steelers need more pass-rushing ends, or linebackers who can play end, or ends who can play linebacker. They are likely to address those needs in this year's draft.

At linebacker, James Farrior and Larry Foote would be the top candidates to start in the middle. But that would be asking them to play away from their strengths, which is attacking the run and making short drops in the passing game, and forcing them to play more in open spaces and make deeper drops.

Of course, Tomlin was smart enough to hint at the owners meetings that it wouldn't hurt if Steelers opponents were forced to prepare for both the 3-4 and 4-3.

The Steelers could take a page from the Baltimore Ravens, who confused the Steelers when they mixed up their pass-rushing schemes.

Baltimore, which combines elements of the 3-4 and 4-3, had pass rushers coming from everywhere.

Trevor Pryce, who played defensive end on most rushing downs, moved inside against the pass. Sometimes end/outside linebacker Terrell Suggs rushed from the oustide; sometimes he would loop inside. Pryce and Suggs also lined up together.

Just because the Steelers haven't changed their basic defense doesn't mean that Tomlin can't have the best of both worlds: a 3-4 foundation with its fair share of 4-3 looks.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_500679.html

RoethlisBURGHer
04-02-2007, 01:14 AM
I would like the hybrid defense,just gives more wrinkles for the offense to look at.

Borski
04-02-2007, 01:17 AM
I like the idea o a hybrid to, just not a 50-50 hybrid

more like 70% 3-4 and 30% 4-3

Blitzburger
04-02-2007, 07:00 AM
I am a big fan of hybrid 'd'. The Patriots have been using it for years (though they stole it from the '95 Superbowl' era Steelers, along with so many of their best players), and the Panthers got the Superbowl recently using Julius Peppers as a lineman/end combo, which the Ravens started copying whe Marvin LEwis left as D. coord.

The Steelers under LeBeau already change their fronts alot, they just do it with their base personnel - taking Casy Hampton out, moving Porter and Haggans inside the OT's to form a 4-down front on passing downs. Hopefully Tomlin will keep this up, and do even more shifting with linebackers and the secondary too, since we should take advantage of having the best safety in all of football. That's the beauty of the 3-4 zone reads the Steelers do, they are incredibly versatile.

stillers4me
04-02-2007, 06:03 PM
Always keep'm guessin'.........:wink02:

fansince'76
04-02-2007, 06:28 PM
I am a big fan of hybrid 'd'. The Patriots have been using it for years (though they stole it from the '95 Superbowl' era Steelers, along with so many of their best players), and the Panthers got the Superbowl recently using Julius Peppers as a lineman/end combo, which the Ravens started copying whe Marvin LEwis left as D. coord.

The Steelers under LeBeau already change their fronts alot, they just do it with their base personnel - taking Casy Hampton out, moving Porter and Haggans inside the OT's to form a 4-down front on passing downs. Hopefully Tomlin will keep this up, and do even more shifting with linebackers and the secondary too, since we should take advantage of having the best safety in all of football. That's the beauty of the 3-4 zone reads the Steelers do, they are incredibly versatile.

Welcome to the board! :cheers: By the way, AWESOME sig!

Livinginthe past
04-02-2007, 06:59 PM
There is probably some very good reasons why every team doesn't just use a 'hybrid' D for the advantages noted above.

Its mentally taxing to learn all the extra positions that means your roster must contain enough intelligent, self motivated players to make it work.

Not many players have the raw physical measureables to be able to play many different positions in multiple schemes.

Personally, I believe its something you build toward over the course of a couple of seasons - to try and implement a hybrid because of all the extra 'wrinkles' involves doesn't take into account the potential for things to go very wrong on the field.

aussiesteelers
04-03-2007, 05:20 AM
There is probably some very good reasons why every team doesn't just use a 'hybrid' D for the advantages noted above.

Its mentally taxing to learn all the extra positions that means your roster must contain enough intelligent, self motivated players to make it work.

Not many players have the raw physical measureables to be able to play many different positions in multiple schemes.

Personally, I believe its something you build toward over the course of a couple of seasons - to try and implement a hybrid because of all the extra 'wrinkles' involves doesn't take into account the potential for things to go very wrong on the field.

That is one of the most intelligent things i've heard today. do you secretely work for nfl.com or espn. wait, your too smart for those guys!!!

GBMelBlount
04-03-2007, 09:52 PM
That is one of the most intelligent things i've heard today. do you secretely work for nfl.com or espn. wait, your too smart for those guys!!!

No. LITP is a secret agent (or maybe not so scret agent) for the PAT's. His goal is to mix us up and confuse us!.....But it is interesting....Oh crap, maybe LITP is OK and being honest. I respect someone who routes for someone else and is a smart, decent, honest contributor to SF. no subterfuge...front door.... However, we are gonna kick PAT's butt next year!:tt02:

JuniorSteelerfan
04-05-2007, 02:53 PM
I like the idea o a hybrid to, just not a 50-50 hybrid

more like 70% 3-4 and 30% 4-3

I agree if we could accomplish it maybe nest year we could be the ones confusing the ravens!

DACEB
04-06-2007, 02:44 PM
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 2, 2007

Last season, when LeBeau moved ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel inside and turned outside linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans into defensive ends on passing downs, the Steelers adopted a 4-3.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_500679.html

That could explain why we did'nt get alot of pressure on the QB on passing downs. I don't like that lineup at all.

Suitanim
04-06-2007, 04:45 PM
Jesus, the Steelers already play one of the most complicated defenses in the league, so why would it be a stretch to ask them add one more wrinkle?

Tomlin will become a 3-4 guy who plays his Tampa-2 situationally...don't fix things that aren't broke is rule #1.

tony hipchest
04-06-2007, 05:06 PM
Jesus, the Steelers already play one of the most complicated defenses in the league, so why would it be a stretch to ask them add one more wrinkle?

Tomlin will become a 3-4 guy who plays his Tampa-2 situationally...don't fix things that aren't broke is rule #1.whats so funny is that people make it like tomlin entered his 1st job with tampa bay and forced the cover 2 on dungy, or he spurned all other job offers from nfl teams and chose tampa cover 2 because he likes it and is familiar with it.

hes a tampa 2 guy because tampa was the 1st team to give him a job. he had no choice in the matter and proved he could learn it and impliment it. he will now learn from lebeau and be a better coach for it. personally i think it will help him having an ex head coach as a mentor and to bounce ideas off of.

GBMelBlount
04-06-2007, 11:47 PM
whats so funny is that people make it like tomlin entered his 1st job with tampa bay and forced the cover 2 on dungy, or he spurned all other job offers from nfl teams and chose tampa cover 2 because he likes it and is familiar with it.

hes a tampa 2 guy because tampa was the 1st team to give him a job. he had no choice in the matter and proved he could learn it and impliment it. he will now learn from lebeau and be a better coach for it. personally i think it will help him having an ex head coach as a mentor and to bounce ideas off of.


I hope Tomlinson has the openness to have a dialogue of opinions with subordinate coaches and not feel he is acquiescing if he incorporates aspects from the experience, knowledge and success that coaches like lebeau have had. If he is a top down manager and dictates everything without input (not that he is or will,) then it will probably be detrimental to the team. Surprisingly, the strongest and most confident are the least threatened with the ideas of others. I hope that is how Tomlinson will be.

slashsteel
04-09-2007, 08:46 AM
Carriker is a prospect I believe could be a excellent hybrid player. One of the players I am hoping for in the first round...................

steelcity58
04-10-2007, 10:21 PM
The thing about the 4-3...

1. You need OUTSTANDING front four...

I think the Bears were the last team to have one of those....

It's kind of a 70's thing.

2. The 3-4 and especially the Zone Blits was created to negate the boring 5 yard...think
and dink passing schemes of the West Coast offenses...and it worked...

3. If you have good enough corners...you should be able to switch from 3-4 to 4-3
in a flick...depending on the down and distance.

4-3 is all about crowding and possibly putting enough pressure on the QB with the front
guys..

3-4 is all about making the other team make mental mistakes...missed blocking
assignments by FB's and TB's...and with the corners having the outside guys, the
backers can blanket any slots or TE's...confusion.

But..again...really good 4-3 defenses are rare these days...mostly because of Free Agency.