Frank Bush earned my respect. as jake postedhere, it is believed that ourhouston texanswill run an aggressive 4-3 under D. In my opinion, this is the best defense for our current crowd to not only improve, but succeed and constantly generate turnovers and quick passes. When you look at the defense, it makes our defensive holes obvious, but it also clears up some offseason plays.
First, what are the advantages of 4-3 Under? First, it allows you to put your star players in position to make plays. He produces a lot of one-on-one pass rush matchups by lineup and uses his DE and SAM as his main contention. You can run layer 1, very easily, with your over the top security, with relatively simple reads. Your FS can go to any slot receiver and you don't have to make drastic changes. This defense favors parrying bouncers, as they should be able to play the alley in the event someone breaks containment. Our corners will see a lot of 1v1 matchups playing back and forth. If they maintain good inside leverage, they will always have help from above and should be able to attack bad shots forced by the fast pass. MLB manages to force runs, play 2 spaces, and crush FB at the point of offense. Your WLB should be your fastest LB, being able to avoid most attackers since the 3 attackers in front of you have a defensive lineman.
This is a typical 4-3 below lined up against a typical I formation. As we talk more about the scheme in more detail, we'll also look at the type of players needed to facilitate a good D.
4-3 Under is essentially running from the weak side of the defensive line to the strong side and dropping your SAM LB on the TE. It's primarily a run-stopping defense, with the added benefit of being (in my opinion) the best 4-3 defense for attacking the passer. In the diagram above, you see that the RDE and 3-tech tackle are on the weak side. NT is lined up in the 1 slot to the strong side, with LDE in the 5 slot and SAM on the outside edge of the TE, called the 9 technique. You have backup Mike playing the 3 gap strong side and WLB on the rear 1.
Usually the top 2 players in your 4-3 down should be your weak DE and your SAM linebacker. Conveniently, we have Mario Williams as our uncovered DE and recently selected Brian Cushing to play SAM. The DE uncovered in the 4-3 below should be an absolute beast, capable of taking advantage of 1v1 matchups in all passing situations, while also being mostly contained in outside runs to the weakside. We have a DE who had double-digit sacks while he was on a triple team; he now he will see a lot of 1v1 unless teams are willing to run 2 TE sets all the time. It makes me very happy.
The main reason why more teams don't have a 4-3 Under is the difficulty of finding a good enough player to play SAM. He needs to be big, strong, fast and able to cover or tackle the passer at any time. He lines up on the outside edge of TE at all times and harasses him off the line, never allowing a free throw, coming close in the lanes because he has his safety on top. He also handles one-on-one matchups on the outside to get through fast. I'll take Brian Cushing against Dallas Clark, Bo Scaife or Marcedes Lewis on any weak day. He also needs to be a big defender of the run because he CANNOT be reached, or there is a big race track on the strong side.
When you have two great running backs on the outside like that, you force the defense to decide whether to sign Mario or Cushing with a RB, making Mario 1 on 1 with a tackle or Cushing 1 on 1 with a TE. Either way, it's a win for the Texans.
Within the SAM, you should have a powerful stop-execution LDE. Not coincidentally, we acquired Antonio Smith, awesome certified stop in DE. He needs to be able to always play the strong side of the offensive tackle and not get hit or knocked out by the strong side, which is uncovered. He will take many individual blocks of RT, or three blocks of T and TE, with FB trying to pour SAM to open up the inside run. The addition of Antonio Smith absolutely solidifies that position, frees up Cushing to wreak havoc, and makes running to the strong side an undesirable option.
His weak side, the manager, needs to be an excellent pass-rusher. Being positioned in the 3-gap backside with a wide-out DE makes it very difficult for the offense to double down. A center guard duo would require the guard to cross face and leave technique 1 in an open space, while a guard duo would leave Mario Williams free. Both unfavorable. We have Amobi Okoye occupying the technique point 3 in our D. A fast pass rusher, Amobi's talents were completely wasted on a read and react defense. In this scheme, Amobi will not only be allowed, but he'll have to beat the back guard one-on-one to attack the passer and break up running plays. Another great tweak.
Technique 1 is vital to the success of this defense. Turns out we don't have any fully qualified 1-tech DTs. In this scheme, DT's strong full-back needs to be very big and powerful, capable of supporting constant doubles, as he is essentially occupying central defense and the strong wing to leave the rest free. Have you ever heard of someone like that on the blue jeans list? Nor I. I think the trainer's solution is to drop as many new bodies as possible in that spot. A 3-4 play rotation of TJ, Deljuan and Okam might be the best solution, since we don't have top-tier talent to fill that space. It will be interesting to see how this is handled this season, but as of now it is the main weakness on our front 7.
Going back to the Linebackers (SAM doesn't really count since he plays the line most of the time), we have our Middle Linebacker and Weakside Linebacker. MLB mostly lines up 3-4 yards deep over technique on the 3 side of the game, and your job is to throw that guard and make plays, smash FB isos, and scrape the top of the game if he's out. In cover one, you will usually be armed with the first one back on the TE side. DeMeco Ryans at this position is excellent as he allows him to attack the line of scrimmage on run plays. Your first step is always downhill, looking to blow someone up. If the back he's supposed to cover stays on the block, he has the option to blitz or position himself in a small half-hook zone, to help prevent drags, leans, and spins.
Your weakside linebacker at 4-3 under should be your best and fastest coverage linebacker, as he's protected by the defensive lineman in front of him and therefore should be able to get anywhere on the field very quickly. He has control of the backside gap A (1) and will shoot on the inside runs or sweep the outside runs. If the game is on his side, he is also the main target on the outside. In coverage situations, he usually plays short middle and helps where he needs to be. Adibi, because of his speed and coverage ability, he is a great WLB for the 4-3 Under. He will be allowed to make more plays because the striker will harass him significantly less.
The secondary in 4-3 Under isgenerallyVery simple. Coverage is almost always Coverage 1 or Coverage 3, where Coverage 1 means the man under, except WLB and strongside safety, and Coverage 3 is the deep thirds zone, divided between the CBs and the wideside. security fort. Safeties in this defense often need to be able to adapt very well to changing situations, and having safeties who can play the run and provide solid zone coverage is invaluable. I have doubts about our rebounders' ability to provide consistent quality on top support or be comfortable playing solo in the middle third, but time will tell. One thing to keep in mind is that bouncers often play on the sides of the field and freely switch responsibilities. However, I personally think it would be beneficial for us to keep Eugene Wilson at the top and put either Barber or Ferguson in the box. Again, we'll see.
Corner play also tends to be simplified in 4-3 Under. It tends to have single reads and base D tends to be Cover 1, Cover 3, or Cover 2 man under. Men's coverage schemes tend to be preferred to take advantage of the pass rush. I feel like Reeves and Bennett would do well in a mostly male setup, especially if the rush pass does the job.
Well folks, this is your introduction to 4-3 Under. If time permits, I'll be looking at some specific formations and how the 4-3 Under react to different formations in the coming weeks. All you defensive gurus please read and comment properly.