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View Full Version : Clearing things up regarding Mike Nolan's 3-4 scheme in regards to our 2009 defense


montrose
01-26-2009, 09:07 AM
I've noticed in more than a few threads that in discussing the move to the 3-4 next year, many are using the Ravens as a comparison. The present Ravens defense is a really bad comparison as to what our 3-4 might look like. They currently run one of the most unconventional fronts in league history with exotic zone blitzing. In contrast, Mike Nolan's 3-4 is actually a bit of a hybrid 4-3. I've studied much of Nolan's defense in Baltimore, a little bit in Washington and a bit in San Francisco (although Singletary was coordinating that unit). I wanted to help clarify a few things as regards to positions, alignments and personnel.

Nolan likes true 3-4 DL than can keep OL off of the LBs. His DE's are usually in 4 techniques (head up on the OT) and his NT's are usually head up on the C. This is because Nolan's not a huge fan of DL shading and prefers to allow the success and failure of the defense to come down to those guys ability to maintain their gaps and let the LBs flow. Shading can help a defense "cheat" to one side but it creates better blocking and double teaming angles for OL which allows blockers to get up on the LBs and at the point, the 3-4 is ****ed.

Nolan's not a guy who comes up with crazy blitzes every play, he'd mix things up from time-to-time and bring the occasional safety blitz or outside fire but he's not Rex Ryan. In fact, most of his pressure on the QB is expected to be brought by the WOLB. Nolan's WOLB (Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs) would play in a 7-technique to the outside of the weakside tackle or tight end. He'd occasionally put his hand on the ground but would often serve as a stand up defensive end. He was rarely put into pass coverage and when he was, it was usually a soft, underneath zone. The SOLB (Adalius Thomas) needed to be extremely versatile as he was asked to play in a lot of space, jam and defend tight ends, contain the outside run and occasionally blitz. He is also moved around to several different areas including a 9 technique (outside the TE or strongside OT) and a 7 technique (inside eye of the strongside OT or TE). I personally believe the SOLB is the most important of the 4 LBs in Nolan's scheme. The SILB (Edgerton Hartwell) is what one might call the "thumper" or "train wreck" as his responsibilities are largely to blow up lead blockers and to be a very sound tackler without much room for acceleration. Hartwell excelled at this and was a major part of the Ravens defensive unit. Nolan occasionally stacked the SILB over a DE or stood him up in a gap opened by a shading NT or DE, but was usually aligned behind the NT off the inside eye of the strongside guard in the A gap. The WILB (Ray Lewis) had several different alignments, but Nolan's favorite was stacking him behind a DE with a slight shade to the strong-side in the B gap. He'd occasionally align head up over the weakside guard, stacked off the NT slightly shading the A gap or even directly stacked over the NT. However, the WILB was most often shaded to the strong-side in the B gap stacked off a DE. This gave him great angles to explode for tackles and allowed him to be versatile in pass-coverage. The WILB has many opportunities for interceptions and pass-defenses in Nolan's scheme and is also the most active tackler on the field.

I've included an illustration below of Nolan's most-often used 3-4 alignment. Keep in mind that in obvious passing situations, the SILB would leave the field for a nickelback and in long passing situations the SOLB would also come off in favor of a dimeback. Nolan rarely played with a 4th DL except in goal-line defenses, choosing rather to put the S in the box (Ed Reed) and to walk-up the SOLB and SILB into their gaps. He'd also sneak in DT's in place of DE's on occasion in short-yardage situations. Many of those elements will depend on our personnel.

I looked through some of our personnel to try and see who could fit some of these rolls based on my time watching Nolan's defense in Baltimore.

DE (Marques Douglas and Anthony Weaver): Right now Marcus Thomas would probably be best fit to play one of these positions. He'd have to learn to make better use of his arms as he'd be a bit undersized (frame-wise) as a 3-4 DE in most schemes although his frame measures up favorably with Weaver and Douglas. If Kenny Peterson were resigned, I believe he could learn to play the position, however it would also require a lot of work and considering he's a FA - I'd expect the F.O. to rather go with someone familiar with the scheme.

NT (Kelly Gregg and Ma'ake Kemoeatu): We don't have a true NT on our roster right now. Thomas could beef up to be a very solid #2 NT which is very important in this defense as the #1 NT wears down and is often replaced on passing downs. At this point, we're looking at needing at least 2 NTs to be brought in.

WOLB (Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs) - There are a few guys who could fit this position. Elvis Dumervil has the natural pass-rush abilities to fit Nolan's scheme, but it's been shown that he wears down easily when attacked in the running game and we have no idea how he'd play in space - albeit limited. His success would be very dependent upon the DE play to his side. Jarvis Moss could be another candidate but again, we don't know how he'd play in space and with him, it's still unknown if he has the explosiveness off the edge to put pressure on the QB. One guy I think could play the position very well is Wesley Woodyard. He's just raw enough to be taught the position and while he'd need to be developed on the pass-rush side of the role, his athleticism and instincts could make him a nice fit. I could see Woodyard playing the position on 1st and 2nd downs to be replaced by Dumervil on passing downs as a possiblity too.

WILB (Ray Lewis) - DJ Williams best fits this position and it's where I expect to see him play. DJ takes great angles and should love playing the position if the Broncos can find a NT to keep blockers off of him. DJ's greatest weaknesses are fighting off blockers and blitzing - two things that Nolan's defense should help protect him in quite a bit. DJ's skills are angles, tackling and zone coverage - skill sets necessary to succeed in this position. Woodyard could also play this position with some increased size but I'd expect DJ to play this role very well.

SILB (Edgerton Hartwell) - Right now I'd say Spencer Larsen would be the most natural to fill this role although I'm a bit concerned about his size. I think Woodyard could transfer into the role but it would take a lot of time and strength work. Not to mention taking him out of what he does well, playing in space. Like DJ, a successful DL (in this case DE) would allow Larsen to play well. Larsen is a very sound tackler and doesn't need a ton of space to bring ball carriers down. I'd still expect this to be a spot looked at heavily in the offseason but I consider the DL spots far more critical at this juncture.

SOLB (Adalius Thomas and Jarrett Johnson) - This is such an important position. Honestly, Boss Bailey is likely the best fit to play this spot right now as he carries many of the traits necessary (TE coverage and jamming, outside contain, occasional blitzing). However with his injury history, I think it's unrealistic to count on him at all. This is another spot (surprise!) that I think Woodyard could play although it would necessitate major strength building and a lot of work on outside containment. I actually think Moss translates a bit to the position as he's underrated at keeping contain and holding up against the point of attack - however we have no clue how he would be in coverage and it's not very reasonable to ask a career DE to step in and handle all that this position demands without a lot of help. Tim Crowder has the measurables to fit here as well, but I haven't seen enough of him to know if he could do all this position requires.

It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months but I wanted to clarify that Nolan's 3-4 unit is much different than Ryan's, LeBeau's and Collier's - all of which I've seen referenced often. Thanks guys.

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/1850/25405800fv1.png

SoDak Bronco
01-26-2009, 09:19 AM
Thanks for sharing. It sounds like we are in need of quite a bit especially since we don't have a quality safety either. We are really missing quite a few pieces to this puzzle, and this thing won't be fixed in one season.

How does Nolan's style compare to how Bellicheck and the Pats run their D. I expect McDaniels to bring some of the Pat's style since he coached with the Def as well.

Eli_Cash
01-26-2009, 09:21 AM
well done sir

JCMElway
01-26-2009, 09:21 AM
Fabulous post. Great breakdown of information.

MagicHef
01-26-2009, 09:24 AM
How does Nunnely's DL style mesh with Nolan's?

Mediator12
01-26-2009, 09:39 AM
I think this is just a great place to start the discussion. Thank you for taking the time and effort to do such a wonderful breakdown. I am truly impressed with all that went into making that happen. I do not have the time right now to get into some of this, but at least it will give some people here an ideal 3-4 that Nolan would like to run if he can acquire the right personnel before the season.

Keep up the great work montrose!

HILife
01-26-2009, 09:39 AM
Great Post! Lots of information. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like Nolan doesn't put together complex schmes and realizes mostly on the talent of his players to get the job done, kind of simlar to what Jim Bates does. Is that not the defination of Vanilla?

montrose
01-26-2009, 09:45 AM
Thanks for sharing. It sounds like we are in need of quite a bit especially since we don't have a quality safety either. We are really missing quite a few pieces to this puzzle, and this thing won't be fixed in one season.

How does Nolan's style compare to how Bellicheck and the Pats run their D. I expect McDaniels to bring some of the Pat's style since he coached with the Def as well.

It's going to take time to make the conversion, although I think Nolan's scheme will take less time than the more exotic philosophies of LeBeau, Ryan, Collier, etc.

Per New England, I haven't seen a ton of their defense so I feel a little on-edge comparing them. I just don't have experience breaking down their system. From the bit I've seen their appear to be some similarities, particularly on the DL (although Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Richard Seymour are far more talented than any of Nolan's previous DLs) as well as the SOLB spot which isn't surprising since it's Adalius Thomas. I think there are some synergies in terms of role but not necessarily alignment. Again, I haven't seen much of New England's defense beyond a few nationally televised games so its unfair me to give a complete breakdown whereas I saw nearly every game of Nolan's time as a DC in Baltimore (many of which I was at in-person while I lived in Charm City).

How does Nunnely's DL style mesh with Nolan's?

Again, I don't think I've seen enough of San Diego to make a direct statement although from what I've seen of Luis Castillo, Igor Olshansky and Jamal Williams - they've been coached to penetrate a bit more than Nolan's DL have - however those guys are more talented than anyone Nolan's ever had to work with so I imagine that with that kind of talent he'd love for his DL to blow up plays every now and then so long as they're not doing it at the expense of letting LBs get blocked. Nunnely's been around for a while, I'm sure he'll coach those guys to play as Nolan wants them to fundamentally.

socalorado
01-26-2009, 09:51 AM
Nice post, montrose. All of your info on the positons in regards to Nolan are excellent.
However, your comparing DEN players to BALTs makes me want to throw up.
CLEARLY LARSEN is the only LB DEN has that can play in this system. DJ at WILB is a complete joke, and Woodyard just isnt big enough to play inside either. Moss, dumervil and Boss(sighs in disgust) are total question marks and have underpreformed in a very simple base 4-3. Lets all just face facts, DEN doesnt have the personel right now. But hopefully they will in the near future, and then Montrose can fit those players into his 3-4 explanation, which was brilliant! Again, great breakdown of the positions, Montrose. Nice job.

montrose
01-26-2009, 10:02 AM
Great Post! Lots of information. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like Nolan doesn't put together complex schmes and realizes mostly on the talent of his players to get the job done, kind of simlar to what Jim Bates does. Is that not the defination of Vanilla?

I wouldn't call Nolan vanilla in terms of Bates or Slowik. He's just not as exotic with his alignments as Ryan and his blitzes as LeBeau. Nolan will bring different types of pressure and my guess is that with his limitations in personnel, he'll have to. I'm sure the guys will be well versed in several different blitzes, Nolan is just more frugal in when he brings them. However when the game is on the line, he won't hesitate to bring pressure in unique ways. With that, Nolan's scheme is at its best throughout a game when (in pass defense) a great pass-rush from the WOLB results in a sack or forces the QB to step up into a collapsing pocket forced by the DL. This isn't to say Nolan will exclusively rush 4, he will bring heat from the other LBs, S and CBs on occasion - just don't be expecting some the crazy stuff you see from Rex Ryan and Dick LeBeau.

Nice post, montrose. All of your info on the positons in regards to Nolan are excellent.
However, your comparing DEN players to BALTs makes me want to throw up.
CLEARLY LARSEN is the only LB DEN has that can play in this system. DJ at WILB is a complete joke, and Woodyard just isnt big enough to play inside either. Moss, dumervil and Boss(sighs in disgust) are total question marks and have underpreformed in a very simple base 4-3. Lets all just face facts, DEN doesnt have the personel right now. But hopefully they will in the near future, and then Montrose can fit those players into his 3-4 explanation, which was brilliant! Again, great breakdown of the positions, Montrose. Nice job.

I don't even know if Larsen would fit into this scheme. I was simply trying to find where some of our current personnel would have to be slotted in because - it's just unrealistic to think we're going to be able turn over in entirely new front 7 in one offseason. I disagree with you that I think DJ can play very at WILB in Nolan's scheme if he's got a solid DL in front of him. DJ wasn't a true MLB in the 4-3, but Nolan's WILB in the 3-4 is actually quite similar to a 4-3 WLB. There are certainly differences, but it's one of the more natural transitions from last year's Slowik defense to this year's Nolan unit. Again, I totally agree that Denver doesn't have all of the right personnel right now - but they're likely going to have to make do with some used parts until they can complete the transformation by 2010 hopefully.

SportinOne
01-26-2009, 10:13 AM
http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/1850/25405800fv1.png

3 DL, 4 LB. So THAT'S what they mean by 3-4!!! And all this time....


Just kidding, good work.

socalorado
01-26-2009, 10:13 AM
I wouldn't call Nolan vanilla in terms of Bates or Slowik. He's just not as exotic with his alignments as Ryan and his blitzes as LeBeau. Nolan will bring different types of pressure and my guess is that with his limitations in personnel, he'll have to. I'm sure the guys will be well versed in several different blitzes, Nolan is just more frugal in when he brings them. However when the game is on the line, he won't hesitate to bring pressure in unique ways. With that, Nolan's scheme is at its best throughout a game when (in pass defense) a great pass-rush from the WOLB results in a sack or forces the QB to step up into a collapsing pocket forced by the DL. This isn't to say Nolan will exclusively rush 4, he will bring heat from the other LBs, S and CBs on occasion - just don't be expecting some the crazy stuff you see from Rex Ryan and Dick LeBeau.



I don't even know if Larsen would fit into this scheme. I was simply trying to find where some of our current personnel would have to be slotted in because - it's just unrealistic to think we're going to be able turn over in entirely new front 7 in one offseason. I disagree with you that I think DJ can play very at WILB in Nolan's scheme if he's got a solid DL in front of him. DJ wasn't a true MLB in the 4-3, but Nolan's WILB in the 3-4 is actually quite similar to a 4-3 WLB. There are certainly differences, but it's one of the more natural transitions from last year's Slowik defense to this year's Nolan unit. Again, I totally agree that Denver doesn't have all of the right personnel right now - but they're likely going to have to make do with some used parts until they can complete the transformation by 2010 hopefully.

Thats weird cause i think Larsen fit really well. Or at least of all the guys who could actually play well in the 3-4 he more than likely could, which is alot more than what i can say for the rest.

If you want, i would love to see your overall starting defense including FA and the draft. Just for $h!ts and giggles. and no, i dont want to rip it apart.And hopefully no one else will either, cuase thats not the point. I just want an accessment from someone who knows the 3-4. Just what you think could be done in one offseason. Alot of folks have really high expectations for current players as well as FAs. Plus theres not alot going on today.

HILife
01-26-2009, 10:28 AM
I wouldn't call Nolan vanilla in terms of Bates or Slowik. He's just not as exotic with his alignments as Ryan and his blitzes as LeBeau. Nolan will bring different types of pressure and my guess is that with his limitations in personnel, he'll have to. I'm sure the guys will be well versed in several different blitzes, Nolan is just more frugal in when he brings them. However when the game is on the line, he won't hesitate to bring pressure in unique ways. With that, Nolan's scheme is at its best throughout a game when (in pass defense) a great pass-rush from the WOLB results in a sack or forces the QB to step up into a collapsing pocket forced by the DL. This isn't to say Nolan will exclusively rush 4, he will bring heat from the other LBs, S and CBs on occasion - just don't be expecting some the crazy stuff you see from Rex Ryan and Dick LeBeau.

I wasn't really excited about the Nolan signing. I live in the D.C. area and I just don't remember the Ravens defense being as good after Marvin Lewis and before Rex Ryan. During that time they were feared and caused a lot of turn overs. When Nolan got there they kind of disappeared...or atleast to me they did. I also remember Ray Lewis wasn't as effective durning Nolan's time and did some complaining about it. I think that might have been mostly because they were moving to the 3-4 and didn't have the right NT for the job. Hopefully, Nolan will come in and change my view of him and create a very good defense.

montrose
01-26-2009, 10:38 AM
Thats weird cause i think Larsen fit really well. Or at least of all the guys who could actually play well in the 3-4 he more than likely could, which is alot more than what i can say for the rest.

He could, I just haven't seen enough of Spencer to make that judgment. He played a lot against Atlanta, and played pretty well to me. He was hurt against Oakland and never seemed to get back into the lineup for prolonged time as the coaches preferred Webster and Haggan. I do think he seems like a good fit at the SILB spot on paper, but we just haven't seen a lot of the guy play.

If you want, i would love to see your overall starting defense including FA and the draft. Just for $h!ts and giggles. and no, i dont want to rip it apart.And hopefully no one else will either, cuase thats not the point. I just want an accessment from someone who knows the 3-4. Just what you think could be done in one offseason. Alot of folks have really high expectations for current players as well as FAs. Plus theres not alot going on today.

No problem. Here's a very realistic thought of what we could do to make the most out of 2009.

DE: Marcus Thomas, Mike Wright (FA signing from NE)
NT: BJ Raji (with the #12 pick), Ronald Fields (FA signing from SF)
DE: Dwan Edwards (FA signing from BAL), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick
WOLB: Wesley Woodyard, Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss
WILB: DJ Williams, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SILB: Spencer Larsen, Edgerton Hartwell (sign as a FA, out of football in 2008)
SOLB: Boss Bailey (restructured), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick, Tim Crowder
CB: Champ Bailey, Josh Bell
CB: Dre' Bly (restructured), Allen Rossum (sign as a FA from SF), Jack Williams
FS: James Sanders (sign as a FA from NE), 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SS: Dawan Landry (acquired as a RFA from BAL), Josh Barrett

I wasn't really excited about the Nolan signing. I live in the D.C. area and I just don't remember the Ravens defense being as good after Marvin Lewis and before Rex Ryan. During that time they were feared and caused a lot of turn overs. When Nolan got there they kind of disappeared...or atleast to me they did. I also remember Ray Lewis wasn't as effective durning Nolan's time and did some complaining about it. I think that might have been mostly because they were moving to the 3-4 and didn't have the right NT for the job. Hopefully, Nolan will come in and change my view of him and create a very good defense.

Lewis won a DPOY under Nolan and Reed won the award the following year. Nolan suffered a bit from not having as strong of a DL as he would've liked while trying to transition a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense. They were still very successful however (I'd kill for our defense to play that well this year, but that's not going to happen).

HILife
01-26-2009, 10:43 AM
He could, I just haven't seen enough of Spencer to make that judgment. He played a lot against Atlanta, and played pretty well to me. He was hurt against Oakland and never seemed to get back into the lineup for prolonged time as the coaches preferred Webster and Haggan. I do think he seems like a good fit at the SILB spot on paper, but we just haven't seen a lot of the guy play.



No problem. Here's a very realistic thought of what we could do to make the most out of 2009.

DE: Marcus Thomas, Mike Wright (FA signing from NE)
NT: BJ Raji (with the #12 pick), Ronald Fields (FA signing from SF)
DE: Dwan Edwards (FA signing from BAL), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick
WOLB: Wesley Woodyard, Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss
WILB: DJ Williams, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SILB: Spencer Larsen, Edgerton Hartwell (sign as a FA, out of football in 2008)
SOLB: Boss Bailey (restructured), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick, Tim Crowder
CB: Champ Bailey, Josh Bell
CB: Dre' Bly (restructured), Allen Rossum (sign as a FA from SF), Jack Williams
FS: James Sanders, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SS: Dawan Landry (acquired as a RFA from BAL), Josh Barrett

You have 3 1st day picks but there are only 2 rounds on the first day. FYI. Over all it looks realistic. Although Edgerton Hartwell being out of football in 2008 might be a little out of shape, but as a backup and a low cost signing it couldn't hurt.

HILife
01-26-2009, 10:46 AM
He could, I just haven't seen enough of Spencer to make that judgment. He played a lot against Atlanta, and played pretty well to me. He was hurt against Oakland and never seemed to get back into the lineup for prolonged time as the coaches preferred Webster and Haggan. I do think he seems like a good fit at the SILB spot on paper, but we just haven't seen a lot of the guy play.



No problem. Here's a very realistic thought of what we could do to make the most out of 2009.

DE: Marcus Thomas, Mike Wright (FA signing from NE)
NT: BJ Raji (with the #12 pick), Ronald Fields (FA signing from SF)
DE: Dwan Edwards (FA signing from BAL), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick
WOLB: Wesley Woodyard, Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss
WILB: DJ Williams, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SILB: Spencer Larsen, Edgerton Hartwell (sign as a FA, out of football in 2008)
SOLB: Boss Bailey (restructured), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick, Tim Crowder
CB: Champ Bailey, Josh Bell
CB: Dre' Bly (restructured), Allen Rossum (sign as a FA from SF), Jack Williams
FS: James Sanders (sign as a FA from NE), 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SS: Dawan Landry (acquired as a RFA from BAL), Josh Barrett



Lewis won a DPOY under Nolan and Reed won the award the following year. Nolan suffered a bit from not having as strong of a DL as he would've liked while trying to transition a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense. They were still very successful however (I'd kill for our defense to play that well this year, but that's not going to happen).

I'd kill to have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed on the team, or at the very least badly wound.

montrose
01-26-2009, 10:50 AM
You have 3 1st day picks but there are only 2 rounds on the first day. FYI. Over all it looks realistic. Although Edgerton Hartwell being out of football in 2008 might be a little out of shape, but as a backup and a low cost signing it couldn't hurt.

I'd like to see us pickup another 1st day pick. Maybe in a deal for Dumervil plus a draft pick. Per Hartwell, he'd come in on a minimum contact knowing the defense. If he's out of shape let him go.

WolfpackGuy
01-26-2009, 10:52 AM
Ed Hartwell's too busy making jewelry for his wife to think about football.

crowebomber
01-26-2009, 10:55 AM
He could, I just haven't seen enough of Spencer to make that judgment. He played a lot against Atlanta, and played pretty well to me. He was hurt against Oakland and never seemed to get back into the lineup for prolonged time as the coaches preferred Webster and Haggan. I do think he seems like a good fit at the SILB spot on paper, but we just haven't seen a lot of the guy play.



No problem. Here's a very realistic thought of what we could do to make the most out of 2009.

DE: Marcus Thomas, Mike Wright (FA signing from NE)
NT: BJ Raji (with the #12 pick), Ronald Fields (FA signing from SF)
DE: Dwan Edwards (FA signing from BAL), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick
WOLB: Wesley Woodyard, Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss
WILB: DJ Williams, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SILB: Spencer Larsen, Edgerton Hartwell (sign as a FA, out of football in 2008)
SOLB: Boss Bailey (restructured), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick, Tim Crowder
CB: Champ Bailey, Josh Bell
CB: Dre' Bly (restructured), Allen Rossum (sign as a FA from SF), Jack Williams
FS: James Sanders (sign as a FA from NE), 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SS: Dawan Landry (acquired as a RFA from BAL), Josh Barrett



Lewis won a DPOY under Nolan and Reed won the award the following year. Nolan suffered a bit from not having as strong of a DL as he would've liked while trying to transition a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense. They were still very successful however (I'd kill for our defense to play that well this year, but that's not going to happen).

Great breakdown, and thank you for making the potential roster/wishlist realistic. I'm so tired of seeing these rosters with Peppers and Suggs and other break-the-bank, unrealistic signings.

Gcver2ver3
01-26-2009, 11:10 AM
Great breakdown, and thank you for making the potential roster/wishlist realistic. I'm so tired of seeing these rosters with Peppers and Suggs and other break-the-bank, unrealistic signings.

we have the cap room...

so i wouldn't mind seeing us go after just 1 big ticket to help anchor the defense...

Gcver2ver3
01-26-2009, 11:12 AM
No problem. Here's a very realistic thought of what we could do to make the most out of 2009.

DE: Marcus Thomas, Mike Wright (FA signing from NE)
NT: BJ Raji (with the #12 pick), Ronald Fields (FA signing from SF)
DE: Dwan Edwards (FA signing from BAL), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick
WOLB: Wesley Woodyard, Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss
WILB: DJ Williams, 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SILB: Spencer Larsen, Edgerton Hartwell (sign as a FA, out of football in 2008)
SOLB: Boss Bailey (restructured), 1st Day Rookie Draft Pick, Tim Crowder
CB: Champ Bailey, Josh Bell
CB: Dre' Bly (restructured), Allen Rossum (sign as a FA from SF), Jack Williams
FS: James Sanders (sign as a FA from NE), 2nd Day Rookie Draft Pick
SS: Dawan Landry (acquired as a RFA from BAL), Josh Barrett


excellent work montrose...

i'd personally like to see at least one of the OLB starters be a person with accomplished pass rushing ability...

montrose
01-26-2009, 11:20 AM
excellent work montrose...

i'd personally like to see at least one of the OLB starters be a person with accomplished pass rushing ability...

In Nolan's scheme, the WOLB is the real pass rusher. Again, Dumervil fits the bill there but I just don't know how effective he'd be on running downs at that spot. I like Woodyard at that spot on running downs with Dumervil coming in on obvious passing situations. Also, I think Woodyard to develop as a pass rusher with the right coaching. Per the SOLB spot, Nolan has never been one to blitz that spot much. It's a necessary skill, but Thomas was never a major blitzer under Nolan. I think Boss has the skills to hold the spot until a rookie is ready to take over following Boss' inevitable injury.

no-pseudo-fan
01-26-2009, 11:22 AM
Great Post. Really looking forward to seeing it on the field.

Tombstone RJ
01-26-2009, 11:26 AM
I've noticed in more than a few threads that in discussing the move to the 3-4 next year, many are using the Ravens as a comparison. The present Ravens defense is a really bad comparison as to what our 3-4 might look like. They currently run one of the most unconventional fronts in league history with exotic zone blitzing. In contrast, Mike Nolan's 3-4 is actually a bit of a hybrid 4-3. I've studied much of Nolan's defense in Baltimore, a little bit in Washington and a bit in San Francisco (although Singletary was coordinating that unit). I wanted to help clarify a few things as regards to positions, alignments and personnel.

Nolan likes true 3-4 DL than can keep OL off of the LBs. His DE's are usually in 4 techniques (head up on the OT) and his NT's are usually head up on the C. This is because Nolan's not a huge fan of DL shading and prefers to allow the success and failure of the defense to come down to those guys ability to maintain their gaps and let the LBs flow. Shading can help a defense "cheat" to one side but it creates better blocking and double teaming angles for OL which allows blockers to get up on the LBs and at the point, the 3-4 is ****ed.

Nolan's not a guy who comes up with crazy blitzes every play, he'd mix things up from time-to-time and bring the occasional safety blitz or outside fire but he's not Rex Ryan. In fact, most of his pressure on the QB is expected to be brought by the WOLB. Nolan's WOLB (Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs) would play in a 7-technique to the outside of the weakside tackle or tight end. He'd occasionally put his hand on the ground but would often serve as a stand up defensive end. He was rarely put into pass coverage and when he was, it was usually a soft, underneath zone. The SOLB (Adalius Thomas) needed to be extremely versatile as he was asked to play in a lot of space, jam and defend tight ends, contain the outside run and occasionally blitz. He is also moved around to several different areas including a 9 technique (outside the TE or strongside OT) and a 7 technique (inside eye of the strongside OT or TE). I personally believe the SOLB is the most important of the 4 LBs in Nolan's scheme. The SILB (Edgerton Hartwell) is what one might call the "thumper" or "train wreck" as his responsibilities are largely to blow up lead blockers and to be a very sound tackler without much room for acceleration. Hartwell excelled at this and was a major part of the Ravens defensive unit. Nolan occasionally stacked the SILB over a DE or stood him up in a gap opened by a shading NT or DE, but was usually aligned behind the NT off the inside eye of the strongside guard in the A gap. The WILB (Ray Lewis) had several different alignments, but Nolan's favorite was stacking him behind a DE with a slight shade to the strong-side in the B gap. He'd occasionally align head up over the weakside guard, stacked off the NT slightly shading the A gap or even directly stacked over the NT. However, the WILB was most often shaded to the strong-side in the B gap stacked off a DE. This gave him great angles to explode for tackles and allowed him to be versatile in pass-coverage. The WILB has many opportunities for interceptions and pass-defenses in Nolan's scheme and is also the most active tackler on the field.

I've included an illustration below of Nolan's most-often used 3-4 alignment. Keep in mind that in obvious passing situations, the SILB would leave the field for a nickelback and in long passing situations the SOLB would also come off in favor of a dimeback. Nolan rarely played with a 4th DL except in goal-line defenses, choosing rather to put the S in the box (Ed Reed) and to walk-up the SOLB and SILB into their gaps. He'd also sneak in DT's in place of DE's on occasion in short-yardage situations. Many of those elements will depend on our personnel.

I looked through some of our personnel to try and see who could fit some of these rolls based on my time watching Nolan's defense in Baltimore.

DE (Marques Douglas and Anthony Weaver): Right now Marcus Thomas would probably be best fit to play one of these positions. He'd have to learn to make better use of his arms as he'd be a bit undersized (frame-wise) as a 3-4 DE in most schemes although his frame measures up favorably with Weaver and Douglas. If Kenny Peterson were resigned, I believe he could learn to play the position, however it would also require a lot of work and considering he's a FA - I'd expect the F.O. to rather go with someone familiar with the scheme.

NT (Kelly Gregg and Ma'ake Kemoeatu): We don't have a true NT on our roster right now. Thomas could beef up to be a very solid #2 NT which is very important in this defense as the #1 NT wears down and is often replaced on passing downs. At this point, we're looking at needing at least 2 NTs to be brought in.

WOLB (Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs) - There are a few guys who could fit this position. Elvis Dumervil has the natural pass-rush abilities to fit Nolan's scheme, but it's been shown that he wears down easily when attacked in the running game and we have no idea how he'd play in space - albeit limited. His success would be very dependent upon the DE play to his side. Jarvis Moss could be another candidate but again, we don't know how he'd play in space and with him, it's still unknown if he has the explosiveness off the edge to put pressure on the QB. One guy I think could play the position very well is Wesley Woodyard. He's just raw enough to be taught the position and while he'd need to be developed on the pass-rush side of the role, his athleticism and instincts could make him a nice fit. I could see Woodyard playing the position on 1st and 2nd downs to be replaced by Dumervil on passing downs as a possiblity too.

WILB (Ray Lewis) - DJ Williams best fits this position and it's where I expect to see him play. DJ takes great angles and should love playing the position if the Broncos can find a NT to keep blockers off of him. DJ's greatest weaknesses are fighting off blockers and blitzing - two things that Nolan's defense should help protect him in quite a bit. DJ's skills are angles, tackling and zone coverage - skill sets necessary to succeed in this position. Woodyard could also play this position with some increased size but I'd expect DJ to play this role very well.

SILB (Edgerton Hartwell) - Right now I'd say Spencer Larsen would be the most natural to fill this role although I'm a bit concerned about his size. I think Woodyard could transfer into the role but it would take a lot of time and strength work. Not to mention taking him out of what he does well, playing in space. Like DJ, a successful DL (in this case DE) would allow Larsen to play well. Larsen is a very sound tackler and doesn't need a ton of space to bring ball carriers down. I'd still expect this to be a spot looked at heavily in the offseason but I consider the DL spots far more critical at this juncture.

SOLB (Adalius Thomas and Jarrett Johnson) - This is such an important position. Honestly, Boss Bailey is likely the best fit to play this spot right now as he carries many of the traits necessary (TE coverage and jamming, outside contain, occasional blitzing). However with his injury history, I think it's unrealistic to count on him at all. This is another spot (surprise!) that I think Woodyard could play although it would necessitate major strength building and a lot of work on outside containment. I actually think Moss translates a bit to the position as he's underrated at keeping contain and holding up against the point of attack - however we have no clue how he would be in coverage and it's not very reasonable to ask a career DE to step in and handle all that this position demands without a lot of help. Tim Crowder has the measurables to fit here as well, but I haven't seen enough of him to know if he could do all this position requires.

It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months but I wanted to clarify that Nolan's 3-4 unit is much different than Ryan's, LeBeau's and Collier's - all of which I've seen referenced often. Thanks guys.

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/1850/25405800fv1.png

Daaaaaamn!

Are you sure your not an intern for the Broncos??

montrose
01-26-2009, 11:31 AM
Daaaaaamn!

Are you sure your not an intern for the Broncos??

Please don't tease me. I've been trying for years to get a job in that building. I'd hand wash John Engelberger's jock strap if it gave me the chance to work my way up into Jim Goodman's office.

Rohirrim
01-26-2009, 11:42 AM
Excellent work, Montrose. Hopefully, this mellows out all those people who think the Broncos are going to be able to put together this D in one off-season through FA and the draft.

Tombstone RJ
01-26-2009, 11:43 AM
Please don't tease me. I've been trying for years to get a job in that building. I'd hand wash John Engelberger's jock strap if it gave me the chance to work my way up into Jim Goodman's office.

Keep trying my man! Live your dream!

Gcver2ver3
01-26-2009, 11:56 AM
In Nolan's scheme, the WOLB is the real pass rusher. Again, Dumervil fits the bill there but I just don't know how effective he'd be on running downs at that spot. I like Woodyard at that spot on running downs with Dumervil coming in on obvious passing situations. Also, I think Woodyard to develop as a pass rusher with the right coaching. Per the SOLB spot, Nolan has never been one to blitz that spot much. It's a necessary skill, but Thomas was never a major blitzer under Nolan. I think Boss has the skills to hold the spot until a rookie is ready to take over following Boss' inevitable injury.

that might work...

i know (thanks to your earlier breakdown) that Nolan won't blitz a whole heck of a lot, but we would prolly need a pass rushing hybrid on the outside...

if one isn't on our roster than we got get on in FA or the draft...

that's what i'd like to see..

is the kid from Boston College our best shot at NT?...

are there any FAs that could be available at NT that would benefit us?...

Gcver2ver3
01-26-2009, 11:58 AM
Hopefully, this mellows out all those people who think the Broncos are going to be able to put together this D in one off-season through FA and the draft.

not quite...

count me as one hopeful of us pulling it off...

montrose
01-26-2009, 12:10 PM
that might work...

i know (thanks to your earlier breakdown) that Nolan won't blitz a whole heck of a lot, but we would prolly need a pass rushing hybrid on the outside...

if one isn't on our roster than we got get on in FA or the draft...

that's what i'd like to see..

is the kid from Boston College our best shot at NT?...

are there any FAs that could be available at NT that would benefit us?...

At the NT spot, I think Raji is the best we can get. If he doesn't fall to us, I still think NT has to be a selection in the 1st two rounds. If Raji is gone, and there's another NT available who is more of a late 1st round grade - I'd be all over moving down to get him and picking up an extra guy.

Per the WOLB, one major difference between Nolan and Ryan is that Nolan overly stresses Football IQ. Nolan wanted to bench Ed Reed on several occasions for his freelancing and butted heads with Manny Lawson and Jamie Winborn for their lack of football intellect. The Ravens currently have been looking for great athletes to mold into their scheme - hell they played a TE at OLB in a playoff game! Nolan's going to want a more all-round football player to play now but I can see him pushing Goodman for a pass-rushing project in the draft. Only time will tell.

MagicHef
01-26-2009, 12:13 PM
Per the WOLB, one major difference between Nolan and Ryan is that Nolan overly stresses Football IQ. Nolan wanted to bench Ed Reed on several occasions for his freelancing and butted heads with Manny Lawson and Jamie Winborn for their lack of football intellect.

You have no idea how happy that makes me.

Kaylore
01-26-2009, 01:01 PM
You have no idea how happy that makes me.

No kidding. We need to get all the morons on this team. I would rather the less-athletic, but smart football player be in a Broncos uniform than a moronic freak of nature who grabs the quarterback's facemask on third and sixteen when he's throwing the ball away.

montrose
01-26-2009, 01:04 PM
No kidding. We need to get all the morons on this team. I would rather the less-athletic, but smart football player be in a Broncos uniform than a moronic freak of nature who grabs the quarterback's facemask on third and sixteen when he's throwing the ball away.

I think he got up and celebrated after that play too. Okay, maybe an exaggeration...

Gcver2ver3
01-26-2009, 02:22 PM
At the NT spot, I think Raji is the best we can get. If he doesn't fall to us, I still think NT has to be a selection in the 1st two rounds. If Raji is gone, and there's another NT available who is more of a late 1st round grade - I'd be all over moving down to get him and picking up an extra guy.

Per the WOLB, one major difference between Nolan and Ryan is that Nolan overly stresses Football IQ. Nolan wanted to bench Ed Reed on several occasions for his freelancing and butted heads with Manny Lawson and Jamie Winborn for their lack of football intellect. The Ravens currently have been looking for great athletes to mold into their scheme - hell they played a TE at OLB in a playoff game! Nolan's going to want a more all-round football player to play now but I can see him pushing Goodman for a pass-rushing project in the draft. Only time will tell.


that's cool...

i was hoping that there was a NT in FA we could go after but i couldn't think of any either...

oh well...raji or bust!...

oubronco
01-26-2009, 06:34 PM
Broncos Ink Nolan


<TABLE borderColor=#ffffff cellSpacing=2 cellPadding=4 width=252 align=right bgColor=#ffffff border=0><TBODY><TR bgColor=#e5e5e5><TD style="FONT-SIZE: 10px" vAlign=top>http://web1.denverbroncos.com/resources/custom/Images/Top%20Stories/2009/nolan_gi_090114.jpg
Mike Nolan will serve as defensive coordinator under Josh McDaniels. It will be his second stint on the Broncos sidelines. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
DenverBroncos.com


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Head Coach Josh McDaniels (http://www.denverbroncos.com/page.php?id=357&contentID=9591) made another step in assembling his coaching staff for the 2009 season. Monday the Broncos officially announced the hiring of Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan.
After 17 years, Nolan is returning to Mile High City. It's only fitting that Nolan's latest coaching stop will be with the same team where he got his NFL start -- he served as the linebackers coach for Denver from 1987-1992 under former head coach Dan Reeves.

He guided the Broncos’ special teams and linebackers from 1987-92, contributing to a pair of trips to the Super Bowl (XXII and XXIV) as well as an appearance in the AFC Championship Game in 1991.
McDaniels wasted little time in bringing in the former San Francisco 49ers head man as defensive coordinator. He spent the majority of the last four seasons as head coach of the 49ers but much of Nolan's experience is as a defensive coordinator.

Nolan was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 1993-96 before assuming that role with the Washington Redskins from 1997-99 and the New York Jets in 2000. He coached the Baltimore Ravens’ wide receivers in 2001 before serving as the Ravens’ defensive coordinator from 2002-04.
Before coaching in the NFL, Nolan spent six seasons in the collegiate ranks, beginning as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Oregon. He moved to Stanford to become the Cardinal’s linebackers/defensive backs coach from 1982-83. He maintained the same role with Rice from 1984-85.

Nolan has helped seven playoff appearances as a coach, including four postseason appearances as defensive coordinator. He has instructed two Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners and three AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year winners.

McDaniels tabbed Nolan for his versatility on the defensive side of the ball.
"Mike Nolan is somebody who has had the opportunity to work in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 system," McDaniels said. "His flexibility is something that I think is very desirable. He is versatile as a coach. I've coached against him a number of times."
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

ayjackson
01-26-2009, 08:04 PM
I think it's worth noting that McDaniels apprenticed for three years on the defence side of the ball before becoming the QB coach in NE. He was praised by Belichick for being well rounded and is sure to have his own ideas about the defence. That said, the 3-4 that is described by Montrose is quite similar to the Patriots 3-4.

driver
01-26-2009, 09:18 PM
I've been saying this for weeks, 2 nts are a must if we go to 3-4. Everyone keeps talking up Raji as a nt and everything will be fine. No way! Raji could be a pretty good dt in a conventional 4-3 but from what i"ve seen he'll never make it as a nt. The big kid at Michigan,Taylor I think, could make it as a nt. But he is only 1 where are going to find #2 I haven't seen anyone
who could make it as nt.

SpiritGuy
01-26-2009, 10:15 PM
Hey Montrose, great job sharing your insight into the Nolan 3-4. What are your thoughts if any, on the potential for Powell? I know we don't have anything but his college stats to go on, but if he is fully healed from his injury, it looks like he could be stout against the run.

montrose
01-27-2009, 09:43 AM
Hey Montrose, great job sharing your insight into the Nolan 3-4. What are your thoughts if any, on the potential for Powell? I know we don't have anything but his college stats to go on, but if he is fully healed from his injury, it looks like he could be stout against the run.

I've never seen Powell play or even practice. His build tells me he'd be a prospect as a 3-4 DE but I can't really comment on the guy as I know nothing about his skills.

socalorado
01-27-2009, 10:03 AM
These guys seem like the best NTs coming out in this years draft. Raji to me is strictly a 4-3 DT. Brace could play (plays) NT, and i think Nolan could really coach him up at the position too.

http://walterfootball.com/college/Clemson_logo.gif Dorell Scott, Clemson
Height: 6-4. Weight: 313.
Projected 40 Time: 5.04.
Projected Round (2009): 3.
1/10/09: Dorrell Scott finished the season with just one sack, but had six TFL and five quarterback hurries.

5/9/08: A monstrous defensive tackle who can get to the quarterback on occasion. Dorell Scott had 50 tackles and three sacks in 2007.

2007: A starter as a sophomore, Dorell Scott is one of the hardest-working players in this class. He'll put up some good numbers on the bench press come Combine time.


http://walterfootball.com/college/Hampton_logo.gif Chris Baker, Hampton
Height: 6-2. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 5.03.
Projected Round (2009): 3-4.
1/10/09: Chris Baker has declared for the NFL Draft a year early. Baker, a transfer from Penn State, had 16.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks as a junior at Hampton. I actually like this choice - this defensive tackle class is weak once you get into the middle rounds.


http://walterfootball.com/college/Michigan_logo.gif Terrance Taylor, Michigan
Height: 6-0. Weight: 317.
Projected 40 Time: 5.11.
Projected Round (2009): 3-4.
11/23/08: Once a possible first-round prospect, Terrance Taylor hasn't done much this year since blocking an extra point early in the season.

5/9/08: Terrance Taylor had 4.5 career sacks, but his bread and butter (and lots of butter at that) is stopping the run, though you probably knew that just by looking at his size.

2007: With Alan Branch and LaMarr Woodley gone, offensive coordinators will focus on stopping Terrance Taylor. If he's dominant this season, he may come out. There aren't too many 310-pound tackles who are close to breaking 5.0 in the 40.

Houshyamama
01-27-2009, 10:17 AM
I personally think Moss has the physical abilities to be a great WOLB. While it would take a few years to develop him, I'm hopeful.

montrose
01-27-2009, 10:22 AM
These guys seem like the best NTs coming out in this years draft. Raji to me is strictly a 4-3 DT. Brace could play (plays) NT, and i think Nolan could really coach him up at the position too.

http://walterfootball.com/college/Clemson_logo.gif Dorell Scott, Clemson
Height: 6-4. Weight: 313.
Projected 40 Time: 5.04.
Projected Round (2009): 3.
1/10/09: Dorrell Scott finished the season with just one sack, but had six TFL and five quarterback hurries.

5/9/08: A monstrous defensive tackle who can get to the quarterback on occasion. Dorell Scott had 50 tackles and three sacks in 2007.

2007: A starter as a sophomore, Dorell Scott is one of the hardest-working players in this class. He'll put up some good numbers on the bench press come Combine time.


http://walterfootball.com/college/Hampton_logo.gif Chris Baker, Hampton
Height: 6-2. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 5.03.
Projected Round (2009): 3-4.
1/10/09: Chris Baker has declared for the NFL Draft a year early. Baker, a transfer from Penn State, had 16.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks as a junior at Hampton. I actually like this choice - this defensive tackle class is weak once you get into the middle rounds.


http://walterfootball.com/college/Michigan_logo.gif Terrance Taylor, Michigan
Height: 6-0. Weight: 317.
Projected 40 Time: 5.11.
Projected Round (2009): 3-4.
11/23/08: Once a possible first-round prospect, Terrance Taylor hasn't done much this year since blocking an extra point early in the season.

5/9/08: Terrance Taylor had 4.5 career sacks, but his bread and butter (and lots of butter at that) is stopping the run, though you probably knew that just by looking at his size.

2007: With Alan Branch and LaMarr Woodley gone, offensive coordinators will focus on stopping Terrance Taylor. If he's dominant this season, he may come out. There aren't too many 310-pound tackles who are close to breaking 5.0 in the 40.

I think all of these guys sound like solid NT prospects, however nearly every draft report I've read has Raji translating to the 3-4 very well - much like Haloti Ngata. I've not seen much of Raji to necessarily confirm that - but I do believe NT needs to be our #1 priority this offseason, followed by DE, then S, then LB, then CB.

socalorado
01-27-2009, 10:40 AM
I think all of these guys sound like solid NT prospects, however nearly every draft report I've read has Raji translating to the 3-4 very well - much like Haloti Ngata. I've not seen much of Raji to necessarily confirm that - but I do believe NT needs to be our #1 priority this offseason, followed by DE, then S, then LB, then CB.


I think DEN might be better off trading back if at all possible.
Philadelphia trade picks 1.21, 1.27, and 2.21 to Denver for picks 1.12, 2.16, and 3.15
DEN would have to find its way back into the 3rd round to pick up Scott in the 3rd though. Make a trade with Dumervil/Moss, or a combination of players.

21. Denver (from Philadelphia (9-6-1)) Brian Cushing, OLB USC
Could play both ILB or OLB in the 3-4.Terrific athleticism and versatility. Excellent hips, good pass rushing skills in blitz and from the end position. Would suit a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme. (from MileHighReport)
27. Denver (from Car. (11-5) via Philly) LeSean McCoy, RB Pittsburgh
Completes the offense, and with Hillis, will make for a evil combination.
(OR! as another option at #27-Tyson Jackson, 3-4 DE/4-3 DT - LSU )

2ND ROUND
(If DEN took McCoy)
Larry English, DE Northern Illinois -The Machine. Larry English finished his senior campaign with 14.5 TFL, eight sacks and three forced fumbles.
(If DEN took Jackson)
Sean Smith, FS/CB, Utah
1/14/09: Sean Smith, probably more of a safety than a corner at the next level, registered 45 tackles, nine passes broken up, two TFL, five interceptions and a pick-six for national champion Utah. He has declared for the 2009 NFL Draft.
OR
Shonn Greene ,RB-Iowa

Inkana7
02-15-2009, 10:09 PM
This is a great thread. Thanks a million, Montrose. I had been wondering about Nolan's 3-4. I'm well versed in Ryan's and LeBeau's since I live in the AFC North, but I didn't know much about Nolan's. I became a hardcore fan after he left Baltimore.

Great stuff.

montrose
02-16-2009, 09:00 AM
This is a great thread. Thanks a million, Montrose. I had been wondering about Nolan's 3-4. I'm well versed in Ryan's and LeBeau's since I live in the AFC North, but I didn't know much about Nolan's. I became a hardcore fan after he left Baltimore.

Great stuff.

No problem. As an FYI, Nolan's scheme is referred to as a 30-front. With that, I wouldn't be shocked if we're playing a hybrid system this year as we're so far away from having the right personnel.

socalorado
02-16-2009, 09:47 AM
No problem. As an FYI, Nolan's scheme is referred to as a 30-front. With that, I wouldn't be shocked if we're playing a hybrid system this year as we're so far away from having the right personnel.

What about ARI system? Do you think that DEN will play anything like that at all? ARI had some crazy schemes! Seemed like they were using what players they had to compromise and make it work for them.

montrose
02-16-2009, 09:53 AM
What about ARI system? Do you think that DEN will play anything like that at all? ARI had some crazy schemes! Seemed like they were using what players they had to compromise and make it work for them.

I can't speak to Arizona, but I do think McDaniels and Nolan will have to find a system that works with pieces they have. The Goodman's firing gives more flexibility in terms of getting guys off the roster that might not have been otherwise. We'll have to see.

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 10:15 AM
I think we'll seriously turnover more than half the defensive players. Nolan needs guys that are smart and physical and we don't really have players like that on D. I think he'll throw it all out.

skpac1001
02-16-2009, 11:34 AM
Reading this thread, and Montrose wanting DT and DE upgraded in the first day rather then LB's got me thinking. Nolan's approach to drafting, when he was with the 9er's, seemed like he was going for LB upgrades in the first round and using later picks to try and upgrade the line. The Pats (with recent exceptions) seem like they concentrate on the line in the first round, and filled in LB's far later in the draft or with athletically over the hill but experienced free agents. I hope McDaniels goes with the Pat's approach.

montrose
02-16-2009, 11:47 AM
Reading this thread, and Montrose wanting DT and DE upgraded in the first day rather then LB's got me thinking. Nolan's approach to drafting, when he was with the 9er's, seemed like he was going for LB upgrades in the first round and using later picks to try and upgrade the line. The Pats (with recent exceptions) seem like they concentrate on the line in the first round, and filled in LB's far later in the draft or with athletically over the hill but experienced free agents. I hope McDaniels goes with the Pat's approach.

I've been going back and forth on who I want picked on the 1st day. It's become very apparent that Raji is not a 3-4 NT and there aren't any guys around the #12 pick that fit that bill. I agree with the NE philosophy of going DL and OL in round 1 annually, but if there isn't a guy there that we know is a stud DL - I'd prefer we go with Cushing or Rey.

skpac1001
02-16-2009, 11:54 AM
I've been going back and forth on who I want picked on the 1st day. It's become very apparent that Raji is not a 3-4 NT and there aren't any guys around the #12 pick that fit that bill. I agree with the NE philosophy of going DL and OL in round 1 annually, but if there isn't a guy there that we know is a stud DL - I'd prefer we go with Cushing or Rey.

Yeah, and in all fairness to Nolan you can't argue with the Willis pick and there may not have been any decent lineman to pick instead of Lawson. If the coaching staff likes Tyson Jackson and is able to trade down he could be an option.

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 11:58 AM
Reading this thread, and Montrose wanting DT and DE upgraded in the first day rather then LB's got me thinking. Nolan's approach to drafting, when he was with the 9er's, seemed like he was going for LB upgrades in the first round and using later picks to try and upgrade the line. The Pats (with recent exceptions) seem like they concentrate on the line in the first round, and filled in LB's far later in the draft or with athletically over the hill but experienced free agents. I hope McDaniels goes with the Pat's approach.

In the last five years the pats have used their first four picks on.

Five defensive linemen (Two good starters)
Six defensive backs
Three linebackers
Two wide receivers
Two running backs
Two tight ends
Three offensive linemen
and one QB.

That said, they bust on early picks a lot more than you'd think. And they've spent a lot of those busts on corners and safeties, which is more than you'd think.

Florida_Bronco
02-16-2009, 12:00 PM
This is a great thread Montrose!

tonngo0
02-16-2009, 12:03 PM
I think you put too much stock in Woodyard, I think he has great instinct but lack the size to be at the point of attack. I think he would be better as a safety like Lynch was. Woodyard started out as a safety so this transition is not out of the question.

montrose
02-16-2009, 12:21 PM
Yeah, and in all fairness to Nolan you can't argue with the Willis pick and there may not have been any decent lineman to pick instead of Lawson. If the coaching staff likes Tyson Jackson and is able to trade down he could be an option.

Interestingly, Nolan butted heads with Lawson for the same reason he did with Winborn. He hates guys with low Football IQ.

skpac1001
02-16-2009, 12:22 PM
By the way (and this is pretty far off topic), I know we have a couple defensive guru's here, but are there any offensive? I read an article on the Patriots system and had some questions about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Patriots_strategy

Elway777
02-16-2009, 01:22 PM
Great post this is one of the better post I read. With the SIb being one of the most important positions then maybe Rey Rey would be the Best pick for the Broncos in first round. I also like Victor Butler in the 4 round and could be a great outside linebacker in Noland scheme.

Inkana7
02-16-2009, 02:21 PM
One thing about Nolan is that the guy knows how to pick and coach linebackers. Adalius Thomas was a sixth round DE that Nolan coached up into the versatile force he is now.

~Crash~
02-16-2009, 02:46 PM
http://www.broncosports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=48552&SPID=4061&DB_OEM_ID=9900&ATCLID=521847&Q_SEASON=2008

here is an OLB'er that is going to be a Rookie FA that will not be drafted and guess what he could be close to what a 1st round draft pick can bring to the table . that is the beauty of the 3-4 .

there are way more 6'2'' 248 DE playing in college than 280 6'6'' player that can rush the passer

if you look at Mike T. Williams stats they are almost a carbon coppie of Aaron Maybin who will be picked in the first round .

Fan In Exile
03-10-2009, 11:25 AM
I just wanted to bump this thread to see if Montrose would take a look at our FA signings and give his opinion on where they are going to play.

NFLBRONCO
03-10-2009, 11:39 AM
Yeah I'd love to hear thoughts on what we need now. Assuming we don't trade or cut Doom or Moss or Crowder and what we did in FA.

NT is still #1 issue

NT DE ILB OLB CB depth is what is still need correct?

montrose
03-10-2009, 11:44 AM
I just wanted to bump this thread to see if Montrose would take a look at our FA signings and give his opinion on where they are going to play.

Keep in mind that Nolan's scheme was slightly different in San Francisco and I think Denver's unit will resemble that as it's more of a hybird. Here's my thread on his SF defense - http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=77493

Per the recent signings:

Kenny Peterson - reserve 3-4 DE, nickle DT on 4-man line
Ron Fields - compete at 3-4 NT, 2-down player
Andra Davis - compete at MLB/SILB position, 2-down player
Darrell Reid - Reserve 3-4 OLB/4-3 DE
Andre' Goodman - Starting CB
Brian Dawkins - Starting SS
Renaldo Hill - Starting FS

vancejohnson82
03-10-2009, 11:45 AM
Montrose,

whats the word on this kid Travis Daniels??? The CB that visited today or yesterday?? never heard of him before and all of the sudden he is making visits

montrose
03-10-2009, 12:09 PM
Yeah I'd love to hear thoughts on what we need now. Assuming we don't trade or cut Doom or Moss or Crowder and what we did in FA.

NT is still #1 issue

NT DE ILB OLB CB depth is what is still need correct?

I think we still need a lot. If I had to prioritize what we need, I'd go NT, DE, OLB, ILB, S, CB. Here are my thoughts on those spots:

NT - Fields has a lot of upside and will probably be our starter, however the NT spot is so important I think we need to add someone in the draft. I'd love Brace in Round 2 if he's around. Regardless, we're going to be pretty raw at this spot in 2009 - but it will be nice to have a true NT opposed to using a UT at the spot as we did with Robertson last season.

DE - I think we're in serious need at the two DE spots. I'm hopeful that Thomas can make the transition and imagine he'll probably be a starter there. He'll likely be a DT in the 4-man front Nolan uses on passing downs. Peterson is in the same boat, I think he'll be a rotational guy at those DE spots but his value will come as a nickle DT where he has underrated skills. I have no clue as to what will happen with Crowder, I believe he was drafted as a 2-gap player but I haven't seen anything to make me want to count on him. Powell's resume leads me to believe he could be a rotational guy there. I still think this spot needs major work and wouldn't at all be upset if we took Jackson at #12 as he's a perfect fit to solidify one of these spots.

OLB - Really an unknown here. Nolan might use Moss as his joker. The joker needs to be an athletic guy who can play different spots and create mismatches for his teammates. I still expect this spot to be addressed early in the draft. Orakpo, Brown or Maybin all figure to make sense as 3-4 OLB pass rushers. Boss may need to play the SOLB spot although in SF, Nolan never declared a true strongside or weakside OLB - instead using Justin Smith as a joker. I think Doom will be a reserve OLB and a DE in the nickle 4-man front. Woodyard could be given a look here considering his versatility, but he seems to be a wildcard at this point. Even if we don't go OLB on day 1, we need to add some talent here.

ILB - DJ will be at one spot and unless we do Maualuga in round 1, I imagine Davis will be the other. We could do worse, but I'd still like to see a guy brought in on day 2. Larsen will be a good reserve and special teams guy, I think he could even push Davis for the starting spot. Woodyard may also be a reserve here. He really doesn't fit on this defense but is a good special teams player so I think he's got a shot to stick.

S - I think Dawkins will move to SS so he doesn't have to cover as much ground with Hill playing the FS spot. These guys are a huge upgrade over what he had last year but still need some help there especially long term. Barrett's got potential to play either spot. Fox might push for a roster spot but I'd like to see another safety brought in on draft day.

CB - Goodman is a vet who should have the stones to play across from Champ. I'm warning everyone now, he's going to get beat a lot. Just like every corner who has played across from Champ. I do think Goodman may be a better fit than Dre' as he's less of a gambler and should hold up pretty well coming off a good season with Miami. The depth is extremely thin at this point with just Bell and Williams. We've got no clue what McDaniels and Nolan think of those guys. I liked Williams as a true nickle CB form when I saw him play that spot at camp and do a really good job on Stokley. I'd still expect we'll add at least one CB through the draft and we may still sign a cheap veteran as FA dwindles down.

Montrose,

whats the word on this kid Travis Daniels??? The CB that visited today or yesterday?? never heard of him before and all of the sudden he is making visits

He played a lot with Miami early in his career. He's got good size and the Broncos may view him as nice depth because at this point, Bell and Williams are the backup CB's and neither has much experience. Might be a cheap option to come in and compete although I'm guessing he lands in KC.

Popps
05-02-2009, 10:37 AM
Bump, just because it's a great thread.

(Read the first post if you haven't already.)

Interesting to speculate on who might land wear now, after drafting/signing a few more players for the mix.

ludo21
05-02-2009, 10:46 AM
My guess at the Defense as of now:

DE - Ayers
DE - Thomas
NT - Fields/Powell

OLB - Bailey/Moss
SILB - Larsen/ Davis
WILB - DJ/WW3
OLB - Reid/ Dumervil

CB - Goodman/Smith (with Smith starting by week 6 or so)
CB - Champ
SS - Dawkins
FS - Mcbath (wins the spot in TC)

Popps
05-02-2009, 10:56 AM
My guess at the Defense as of now:

DE - Ayers
DE - Thomas
NT - Fields/Powell

OLB - Bailey/Moss
SILB - Larsen/ Davis
WILB - DJ/WW3
OLB - Reid/ Dumervil

CB - Goodman/Smith (with Smith starting by week 6 or so)
CB - Champ
SS - Dawkins
FS - Mcbath (wins the spot in TC)

I like most of that, though I think Elvis is a lock to start on the weak side. I also think Davis will be the starter over Larsen.

Also, I think Reid generally plays DE, no?

Not sure, but I'll guarantee you one thing... he'll be playing special teams...

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ludo21
05-02-2009, 11:00 AM
From what Ive read, Reid was brought in to be that OLB and has been practicing at that spot so far..

He is big tough, so I see him in a DE role as well. Ayers fits the OLB spot as well.

It will all depend on how much 4-3 we end up playing as well.

Popps
05-02-2009, 11:01 AM
From what Ive read, Reid was brought in to be that OLB and has been practicing at that spot so far..

He is big tough, so I see him in a DE role as well. Ayers fits the OLB spot as well.

It will all depend on how much 4-3 we end up playing as well.

Yea, Nolan/McD continue to stress that these guys will move around a bit. Reid looks like a good candidate for that. He can clearly move around pretty well.

Popps
05-02-2009, 11:03 AM
Ludo, here's a good hint...

Watch after the end of the replays. It shows him lining up for the next play in what looks like an OLB position, or at least standing up...

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SportinOne
05-02-2009, 12:29 PM
That said, they bust on early picks a lot more than you'd think. And they've spent a lot of those busts on corners and safeties, which is more than you'd think.

Good thing we didn't go crazy on db's this draft.

Lolad
05-02-2009, 12:56 PM
Good thing we didn't go crazy on db's this draft.

LOL

Gcver2ver3
05-02-2009, 01:03 PM
Ludo, here's a good hint...

Watch after the end of the replays. It shows him lining up for the next play in what looks like an OLB position, or at least standing up...

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ferocious...

randomtask
05-02-2009, 01:28 PM
Great post.

Killericon
05-02-2009, 02:13 PM
Seems like noone knows for sure if Ayers is an end or an outside linebacker...

jayman_37
05-02-2009, 02:18 PM
Ludo, here's a good hint...

Watch after the end of the replays. It shows him lining up for the next play in what looks like an OLB position, or at least standing up...


Actually he is just waiting for the offense to get set before he goes down into a three point stance. I believe he played DT last year.

Popps
05-02-2009, 02:20 PM
Good thing we didn't go crazy on db's this draft.

None in the first.

A couple in the second, and one in the fourth.

All for a team with NO starter opposite Champ, no depth behind either CB, and no starting S opposite Dawkins, and no depth behind the starting S's.

I agree, good thing we didn't go crazy at DB. We took a few guys between the 2nd and 4th rounds for a barren secondary. Perfectly logical.

(LOL - Thanks to Buff for the wrong "baron" spelling correction.)

Popps
05-02-2009, 02:22 PM
Actually he is just waiting for the offense to get set before he goes down into a three point stance. I believe he played DT last year.

Oh, O.K... could be. It looked like he was going to remain standing up, but I couldn't tell. He looks awfully fast to be a DT, but that's cool. That will serve him as a 3-4 DE.

Not expecting too much from him, but I suspect he'll be a good role player, and he's clearly not afraid to lay someone out on special teams.

Hulamau
05-02-2009, 02:27 PM
Nice post, montrose. All of your info on the positons in regards to Nolan are excellent.
However, your comparing DEN players to BALTs makes me want to throw up.
CLEARLY LARSEN is the only LB DEN has that can play in this system. DJ at WILB is a complete joke, and Woodyard just isnt big enough to play inside either. Moss, dumervil and Boss(sighs in disgust) are total question marks and have underpreformed in a very simple base 4-3. Lets all just face facts, DEN doesnt have the personel right now. But hopefully they will in the near future, and then Montrose can fit those players into his 3-4 explanation, which was brilliant! Again, great breakdown of the positions, Montrose. Nice job.

Andra Davis, maybe even Mario Haggan & now Ayers at OLB can play 3-4LB.

Punisher
05-02-2009, 03:11 PM
Good thread,looks like you took a lot of time with this thread.

Rep for you.

cutthemdown
05-02-2009, 04:27 PM
I thought Nolan used a 4-3 defense the yr they won Superbowl. Siragusa and Sam Adams playing 2 big DT right in the middle?
Or was Nolan not d-coord that yr?

skunk
05-02-2009, 04:35 PM
I thought Nolan used a 4-3 defense the yr they won Superbowl. Siragusa and Sam Adams playing 2 big DT right in the middle?
Or was Nolan not d-coord that yr?

www.google.com

Drek
05-02-2009, 04:40 PM
None in the first.

A couple in the second, and one in the fourth.

All for a team with NO starter opposite Champ, no depth behind either CB, and no starting S opposite Dawkins, and no depth behind the starting S's.

I agree, good thing we didn't go crazy at DB. We took a few guys between the 2nd and 4th rounds for a baron secondary. Perfectly logical.

Andre Goodman and Renaldo Hill will be the starters at #2 CB and FS, they're both 30 and have been average to above average contributors every year of their career, even with changing defensive schemes several times, and are coming from a somewhat similar 3-4 system.

The reason we needed Alphonso Smith is because we didn't have a 3rd corner who could catch a damn cold. Josh Bell looked like the best of the three options last year (Jack Williams and Paymah being the other two) and he was a UDFA that SD cut early on in the season. We let Paymah walk and getting smith bumps Bell and Williams back to 4th and 5th string, where they should be at this point in their careers. He also gives us a fully groomed starter ready to step in when Goodman or Champ age to the point of being ineffective.

Darcel McBath is a system fit, much like Renaldo Hill who he'll back up. Hill converted from CB to FS when he entered the league, McBath made that transition back in college, but the both have near CB levels of athleticism and coverage ability, thats key. We're finally looking to have a FS who can play center field and make teams pay by displaying some ball hawking skills.

Bruton is an obvious STs pick, he was arguably the best ST gunner in college football last year. He has the potential to develop into a good starter, but he's got an immediate role to fill in improving our special teams.

Inkana7
05-02-2009, 04:51 PM
I thought Nolan used a 4-3 defense the yr they won Superbowl. Siragusa and Sam Adams playing 2 big DT right in the middle?
Or was Nolan not d-coord that yr?

Marvin Lewis was the DC for Baltimore that year. Then he left, and Nolan came in to change their D to a 3-4. They had an initial down season, but then they were back in the top 10 and Lewis and Reed won DPOY under him. Suggs had his two best sack years playing Nolan's rush OLB position, as well.