Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 76

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Gir's Weekly Column: Volume 76

By Gir Todafunk
Special To The Daily Magi
July 21, 2056


Hey, hey, HEEEEEYYYYY! It's me, Gir Todafunk, back for one more year and with another Weekly Column for the Daily Magi and Magi Football Blog. Yep, I'm doing one more series before I call this career. I decided not to forgo my final season of eligibility. I'm kind of bummed out that Bo Morrow decided to leave our Cornerbacks Crew, but we do wish him well. So it's just me, Bryan, Nathan and Quinton...and a new guy, Josh Joyce, who we will pass our collective cornerback mojo to.

So what we know is that we only have four games at home this year. So we are going to have a lot of recruits coming in to check us out and see what we're all about on all four game days. Of course, we do have three bye weeks, but recruits give us additional brownie points for impressing on the field. We already have five recruits sign up with us, so spots are filling fast.

Over the next several weeks ahead of our game with BYU, I will talk defense. First up: the 4-3. In American football, a 4–3 defense is a defensive alignment consisting of four down linemen and three linebackers. It is probably the most commonly used defense in modern American football and especially in the National Football League. NFL teams that use the 4–3 defense as of 2013 include the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. The Broncos returned to the 4–3 with the hiring of John Fox as head coach. The Patriots returned to the 4–3 in the 2011 NFL Season. The New York Jets used variations of the 4–3 for the 2012 NFL Season against spread offenses, but will stick with the 3-4 Defense as its base. The Cowboys will return to a 4–3 Defense with the hiring of Monte Kiffin as their Defensive Coordinator. The Bills will not have base defense with new Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine, who came over from the Jets, where they ran a 3–4 Defense. However, the Bills ran a 4–3 Defense in 2012, so it remains to be seen what the TV will show. Early in training camp, indications point to the Bills using a 3-4 Defense with Mario Williams at OLB.

The invention of the 4–3 is often attributed to legendary coach Tom Landry, in the 1950s, while serving as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, in large part because the Giants were the first to adopt the 4-3 as their base defense. Others attribute the creation of the 4–3 to Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker, Bill George. It has also been said that the 4–3 defense was a creation of Garrard "Buster" Ramsey, the defensive coach of the Detroit Lions teams in the 1950s.

In the original version of the 4–3, the tackles lined up over the offensive guards and the ends lined up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles, with the middle linebacker over the center and the other linebackers outside the ends. In the mid-1960s Hank Stram developed a popular variation, the "Kansas City Stack", which shifted the strong side defensive end over the tight end, stacked the strongside linebacker over the tackle, and shifted the weakside tackle over center. At about the same time the Cleveland Browns frequently used a weakside shift. The Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry developed a "flex" variation, in order to take advantage of the quickness of his Hall of Fame tackle, Bob Lilly. In Tom Landry's original 4–3 defenses (4-3 Inside and 4-3 Outside), both defensive tackle were flexed. In the "flex", on a pro set right, with defensive keys showing a run to the right, the right defensive tackle would be flush on the line and was supposed to penetrate. The right defensive end and left defensive tackle were flexed two feet off the line of scrimmage, the right defensive end now head on with the left offensive tackle (i.e. a 4-2-2-5 front instead of the more common 5-2-2-5 front). This gave the defense a "zig zag" look unlike any other of its day. More modern versions of the 4-3 include the Tampa 2 scheme and the 4-3 slide.

I will talk some more about the 4-3 next week. I'm Gir, Mr. Wonderful, signing off. You are not alone.

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