Question about LBs for those who know.

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I seem to have a knack for picking talent at certain positions, and not others. LBs, I couldnt tell squat! Can he transition from DE to OLB? Dont ask me...

Im under the understanding that OLBs job is pass rush more so than ILB. And ILB is more run stuffing. A great LB does it all. But to pass rush, you need added size, and to tackle you need speed to get there.

So I'm going to go out on a limb and say we have a couple OLBs fast enough to play ILB... I dont see why we couldnt switch the more superior OLB athlete to ILB and have him play well there...

I want reasons why we cant turn Perry and Mathews into ILB and Neal Peppers at OLB... Put all four of our best LBs on the field at the same time? Specific reasons with explanations :).
 

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I seem to have a knack for picking talent at certain positions, and not others. LBs, I couldnt tell squat! Can he transition from DE to OLB? Dont ask me...

Im under the understanding that OLBs job is pass rush more so than ILB. And ILB is more run stuffing. A great LB does it all. But to pass rush, you need added size, and to tackle you need speed to get there.

So I'm going to go out on a limb and say we have a couple OLBs fast enough to play ILB... I dont see why we couldnt switch the more superior OLB athlete to ILB and have him play well there...

I want reasons why we cant turn Perry and Mathews into ILB and Neal Peppers at OLB... Put all four of our best LBs on the field at the same time? Specific reasons with explanations :).


It could work but that's a big if, Matthews abilities would allow him to move inside, as we saw this year, but his best abilities are as a pass rusher, what do you think a defense would worry about more Clay Matthews disrupting plays from the outside, or moving him inside out side of his comfort zone to play ILB. He causes more havoc from outside players are breed to be ILB, just as they are breed to be OLB, why take a player from his natural position when we have the ability to draft a ILB who has everything or is close enough to what we are looking for to start alongside Barrington.
 
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Im not buying the whole, ILBs cant play OLB and visa versa... Mathews could, and did blitz from inside last year.
Im thinking all 4 LBs should be blitzing. The whole benifit of the 3-4 over the 4-3 is to have more speed, and ability to rush the passer.

If you dont use that extra ILB to rush the passer... Why not have a bigger, more destructive DT up there to stop the run?

Question in my mind still is unanswered. If ILBs and OLBs have the same jobs of run stop, pass rush, cover pass. Why arent they interchangable again?
 

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Maybe this is the plan all Long..to permanently move Clay Matthews inside and have Perry or maybe Hubbard outside with Peppers. Heck, maybe TT takes an olb in the first round? And resign Raji to another 1yr deal. Matthews showed he could blitz from the inside even tho he's much better from the outside. I wouldn't be shocked if this is the plan going into next season. If so maybe we can give up that 2nd round pick for Vernon Davis .
 
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Maybe this is the plan all Long..to permanently move Clay Matthews inside and have Perry or maybe Hubbard outside with Peppers. Heck, maybe TT takes an olb in the first round? And resign Raji to another 1yr deal. Matthews showed he could blitz from the inside even tho he's much better from the outside. I wouldn't be shocked if this is the plan going into next season. If so maybe we can give up that 2nd round pick for Vernon Davis .
Mathew is better from the outside... But he's half way through a career. (1/3 if he plays as long as his daddy) Maybe ILB is better suited for a older Mathews? Plus he will be closer to the ball in the middle. he could be great there.
 
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Perry can't cover ANYONE to save his life. That is imperative for an ILB.
Maybe its harder to switch than it sounds. And maybe our guys arent suited to make the transition. But we have a bakers half dozen OLBs... Surely one of them besides mathews could be servicable in case we dont draft a starter quality one this year.
 

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Mathew is better from the outside... But he's half way through a career. (1/3 if he plays as long as his daddy) Maybe ILB is better suited for a older Mathews? Plus he will be closer to the ball in the middle. he could be great there.

I believe this is the direction the packers will eventually go..maybe not next year but in the future I can see him finishing his career on the inside. He's got a nose for the ball and he's our best tackling backer already. He will be moved around next year much like this year..unleash him. Let him go make plays.
 
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Perry can't cover ANYONE to save his life. That is imperative for an ILB.

Perry actually ran a faster 40 than Matthews. While he hasn't been asked to cover guys a lot he has the athletic ability to do it.

Im not buying the whole, ILBs cant play OLB and visa versa... Mathews could, and did blitz from inside last year.
Im thinking all 4 LBs should be blitzing. The whole benifit of the 3-4 over the 4-3 is to have more speed, and ability to rush the passer.

If you dont use that extra ILB to rush the passer... Why not have a bigger, more destructive DT up there to stop the run?

Question in my mind still is unanswered. If ILBs and OLBs have the same jobs of run stop, pass rush, cover pass. Why arent they interchangable again?

ILBs don't rush the passer nearly as often as outside linebackers. By playing Matthews there constantly you take away your biggest strength.

A decent passing offense would destroy a defense blitzing all four LBs. There's a reason teams don't rush even six guys most of the time.
 

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Clay was far more effective at ILB IMO. When he rushes like a wild beast on the outside teams just let him run himself out of the play. They know where he is coming from and what he is doing. On the inside they have no idea what he may be doing. Look at his production once he moved inside. I believe he had far more sacks after the switch.
 
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Clay was far more effective at ILB IMO. When he rushes like a wild beast on the outside teams just let him run himself out of the play. They know where he is coming from and what he is doing. On the inside they have no idea what he may be doing. Look at his production once he moved inside. I believe he had far more sacks after the switch.

While Matthews' sack number increased after he started playing at ILB most of those came with him lining up on the outside (he had two sacks rushing from inside).
 

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If you dont use that extra ILB to rush the passer... Why not have a bigger, more destructive DT up there to stop the run?

Question in my mind still is unanswered. If ILBs and OLBs have the same jobs of run stop, pass rush, cover pass. Why arent they interchangable again?

Common misunderstandings abound there.

First, don't think of a 3-4 as "taking out a bigger DT," as you put it. In a 3-4, all 3 linemen are tackles. Forget that two of them are called "ends," they just happen to be the last guy on the line of scrimmage with their hand in the dirt. This is why we got away with 330 pounders at "end" in the past. In our scheme, they go no wider that head up on the offensive tackle.

Which brings us to the next point. In a 3-4, your OLBs are really your "ends." They just happen to be in a two point stance instead of a three point. On running plays, watch what they do on wide plays (sweeps, tosses, etc). They engage the offense tackle or tight end, keep their outside arm free and string out the play to the side line. On running plays, a 3-4 is really a 5-2. With that in mind, would you expect JPP, for example, to turn and run with Reggie Bush? Greg Hardy?

And then the last point about rushing the passer from ILB. Yes, that needs to happen on some plays, but on a simple, check-to-safe defensive audible, you probably aren't even rushing both OLBs. A base rush is 4 guys. More than likely, that's your 3 down linemen and (again, typically) the weak or right OLB.
 

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Perry actually ran a faster 40 than Matthews. While he hasn't been asked to cover guys a lot he has the athletic ability to do it.


He does not require the athletic ability to cover in short space, that is based on my eye test at least. Also, when looking at peoples athletic ability and ability to cover I generally like to look at the 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone drill. I think that displays athleticism more so than the 40 time. In that instance Matthews is in a class of his own; perry is very stiff in that aspect. He may be able to run, but can't turn and has very stiff hips. He was a DE in college, wasn't asked to do that stuff.

Matthews- 3 cone drill- 6.9 seconds; 20 yard shuttle- 4.18 sec

Perry- 3 cone drill- 7.25 seconds; 20 yard shuttle- 4.66 sec
 

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He does not require the athletic ability to cover in short space, that is based on my eye test at least. Also, when looking at peoples athletic ability and ability to cover I generally like to look at the 20 yard shuttle and 3 cone drill. I think that displays athleticism more so than the 40 time. In that instance Matthews is in a class of his own; perry is very stiff in that aspect. He may be able to run, but can't turn and has very stiff hips. He was a DE in college, wasn't asked to do that stuff.

Matthews- 3 cone drill- 6.9 seconds; 20 yard shuttle- 4.18 sec

Perry- 3 cone drill- 7.25 seconds; 20 yard shuttle- 4.66 sec

This. I think that guys like Perry and Neal are never going to match the expectations we have for them, at least not the way they're currently used.
 
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Perry actually ran a faster 40 than Matthews. While he hasn't been asked to cover guys a lot he has the athletic ability to do it.



ILBs don't rush the passer nearly as often as outside linebackers. By playing Matthews there constantly you take away your biggest strength.

A decent passing offense would destroy a defense blitzing all four LBs. There's a reason teams don't rush even six guys most of the time.
not saying blitz all 4 LBs at once. But actually blitz with all 4 LBs. Hit them from every direction.
 
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Common misunderstandings abound there.

First, don't think of a 3-4 as "taking out a bigger DT," as you put it. In a 3-4, all 3 linemen are tackles. Forget that two of them are called "ends," they just happen to be the last guy on the line of scrimmage with their hand in the dirt. This is why we got away with 330 pounders at "end" in the past. In our scheme, they go no wider that head up on the offensive tackle.

Which brings us to the next point. In a 3-4, your OLBs are really your "ends." They just happen to be in a two point stance instead of a three point. On running plays, watch what they do on wide plays (sweeps, tosses, etc). They engage the offense tackle or tight end, keep their outside arm free and string out the play to the side line. On running plays, a 3-4 is really a 5-2. With that in mind, would you expect JPP, for example, to turn and run with Reggie Bush? Greg Hardy?

And then the last point about rushing the passer from ILB. Yes, that needs to happen on some plays, but on a simple, check-to-safe defensive audible, you probably aren't even rushing both OLBs. A base rush is 4 guys. More than likely, that's your 3 down linemen and (again, typically) the weak or right OLB.

That legit. But I never liked 270(or less) pound DEs. Disliked them... Kampman and KGB were the exceptions. Kampman was just awesome, and KGB was a specialist..... I wanted a 300 pound Reggie look alike... Thats why I rallied for Jenkins to move to end for 2 years before he did so... Jenkins was a do everything DE... Hated he signed for 5mil with philly...hurt us bad.

D-linemen that demand a double team are rare... I believe there is an opportunity to go from 5 O-linemen and 4 D-linemen, advantage offense +1. Now for every D-lineman that demands the double team, defense gets another one man advantage... Theoreticly, I believe a 3-4 doesnt work unless you have 3 great D-linemen that command 5 O-linemen to stop them...That what allows the 2 man advantage for the rest of the defense... In a 4-3 defense theres the potential to dominate up front... But the flexability of the 3-4 is a valuable strategy in its own right... I've always believed D-linemen are big! DE's 300+, DTs 320+ with one preferably a Gilbert Brown clone to anchor the middle.
 
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not saying blitz all 4 LBs at once. But actually blitz with all 4 LBs. Hit them from every direction.

The Packers already do that and throw in the occasional safety and corner blitz as well. Nevertheless the OLBs are the best pass rushers in a 3-4 defense so you prefer them going after the QB.

That legit. But I never liked 270(or less) pound DEs. Disliked them... Kampman and KGB were the exceptions. Kampman was just awesome, and KGB was a specialist..... I wanted a 300 pound Reggie look alike... Thats why I rallied for Jenkins to move to end for 2 years before he did so... Jenkins was a do everything DE... Hated he signed for 5mil with philly...hurt us bad.

D-linemen that demand a double team are rare... I believe there is an opportunity to go from 5 O-linemen and 4 D-linemen, advantage offense +1. Now for every D-lineman that demands the double team, defense gets another one man advantage... Theoreticly, I believe a 3-4 doesnt work unless you have 3 great D-linemen that command 5 O-linemen to stop them...That what allows the 2 man advantage for the rest of the defense... In a 4-3 defense theres the potential to dominate up front... But the flexability of the 3-4 is a valuable strategy in its own right... I've always believed D-linemen are big! DE's 300+, DTs 320+ with one preferably a Gilbert Brown clone to anchor the middle.

Weight isn't a deciding factor for the success of a defensive line, talent is though. There's a reason the Packers wanted to get more athletic on the line in 2014 after starting Jolly, Pickett and Raji in 2013.
 

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That legit. But I never liked 270(or less) pound DEs. Disliked them... Kampman and KGB were the exceptions. Kampman was just awesome, and KGB was a specialist..... I wanted a 300 pound Reggie look alike...

Well, most 4-3 ends are in the 265-275 pound range. Even today. I get why you want big beefy guys across the line, but I think you have a misunderstanding of how most 4-3 ends are built.

Reggie is a little bit of an oddity. Most men that size can't play fast enough for outside contain. See: Reggie as the end of his career in GB.

He's further an oddity in that the Fritz 4-3 is more of a hybrid not unlike Seattle. Reggie was used more like a 3-4 end than a 4-3 end. He was strong-side and was supposed to blow up guys more, while the Right/Weak DE was an undersized speed rusher, more like a 3-4 OLB. Of course, that's a gross over simplification.

D-linemen that demand a double team are rare... I believe there is an opportunity to go from 5 O-linemen and 4 D-linemen, advantage offense +1. Now for every D-lineman that demands the double team, defense gets another one man advantage... Theoreticly, I believe a 3-4 doesnt work unless you have 3 great D-linemen that command 5 O-linemen to stop them...That what allows the 2 man advantage for the rest of the defense... In a 4-3 defense theres the potential to dominate up front... But the flexability of the 3-4 is a valuable strategy in its own right... I've always believed D-linemen are big! DE's 300+, DTs 320+ with one preferably a Gilbert Brown clone to anchor the middle.

So I'll pick on that some more.

Ideally, yes, a 3-4 has 3 two-gappers, but that style of play has largely gone out of style. Modern 3-4s typically just need one of those guys and he's usually the NT. With all the counter actions and similar, just having big guys two-gapping typically gives the offense too many options. Let your NT control both A gaps, your ends the C gaps, your OLBs contain, and a combination of your ILBs and your NT and Ends (if your Guard takes out an ILB, the NT slides into the vacated gap, the End squeezes on the Tackle down) and you're sorted.

Now "dominating" with 4 linemen. I understand why you would think that, 3-4 fronts tend to be bigger and thus more likely to be dominating. The typical, modern 4-3 has a NT, just like a 3-4. He can be a touch smaller, because while he's forcing a double team, he's doing so with positioning more than anything else--he'll be in an A-Gap. You add in a 3-technique DT to help rush the passer. He'll also be in a gap, normally the B-Gap away from the NT. Warren Sapp is the archtype, but in our world, you could easily imagine Raji as the NT and Daniels as the 3-tech, for example.

At left/strong end, we have a glut of players that actually project quiet well. Peppers, Neal, Perry. They don't have to be and are not true two-gappers, the strong end will get doubled by the TE on plays. At right/weak end, kind of the same, though you swap in Matthews for Neal.

While that'd be a nice, strong set, I don't see it inherentily more dominating than our preferred 3-4 front.

Which brings us to the typical point: 3-4s are schematically the better run defense, 4-3s pass defense. (Obviously both get the job done as a base alignment, but both are slight compromises. Small ones, lets say 55/45 or 60/40, but it's there.) If that sounds odd to you, look a the most common nickel line: the 4-2, which very obviously looks more like a 4-3 than a 3-4. And coming full circle, that's why we run a 2-4 nickel: because really, our OLBs are really defensive ends.
 
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This. I think that guys like Perry and Neal are never going to match the expectations we have for them, at least not the way they're currently used.
Who's "we"? I was shocked when Thompson drafted Perry.
Common misunderstandings abound there.

First, don't think of a 3-4 as "taking out a bigger DT," as you put it. In a 3-4, all 3 linemen are tackles. Forget that two of them are called "ends," they just happen to be the last guy on the line of scrimmage with their hand in the dirt. This is why we got away with 330 pounders at "end" in the past. In our scheme, they go no wider that head up on the offensive tackle.

Which brings us to the next point. In a 3-4, your OLBs are really your "ends." They just happen to be in a two point stance instead of a three point. On running plays, watch what they do on wide plays (sweeps, tosses, etc). They engage the offense tackle or tight end, keep their outside arm free and string out the play to the side line. On running plays, a 3-4 is really a 5-2. With that in mind, would you expect JPP, for example, to turn and run with Reggie Bush? Greg Hardy?

And then the last point about rushing the passer from ILB. Yes, that needs to happen on some plays, but on a simple, check-to-safe defensive audible, you probably aren't even rushing both OLBs. A base rush is 4 guys. More than likely, that's your 3 down linemen and (again, typically) the weak or right OLB.
I give you a conditional agree on this.

That's the basic template of the 3-4 LB coverage demands. Their primary jobs are to rush the passer and hold the edge in the run game. I'd add pursuit from the backside. The ILBs are the guys called upon to take on most of coverage responsibility.

However, I recall one game a couple of years ago where one of the beat writers counted 7 Matthews pass drops from OLB. We all enjoyed seeing Peppers drop in short zone, read the QB, and take a pick to the house.

The better coverage skills OLBs have, the more flexible the defense can be matching up, answering an array of alignments, or just deceiving the offense. And if a particular OLB is just bad in coverage, teams will try to exploit that particularly out of the base alignment.
 
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HardRightEdge

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The Packers already do that and throw in the occasional safety and corner blitz as well. Nevertheless the OLBs are the best pass rushers in a 3-4 defense so you prefer them going after the QB.

Weight isn't a deciding factor for the success of a defensive line, talent is though. There's a reason the Packers wanted to get more athletic on the line in 2014 after starting Jolly, Pickett and Raji in 2013.
The 49ers are often cited as a 3-4 that runs light on the D-Line. Then again, Justin Smith was the closest thing to Watt before there was a Watt, and the lighter line was backed by at least one All-Pro ILB and sometimes two.

Rangy, long-armed, athletic 3-4 DEs that get off blocks on get on the move and/or a smaller, quicker NT in a 1-gapping scheme puts more pressure on the ILBs and takes pressure off the OLBs. I believe you need at least one tough, smart, fast football player at ILB to get away with "3-4 lite", ergo Matthews providing a credible imitation of Pat Willis.

Which approach is taken depends partly on philosophy and partly on the personnel at hand or that can be acquired.
 

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Who's "we"? I was shocked when Thompson drafted Perry.

I give you a conditional agree on this.

That's the basic template of the 3-4 LB coverage demands. Their primary jobs are to rush the passer and hold the edge in the run game. I'd add pursuit from the backside. The ILBs are the guys called upon to take on most of coverage responsibility.

However, I recall one game a couple of years ago where one of the beat writers counted 7 Matthews pass drops from OLB. We all enjoyed seeing Peppers drop in short zone, read the QB, and take a pick to the house.

The better coverage skills OLBs have, the more flexible the defense can be matching up, answering an array of alignments, or just deceiving the offense. And if a particular OLB is just bad in coverage, teams will try to exploit that particularly out of the base alignment.

I think we actually agree here, as my main point is that 3-4 OLBs ~= 4-3 Ends. They just have more coverage responsibilities. (And are typically a little smaller. And typically have a more general skill set. And, and, and, and. . . )

That does change, if due to play call, alignment, down and distance results in the opposition throwing a lot out a base alignment. Both OLBs aren't going to rushing all the time. One of the two will need to be in coverage.
 
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The 49ers are often cited as a 3-4 that runs light on the D-Line. Then again, Justin Smith was the closest thing to Watt before there was a Watt, and the lighter line was backed by at least one All-Pro ILB and sometimes two.

Rangy, long-armed, athletic 3-4 DEs that get off blocks on get on the move and/or a smaller, quicker NT in a 1-gapping scheme puts more pressure on the ILBs and takes pressure off the OLBs. I believe you need at least one tough, smart, fast football player at ILB to get away with "3-4 lite", ergo Matthews providing a credible imitation of Pat Willis.

Which approach is taken depends partly on philosophy and partly on the personnel at hand or that can be acquired.
Reminds me of our 300 pound zone blocking O-linemen... Bronco's did it, why cant we??? Turns out. just because. 49ers has smith/smith, 2 all-pro LBs, and their secondary was the just as good as the legion of boom. So yea, fill the field with all-pro talent......

Dont get me wrong, I know how conventional defensive strategies and trends tend to say 4-3 DEs are 265-275. But How many of those smallish, quick DTs could be moved to DE. How many Peppers and Kampmans could move from end to being huge OLBs? I still dream of the day we find a 6'4" 250 pound safety who makes receivers forget how to catch a ball. Oh and Gilbert Brown 2.0 at nose... I want a freaking giant!!!
 

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