Who Wants to Get Learned?

Posted: May 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 50 Comments »

Ya’ll ready for some schoolin’? Rather than have me write a bunch of stuff about the defense, who would like to watch a PowerPoint presentation by Ravens coaches on the 3-4 defense, with a mixture of fronts, blitzes, and coverages?

This is great stuff.

They don’t refer to the 4-3 Under. They just call it the Under. Beginning at slide 9, they’ll show you how the 3-4 base changes into the 3-4 Under, which is the same thing as the 4-3 Under. I know that is confusing to some, but it really is true.

This presentation goes back to 2005 so you can’t take all the coverage concepts as gospel. The NFL passing game is constantly changing, for both offenses and defenses.

Bill Davis has never coached for the Ravens, but the basic concepts are the same.

* * * * *

Paul Domowitch wrote an excellent piece on the new defense and how it will affect the DBs.  The front seven is less focused on rushing the QB, which means more emphasis on the run defense. That should take pressure off the DBs from flying up in run support. They’ll still be part of the equation, but they’ll be put in more favorable situations.

As Domo points out, things started okay for the defense last year, but fell apart after Juan Castillo was fired. From that point on, the defense allowed 26 TD passes and had 1 INT. Domo seems to think that’s bad. I’m trying to get confirmation. For now we’ll say that it is slightly less than awesome.

It wasn’t that Castillo was some genius, the problem was making changes at midseason. Todd Bowles went from DBs to DC. That hurt his ability to focus on the DBs, which was compounded by the fact that he decided to make coverage changes. The DBs were more confused and didn’t have someone to spend enough time with them, trying to sort out the problems. That led to…26 and 1. Ouch.

It is easy to see the comments by Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen and be a little skeptical about the changes (didn’t they say good things last spring and in the summer before that?), but this defense will help them. The DL will play some 2-gap. The front seven is bigger. That stuff will help to eat up blockers and slow down the run game. DBs can focus on coverage.

Bo Wulf wrote a piece for PE.com on the Safety position and the changes. He mixed in some quotes from Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung, as well as Coleman and Allen.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama offered up his thoughts on Monday’s Eagles practice.  Good stuff, as you would expect.

Jimmy and I also recorded a new podcast today. We talked about the OTAs and a variety of players/positions.  The show went a bit long at 1:20, but we managed not to talk about Jimmy’s disgusting feet.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy wrote his MAQB column on recent NFL drafts. He explored the theory of whether 1st round busts are becoming less likely. There isn’t enough of a sample size to come to a full conclusion, but his theory is interesting and makes sense. Good stuff.


50 Comments on “Who Wants to Get Learned?”

  1. 1 Anders said at 7:47 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Great power point. One thing tho. What they call the 3-4 under is not quite what the 4-3 under is. The strong side end was in a 4 tech instead of a 5 tech. I would think they would have called the alignment we call a 4-3 under a 3-4 under ed based on how there over ed looked.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 7:58 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Right…they used the 4-tech. That is a difference. Point is to see things illustrated in a way to help you understand different concepts.

  3. 3 Anders said at 8:11 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    yea it was great with that, as we most likely will run different variations of this during the season. I even think we will end up running some over fronts in certain situations.

  4. 4 GEagle said at 2:20 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    yeah I also enjoyed it, and certainly agree that we will see over fronts from time to time

  5. 5 austinfan said at 8:02 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    The new DBs (and the ones they’ve kept, Marsh, Allen) are all big and physical (well, Allen used to be until the last year or so). If you’re depending on the front 7 as your primary run stoppers, you need less speed in the secondary because they’re not coming up aggressively, then having to flip their hips and recover quickly. Instead, they need to be good tacklers in the open field as the last line of defense. Because they can stay back off the snap, they can focus on the short underneath routes and come up quickly instead of reacting to the run and get caught out of position by play action. This of course is how Seattle has done it.

  6. 6 Alex Karklins said at 8:07 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Was it Rex Ryan’s idea to put black text on a dark background for some of those slides? That’s just cruel. I did enjoy the legible slides. Thanks for posting them.

  7. 7 Songbird Rescue Cat said at 8:48 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Edit Slide Master is your friend.

  8. 8 Adam said at 8:38 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Tommy, a little off topic, but what are you hearing about Dennis Kelly? Some are saying he’s not ready to roll over and give up that RT spot just yet and he’s put in a lot of work in the off-season. I think he can be a good swing tackle for us this year, your thoughts?

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 9:18 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I like Dennis Kelly. I think he could develop into a starting RT. His attitude is absolutely the way to go. He needs to approach things as if he’s the starter. Make Lane Johnson take the job from him.

    Can he play LT? I’m not sure about that. Would be great if he could be the #3 OT for us.

  10. 10 Mostel26 said at 9:20 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Or be the swing tackle until the point when we’re ready to move on from Peters. I wouldn’t mind a Johnson LT / Kelly RT combo starting in 2015.

  11. 11 austinfan said at 8:57 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Key is whether they extend Peters and at what salary.
    Peters could easily move inside in a couple of years, he has the perfect build for OG and should have no problem blocking on the second level (safeties will develop temporary paralysis the week they face the Eagles). But they won’t pay $10M a year for 34 year old Peters to play RG.

    One thing to watch with Kelly at RT is the 3 TE formation in the red zone with Lane Johnson as one of the TEs, as a former QB he probably has good hands, and he’s more athletic than say Celek – imagine him as a red zone target!

  12. 12 GEagle said at 9:04 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Lane is a lock to be used at TE on some situational goal like plays…Whether we drafted Dion, or Lane…both would have been catching TDs n 2Pt conversions…

    I just cant wait to see all the crazy ish we do on ST

  13. 13 Anders said at 9:54 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    No he is not.

  14. 14 GEagle said at 2:22 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    you dont expect to see Lane ever lined up at TE?

  15. 15 Songbird Rescue Cat said at 8:48 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    So, what kind of advantage will Chip Kelly have – on both sides of the ball – going into this season? Even assuming Vick starts, I don’t think knowing his personal tendencies will help opposing defenses a ton.

    How long does Chip have the element of surprise? One game? Three?

  16. 16 Mostel26 said at 9:03 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    If Vick starts, we have no advantage only turnovers, bad reads, and us “haters” getting told we don’t know anything about football.

  17. 17 D3Center said at 9:43 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    If Vick is the starter, I think its safe to say that he’s solved the problems with turnovers and bad reads. If he hasn’t he likely won’t be on the team or he won’t be starting (at least not for long).

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 9:19 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    This is a question that needs some thinking and maybe research. Not real sure.

  19. 19 Flyin said at 11:11 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    The “element of surprise” will come in stages. That’s the future, and that is what Chip Kelly is… He has counter measures years beyond this year..

  20. 20 Mostel26 said at 9:02 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I just cannot get pumped about the 3-4. I never really liked it, I’ve always seen the Eagles be in 4 man fronts, and don’t care for how we seem to be taking away from Brandon Graham, ‘Meco Ryans, M. Kendricks. etc.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 9:19 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I’m a 4-3 guy. Always have been, always will be. Embracing the 3-4 because I don’t have a choice.

  22. 22 Flyin said at 10:17 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I’m expecting you to walk out of this… as a mean, lean fighting machine.

  23. 23 TommyLawlor said at 11:24 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    With Coach Hulka’s help.

  24. 24 Flyin said at 11:39 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    Curry mentioned the razzle dazzle.

    Curry mentioned the razzle dazzle.This ish ain’t scripted.

  25. 25 austinfan said at 8:52 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Base defense is far less important than it was a couple decades ago – just look at Sopoaga’s snaps last year with SF.
    3-4 or 3-4 under – 40% of snaps
    4-2 or 3-3 – 40% of snaps
    4-1-6 or 3-2-6 – 20% of snaps

    The players who will be on the field for over 50% of snaps are probably:
    Cox, Barwin, Ryans, Kendricks and the 4 starting secondary players. Ryans may be pulled in dime formations.
    Graham and Cole will probably be rotated, Curry may play end in 4-2 formations and give Cox a breather at the “3”.
    Sopoaga will be replaced by Logan on passing downs.
    Thornton may be replaced if he doesn’t show pass rush skills.

    So really the only issue is whether they’re primarily a 3-4 or 4-3 under in the base defense, after that, it’s gonna be plenty of hybrid and pass rush looks.

  26. 26 RC5000 said at 2:59 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Geathers could be in the mix. Seems to be getting some time or looks with the 1s and 2s although it is still an evaluation period. I haven’t really heard much about Logan so far but then it seems the rooks are all pretty much needing to prove themselves. we’ll see what happens once they get in pads, tackle, etc.

  27. 27 Alex Karklins said at 10:51 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I just keep telling myself it’s a hybrid defense, so it’ll be a 4-3 at least some of the time. Right? RIGHT???

  28. 28 TommyLawlor said at 11:25 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    I like the positive mindset.

  29. 29 TommyLawlor said at 12:05 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    A couple of thoughts on the Eagles QB battle.


  30. 30 Ark87 said at 12:02 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Tommy, whose this Nick Foles cat, I watch national tv, its a two horse race between our only qbs, Vick and Mark Battley

  31. 31 Random notes around the NFC East: Draft in May, a 3-4 tutorial, quiet Dez, Skins pros/cons, and Tony Robbins hungry – Blogging the bEast said at 8:35 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    […] • Tommy found a PowerPoint presentation by Ravens coaches on the 3-4 defense, with a mixture of fronts, blitzes, and coverages. Great stuff here. […]

  32. 32 Adam said at 9:20 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Hey Tommy.. thanks for answering my question RE: Dennis Kelly… great insight as always.. I’ve got another little off topic question for you:

    If one of the young guys wins the starting job in camp, do you cut ties with Michael Vick? Do you think he would embrace the back up role, and not put a rift in the locker room? I feel like if Foles or Barkley wins the jobs, you would obviously build around their skill sets, therefore the other would be more suited to back them up.

  33. 33 Neil said at 12:01 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    The readoption plays aren’t going to be stricken from the playbook or practice if Foles wins the job. Maybe deemphasised a little in practice if Foles is firmly entrenched. That’s the extent of plays only Vick can run. There’s no “building the offense” around a quarterback. The only changes are to the gameplan during a week and the plays that are called in a game.

  34. 34 Adam said at 12:21 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    There’s no building an offense around a quarterback? Interesting.

  35. 35 Neil said at 12:47 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Yeah, look at it like this. A coach builds his playbook so that he has many answers for every possible situation that can arise. For each of those situations, he’ll have answers for any possible QB skillset built into the playbook because he knows he can’t just mold perfect 1 and 2 quarterbacks with the same perfect skillset for his ideal offense. In his mind, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you aren’t prepared for success if Vick or Foles comes in in the third quarter when whoever was starting goes down if those two are clearly the two best quarterbacks on the team.

    I think where Kelly differs from most NFL coaches is just that he is very familiar with and comfortable with a set of plays that can take advantage of a quarterback who can run a bit, if you happen to have one. Clearly, he’s not the first, but he might be one of the first five. Most NFL coaches don’t have many plays designed to take advantage of that skill specifically since it’s quite rare to find a QB with functional NFL arm and intellectual skills on top of running ability. When such a QB comes along, quite a few coaches are content to let him just improvise like Reid did with Vick, maybe calling a few draws.

  36. 36 Tom33 said at 11:23 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    I liked slide 35 of the Powepoint – “Additional notes on Defense”. Point #1 – “If your players cannot run,are not trained to defeat blocks and tackle, the best schemes are worthless.” I believe the Eagles secondary had 4 players in the top 10 in missed tackles last year. Pretty much covers it.

    Point 3 of the same slide says to “create a fast practice tempo – no wasted time” I think Chip’s seen this before…

  37. 37 GEagle said at 2:19 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Micheal crabtree tore his achilles…One would think a team gearing up for a superbowl run, would be very interested in replacing an injured #1 Reciever…Wonder what we could get for Maclin, this time of year

  38. 38 T_S_O_P said at 2:26 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    With Boldin and Patton new in, I’m not sure they will make any rash moves

  39. 39 GEagle said at 2:50 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    sorry….Total Brain fart moment. I dont know how, but I completely forgot they have Boldin…

  40. 40 cliff henny said at 2:56 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    you switching sites? 24/7 isnt the same

  41. 41 GEagle said at 3:09 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    appreciate that bud, but I posted on Friday that It would be my last comment on that site. I dont even think its debatable that you get the most knowledgable football interactions on this site, and disagreements around here typically turn into very intelligent and respectful football debates…Intelligent, valuable posters on that site are getting out numbered by idiots more and more by the day…Its just not worth it any more and it literally stopped being fun…But Tim and Shiel do a fantastic job, and I wont ever stop following their work(2 of the few media members in this town that I actually respect), but I refuse to ever even peek at that comment section again lol

  42. 42 cliff henny said at 4:01 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    lol…he was on a roll the other day on foles…i posted “WHERE’S GEAGLE!?!?!”. yeah, i basically ignore anything he writes.

  43. 43 GEagle said at 7:31 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    ohhh I can certainly imagine dutch on the day that Foles was getting more reps…YIKES!!!

  44. 44 T_S_O_P said at 2:29 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    From the PowerPoint I’d like to ask what is a TED? I though it was a wig wearing Bostonian bar owner.

  45. 45 GEagle said at 2:59 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Im still disgusted that we gave up the mosty passing TD’s in the entire league.
    Tied for last in takeaways
    29 teams allowed less points per games then we did
    24 Teams had more sacks
    That HURTS!!!! I will always be a defensive guy first and foremost. Last year wasnt the first time we saw a bad defense, but I cant recall ever seeing a more GUTLESS defense represent this rabbid fanbase..If we didnt have talent, say we had 11 Kurt Coleman types, and they played there butts off for us, fought every single play, but just didnt have the talent to compete…It would HURT but I would root for those guys like a madman…but to watch the majority of our defense flat out, blatantly quit on us, is something I will never forget, and something I really hope to never again witness in this great city..
    You are what your record says you are,…TRUE. But I do think we had more ingrediants to a potential good defense then our stats, record would suggest. . Between starters and rotational contributers, we still need to add 6-9 defenders next offseason….I dont give us much of a chance at having a great defense this year, but I do not think it has to be bad either. Im expecting to see a 14th-19th ranked defense in 2013….How quickly do these players learn the new scheme so that they dont have to think and can play fast? How quickly do these players Gel into a cohesive Unit? How much better will our young, impact players be after another offseason(Cox,Kendrick,Graham, even Demeco I expect to show improvement)???
    Curious to see how people project the NFC East Defenses and Offenses to be ranked…I guess I’ll take a stab at it..
    1)Eagles: an Obvious homer pick, but Element of surprise, Supreme Conditioning.. along with the fact that I seriously DOUBT any roster in this division is more hungry, and has been working as hard as the Eagles have been working, so early in the offseason.

    2)Redskins: I like RG3 like everyone else, but Im not ready to annoint a player who barely had to get passed his 2nd read. Defenses will improve at defending what they ran, and Cam Newton sophmore slumps can never be completely ruled out,espacially coming off an Injury..Which of there skill position players besides Alfred morris, would make our roster?
    3)Giants. Veteran Offense, but they certainly arent working as hard as the Eagles are in April and May. There best Players Nicks and Salsa boy arent even with the team yet. Aging Oline..Plus you never really know which Eli you will get from year to year.

    4)Cowboys. They gave Romo big money, and he even helps with draft decisions and Gameplanning lol. Jerry Jones, that pip squeek HC…need I say more? lol
    DEFENSE..I dont know how to Rank these defenses. I cant say we will have a great defense, but I dont think its crazy to set our goals on becoming the best defense in our division this year(far from a given, but this division is so wide open):
    3)Eagles. 3rd down is Crucial. If Cox and Graham become a force, it would be a great cornerstone for our front 7

  46. 46 cliff henny said at 3:47 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    well, Geagle, being a defense first guy, think you are in for a long kelly tenure (hopefully). see alot more 45-34 games than 17-14 in our future

  47. 47 GEagle said at 7:28 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    Sad but True….Nothing is more enjoyable to me then a punishing Hard Fought 10-0 Eagles win!…The most enjoyable outcome for me is Eagles defense, posting a complete Shut out..as in, not even give up a FG. Thats the type of game that gets my juices flowing…

  48. 48 cliff henny said at 10:47 AM on May 23rd, 2013:

    well, glass half full, you’ll see plenty of 10-0 games, not finals, more likely 5mins left in 1 st quarter

  49. 49 GEagle said at 2:01 PM on May 27th, 2013:

    Hahahahahahaha better enjoy the first 7 minutes of agame

  50. 50 GEagle said at 3:34 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    Its great to finally see the Media dopes in this city finally getting a clue…
    You got a guy like Sal Pal, who told anyone that would listen since January that Foles would be traded and he could never play for Chip(what an irresponsible boneheaded Joke) who is now saying, he thinks all along Chip has hoped that Foles would get a grib on the starting position lol……Took 4 months, but the media is finally realizing that leg speed will never be a prerequisite to play QB in the NFL. FBI and accuracy, leadership are too crucial to be worrying about how fast a guy runs!..Would have been nice if the irresponsible, misinformed Media didnt turn a knowledable fanbase into a legion of Idiots…but the people seem to be smartening up, so better late than never…

    Foles will seperate from the pack at some point in the process..If we decide to cut and trade Vick, Im curious to see how the league views him. Will a bad franchise with a young QB that isnt ready to take the field go after Vick as a stop gap guy(Jets, Raiders)…or will playoff teams with mobile QB’s trying to compete for the SB go after him as a backup(Seattle and the niners both traded away their backups)? Would Vick be ok, as Foles backup? Would chip even be ok with Vick as a backup?