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Why so many teams are switching to the 3-4 and what it means for the Panthers


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#1 Fiz

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:59 PM

Basically it's all the fault of Urban Meyer.

Well, no, not really, but Meyer has done quite a bit to popularize the spread offense in college football. For the uninitiated, the concept of the spread offense is to try to confuse the defense, or take advantage of athletic disparity. For example, there are far more wide receivers coming out of high school that can thrive in the spread than there are corners that can defend it. The idea is that a team's 4th wide receiver is better than the defenses dime back, and it has obviously held true.

Defenses have since adjusted. Defensive linemen coming into college are more valued for their speed than size. Of course, there are natural physical exceptions, but more and more defensive ends are being taught to beat tackles around the edge, DTs are being taught to shoot gaps, etc. This is just the natural reaction to how things operate.

Now let's go back to a dark, cold, stormy night in the 2003 playoffs. The colts offensive juggernaut was embarrassed by a patriots defense that talent wise was far inferior, especially in the secondary, but made up for it by completely mauling the Colts receivers. Everyone remembers that game.

Bill Polian, basically the supreme ruler of the competition committee, began reshaping the rules for defenses, obviously in an attempt to help his own franchise quarterback. They decreased the amount of yards a corner could press a wide receiver without being called for an illegal contact, and shifted the pass interference rules widely in the favor of the receiver.

On top of that, rules about hitting quarterbacks were drastically altered to protect the player. There are two reasons for this. The first is that quarterbacks are generally the face of the league, and injuries to them, more than anything, can completely destroy a team's year. Goodell is a businessman, and he knows this.

The second reason is that Trent Green almost died on the field. Well, not him specifically, but the rules to protect quarterbacks are necessary and honestly overdue. In the sixties, linebackers and quarterbacks were roughly the same size. It was also a much less accurate league. Now, quarterbacks are generally immobile, 6'5 targets depending on the proper function of like six very fragile ligaments to operate their offenses, while linebackers are 6'5, 240 pound mutants who run 4.5 40s.

So now that you have quarterbacks defenders are loathe to hit and wide receivers that can come out of their cut five yards earlier, you have the rise of complicated wr formations designed to confuse offenses and take advantage of talent differentials while doing so before a standard defense has any hope of disrupting the quarterback.

Speed has become the name of the game.

Teams are shifting to the 3-4 to counter this and to take advantage of the surplus of talent coming out of the college ranks. As far as players, 4-3 college ends are converted to 3-4 OLBs, 4-3 DTs are shifted to 3-4 DTs, SLB become ILB, etc. A 3-4 also gives you more creativity in theory. Instead of overwhelming a team with brute force, you can confuse them with speed. You have far more linebackers (the defensive position most inundated with talent) who can just go blitz happy. Now that these linebackers are also able to run with running backs, well, yeah.

Now here are the Panthers, a 4-3 that seems quite happy just to stick to their roots. Fox has always been a 4-3 guy and always will be, but there's always been one thing Fox's defenses have done: gotten chewed up over the middle and underneath. Why is this? Because it's the plan. And it has worked.

If you watch the way the Panthers play defense, they completely change once a team reaches their own twenty. Plays between twenties are opportunities for turn overs and for the other team to make a mistake. Corners use outside leverage to force wide receivers over the middle, where a traditionally poo ruining safety is ready to make their day awful (mcree, harris, minter, etc). They never get beat deep, and once they get in close to the end zone, where the field is smaller and there's less room for exotic routes, then they exert their force where they're strongest: the back seven.

So, to recap, we have numerous offenses transitioning to a spread style that emphasizing taking advantage of complex routes to confuse the defense and break big long running plays. QBs are having great success simply being accurate with the ball. Essentially offenses, due to rule and player changes, are shifting into a style that fits perfectly into what the Panthers want them to do. Pass all the time. Pass as much as you want. Go nuts between the twenties. Every pass is a chance for a batted ball, a fumble, a jacked up moment, and occasionally a missed block. We'll see you at the twenty, where Reggie Bush isn't going to overpower anyone. (speaking of, this is why the Panthers traditionally do so well against the Saints passing game).

But Fiz, if there are more players coming out that are fit for the 3-4, doesn't that mean there will be fewer players for the 4-3? In theory, yes, but remember in the nineties teams like the steelers made killings drafting players that didn't fit other team's 4-3. Numerous veterans will be jetted after the draft and training camp that fit our defense perfectly, and that's when the Panthers will pounce. Furthermore, there's no telling what slow 3-4 end that freefalls next friday and saturday is actually a perfect fit at UT for the Panthers.

Now what does this mean for the Panthers offense?











































YOU CAN GOUGE 3-4 TEAMS WITH THE RUN MUAHAHAHAHA

now of course there are lots of exceptions to all of these rules and I'm just outlining a general trend and not hard and fast rules to live by. But whatever I was just thinking about this so I decided to write it. Now I'm going to go back this totally hot chick lying in my bed and maybe grill a steak i dunno

#2 Doc Holiday

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:07 PM

Basically it's all the fault of Urban Meyer.

Well, no, not really, but Meyer has done quite a bit to popularize the spread offense in college football. For the uninitiated, the concept of the spread offense is to try to confuse the defense, or take advantage of athletic disparity. For example, there are far more wide receivers coming out of high school that can thrive in the spread than there are corners that can defend it. The idea is that a team's 4th wide receiver is better than the defenses dime back, and it has obviously held true.

Defenses have since adjusted. Defensive linemen coming into college are more valued for their speed than size. Of course, there are natural physical exceptions, but more and more defensive ends are being taught to beat tackles around the edge, DTs are being taught to shoot gaps, etc. This is just the natural reaction to how things operate.

Now let's go back to a dark, cold, stormy night in the 2003 playoffs. The colts offensive juggernaut was embarrassed by a patriots defense that talent wise was far inferior, especially in the secondary, but made up for it by completely mauling the Colts receivers. Everyone remembers that game.

Bill Polian, basically the supreme ruler of the competition committee, began reshaping the rules for defenses, obviously in an attempt to help his own franchise quarterback. They decreased the amount of yards a corner could press a wide receiver without being called for an illegal contact, and shifted the pass interference rules widely in the favor of the receiver.

On top of that, rules about hitting quarterbacks were drastically altered to protect the player. There are two reasons for this. The first is that quarterbacks are generally the face of the league, and injuries to them, more than anything, can completely destroy a team's year. Goodell is a businessman, and he knows this.

The second reason is that Trent Green almost died on the field. Well, not him specifically, but the rules to protect quarterbacks are necessary and honestly overdue. In the sixties, linebackers and quarterbacks were roughly the same size. It was also a much less accurate league. Now, quarterbacks are generally immobile, 6'5 targets depending on the proper function of like six very fragile ligaments to operate their offenses, while linebackers are 6'5, 240 pound mutants who run 4.5 40s.

So now that you have quarterbacks defenders are loathe to hit and wide receivers that can come out of their cut five yards earlier, you have the rise of complicated wr formations designed to confuse offenses and take advantage of talent differentials while doing so before a standard defense has any hope of disrupting the quarterback.

Speed has become the name of the game.

Teams are shifting to the 3-4 to counter this and to take advantage of the surplus of talent coming out of the college ranks. As far as players, 4-3 college ends are converted to 3-4 OLBs, 4-3 DTs are shifted to 3-4 DTs, SLB become ILB, etc. A 3-4 also gives you more creativity in theory. Instead of overwhelming a team with brute force, you can confuse them with speed. You have far more linebackers (the defensive position most inundated with talent) who can just go blitz happy. Now that these linebackers are also able to run with running backs, well, yeah.

Now here are the Panthers, a 4-3 that seems quite happy just to stick to their roots. Fox has always been a 4-3 guy and always will be, but there's always been one thing Fox's defenses have done: gotten chewed up over the middle and underneath. Why is this? Because it's the plan. And it has worked.

If you watch the way the Panthers play defense, they completely change once a team reaches their own twenty. Plays between twenties are opportunities for turn overs and for the other team to make a mistake. Corners use outside leverage to force wide receivers over the middle, where a traditionally poo ruining safety is ready to make their day awful (mcree, harris, minter, etc). They never get beat deep, and once they get in close to the end zone, where the field is smaller and there's less room for exotic routes, then they exert their force where they're strongest: the back seven.

So, to recap, we have numerous offenses transitioning to a spread style that emphasizing taking advantage of complex routes to confuse the defense and break big long running plays. QBs are having great success simply being accurate with the ball. Essentially offenses, due to rule and player changes, are shifting into a style that fits perfectly into what the Panthers want them to do. Pass all the time. Pass as much as you want. Go nuts between the twenties. Every pass is a chance for a batted ball, a fumble, a jacked up moment, and occasionally a missed block. We'll see you at the twenty, where Reggie Bush isn't going to overpower anyone. (speaking of, this is why the Panthers traditionally do so well against the Saints passing game).

But Fiz, if there are more players coming out that are fit for the 3-4, doesn't that mean there will be fewer players for the 4-3? In theory, yes, but remember in the nineties teams like the steelers made killings drafting players that didn't fit other team's 4-3. Numerous veterans will be jetted after the draft and training camp that fit our defense perfectly, and that's when the Panthers will pounce. Furthermore, there's no telling what slow 3-4 end that freefalls next friday and saturday is actually a perfect fit at UT for the Panthers.

Now what does this mean for the Panthers offense?











































YOU CAN GOUGE 3-4 TEAMS WITH THE RUN MUAHAHAHAHA

now of course there are lots of exceptions to all of these rules and I'm just outlining a general trend and not hard and fast rules to live by. But whatever I was just thinking about this so I decided to write it. Now I'm going to go back this totally hot chick lying in my bed and maybe grill a steak i dunno


We've always had pretty decent success agast the 3-4, so that's not surprising.







Yeah I just did that.

#3 Peppers90 NC

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:12 PM

pic of the chick? typefugeat.

#4 Fiz

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:16 PM

but fiz what does it mean about corners?

Well there's no one in the world that better exemplifies the rules changes than Ricky Manning Jr. As soon as he was no longer able to simply mug people for ten yards he became a massive liability. Corners are now drafted on their ability to run with a receiver and make a play for the ball while it's in the air. There's no point in having a corner whos game revolves around jamming for ten yards when you can only jam for 5. This is also part of the reason I think teams are overlooking Richard Marshall, someone who excels in the Panthers system but would be wasted trying to run down the field.

So smaller, faster, lighter defensive backs all over the field? Yeah DeAngelo and Jonathan will never be brought down past the linebackers in their career.

#5 SOJA

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:18 PM

I'm not going to lie Fiz I usually hate you, but this is a great post

#6 Fiz

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:20 PM

I still hate you though

#7 Kevin Greene

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:21 PM

Nice write up.
And proof if you employ an old dog long enough, eventually he'll come back in style.

#8 PhillyB

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:23 PM

holy poo how much time do you have on your hands? nice writeup, i've always thought the argument that if the panthers remain a running team in an increasingly passing league they'll fail is complete horseshit. if defenses are geared to stop the pass, than the teams that can run will truck them.

#9 PanthaSan

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:27 PM

Nice write up Fiz.

But, more importantly,

Where are the pics of this alleged Hot Chick?

:D

#10 Fiz

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:29 PM

Nice write up Fiz.

But, more importantly,

Where are the pics of this alleged Hot Chick?

:D


right here

#11 SOJA

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:30 PM

I still hate you though


ahhhh now thats the old Fiz I know and love

#12 Argus Plexus

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:38 PM

Nice post, Fiz. First worthwhile read I've had on here in a LONG time.

#13 carolinanimal

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:38 PM

holy poo how much time do you have on your hands? nice writeup, i've always thought the argument that if the panthers remain a running team in an increasingly passing league they'll fail is complete horseshit. if defenses are geared to stop the pass, than the teams that can run will truck them.


only problem i ever see is that with a team with a run game can be stopped 2 ways while a passing game only one way. a running game can be stopped by a good run defense or by being outscored early in the game. passing game the only way to stop it is get to the qb. sitting back in zone will get you picked apart by the better teams in the league.

#14 Wither

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:43 PM

I was beginning to wonder what happened to Fiz.

#15 PantherProfessor

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:44 PM

good read.

the biggest weakness in this theory is a soft defense that allows the team to trail by multiple scores later in the games. running the ball takes time off the clock, but also makes drives to score require more time.

this is why you need a decent QB to close that gap when needed. this is the same reason why in 2003 Jake led the league in 4th quarter comebacks and wins; he had to. the system worked as designed then, and can do so again with even more success if the pieces fit.


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