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Video On Saleh's defensive scheme


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14 minutes ago, THE BARON said:

You mean like the 1998 Jets defense ??? A 43 defense ??? Parcells ran a 43 with the Jets that year because he didn't have the NT or LB's to run the 34.  LB's were Mo Lewis, Pepper Johnson and Bryan Cox.  That makes three... Not four. 

 

 

That sounds true and probably holds for '97 too, But I still don't thing that being a system D guy is an impediment until such time as the implementer shows that he's a hack and a lunk-head

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5 hours ago, THE BARON said:

I'm sensing a little danger here.  I love the idea of a base 4-2-5 defense for "today's NFL", but I'm starting to get the idea that Saleh is a "devotee" of a specific system.  I've had quite enough of that with Gase.  I *hope* Saleh is not another cement-head out to jam square pegs into round holes in search of past glory. 

Rex's defense was formidable due to his ability to assess the moment and adjust for the moment at the moment.  What he called his base defense was not all that important.   There was also tremendous flexibility in all three levels of his defense.

I had reservations about a coach that publicly announces "extreme violence" on his wristband, but now I'm really concerned to see that Saleh  was hell bent on recreating" a particular system. 

That's bad news.  

I'm not sure Saleh is totally committed to the Seattle style of defense.  The foundation of the defense may be what he ran in Seattle, but he has made changes and continues to make changes.  Over the years in SF, his defense changed according to their personnel and what worked for them.  This came from a write-up from pff in 2019: "One of the biggest changes has been going from running cover-3 almost on over half their snaps last year to only around a third this season."  Here is an article that talks about the changes over three years in SF: https://www.si.com/nfl/49ers/news/how-the-49ers-defense-will-change-in-2020

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Robert Saleh will unveil a new version of the 49ers defense this fall.

What will it look like?

Before I tell you, let me quickly take you through the history of his 49ers deenses, starting with Version 1.0.

Version 1.0

This was the 49ers defense in 2017 and 2018, and it was classic Pete Carroll -- stuff the Seahawks did in 2011 when Saleh was one of their defensive quality control coaches. It featured five defensive players on the line of scrimmage to stop the run, and Cover 3 to stop the pass -- zone coverage. This defensive approach worked well 10 years ago, but it’s predictable and NFL offenses figured out how to beat it. So from 2017 to 2018, the 49ers defended the run well, but opposing quarterbacks shredded them.

That’s why Saleh unveiled Version 2.0 in 2019.

Version 2.0

In 2019, Saleh hired defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, who installed a Wide 9 defensive front -- meaning four men on the line instead of five. This Wide 9 enhanced the 49ers pass rush and weakened the run defense -- a smart tradeoff in the modern NFL, which is a passing league.

Saleh also hired defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who varied and disguised the 49ers’ coverages. Instead of using Cover 3 every play, sometimes to keep teams guessing they used Cover 4, meaning four deep defenders and three underneath ones.

These changes made the 49ers defense the second best in the NFL. But the defense fell apart during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl -- gave up 21 points. Wasn’t good enough to hold down the Chiefs offense for an entire game. And the 49ers lost.

So Saleh changed his defense again this offseason.

Version 3.0

Woods did such a good job with the 49ers in 2019, the Browns hired him this offseason to be their defensive coordinator. So Saleh needed a new defensive backs coach.

Most analysts expected Saleh to hire Kris Richard, who was the Seahawks cornerbacks coach when Saleh was their defensive quality control coach. Richard is a zone-coverage specialist who spent the past two seasons with the Cowboys.

Saleh didn’t hire him. Instead, Saleh hired Tony Oden, a man-to-man coverage specialist who coached the Lions defensive backs from 2014 to 2017, and the Dolphins defensive backs from 2018 to 2019.

This is Version 3.0 of Saleh’s defense.

Saleh knows a defense can’t play purely zone coverage and win a Super Bowl anymore. Those days are over. Offenses are too sophisticated -- the best quarterbacks carve up zone coverage. See: Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees.

A great defense must play man-to-man and zone coverage.

The only team that has beaten the Chiefs in the playoffs since Mahomes became their quarterback was the Patriots in 2018. That season, their linebackers coach was Brian Flores, who became the Dolphins head coach in 2019. He and Oden worked together for a year.

The Patriots primarily are a man-to-man coverage defense -- they have a different philosophy than Saleh. Bill Belichick wants to take away the opponent’s best weapon. Saleh wants to take away big plays.

When the Patriots beat the Chiefs in the playoffs, Belichick double covered Tyreek Hill -- took him out of the game. He finished with one catch.

When the 49ers played the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, the 49ers didn’t double Hill. Instead, they played their typical zone coverages, and gave up a 44-yard catch to Hill on third-and-15, which changed the entire complexion of the game.

Oden probably would have doubled Hill on that play, and for most of the night.

Oden should improve the 49ers’ ability to play man-to-man coverage, which is exactly what they need. He helped develop Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, who intercepted seven passes in 2018, and helped develop cornerback Darius Slay, who intercepted eight passes in 2017.

Maybe Oden can develop Ahkello Witherspoon, who is the 49ers’ best man-to-man corner. He struggles playing zone, so more man coverage would benefit him. But it wouldn’t benefit Richard Sherman, because he struggles playing man to man. Meaning Sherman might play less in 2020 than he did in 2019.

Version 3.0 could look quite different than the previous one.

 

Tony Oden followed Saleh over to the Jets and is their current cornerbacks coach.  Jeff Ulbrich's defenses have also played less zone (around league average) when he was in Atlanta.  "I’m not going to be handling play calling duties on defense, got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that" - Saleh. Saleh's strategy has been to change the defense to do what works. 

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1 minute ago, nyjbuddy said:

I'm not sure Saleh is totally committed to the Seattle style of defense.  The foundation of the defense may be what he ran in Seattle, but he has made changes and continues to make changes.  Over the years in SF, his defense changed according to their personnel and what worked for them.  This came from a write-up from pff in 2019: "One of the biggest changes has been going from running cover-3 almost on over half their snaps last year to only around a third this season."  Here is an article that talks about the changes over three years in SF: https://www.si.com/nfl/49ers/news/how-the-49ers-defense-will-change-in-2020

Tony Oden followed Saleh over to the Jets and is their current cornerbacks coach.  Jeff Ulbrich's defenses have also played less zone (around league average) when he was in Atlanta.  "I’m not going to be handling play calling duties on defense, got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that" - Saleh. Saleh's strategy has been to change the defense to do what works. 

If he's all about adjusting, my concern is unfounded. 

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2 hours ago, THE BARON said:

You mean like the 1998 Jets defense ??? A 43 defense ??? Parcells ran a 43 with the Jets that year because he didn't have the NT or LB's to run the 34.  LB's were Mo Lewis, Pepper Johnson and Bryan Cox.  That makes three... Not four. 

 

 

Eh.  Marvin Jones blew out his knee in the bubble in August and missed the season.  Pretty sure that Cascadden and the other three started in that abomination in Denver.  Dwayne Gordon, Farrior and Cascadden all got starts and plenty of run that season.  Parcells refusing to alter for his personnel can be seen by his sending Hugh Douglas to the Eagles for nothing. 

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It's a nice explanation, but kind of hard to believe it is any verification of greatness when it spends 75% of the time discussing a 14 yard run by Peyton Barber, an easy 25 yard pitch and catch to Odell Beckham Jr. who lets it bounce off his hands and a 5 yard pass to Cooper Kupp on 1st down from the 10 yard line.  

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6 hours ago, THE BARON said:

You mean like the 1998 Jets defense ??? A 43 defense ??? Parcells ran a 43 with the Jets that year because he didn't have the NT or LB's to run the 34.  LB's were Mo Lewis, Pepper Johnson and Bryan Cox.  That makes three... Not four. 

 

 

But the Jets have the players to play in this scheme bc they acquired them in FA and the draft. I'm not really sure what your point is here. You keep dating the Jets are trying to put square pegs in round holes and the entire off-season they've acquired players to make sure that doesn't happen. How is that a bad thing? They've literally done the opposite of what you're complaining about. 

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2 hours ago, #27TheDominator said:

It's a nice explanation, but kind of hard to believe it is any verification of greatness when it spends 75% of the time discussing a 14 yard run by Peyton Barber, an easy 25 yard pitch and catch to Odell Beckham Jr. who lets it bounce off his hands and a 5 yard pass to Cooper Kupp on 1st down from the 10 yard line.  

I'm pretty sure you missed the entire point of the video

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5 hours ago, nyjbuddy said:

I'm not sure Saleh is totally committed to the Seattle style of defense.  The foundation of the defense may be what he ran in Seattle, but he has made changes and continues to make changes.  Over the years in SF, his defense changed according to their personnel and what worked for them.  This came from a write-up from pff in 2019: "One of the biggest changes has been going from running cover-3 almost on over half their snaps last year to only around a third this season."  Here is an article that talks about the changes over three years in SF: https://www.si.com/nfl/49ers/news/how-the-49ers-defense-will-change-in-2020

Tony Oden followed Saleh over to the Jets and is their current cornerbacks coach.  Jeff Ulbrich's defenses have also played less zone (around league average) when he was in Atlanta.  "I’m not going to be handling play calling duties on defense, got the utmost respect and confidence in Jeff Ulbrich to be able to do that" - Saleh. Saleh's strategy has been to change the defense to do what works. 

2 further observations:

1) Saleh said "Without getting into full specifics on how we evaluate corners and the tangibles that we look for, I will say that with any player, when it gets down to third down, two minute, those corners who can win in those one-on-one situations are at the front of, I think, every team in this league," Saleh said in a Zoom call with reporters on earlier this week. "The major parameter, obviously, is can you win your one-on-ones?“

2) Ulbrich changed the Falcons from a cover 3 team to a quarters coverage/ zone match team last year. 

Basically I think CBs matter more than some fans think they do and outside man coverage is the eventual end for the team. 

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16 hours ago, choon328 said:

It is a huge IF, but the Jets plan on taking all of their best assets and utilizing them. If you go through all 6 of their scouting reports you will see that all of what they do well match what they're going to be asked to do in this defense. That is already setting them up for success. It's just a matter of coaching them up and developing them. 

Implementing this defensive scheme and asking rookies to contribute in it will take some time IMO.  It could be at least two seasons before this thing starts to look very good.  Not only does the system require some pretty fast and athletic run-and-hit type guys, but it really only succeeds if there's quick and accurate play diagnosis, decision-making, and communication... especially in the secondary.  Let me point to a very specific example...

We saw in the Super Bowl just how badly poor recognition and a lapse in communication/understanding can unravel things when Tyreek Hill got loose deep in that 49ers secondary on that WASP route.  It was a 3rd and 15 play that went for 44 yards.  Hill found a vacated spot deep down field because the 49ers CB misdiagnosed and bit on another route.  Mahomes dropped a ball into Hill's lap with multiple 49ers basically looking around at each other.  It changed the whole game.  It's honestly the perfect example of what can go wrong in zone coverage.  In man coverage there's less of a chance that those things happen because guys are essentially marked and defenders aren't handing off WRs to each other or determining who will cover who after the play has already started.

It will be fun to watch this defense grow and evolve but I'm keeping my expectations in check.  This isn't something that gets taught and learned overnight.  There's also a good chance that some of the guys we expect to flourish in this scheme may not.  There's a reason Richard Sherman excelled in this scheme.... he's one of the smartest players in the entire league.

From what I've seen it's starting to become pretty clear to me that one of the most critical guys to the success of this defense will be CJ Mosley.  Can he be Saleh's new Fred Warner?

For those interested in a deep dive on the play and the coverage that I mentioned above from the Super Bowl check out the video below.  It's worth the 10 minutes...

 

 

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11 hours ago, choon328 said:

But the Jets have the players to play in this scheme bc they acquired them in FA and the draft. I'm not really sure what your point is here. You keep dating the Jets are trying to put square pegs in round holes and the entire off-season they've acquired players to make sure that doesn't happen. How is that a bad thing? They've literally done the opposite of what you're complaining about. 

Let me try to explain once again.  Saleh seems to have a system that he's glued to.  He was hot to emulate the Seattle defense.  For me, that is a red flag.  An elite mind never approaches the same complex task the same way with a different group of people at a different time.  Beyond that, the band wagon always winds up finishing last with the accumulated weight of all the new riders.  

Every year is a new year.  Every new group of players has a new dynamic.  Hundreds of moving parts.  I don't like "system" guys...  

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Every coach has a system and the good ones adapt.  We are asking a lot form this CS and players... everything is new.  let me repeat that, everything is new.  Now is there enough Vet presents in CJ and davis (I think)... to make the system work?  Maybe, but I am thinking it will take some time to get everyone on the same page and playing with "trust."  

I am with J23... what I like to see (said like) and i think we will at some point, is players that are smart enough to play the scheme without major mistakes.  If the line can not generate the PR that the CS expects, then there will be growing pains esp on the back end.  

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On 5/11/2021 at 11:20 AM, choon328 said:

You don't hire a defensive HC for him to run a different system. He runs a 4-3 under base defense but utilizes Safety type players as the 3rd LB. Off of that he runs many variations of zone coverages. Rex tried to confuse QBs and offenses with blitzes, Saleh does it with coverages. Same philosophy, different strategy. 

As far as the "square peg in round hole" comment there's a reason they signed Davis, Lawson, Curry and Rankins. All of them are round pegs to fit round holes on the defense. It's the same reason they drafted 6 defensive players all of whom are a fit for the his base system. The Jets are turning over the depth of the roster to fit his system. The only potential starter on defense that I'm not sure fits this system is Moseley bc I'm not sure after 2 years away he's going to be quick enough to play the Bobby Wagner/Fred Warner role. Davis is a much better fit in the middle of this defense in my opinion. 

Also, after the 2018 season Saleh adopted the wide 9 scheme and made his coverage schemes more versatile and less predictable. That following 2019 season they went to the SB. He's already proven he can adapt his defense. 

yeah but it took him 2 years of being awful to figure it out.

That's not exactly lightening fast adaption.  There's clearly reason to be concerned here.  Not saying he'll be bad but it's reasonable to have concerns about his ability to adapt.

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5 hours ago, SOJ said:

Every coach has a system and the good ones adapt.  We are asking a lot form this CS and players... everything is new.  let me repeat that, everything is new.  Now is there enough Vet presents in CJ and davis (I think)... to make the system work?  Maybe, but I am thinking it will take some time to get everyone on the same page and playing with "trust."  

I am with J23... what I like to see (said like) and i think we will at some point, is players that are smart enough to play the scheme without major mistakes.  If the line can not generate the PR that the CS expects, then there will be growing pains esp on the back end.  

We may have to hold our noses for a season watching this defense get up to speed.  It could be ugly, and knowing the NY media and our fanbase I wouldn't be shocked if we're hearing crap like, "I thought this Saleh guy knew defense!" and "This is worse than it was under Gregg Williams," etc.  But we need to be as patient for the D as we do with the offense and a rookie QB.  It won't be easy and I'll be the first to say that is sucks to once again be saying that we're rebuilding and we need to patient.... but we do.  I trust Saleh most as a culture builder and a leader.  Those will be the qualities that help him build this team.  But this won't be a quick fix.  We're looking at new schemes on both sides of the ball, a rookie QB, and the D will be reverting back to a 4-3 type scheme for the first time in many years.  What we're about to see in this Wide 9 defense with a lot of Cover-3 and zone coverage is totally different than what fans have been digesting for a decade.  I think the video posted in the OP should almost be required viewing for any Jets fan before they start b!tching about what they see on defense, especially for the first 8 games or so.

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23 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

Rex had his resources in the backend of the defense, excellent players like Revis and Cromartie, he had Kerry Rhodes during that 2009 run.  But upfront Rex "manufactured" his pass rush with schemes, overload blitzes and tricks.

But yet all he wanted in the first round of the draft every year was a DT. Revis and Rhodes were on the team before Rex so he probably would have pick a DT over Revis if he was the coach in that draft. Then he did the worst thing ever and replaced Kerry Rhodes with Eric Smith...the worst FS ever. A half-ass scheme I would say.

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5 minutes ago, STLuLu said:

But yet all he wanted in the first round of the draft every year was a DT. Revis and Rhodes were on the team before Rex so he probably would have pick a DT over Revis if he was the coach in that draft. Then he did the worst thing ever and replaced Kerry Rhodes with Eric Smith...the worst FS ever. A half-ass scheme I would say.

The scheme worked for a while.  His overload blitzes were a thing of beauty at times but they only worked if the opponent's WRs were locked down.  It's crazy but Rex Ryan stifling and beating both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in CONSECUTIVE WEEKS and both ON THE ROAD and in the PLAYOFFS is one of the most incredible runs ever.  The two best QBs of the past 25 years and Rex beat them both in playoff games....before coming out flat vs. Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship.

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On 5/11/2021 at 10:16 AM, choon328 said:

They will never draft a CB high to play in a zone scheme. It's a terrible allocation of resources for this scheme. The highest drafted CB's for the Seahawks since 2011 was a 3rd pick in 2017, 1 4th and 2 5th rd picks.

I use them as the example bc that is the basis of Saleh’s defensive philosophy. Since 2011 the Seahawks have averaged 8th in Points Allowed and 10th in Yards Allowed. All of that success without drafting a CB higher than the 3rd round. 

I think what you'll see next year is a replacement for Moseley and another pass rusher taken in the either the 1st or 2nd round. This two positions are much more vital and valued to this defense than CB.

I don't know that CJs contract even let's them walk away after the season.

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2 hours ago, Maxman said:

I don't know that CJs contract even let's them walk away after the season.

Pre June 1st Cut: $12.5 million dead money,  $5 million savings. 

Post June 1st cut $9.5 Dead Money,  $8 million savings

If he plays like a Pro Bowler they'd keep him if he's average they'd likely cut him using a June 1st designation instead of paying a $17.5 million cap hit. 

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@choon328 Good vid man, very informative and I appreciate real football talk, so thanks for that.

 We have no idea what to expect from this team this year or these coaches or their scheme as everything has been totally turned over. One can only hope that the coaches are good teachers and they are adaptable in game. 

The reason the Patriots were so successful for the last two decades is because they were a different team week-to-week and adapted to the situation.

Like others have said there's going to be a learning curve and it takes time to gel so I'm not getting overly hyped. Just trying to stay poised and not expect too much.

Who knows we could come out firing rockets and bombs and lighting it up! As long as we're not the Keystone Cops of old.

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On 5/13/2021 at 12:42 AM, jetstream23 said:

The scheme worked for a while.  His overload blitzes were a thing of beauty at times but they only worked if the opponent's WRs were locked down.  It's crazy but Rex Ryan stifling and beating both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in CONSECUTIVE WEEKS and both ON THE ROAD and in the PLAYOFFS is one of the most incredible runs ever.  The two best QBs of the past 25 years and Rex beat them both in playoff games....before coming out flat vs. Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship.

I agree. I could even argue those two wins were more impressive than Namath's Super Bowl win. That's what made Rex's coaching scheme half ass because PIT was the lesser team than IND and NE. The 1980 USA hockey team had the balls to say no way in hell were they losing to Finland after beating the Soviet Union. Rex beat the Soviets in Foxborough but then wet the bed in Pittsburgh dispite winning there earlier in the season. The Jets held GB to 10 points, I believe, in a game that season so who knows how that Super Bowl would have turned out. 

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