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Transitioning from Kris Richard to Ken Norton

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  • A couple of notes concerning the return of Ken Norton and his influence ........

    During the Kris Richard era, the Seahawks transitioned to a predominently nickle defense. By 2017, Seattle's defense relied on a nickle defense 68% of the time, third highest in the league. They used their base 29% for a league ranking of only 22nd.

    "Seattle played two games against the 49ers, the team with the most two-back runs in 2017. They also played two games against the Cardinals, the team with the fewest two-back runs in 2017. Seattle had a -6.3% rushing DVOA against the 49ers, allowing 5.7 yards per play. They had a -20.0% rushing DVOA against Arizona, allowing 2.8 yards per play. They throttled the single-back attacks of Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. They floundered against the two-back attacks of Green Bay, Tennessee, and Jacksonville." https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/2017-defensive-personnel-analysis

    It seems reasonable to anticipate that they intend to get quicker and stronger verses the run with the return of Ken Norton. I don't know that we will ever again see anyone as big as Red Bryant at 5 technique. But, I do suspect they are going to at least revisit once again the use of a defensive tackle out on the strong end verses the two back run.

    They also have a lot of intriguing defensive backs with which to explore the possibilities of using 6+ DBs more than 3% of the time in passing situations.

    Interesting possibilities in the offering for 2018. Times they are a changing.
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  • Jville, thank you for sharing this! I love reading these kinds of articles and would have never known there was such a glaring disparity in our effectiveness as a run defense against single vs. two back runs. I wonder what the film has to say about why this was the case? Was it a personnel weakness or a schematic one? Really interesting stuff and like you say, I hope Norton has a plan to solve it.
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  • Jville wrote:A couple of notes concerning the return of Ken Norton and his influence ........

    During the Kris Richard era, the Seahawks transitioned to a predominently nickle defense. By 2017, Seattle's defense relied on a nickle defense 68% of the time, third highest in the league. They used their base 29% for a league ranking of only 22nd.

    "Seattle played two games against the 49ers, the team with the most two-back runs in 2017. They also played two games against the Cardinals, the team with the fewest two-back runs in 2017. Seattle had a -6.3% rushing DVOA against the 49ers, allowing 5.7 yards per play. They had a -20.0% rushing DVOA against Arizona, allowing 2.8 yards per play. They throttled the single-back attacks of Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. They floundered against the two-back attacks of Green Bay, Tennessee, and Jacksonville." https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/2017-defensive-personnel-analysis

    It seems reasonable to anticipate that they intend to get quicker and stronger verses the run with the return of Ken Norton. I don't know that we will ever again see anyone as big as Red Bryant at 5 technique. But, I do suspect they are going to at least revisit once again the use of a defensive tackle out on the strong end verses the two back run.

    They also have a lot of intriguing defensive backs with which to explore the possibilities of using 6+ DBs more than 3% of the time in passing situations.

    Interesting possibilities in the offering for 2018. Times they are a changing.


    I had always hoped that they would employ the "big" nickel to address this very thing but you gotta have the horses.
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  • Maybe, just maybe, we may end up back in the same scenario with our offense. Vary with the 2 back and single back making sure there is no pattern for other teams to signal or anticipate what is going on. The chess match continues.
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  • Just wanted to add .......

    "Minnesota, Atlanta, Seattle, and Cincinnati were the least balanced defenses in the league, sitting in nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Contrast that with Houston, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, who didn't use any defensive personnel package more than 40 percent of the time, freely flipping between base, nickel, and dime packages depending on what personnel the offense trotted out.

    It's interesting that even with the homogenization we've seen in personnel packages on the offensive side of the ball, there are still so many different ways that defenses choose to handle it. It's not like there's an obvious right or wrong way to do it, either -- the Vikings, Ravens, and Rams were about as far from one another as you can possibly get, yet all three were in the top six defenses by DVOA.

    It doesn't seem to matter whether you stick to what you're best at or substitute to match every single variation offenses put out there. Either can work -- as long as you have the talent to back it up. https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/2017-defensive-personnel-analysis"

    They currently have 11 linebackers on the roster as they search for an upgrade for that third spot. I'm optimistic that Norton can uncover a little more balance this year. In any case, transitions are always intriguing and we are witnessing a lot of personnel shuffling this year. :2thumbs: Each year is unique because each team is unique.
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  • Seahawkfan80 wrote:Maybe, just maybe, we may end up back in the same scenario with our offense. Vary with the 2 back and single back making sure there is no pattern for other teams to signal or anticipate what is going on. The chess match continues.


    Interesting note about telling or tipping an offense's hand ....... "The Panthers were the one team to see at least a 25.0% increase when running with two backs in the backfield, rising from 31st in the league to eighth in their heavier sets. This is new—they were significantly worse in two-back formations in 2015, and close to even in 2016. You would think that the loss of Mike Tolbert would have hurt the Panthers, but quite the opposite! Perhaps Ed Dickson lining up as an H-back is less of an obvious run tell than bringing in a fullback; the Panthers threw the ball roughly 43 percent of the time with Dickson as an H-back in 2017, compared to 26 percent with Tolbert as the lone fullback in 2016. https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/run-offense-number-backs-2017"

    I'm so excited about the addition of Ed Dickson. I'm compelled to believe that Dickson is a part of that new 25% Brian Schottenheimer has added to the offense. I guess we are really going to have to pay close attention in 2018. A lot of options and possibilities to keep up with during the up coming training camp. I'm trying to become better informed in preparation for that fast approaching training camp ..... my favorite time of the football year.
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  • I think it's worth noting that we have gone away from base more and more since Bruce Irvin left, as we haven't had an impact player at SAM. As Norton is a former LB, not a DB, personnel may change a little. If Shaquem shows well enough, they may even consider pushing KJ back to SAM in base personnel, and get Shaquem on the field more often than Coleman. I don't think we'll see 330 lb. 5-techniques often anymore, although I miss it. I think Jordan and Green though fit that bigger DE mold.
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  • Richard had them play soft and deep in the secondary and rarely blitz, Quinn had them playing much more aggressive and stunted and blitzed. You can have the same group but play a different style of aggression. Remember it was night and day between Bradley and Quinn, Richard was a student of the Bradley style.
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  • Physicality of the front seven should become more of a focal point. There is a good chance we will see more base defense with more strong side LB, which means more size and physicality in setting the edge. Mingo is a great looking SAM. Defense could be more aggressive, intimidating, in terms of scheme. The biggest role Norton plays is as a leader and motivator, helping to set the right tone in the locker room.
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  • I agree I think we are going to see a lot more physical play and attacking style!!
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  • chris98251 wrote:Richard had them play soft and deep in the secondary and rarely blitz, Quinn had them playing much more aggressive and stunted and blitzed. You can have the same group but play a different style of aggression. Remember it was night and day between Bradley and Quinn, Richard was a student of the Bradley style.


    We ran man coverage at the 5th highest rate with Richard in 2017: https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/p ... st-in-2017

    You're right about the stunts and twists though, I don't think those were as effective under Richard.
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  • I don't think we can make any assessment since Richard's defense was designed to feature Sherman, Chancellor, and Thomas and ended up with none of them at times. Those guys had a chemistry between them where they knew where each other would be at all times. He would have been left improvising with players who were less certain of coverage areas, and by the end of the season he was pretty much out of players altogether.

    He would have been forced to play a safer, more basic defense. He couldn't take risks because someone could be caught out of position. I think the numbers reflect that.
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  • Let's not forget Richard has been a coach at some form or another with the LOB since the beginning, CB coach and DB coach, which is a different animal than a straight up defensive coordinator.

    DC is more of a disconnected role and an enforcer of the HC. IMHO anything lower than that you become a "players" coach, a fellow football player that is teaching from experience. Everybody is with the same fight. Once a coach grows and get's up into to those prestige positions there is going to be resentment. I've seen it with promotions in business and the military.

    It isn't unbelievable that the LOB could see the only reason KR is a DC because of them so if there is any resistance on either side, I could see some serious resentment.
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  • adeltaY wrote:
    chris98251 wrote:Richard had them play soft and deep in the secondary and rarely blitz, Quinn had them playing much more aggressive and stunted and blitzed. You can have the same group but play a different style of aggression. Remember it was night and day between Bradley and Quinn, Richard was a student of the Bradley style.


    We ran man coverage at the 5th highest rate with Richard in 2017: https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/p ... st-in-2017

    You're right about the stunts and twists though, I don't think those were as effective under Richard.


    Soft and deep, not zone, we never challanged or rarely challanged the release off the line, we were setting up deep and letting underneath stuff happen over and over. It may had a man look but was as close to a prevent defense as you could get almost the whole game.
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  • KiwiHawk wrote:I don't think we can make any assessment since Richard's defense was designed to feature Sherman, Chancellor, and Thomas and ended up with none of them at times. Those guys had a chemistry between them where they knew where each other would be at all times. He would have been left improvising with players who were less certain of coverage areas, and by the end of the season he was pretty much out of players altogether.

    He would have been forced to play a safer, more basic defense. He couldn't take risks because someone could be caught out of position. I think the numbers reflect that.


    I seem to remember a game in Cincy that they had all 3 and one missed change up from Cover 1 to cover 2 and it basically lost the game for us. Eifert scored and we could not come back. Twas at that game and a certain person mentioned that the call was relayed too late for them to transition completely. So it was a half and half situation. They went after said person too as he was not covered high. Hmm...Do you want fries with that said person?

    This is meant to mean that the playcall and the players on the field were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not even attacking the post. Just an observation and learning experience for me.
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  • I’m excited to see what Norton can bring given the rains in his return. The raider fans don’t appear to be too upset at losing him though. Does anyone have any insights into his stint as DC there?
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  • brimsalabim wrote:I’m excited to see what Norton can bring given the rains in his return. The raider fans don’t appear to be too upset at losing him though. Does anyone have any insights into his stint as DC there?


    The Raider defense, in that time frame, was described as a blend of Norton and Del Rio. Jack Del Rio's vision dominated as head coach and background as a former defensive coordinator, linebacker coach and linebacker player. That blended hybrid defense didn't work out well and in fact deteriorated over Del Rio's three years as head coach.

    Although Ken Norton volunteered he learned a lot during his time in Oakland, he has returned home to work with Pete Carroll's defense. A defense Ken knows very well and with which he has had considerable success.
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  • But will it be Norton’s defense or will he run into the same head coach interference with Pete?
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  • Tical21 wrote:I think it's worth noting that we have gone away from base more and more since Bruce Irvin left, as we haven't had an impact player at SAM. As Norton is a former LB, not a DB, personnel may change a little. If Shaquem shows well enough, they may even consider pushing KJ back to SAM in base personnel, and get Shaquem on the field more often than Coleman. I don't think we'll see 330 lb. 5-techniques often anymore, although I miss it. I think Jordan and Green though fit that bigger DE mold.

    This ^^^^ I think he was just playing that will get the best 11 guys on the field the most often.
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  • brimsalabim wrote:But will it be Norton’s defense or will he run into the same head coach interference with Pete?


    The Seahawk defenses have been a product of Pete's dynamic vision, adaptation and oversight since Carroll's arrival. He delegates to his defensive coordinator and position coaches so they can learn and grow. But, Carroll maintains oversight with regards to defensive principles.

    Ken Norton is back in his comfort zone. He'll thrive in 2018.
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