Wide-9 Talk

Posted: May 10th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 51 Comments »

I’ve had a few people ask via email or in the comments section about the Wide-9 defense and if we could talk about that some more.  So, let’s do it.

First up…it really isn’t the Wide-9 defense.  We run a 4-3 defense with a Wide-9 front.  Since that isn’t exactly a simple phrase it gets shortened to the Wide-9 defense.

The goal of the Wide-9 front is to get pressure on the QB.  Other fronts concentrate on stopping the run.  Jim Washburn focuses on rushing the passer.

WR ………………….. TE – RT – RG – OC – LG – LT ………………….. WR
………………….. DE ………. DT ……… DT …………. DE

Sorry for the crude diagram.

The goal of the DEs in this front is to stay wide and rush the QB.  The DEs don’t need to be big.  They need to be fast and to play with good leverage.  Short, medium, and tall DEs have had success in this front.  The key is to fire off the ball and either beat the OT with pure speed or to hit him with such power that the blocker is driven backward.

If the DEs are so focused on the QB that does affect the run defense.  The thought here is that wide run plays won’t be effective because of the rush angle taken by the DEs.  That will funnel all the run action to the inside.  In theory, that should make things easier on the LBs and Safeties in the sense that they know where the RB will be (between the tackles).

The difficult part of this is that the DEs aren’t eating up blockers.  O-linemen get a clean release up the field on many plays and that means that the LBs must be able to shed blocks.  The other tricky part here is that the LBs are playing more of a read and react style so they can’t simply attack the OL with their bodies.  The LBs must engage the blockers and shed them using their hands.  That keeps the LB free to make plays to the left or right instead of just filling one gap with a body on a body.

If you think back to the Jim Johnson days, there would be plenty of times when the MLB would charge into the C and “blow him up”.  The MLB wasn’t likely to make a tackle, but he had taken on a blocker and controlled an area.  The WLB was responsible for the FB on isolation (or iso) run plays.  The WLB was supposed to charge the FB and blow him up, clogging the running lanes.  The Wide-9 is more interested in LBs that can shed blocks and make tackles.

The DTs in the Wide-9 are playing the 1-gap technique.  Their job is to get upfield after the snap and be disruptive.  The Eagles did this under Jim Johnson from 1999-2006.  Starting in 2007 the DTs went to a 2-gap style of play which forced them to eat up blockers and control 2 gaps.  Penetration wasn’t important.  Controlling an area was the primary goal.

Washburn is all about having the DTs get into the backfield.  Ideally you’d want them to tackle the RB for a loss.  If not slow him down or force him to run laterally and not up the field.  Penetration by the DTs can also throw off blocking schemes.  The DT can hit a pulling blocker and ruin the timing of a play or it could bottle up the RB.

Jim Washburn mixes in a couple of twists to running the Wide-9.  He believes in rotating his players.  He wants his D-linemen to go 100 mph on every snap for 3 or 4 plays and then come out of the game.  This is a huge adjustment for some guys.  Trent Cole was used to playing 50 or 60 snaps a game.  Now he’s down in the 40s or something like that.

Washburn’s thinking is that the Wide-9 can really only work its best when the D-linemen are absolutely relentless on every snap.  You are almost trying to wear down the blockers.  They can’t come off the field.  The DL get rotated.  Pound those guys play after play.

Washburn also likes to mix in “games”.  He doesn’t believe in blitzing very much so he likes for his DL to use stunts, twists, and loops to confuse blockers and mix things up from time to time.  This is when you do things like have the DT charge into the OT at the snap.  The DE then loops around the back of the DT and comes up the middle.  If the interior blockers get confused, they can miss the stunting rusher and he can get a free run at the QB.  Cullen Jenkins is a key player for this.  He’s athletic enough that he can line up anywhere and take any rush angle to either confuse the blockers or to come free when another DL plays the role of the occupier.  Fletcher Cox can be a big help with stunts, twists, and loops because he is even more athletic than Jenkins.

There are some downsides to the Wide-9.  We saw last year in the Atlanta game what the no-huddle offense can do to the defense.  Cole and Babin were dominant for stretches, but the Falcons went no-huddle in parts of the 3rd and 4th quarter and wore down the defense in a big way.

LBs and Safeties are exposed to blockers.  That makes life tougher on them.  Tackling is at a premium.  If your back seven cannot play the run well, you are in big trouble.  We saw this with Jarrad Page.  Go re-watch the Buffalo game.  There were 5 to 10 plays where the scheme worked perfect.  Page was in position to tackle the RB for a loss or minimal gain.  Instead, Page whiffed over and over and the RB had lots of room to run.

With the DL all attacking up the field, the defense is vulnerable if a draw play or quick hitting run play hits the right gap.  This is true vs a lot of fronts/schemes, but maybe moreso with the Wide-9.  The DL are selling out to get to the QB and that can be used against them.

* * * * *

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about the Wide-9 that might be of interest.  There is a picture of the D-line that you can click on to enlarge so you can see how the guys line up.

* * * * *

PE.com had Adam Caplan and Greg Cosell break down the Wide-9 back in September.  Cosell does a good job of explaining things.  Caplan is just the sexy host.

* * * * *

The Wide-9 isn’t good or bad.  It just is.  (Buddha’s take on the scheme)

I don’t love the W-9, but I also think all the criticism of it is utterly ridiculous.  Scheme isn’t nearly as important as execution.  I’ve told you guys about my friends the Buffalo fans.  They grew up with the 3-4 defense.  That’s what they love.  My Buffalo buddies were all excited to see the team move from the 4-3 back to the 3-4.  They just knew that would solve the porous run defense and make them better.  Uh, no.  Last year Buffalo was 30th in points allowed and 26th in yards.  They simply lack talent.

Scheme is only what you make of it.  I have no problems with the Eagles running the Wide-9.  The key is to run it well.  That means finding the right guys up front and then finding the right guys behind it.  Putting DeMeco Ryans at MLB should make a huge difference.  Adding a talented LB like Mychal Kendricks should help.  You’d love to have a SS that was a terrific run defender.  The goal was for Jaiquawn Jarrett to be that guy.  We’ll see how that goes.

Many fans wish the Eagles would go after bigger DL and focus on stopping the run.  The Oakland Raiders last year had an enormous front seven.  They were 27th in rushing yards allowed.

Focus on fit and execution.  Last year when the Eagles were so terrible vs the run, you had Jamar Chaney playing a new position, Casey Matthews as a rookie MLB, Jarrad Page as a missed tackle terrorist, Antonio Dixon struggling to adjust to the W-9, and Trevor Laws not playing his best.

Look at the 2 Skins games as a good example.  We played them with a healthy defense at midseason and the Skins ran for 42 yards.  We played them in the season finale with JaiJar in place of Kurt Coleman, no Mike Patterson, and Matthews in place of Chaney.  The Skins ran for 130 yards. The previous 2 opponents hadn’t broken 95 yards rushing.  Was it scheme?  No.  We were missing key run defenders and the Skins ate us up.

The Eagles should have the pieces in place to have a great D-line and a top flight defense.  It will be fun to watch and see how the guys play and if they can go from a talented, but inconsistent unit to something special.  We need a LB to step up and help Ryans.  We need DRC to go back to his 2009 form.  And we need the key guys to stay healthy.  If those things happen, I expect to see a much better Eagles defense in 2012.

51 Comments on “Wide-9 Talk”

  1. 1 Jim Reynolds said at 1:05 PM on May 10th, 2012:


    Here’s a graphic that I found just recently to replace your diagram:

    Also, my understanding is the NT (Patterson) in the Wide-9 typically plays a 1-technique and the UT (Jenkins) often plays a 3-technique.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:21 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    The NT is the 1-technique and UT the 3-tech.

  3. 3 GermanBird said at 1:49 PM on May 10th, 2012:


    “Caplan is just the sexy host.”

    Sometimes you really scare me…. 😉

    But to add something substantial:

    “There are some downsides to the Wide-9. We saw last year in the Atlanta game what the no-huddle offense can do to the defense. Cole and Babin were dominant for stretches, but the Falcons went no-huddle in parts of the 3rd and 4th quarter and wore down the defense in a big way.”

    I’m not sure where exactly you find the correlation between “wearing down against the no-huddle” and “playing in a W9-scheme”

  4. 4 LiamGarrett said at 1:57 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I think he’s referring to the Washburn philosophy that the Wide-9 works best with guys going all out on every play, getting subbed in and out every 3 or 4 snaps. If the opposing offense goes no-huddle, there’s not enough time to make all the D-line substitutions.

  5. 5 the guy said at 2:46 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    The Eagles lost quite a few games last season because the opposing offense was capable of moving the ball late in games. They blew quite a few leads last year, and while the offense certainly didn’t help, it wasn’t all on them.

    I’m a bit worried that a team that seems designed to build and protect leads is possibly vulnerable to a style of offense (no-huddle) that is commonly used to overcome a lead.

    Is there an answer to this, or am I letting last year worry me too much?

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 3:20 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Very reasonable and legit concern. The scheme was in part chosen because the team wanted to protect leads. The primary culprit was blown coverages and simple mistakes.

    A couple of missed tackles cost us big vs ATL. There was a blown coverage by Asante and a missed tackle by Coleman that allowed the go-ahead TD vs ARZ. The loss to SF was a team meltdown. Losing Trent really hurt us. We did hold the lead vs the Giants when we beat them.

  7. 7 the guy said at 5:25 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    –My list of blown leads–

    * Week 2 vs ATL: Allowed 2 4th Q TDs. You covered it.

    * Week 3 vs NYG: Allowed 2 4th Q TDs. Both were short field gifts from the offense.

    * Week 4 vs SF: Allowed 4th Q TD. You covered it.

    * Week 9 vs CHI: Allowed 10 4th Q pts. Both scores were short field gifts from ST.

    * Week 10 vs ARI: Allowed 2 4th Q TDs. You covered it.

    I’ve said it before, but wow: 5 blown 4th quarter leads in 8 losses. We’ve talked about RZ issues and turnover issues, but how the Eagles played when the game was on the line is at least as big of a concern.

  8. 8 T_S_O_P said at 5:42 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Nobody beat us more than we did last year. I wouldn’t want to play us.

  9. 9 ATLeagle said at 10:29 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    I thought the Giants showed us how to get subs in for tired guys, or even if they arent tired or injured, but simply have the wrong personnel and the offense is abusing them.

    If it isnt illegal, there is no reason that a flop cant be used to sub out guys with “cramps” .

  10. 10 LiamGarrett said at 10:34 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    I’m not sure it’s “legal” as much as just hard for the officials to determine.

    I’d rather keep our Boo Bird integrity.

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 2:23 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    In the W-9 the DE will fire off the ball and take 3 or 4 steps before engaging the blocker. Also, he’s going all out on every play.

    In a different defense the DE might take 1 or 2 steps before engaging the OT. Also, he might be slower off the ball as he reads plays. That will wear him down less quickly than in the W-9 under Washburn.

    Hope that makes sense.

  12. 12 the guy said at 2:36 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Jason Babin: “I’m not familiar with the Wide-9. I’m familiar with the 9 technique.”
    I think a lot of the criticism of the move wasn’t that the scheme was bad, but that the Eagles didn’t have the right players at the time to make it work.

    The comparison that springs to my mind is when the Redskins recently switched to a 3-4, and everyone dumped on them for doing so without a true 3-4 NT. They had some of the right personnel for it, but were missing an important part (or parts), and the D struggled.

    The Eagles were different in that they had the right guys (more or less) on the DL for the switch to 9 technique, but didn’t have the guys behind them for it to work well. Now, they do. Hopefully.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 3:12 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    No, early on the argument was that the W-9 was a flawed scheme. You know that many fans and media types want someone/something to blame. The W-9 was an easy target. Far simpler to blame that than to talk about players being in the wrong gap or missing tackles when plays were designed for them to be free and make the stops.

    I agree that some smart people understood the difference, but I don’t think that was anywhere close to a majority.

  14. 14 TheRogerPodacter said at 4:13 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    gotta go with tommy on this. at the beginning of the season, people HATED the wide 9. even when we were racking up tons of sacks, and pretty much the pass rush was the only good thing about the D, people still hated it. everyone said that the sack count was “hollow” that it didnt matter because they couldnt stop the run…

  15. 15 the guy said at 4:59 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I guess the difference is I generally ignored that. It can’t be *that* flawed of a scheme if a highly respected position coach used it successfully for years.

    I intentionally don’t watch ESPN/NFL Network or read PE/Philly .com comments, so what I generally saw were the reasoned criticisms.

    I was actually going to qualify my post with “I think a lot of the *intelligent* criticism of the move” but I didn’t think it was necessary. I suppose it was.

  16. 16 Mac said at 9:38 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    To me, it seemed that most of the commentators were caught off guard that a team stacked with talent like the Eagles would not come out of the gate smokin’ hot. They wanted to sound *intelligent* by having something new to talk about (it’s safe to assume that Tennessee didn’t generate much buzz on the wide-9 due to a lack of media exposure. Instead of blaming the real problems; lack of offseason with a new scheme, defense needing time to gel, players learning new positions, and one of the goats of the 2011 Eagles season Asante Samuel.

  17. 17 T_S_O_P said at 2:53 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Great discussion/topic. The WSJ article was great. In the pic it seems to me that we have lined the ends up at 9 and 7 rather than both at 9. This maybe the angle of the pic, but may also be fact particularly against the I formation with the TE to the strong side as shown.

    The thought here is that wide run plays won’t be effective because of the rush angle taken by the DEs. That will funnel all the run action to the inside.

    So does the SAM still set the edge? It is a discussion point ad infenitum on the blog.. and you can’t escpae it! 🙂

  18. 18 TommyLawlor said at 3:10 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    The SAM doesn’t set the edge if he’s not the wide man. In the W-9, the DE is the wide man. Things get complicated because the wide man is flying upfield and not playing the run. Somewhat confusing in a pure philosophical way.

    The SAM is responsible if the run play comes right at him, but he’s not the edge defender. Depending on the play, he might have inside responsibility so at that point he would protect the inside and let the SS be the outside defender. Too many variables to say anything definitively.

  19. 19 T_S_O_P said at 3:22 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Lots of variables but it all makes sense.


    When I showed this a couple of months ago on the blog, there was some who thought the SAM was out of position and others who thought he was slow to react. By what I read above, I feel he was predominantly in the 2nd category.

  20. 20 GeorgeFleep said at 3:56 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Dont be confused by the TE. The 9 is outside of the OT or even outside of 1 TE but probably wont ever be outside of 2 TE.

  21. 21 T_S_O_P said at 4:07 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Is this with regards the Cowboys Nation article? 7 is outside of an OT, 8 over the TE and 9 outside. The article is titled Making the W-9 go to 11.

    What it shows, as does the WSJ pic, is that Coleman has outside contain as Tommy points out in his 2nd paragraph.

  22. 22 GeorgeFleep said at 4:09 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    i think it was just general

  23. 23 GeorgeFleep said at 3:45 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I am thinking that Cox will be playing more then Jenkins by the end of the season. Time for a crazy question… When will it be possible fo Cox and Jenkins to both line up as a DE? How about when the Babin, Cole, or some other actual DE is upright and is appearing as a joker LB. I call it the Juan Nine.

    The 1981 Jets had 66 sacks. I believe that is DL only. In 1987 Eagles had 57 sacks. Apparently the league did not begin officially tracking sacks for a season until 1982. I am assuming that is the franchise record. It is definitely beatable. Am i over confident?

  24. 24 Anders Jensen said at 4:53 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    We had 50 last season, 57 is not out of the question with the addition of Cox and Curry and Graham and Hunt is top shape

  25. 25 GeorgeFleep said at 5:03 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Something that i thought was interesting that Caplan noted is now that Hunt is 260 will he still be able to bend and jump off the ball as functionally as he did before. I am pretty sure he was 240 before. The added weight is seems a bit much for someone like him being 6 foot. Babin is 6’3 267.

  26. 26 Anders Jensen said at 6:23 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Graham is 6′ and 260

  27. 27 GeorgeFleep said at 7:41 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    well we will see whatever works

  28. 28 the guy said at 9:52 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    True, but Graham was 6’1″/268 when he was drafted. That was his playing weight. Hunt still shows on NFL’s site as 6’0″/248, so the question is can he be as fast as he was with 20 extra pounds. (Hunt also shows as a LB, WTF?)

    GeorgeFleep is right, we’ll just have to see if it works.

  29. 29 Anders Jensen said at 5:25 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    Looking at pictures from Hunt last season, he looked very skinny, the extra 12 pounds shoudnt rob him of his explosion of it is muscles but should help him against OTs

  30. 30 Razz_A_Matazz said at 1:33 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    For most guys with Hunt’s build, it’s more difficult for him to put on weight than take it off. A lot of players that bulk up, naturally drop weight during the season. If he’s 260 now, he’ll likely be in the high 240’s-250 by mid season.

  31. 31 Alex Karklins said at 5:24 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I’m predicting the Eagles will have so many sacks that Roger Goodell will make the 9-technique illegal after the season in order to protect quarterbacks.

  32. 32 GeorgeFleep said at 6:02 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    The eagles have legal bounties in a way. Players like Babin and Cole get a bonus for getting certain sack numbers.

  33. 33 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 4:11 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Excellent read Tommy! Thank you again for making me a smarter viewer of the game I love.

    As I was reading this post, I kept thinking that it could be cool to know our NFCE rivals just as well. Maybe that could be an idea for some future posts, if you have the same insight as to what they like to do on defense.

    That could take my casual football watching to a whole other level!

  34. 34 T_S_O_P said at 4:18 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Last off season, Bleeding Green Nation had a great article on THE wide 9 looking at the Tennessee Eagles game when Wash was with the Titans. I wish I could find a link. Very informative.

  35. 35 TheRogerPodacter said at 4:20 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    tommy, how does this lineup affect certain setups in the run game? i know that everything is situational and this might not really apply in all cases, but…

    it seems there is a HUGE gap between the NT and the DE to that side (between the 1 and the 9). Does that make it easier for there to be a run off guard on that side? i’m assuming this would be the responsibility of the OLB on that side of the field to hit that gap, but if he is just a bit late and there is a leading FB, it seems like an easy gain of a handful of yards. (situationally, might not matter if its 3rd and long).

    Similarly, i know this is something we saw at some point during the season and i FLIPPED OUT when i saw it…. it would look like its easier for the inside OL to make a decent gap between the two DTs. if the MLB is playing really deep, or if we are in nickel and the two LBs are evenly split on each side of the field and no LB is in the middle, its open for an easy QB sneak for a decent chunk of yardage.

    Again, i know there will be cases where we know the Offense might be able to do these things to pick up 8 yards on 3rd and 10 and we’d take that as a win in that battle. i’m just curious to see how an offense would attack this DL in different situations.

  36. 36 T_S_O_P said at 4:32 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I’m not sure they always line up at 9 on that side. If they line up at 7, the gap between the NT and RDE is no different that between the UT and LDE. Could be wrong… or confused. 🙂

  37. 37 TheRogerPodacter said at 4:58 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    no, i think that makes sense. we’ve seen cases where one DE doesn’t line up as far wide on one side. i think they are keeping it flexible. they’re not going to line up in the same positions each time. hopefully that will help keep the offense on its toes. lol

  38. 38 Thunder_lips said at 5:49 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I believe we started doing this more on run downs later in the season.

  39. 39 ATLeagle said at 10:35 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    yes. I think that later in the season an adjustment was made when TEs lined up tight to the OT. Instead of allowing two or three guys a free shot into the linebackers, this would allow a contain and keep a better than one-to-one ratio for the blockers, instead of a serious deficit for the defense.

  40. 40 Cafone said at 4:22 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    What determines which side the NT and UT line up on? It seemed to me that the NT always lined up on the right side of the defensive line, next to Cole. But maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention and they switched around.

    Also, you mentioned “games” like stunts. How are the potential games different depending on where the NT and UT line up? It wouldn’t seem that the NT and DE on his side are close enough to run stunts.

  41. 41 Christopher Burak said at 5:27 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    maybe it’s the right time to give the bucs a call about one of our defensive ends??


  42. 42 T_S_O_P said at 5:40 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    They already have

    Daniel Teo-Nesheim

  43. 43 Patrick Clausen said at 1:04 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Thats probably why they won’t call us again. I would imagine that in the depths of their organizations buildings are a big Eagles logo that they look at while plotting their revenge.

    Maybe well just trade Tapp for Bowers straight up next year, the day after Bowers tears his ACL again. Andy can’t help falling in love with those bad knees.

  44. 44 since1961 said at 5:45 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    Tommy, please explain the different responsibilities of the MLB between Wide 9 and 3-4. We heard that DeMeco was not as well-suited for the 3-4, supposedly part of the reason Houston was willing to trade him. In the 3-4, the DL does gap control and ties up blockers so the LB’s can flow to the ball, is that right? How is that different from what he has to do in the Wide 9?

  45. 45 T_S_O_P said at 6:02 PM on May 10th, 2012:

    I believe that Wade Phillips runs a1 gap 3-4, certainly in Dallas there pain in the ass NT was. I believe part of the problem in Houston was the $$$ paid when it was their other ILB, Cushing who was getting by far the more playing time.

  46. 46 Thorin McGee said at 11:52 AM on May 11th, 2012:

    I’ve tried to describe the Wide 9 and Eagles personnel to people by telling them to think of the defense as a jigsaw puzzle covering the whole field. The Wide 9 take its DL and slides those pieces 5 yards into the O backfield. You need the pieces behind them, especially the LBs to cover a bigger part of your puzzle.

    Under JJ’s defenses, the LBs had a relatively small piece of the field to cover (this is the way all Jimmy Johnson-descended 4-3 defenses treated LBs, they are not an essential piece, you draft them late and pay them little). Under Wachburn, those LBs, and also the safeties and to some extent the CBs, now have to cover a bigger area of the puzzle. That means you have to draft LB earlier and pay them more.

    I feel like one downside of the Wide 9 is that you can’t short any piece of the D. Where JJ’s defense could save money and picks on LB, the Castillo Wide 9 doesn’t really have a posiiton you can overlook. That means you have to spend more picks and money acquiring talent for the D. I think we’re seeing that in this offseason. Fortunately the Eagles’ O is strong. But in the long run, I think staffing a defense to run so much wide 9 has to shift the Eagles to a more defensive team.

  47. 47 Mac said at 3:52 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    I still have nightmarish flash backs to the downs where Babin stunts inside and the run play comes straight at where he was… And I could be wrong, but I think that was Asante’s side of the field (facepalm).

    For the reasons you mention, I think it is realistic to have hope that the Eagles may have a top 10 defense this year. As the guys got used to the new scheme the defense improved. Given a full offseason, and some new blood I believe we are going to see some historic sack numbers this year, and along with it a good many turnovers.

    The Eagles have a tendency to maintain a young roster in general. They will still have “impact” positions (i.e. Mike over other LB) and keep cost down via the new rookie salary scale.

  48. 48 eagleizeit said at 2:22 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Tommy, I was curious what your thoughts might be about trying some unique things with the W-9. Ex. on 3rd and long 1)LDE-Babin LDT-Jenkins RDT-Landri(Patterson), RDE-COX or 2)LDE-COX LDT-Jenkins RDT-Landri(Patterson) RDE- Cole. With 1 Cox could bat the ball down and/or get in the QB’s face. On 1st or 2nd down the last second switch the DE’s inside to DT and vice versa to throw the opponent off. Then the following down just swap DE and DT on Ither the left or right side ex Jenkins to LDE and Curry to LDT. With the combination of players we have we can change things up half the time and completely confuse the OL, QB, RB and the whole offense. If the LB’s and DB’s know who’s going to move where than sometimes some of them can do something b4 or after the play that would mess up the offensive play even more. Then once in a while blitz when the DL is in one of those trick formations. If we change things for other games than even when OC’s prepare to play us they wouldn’t know who’s going to switch on the DL and what LB or DB’s going to do what when or if they change things up. What do you think about completely bewildering them on most plays? If our D can keep their opponents to an avg of -20 yds per game they’d have the D in history!!

  49. 49 Jason said at 5:31 PM on May 11th, 2012:

    Whoops, a bit late with this…but anyway, just wanted to share my 2 cents worth…

    I guess my scepticism about the Wide 9 isn’t so much related to how effective it is, but how the Eagles suddenly came to run it. Obviously Jim Washburn was the dude behind it, but’s he’s only a DL coach – a good one, yes, but surely Andy Reid and Juan Castillo have more say in scheme. Do either Reid or Castillo know anything about the Wide 9 or were they just trawling for ideas and Jim says ‘hey lets try the Wide 9’?? Together with the hiring of Mudd, it seems a bit worrying. Hiring coaches who are old, close to retirment and completely changing how our lines work at a time when the Eagles had just blown a lot of cash in free agency and looking to make a run. Changing coaches and schemes seems to be what you do when a rebuild is happening and to me the lines have been one of the stronger points of the Eagles for the last 5-10 years. Changes to scheme take time, who’s to say that next year Mudd won’t retire, leaving the Eagles looking for a new O-line coach and possibly ANOTHER scheme for which to find players.

  50. 50 bridgecoach said at 4:25 PM on May 12th, 2012:

    Great topic! Count me with those that think that the Eagles run a Wide-9 “Defense.” This front changes the roles and responsibilities of every defensive player every down. A team cannot casually employ it successfully. They have to make a commitment to personnel and a coaching staff that can execute it. Some teams use it as a stunt – something they do in dime packages – and I would describe that as a wide-9 front and not a defense.

    That said, I think the Wide-9 Defense is a smart answer to a pass driven league. If you can’t pressure the quarterback in this NFL, you will lose. The wide-9 defense not only pressures the QB relentlessly, but does so by isolating offensive lineman. Offensive tackles have to break away from the line if they hope to block the DE. Bad things happen for an o-line when they get out of position and this scheme gives them a lot of rope to hang themselves with by design. Lineman may be free to engage on the 2nd level, but they will do so in open space – where a faster more agile LB is expecting it and can make them miss, if they are smart enough.

    I agree that the achilles heal of this “defense” has been the no huddle. But that should be able to be handled with hockey-like substitutions. Where our defensive personnel rotate “lines” in shifts when an opponent goes into a no huddle. Fast, smooth and efficient transitions designed to keep our players fresh and unrelenting. Our Defensive line could rotate based on x number of plays. LBs rotate based on down and yardage. 3 down LBs are key to defending against the no huddle when playing a wide-9. Basically, we need a 4th line: the no-huddle line- with our most versatile and athletic players

  51. 51 D3Keith said at 9:03 PM on May 12th, 2012:

    A couple days late commenting, but the Buffalo game in my mind absolved Castillo of a lot of the blame for this season and put it squarely on the players’ poor execution. We saw Fokou miss a tackle against ATL that became a 62-yard Michael Turner run. We saw three blown assignments/tackles lead to TDs in the first Giants game, and then there was the debacle in Buffalo.

    So although folks like to write off the final four games, it seems that later in the season, people were in the right places a lot more often. When they were and they just didn’t do anything (Seattle) we got beat. There weren’t too many times last year where I went “they caught us in the wrong look” or “Man we are playing our guys out of position” (except with regard to the slot).

    I think the incremental improvements of this offseason will have a major effect. Guys who finish tackles. Guys knowing where they are supposed to be. Having a leader to follow. Having specialists who do what they do and not much else. I’m not saying Castillo is Dick LeBeau but he can draw up something simple that works if the players execute it. And we have the talent. So it’s all on them, except this time around, “them” is much better and should be better prepared.

    LOL @ missed-tackle terrorist.

    Seriously if you never mention Page again I’ll be fine with that.