Connect with us


Chalk Talk Mailbag: A Look at Special Defensive Packages



Ed. note: Thomas Fleming is our resident Xs and Os expert, and we got some really fun mailbag questions for him to look at this week. Keep those coming to us via Facebook, Twitter or email (pistolsfiringblog at gmail dot com), and we’ll keep feeding him. 

Here are the first two of those.

There has been a lot of talk about the 3-3-5 but you list defensive starters in a 4-2 with the star backer. Who get the starting reps in the 3-3-5? Is it 1 DT 2 D-Ends 3 DTs or … 3 LBs the star and Flowers or 2 LBs 2 Stars and Flowers? I’m assuming Richards is back deep? Would be a good article. -Ryan

The short answer is that we don’t know. They could be using a 3-3-5 traditional set, which includes three lineman (two ends and one tackle), three linebackers and five guys in the secondary. They could also be using a 3-3-5 nickel, which replaces one of the two strong safeties to a nickel back.

Since the Star linebacker is similar to both the strong safety of the former and the nickel back of the latter, they could use the same personnel in both and adjust depending on the offense’s formation. They have used both, and they could use both again. This is the kind of thing that will likely be covered after the first couple of games once they show how they’ll use it.

I’m curious as to your thoughts on this. You think Spencer could install a defensive package where we have either 3 or 4 different defensive ends on the field at the same time (for obvious passing downs)? So, run a 3-4 with 3 DEs, or a nickel (4-2) formation with 4 DEs? Could be super fun to watch Big Cole, Webber, Brailford, and Owens pin their ears back and get after Kenny Hill or *whispers* maybe even Baker. -Jon J.

They could do this. They have stood Cole Walterschied up as an outside rusher in the past. There is also such a thing as using three, or even four, defensive ends at one time. The New York Giants created a defensive package under former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called NASCAR, and it helped them win two super bowls in 2007 and 2012.

They would play at least three defensive ends, for example Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul in 2012, at the same time. It’s usually a nickel package that places the lineman in what’s called “wide nine” technique. This means the two outside ends widen to the nine technique outside the C gap, putting them in prime position for pass rushing. The Cowboys could do something similar this season, although it would likely be for specific scenarios and would not be used as frequently as other packages.

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media