Prevent/Soft Zone Defense

The Essential Online Seahawks Fan Forum Community. There simply is NO substitute. RATING: PG-13
Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:36 am
  • Can someone who understands the X's and O's of football please help me understand why this Achilles Heel Scheme exists so much in the NFL? My wife was asking me what I thought about our new DC and it got me on the topic of saying how Gus Bradley won't be missed too much by me at least due to his dependence on the prevent defense/soft zone coverage that too often ended up losing games for us, the least of which being the divisional playoff game against the Falcons.

    Then it made me wonder...What if our new DC will do the same thing in the same situations? In fact, why is it even utilized when 99 out of 100 times fans end up bitching about why it was used?

    We all know the saying..."The only thing prevent defense does is PREVENT you from winning!"

    For years and years, regardless of coaching staff, players and schemes, that statement always seems true.

    So what gives? Please help me and perhaps others understand what I may be missing here. Why is soft zone, prevent D used, especially at the end of the game when the game is on the line and so often - so it seems - that very scheme is the reason we end up losing?

    (kearly, Absolute, etc...Please pick up the white courtesy phone...)
    Image

    Les "The Radish" Norton - Ambassador/Grandfather of .NET, gone too soon but will never be forgotten. RIP
    User avatar
    Aros
    [[ .NET Godfather ]]
     
    Posts: 8193
    Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:58 am
    Location: Just 6 miles from Richard Sherman!


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:50 am
  • At its most basic, it isn't a scheme so much as a philosophy within the scheme. A true prevent defense is a cover-4 (quarters) with 3-4 underneath zones (depending on how many rushers).

    But what you see more often is the prevent philosophy more than the scheme. In this philosophy you emphasize to the players playing deep to be BEHIND the deepest man. So if the offense sends two speedsters 50 yards downfield - the 4 cover guys (2 in man and two in deep zone often rather than 4 in quarters) are 50 yards downfield. This leaves the other players in coverage to cover areas that are simply far too large to either play man or zone in. If in man, slot corners and LBs in coverage against TEs simply have no help as we saw against Atlanta with Harry Douglas. We were in man coverage there but it was just difficult to execute. Playing in man also gives the QB huge amounts of open space to run. If in zone - often the deep ins at around 20-25 yards are open behind the LBers but in front of the safeties and the reads are easy.

    You saw what can happen when you don't emphasize it in the Denver game. That play in Denver (the Jones bomb for the tie) is the reason we see this prevent philosophy so much. That safety should have been much further back.

    Overall, then the "prevent" is much about telling your safeties - do not give up the big play. In turn, that puts too much pressure on the rest of the cover guys and holes easily develop because unless those other guys are playing flawlessly (and even when they are) good offensive schemes will punch holes fairly easily - especially when given time.

    Having said all that, the one limiter is pressure. If you can get pressure on the QB, especially with four men - it shortens the field significantly and the plays do not develop as easily. That 20 yard deep in may not have had time to develop and those players may not get 50 yards downfield allowing the safeties to still be in play. This is why the 4 man rush is so important to a defense these days. This is why the Giants won 2 superbowls and could beat the Patriots.

    However, if you have to send 6-7 guys to do the job of those 4 - the margin for error for the cover guys basically becomes zero (as does the coverage) and one mistake (missed tackle, bad jump) equals a huge gain. Moreover, every NFL offense has blitz-beating routes (hot routes) made to beat the man coverage that comes with a blitz (using slants or similar quick routes). This latter point is why the zone-blitz scheme of Pittsburgh and the 3-4 in general has been so successful over the years because there are more guys who could rush and defensive lineman who the QB almost always expects to rush can drop into those hot route passing lanes. We did some of it this year - especially with Clemons - in fact Irvin dropped on one play in the game and looked pretty lost (I forget which one but it was a success for Atlanta) - so it is hard to execute and even Clem isn't great at it. You would rather have him rushing the QB as when you drop him in coverage and it isn't a success - you hate yourself.

    In the end, there lies the catch-22 of all defensive coordinators (me included). Do I defend the deep ball and hope that my underneath players can make a play? Or do I risk a deep play and help them out? The answer is almost invariably the former - especially when up by more than 3 points. Because if the offense dinks and dunks down the field the one helper of a defense is the end line. As the field of play gets shorter - it becomes easier to defend. So most coaches would take their chances and let the opposing offense dink and dunk until getting to such a point where they can now scheme to help the underneath guys and mitigate some of the risk of a deep ball.

    Also, as my philosophy is, so is Pete's, the big play is a back-breaker for teams. So I can accept a team driving 15 plays for a touchdown because that means they had to execute 15 plays and that is difficult to do. Every play the offense has the ball increases the chances of a mistake (fumble, sack, int) and so the more plays the offense requires to score - often the better it is for the defense. Though there are some caveats to that, obviously, for the most part it is the philosophy I have seen from Bradley and Pete these last 3 years.
    Last edited by TDOTSEAHAWK on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:28 am, edited 7 times in total.
    Driver of the PC/JS Super Bowl wagon since 2010
    Image
    Sherman looks like a ballet master in grand jeté –
    a trash-talking, dreadlocked Baryshnikov suspended
    impossibly above the turf – pro football's paean to
    wanton human destruction slips into the sublime.
    User avatar
    TDOTSEAHAWK
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2962
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:16 pm
    Location: Hamilton


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:01 am
  • I guess if we shore up our pass rush, any defense will work a lot better,...our 3rd down defense (esp. 3rd and long), has been a joke for way too long,...
    User avatar
    Hamhawk
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2089
    Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 2:05 pm
    Location: Kenmore WA


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:03 am
  • Hamhawk wrote:I guess if we shore up our pass rush, any defense will work a lot better,...our 3rd down defense (esp. 3rd and long), has been a joke for way too long,...


    If you can rush the QB effectively with 4 men on a routine basis - your defense will be a top-5 defense in the league.
    Driver of the PC/JS Super Bowl wagon since 2010
    Image
    Sherman looks like a ballet master in grand jeté –
    a trash-talking, dreadlocked Baryshnikov suspended
    impossibly above the turf – pro football's paean to
    wanton human destruction slips into the sublime.
    User avatar
    TDOTSEAHAWK
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2962
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:16 pm
    Location: Hamilton


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:06 am
  • Prevent is kind of like cover 4 when you drop 4 guys into thier deep quarter zones, but in prevent you rush 3 instead of 4 and the 4 guys that drop into thier hook zone are 20 yards downfield, so you're basically running a cover 4 where everyone backs off and plays deep trying to keep the play in front I them
    seahawks875
    NET Rookie
     
    Posts: 238
    Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:14 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:11 am
  • TDOTSEAHAWK wrote:At its most basic, it isn't a scheme so much as a philosophy within the scheme. A true prevent defense is a cover-4 (quarters) with 3-4 underneath zones (depending on how many rushers).

    But what you see more often is the prevent philosophy more than the scheme. In this philosophy you emphasize to the players playing deep to be BEHIND the deepest man. so if the offense sends two speedsters 50 yards downfield - the 4 cover guys (2 in man and two in deep zone often rather than 4 in quarters) are fifty yards downfield. This leaves the other players in coverage to cover areas that are simply far too large to either play man or zone in. If in man, slot corners and LBs in coverage against TEs simply have no help as we saw against Atlanta with Harry Douglas. We were in man coverage there but it was just difficult to execute. Playing in man also gives the QB huge amounts of open space to run. If in zone - often the deep ins at around 20-25 yards are open behind the LBers but in front of the safeties and the reads are easy.

    You saw what can happen when you don't emphasize it in the Denver game. That play in Denver (the Jones bomb for the tie) is the reason we see this prevent philosophy so much. That safety should have been much further back.

    Overall, then the "prevent" is much about telling your safeties - do not give up the big play. In turn, that puts too much pressure on the rest of the cover guys and holes easily develop because unless those other guys are playing flawlessly (and even when they are) good offensive schemes will punch holes fairly easily - especially when given time.

    Having said all that, the one limiter is pressure. If you can get pressure on the QB, especially with four men - it shortens the field significantly and the plays do not develop as easily. That 20 yard deep in may not have had time to develop and those players may not get 50 yards downfield allowing the safeties to still be in play. This is why the 4 man rush is so important to a defense these days. This is why the Giants won 2 superbowls and could beat the Patriots.

    There lies the catch-22 of all defensive coordinators (me included). Do I defend the deep ball and hope that my underneath players can make a play? Or do I risk a deep play and help them out? The answer is almost invariably the former - especially when up by more than 3 points. Because if the offense dinks and dunks down the field the one helper of a defense is the end line. As the field of play gets shorter - it becomes easier to defend. So most coaches would take their chances and let the opposing offense dink and dunk until getting to such a point where they can now scheme to help the underneath guys and mitigate some of the risk of a deep ball.

    Also, as my philosophy is, so is Pete's, the big play is a back-breaker for teams. So I can accept a team driving 15 plays for a touchdown because that means they had to execute 15 plays and that is difficult to do. Every play the offense has the ball increases the chances of a mistake (fumble, sack, int) and so the more plays the offense requires to score - often the better it is for the defense. Though there are some caveats to that, obviously, for the most part it is the philosophy I have seen from Bradley and Pete these last 3 years.



    Awesome post. Thank you for this, it was really informative and easily understandable.
    Tezz
    NET Bench Warmer
     
    Posts: 6
    Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:42 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:12 am
  • Excellent post TDot !!!

    That's one part of the game that I am trying to understand more of, the X's and O's. I love when, those of you who understand that aspect of the game, post analysis like this ... GOLD !!!

    I was SOoooo pissed that our D was playing so far back on that last drive, when they gave up the pass plays underneath, I as like, "What the hell is Gus doing" !!!

    However, understanding the purpose of this approach, is the kind of thing that would calm me down a bit.

    Seems like it was the lesser of 2 evils, IMO. Also the reason we're looking to upgrade our pass rush this off season ... making more sense to me now.
    I reject your reality and substitute my own
    User avatar
    HawkHouse
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 806
    Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:12 pm
    Location: Eugene, OR


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:13 am
  • as TDOTSEAHAWK says, it prevents the big play, then you just have to hope you can cut out ONE small play, which really relies on the pass rush being effective. Unfortunately that hasn't really been the case for us and that's evident in the statline by opposing QBs in those 4 drives that cost us -
    Tannehill was 4-4, Stafford was 9-14, with 4 of those incompletions from within 12 yards of the endzone (where you don't have to play prevent), Cutler was 1-1 with that big play (where the prevent D wasn't really the cause, but rather Sherman going for the INT instead of batting it down), and Ryan was 2-2.

    A few pressures turning those into incomplete passes and we probably win all 4
    themunn
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2521
    Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 4:38 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:32 am
  • themunn wrote:as TDOTSEAHAWK says, it prevents the big play, then you just have to hope you can cut out ONE small play, which really relies on the pass rush being effective. Unfortunately that hasn't really been the case for us and that's evident in the statline by opposing QBs in those 4 drives that cost us -
    Tannehill was 4-4, Stafford was 9-14, with 4 of those incompletions from within 12 yards of the endzone (where you don't have to play prevent), Cutler was 1-1 with that big play (where the prevent D wasn't really the cause, but rather Sherman going for the INT instead of batting it down), and Ryan was 2-2.

    A few pressures turning those into incomplete passes and we probably win all 4


    Exactly. which is why a good defensive line rotation is also pivotal. Getting fresh guys in - especially at DT is pivotal. Our depth was not great at all this year at DT. It is the place we most need to draft.

    Miami putting Bess in the slot was also a tactic we didn't respond to at all and should have. They stuck some duster on Sherman all day and just ran him deep. Making Trufant cover their best receiver.
    Driver of the PC/JS Super Bowl wagon since 2010
    Image
    Sherman looks like a ballet master in grand jeté –
    a trash-talking, dreadlocked Baryshnikov suspended
    impossibly above the turf – pro football's paean to
    wanton human destruction slips into the sublime.
    User avatar
    TDOTSEAHAWK
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2962
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:16 pm
    Location: Hamilton


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:42 am
  • Wow !!!

    This info is somewhat staggering to me, can you imagine if we win a few, if not all of those games?

    We likely would have had a first round bye, and then playing at home ...

    DAMN IT !!!

    Back to the OP: If you consistently are losing games that way, why wouldn't you try and make an adjustment of some sort in an effort to change the outcomes that you, as a DC/HC ,are seeing several times over ?!?!?

    Like, would playing man and bringing an extra pass rusher be a better idea in those situations? We don't often get burned in man so would that be an option? Again, if you're getting poor results in "prevent" ... or whatever you guys were calling it, lol
    I reject your reality and substitute my own
    User avatar
    HawkHouse
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 806
    Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:12 pm
    Location: Eugene, OR


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:55 am
  • TDOTSEAHAWK Wrote:
    Having said all that, the one limiter is pressure. If you can get pressure on the QB, especially with four men - it shortens the field significantly and the plays do not develop as easily.


    yep.
    Image
    User avatar
    652cHAWK
    *Hawk Junk Junkie*
    *Hawk Junk Junkie*
     
    Posts: 810
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:20 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:07 am
  • Was watching NFL Turning Point last night and the same defense the team used on Ryan's first INT, was the same play call on the throw to Gonzalez to put them in FG range. The first time the Falcons didn't block it correctly and the second time they adjusted and blocked it perfectly.

    So I don't think they were necessarily in a prevent.. the pass rush just didn't get there, and when you blitz and it's picked up.. that's basically a guaranteed gain of at least 15 yards.
    February 2, 2014... the day the dream was finally realized
    User avatar
    Hasselbeck
    * NET Sage *
     
    Posts: 5148
    Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 4:55 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:32 am
  • Hasselbeck wrote:Was watching NFL Turning Point last night and the same defense the team used on Ryan's first INT, was the same play call on the throw to Gonzalez to put them in FG range. The first time the Falcons didn't block it correctly and the second time they adjusted and blocked it perfectly.

    So I don't think they were necessarily in a prevent.. the pass rush just didn't get there, and when you blitz and it's picked up.. that's basically a guaranteed gain of at least 15 yards.

    Well, it was the same blitz. but it wasn't a soft zone on the interception.
    SEAHAWKS.NET. We All We Got, We All We Need
    User avatar
    Scottemojo
    *Scott of Smacksville*
    *Scott of Smacksville*
     
    Posts: 11269
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:14 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:00 pm
  • While fear of the big play may be why DC's do it, that doesn't mean they're operating on a cold hearted analysis of the probabilities. If big plays were so easy to generate against standard defense, offenses would throw deep on every play all game long. Fact is, there's basically zero chance we give up a big play on standard defense at the end of every one of those 4 losses. There's a reasonable chance we give up 0, since we had the 3rd rated secondary against receivers in the NFL this year. Ceding 15-20 yard passes to NFL quarterbacks with anything more than 30 seconds on the clock is a fool's game and we paid the price.
    formido
    NET Starter
     
    Posts: 481
    Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:41 pm
    Location: Ventura, CA


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:28 pm
  • formido wrote:While fear of the big play may be why DC's do it, that doesn't mean they're operating on a cold hearted analysis of the probabilities. If big plays were so easy to generate against standard defense, offenses would throw deep on every play all game long. Fact is, there's basically zero chance we give up a big play on standard defense at the end of every one of those 4 losses. There's a reasonable chance we give up 0, since we had the 3rd rated secondary against receivers in the NFL this year. Ceding 15-20 yard passes to NFL quarterbacks with anything more than 30 seconds on the clock is a fool's game and we paid the price.


    This is what I was thinking after contemplating this thread a bit more, your DB's have been fantastic all season when playing that way. So wouldn't it stand to reason that you put your faith in them when the chips are on the table?

    Am I off base here?
    I reject your reality and substitute my own
    User avatar
    HawkHouse
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 806
    Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:12 pm
    Location: Eugene, OR


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:37 pm
  • Nice job, TDOT.

    I think guys just get beat sometimes. But to happen 4 or 5 times in a season means that we didn't adjust or have the wrong personnel.

    I will call it a fluke, just to feel better, but I have a dream.

    A dream that we play the Jags in the Superb Owl. The Jags hold a 2 point lead with a minute to go. Statistical probability that Russell Wilson beats Gus Bradleys defense to win - 103%
    "it'd be a newborn deer" - pehawk
    User avatar
    Hawk Strap
    * Handsome *
     
    Posts: 3054
    Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:37 pm
    Location: Tri Cities, WA


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:40 pm
  • I would be curious to hear from players on how they feel about this defensive philosophy. Obviously the players are paid to play whatever defense the coordinators / coaches call but……………..it would be interesting to hear their thoughts. Not sure you would ever get an honest answer / an answer for the sake of team / political correctness.
    "Our Quarterback is a Bad Man!" - Michael Robinson
    User avatar
    Foghawk
    NET Rookie
     
    Posts: 143
    Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:43 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:40 pm
  • Foghawk wrote:I would be curious to hear from players on how they feel about this defensive philosophy. Obviously the players are paid to play whatever defense the coordinators / coaches call but……………..it would be interesting to hear their thoughts. Not sure you would ever get an honest answer / an answer for the sake of team / political correctness.

    Browner was ultra pissed about the soft zone right after the game.
    SEAHAWKS.NET. We All We Got, We All We Need
    User avatar
    Scottemojo
    *Scott of Smacksville*
    *Scott of Smacksville*
     
    Posts: 11269
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:14 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:45 pm
  • TDOTSEAHAWK wrote:At its most basic, it isn't a scheme so much as a philosophy within the scheme. A true prevent defense is a cover-4 (quarters) with 3-4 underneath zones (depending on how many rushers).

    But what you see more often is the prevent philosophy more than the scheme. In this philosophy you emphasize to the players playing deep to be BEHIND the deepest man. So if the offense sends two speedsters 50 yards downfield - the 4 cover guys (2 in man and two in deep zone often rather than 4 in quarters) are 50 yards downfield. This leaves the other players in coverage to cover areas that are simply far too large to either play man or zone in. If in man, slot corners and LBs in coverage against TEs simply have no help as we saw against Atlanta with Harry Douglas. We were in man coverage there but it was just difficult to execute. Playing in man also gives the QB huge amounts of open space to run. If in zone - often the deep ins at around 20-25 yards are open behind the LBers but in front of the safeties and the reads are easy.

    You saw what can happen when you don't emphasize it in the Denver game. That play in Denver (the Jones bomb for the tie) is the reason we see this prevent philosophy so much. That safety should have been much further back.

    Overall, then the "prevent" is much about telling your safeties - do not give up the big play. In turn, that puts too much pressure on the rest of the cover guys and holes easily develop because unless those other guys are playing flawlessly (and even when they are) good offensive schemes will punch holes fairly easily - especially when given time.

    Having said all that, the one limiter is pressure. If you can get pressure on the QB, especially with four men - it shortens the field significantly and the plays do not develop as easily. That 20 yard deep in may not have had time to develop and those players may not get 50 yards downfield allowing the safeties to still be in play. This is why the 4 man rush is so important to a defense these days. This is why the Giants won 2 superbowls and could beat the Patriots.

    However, if you have to send 6-7 guys to do the job of those 4 - the margin for error for the cover guys basically becomes zero (as does the coverage) and one mistake (missed tackle, bad jump) equals a huge gain. Moreover, every NFL offense has blitz-beating routes (hot routes) made to beat the man coverage that comes with a blitz (using slants or similar quick routes). This latter point is why the zone-blitz scheme of Pittsburgh and the 3-4 in general has been so successful over the years because there are more guys who could rush and defensive lineman who the QB almost always expects to rush can drop into those hot route passing lanes. We did some of it this year - especially with Clemons - in fact Irvin dropped on one play in the game and looked pretty lost (I forget which one but it was a success for Atlanta) - so it is hard to execute and even Clem isn't great at it. You would rather have him rushing the QB as when you drop him in coverage and it isn't a success - you hate yourself.

    In the end, there lies the catch-22 of all defensive coordinators (me included). Do I defend the deep ball and hope that my underneath players can make a play? Or do I risk a deep play and help them out? The answer is almost invariably the former - especially when up by more than 3 points. Because if the offense dinks and dunks down the field the one helper of a defense is the end line. As the field of play gets shorter - it becomes easier to defend. So most coaches would take their chances and let the opposing offense dink and dunk until getting to such a point where they can now scheme to help the underneath guys and mitigate some of the risk of a deep ball.

    Also, as my philosophy is, so is Pete's, the big play is a back-breaker for teams. So I can accept a team driving 15 plays for a touchdown because that means they had to execute 15 plays and that is difficult to do. Every play the offense has the ball increases the chances of a mistake (fumble, sack, int) and so the more plays the offense requires to score - often the better it is for the defense. Though there are some caveats to that, obviously, for the most part it is the philosophy I have seen from Bradley and Pete these last 3 years.


    Fantastic response. I learned something today. Thank you.
    Image

    Les "The Radish" Norton - Ambassador/Grandfather of .NET, gone too soon but will never be forgotten. RIP
    User avatar
    Aros
    [[ .NET Godfather ]]
     
    Posts: 8193
    Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:58 am
    Location: Just 6 miles from Richard Sherman!


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:50 pm
  • formido wrote:While fear of the big play may be why DC's do it, that doesn't mean they're operating on a cold hearted analysis of the probabilities. If big plays were so easy to generate against standard defense, offenses would throw deep on every play all game long. Fact is, there's basically zero chance we give up a big play on standard defense at the end of every one of those 4 losses. There's a reasonable chance we give up 0, since we had the 3rd rated secondary against receivers in the NFL this year. Ceding 15-20 yard passes to NFL quarterbacks with anything more than 30 seconds on the clock is a fool's game and we paid the price.


    To this I would add:

    1) We lost 3 games this season by conceding the 15-30 yard play in the 4th quarter, at some point I'd hope the DC would consider that with this personnel the philosophy is busted. Yet when playing defense aggressively (or at least not passively), the results have been much, much better.

    2) You can justify the soft zone, IMO, if we're talking about preventing a touchdown. If we're talking about preventing a field goal, basically 2 long completions are enough for the opponent to push into field goal range. A defense designed to give up such long completions is nuts. Okay, so you look like an ass if you play aggressively and somehow you get burned deep, but it's just as likely the opponent expects you to play off, then when they seen tighter coverage on the intermediate routes, panics a little. Or hey, maybe you even surprise them with a punch in the mouth as they come off the line (hard to do against a Julio Jones I realize). Yes, you do have to trust your safeties to do what they've been doing all game long and get there to break up any plays where they get behind your corners.

    I do see that it's harder than we fans make it out to be. When you can't generate pressure with the front 4 you're faced with the devil's choice. Because sending an extra defender in blitz AND playing aggressively in the secondary is an awful risk. If they choose to play aggressively and not send a blitz, that's essentially how we played all season long in all but the final minute of games, and it worked out pretty well. So maybe that's what I would have liked to have seen.

    For all of the above, for acknowledging the difficult choice faced by the DC, I still come away feeling that look, if your secondary is as good as ours, if your defense kicks ass all year long and okay its one flaw is you can't count on getting there with the front 4, you oughta be able to find a way to wring a success out of one of these close games. But the fact that we pissed it down our legs in MIA, DET, ATL, CHI, and ARI, I mean come on law of averages says you'd be able to close out ONE game if you were worth a shit.

    For all the "number one scoring defense" stuff, our defense cost us 5 games (okay we won CHI but not on account of the defense). I'd be happier with a defense that gave up a few more points (because I think RW can handle generating more himself) but was able to close out a game every now and then in the 4th quarter. Here's hoping it's a youth thing or we figure out the pass rush thing.
    hawk45
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 5253
    Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:08 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:19 pm
  • As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.
    GO HAWKS!!!

    Visit my Seahawks blog at 17power.blogspot.com!

    Follow me on Twitter at @17power
    User avatar
    MontanaHawk05
    * 17Power Blogger *
     
    Posts: 11327
    Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 8:46 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:22 pm
  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.


    The Denver game looked stupid because BAL needed 7 and they got beat over the top. I agree that prevent makes sense in that scenario.

    We can agree that your offense should score more and not waste chances, but should we not be able to seal the deal in 5 chances this year in the 4th quarter? It's just that difficult to close a game out with your number one scoring defense? Don't buy it. When only 3 is needed, how does giving up 15-30 yards at a pop make sense?
    hawk45
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 5253
    Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:08 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:24 pm
  • Also keep in mind that we did NOT run a full prevent defense on the last two plays against Atlanta, we sent a blitz on them to try and get any sort of pressure on Ryan at all but it didn't work.

    So... no pressure cost us the Atlanta game... I wonder who was putting this forward way before the game started? Hmm? Calling English!
    Image
    User avatar
    HighlandHawk
    NET Rookie
     
    Posts: 238
    Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:36 am
    Location: Fife, Scotland


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:36 pm
  • Aros wrote:Can someone who understands the X's and O's of football please help me understand why this Achilles Heel Scheme exists so much in the NFL? My wife was asking me what I thought about our new DC and it got me on the topic of saying how Gus Bradley won't be missed too much by me at least due to his dependence on the prevent defense/soft zone coverage that too often ended up losing games for us, the least of which being the divisional playoff game against the Falcons.

    Then it made me wonder...What if our new DC will do the same thing in the same situations? In fact, why is it even utilized when 99 out of 100 times fans end up bitching about why it was used?

    We all know the saying..."The only thing prevent defense does is PREVENT you from winning!"

    For years and years, regardless of coaching staff, players and schemes, that statement always seems true.

    So what gives? Please help me and perhaps others understand what I may be missing here. Why is soft zone, prevent D used, especially at the end of the game when the game is on the line and so often - so it seems - that very scheme is the reason we end up losing?

    (kearly, Absolute, etc...Please pick up the white courtesy phone...)


    All I know is that sometimes it really works.

    For example, see the Patriots game. The Pats still had a minute left when the got the ball back. We played a very generous prevent D and just kept everything in front of us. Game over.

    I think Gus became way too reliant on it due to that game.
    Image
    Radish and Cheinhill — Gone, but not forgotten
    User avatar
    HawkFan72
    NET Pro Bowler
     
    Posts: 11747
    Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:50 am
    Location: Antioch, CA


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:47 pm
  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.


    Exactly. The difference between playing defense to not give up a field goal and not give up a TD is huge. If the offense's goal is to just get to the 37 yard line - the amount of space to defend is still large. When the offense is on the 50 and needs 13 yards - they have 3000 square yards with which to do it. This means that the defense must have have at least 2 men deep - so at most - 5-6 men are defending that 37 yard line.

    If they are on the 10 yard line going for a TD - the offense only has 1000 square yards to do it and the safeties are now certainly in relevant coverage positions for all plays. So now 7 men are defending that area. Much more difficult.
    Driver of the PC/JS Super Bowl wagon since 2010
    Image
    Sherman looks like a ballet master in grand jeté –
    a trash-talking, dreadlocked Baryshnikov suspended
    impossibly above the turf – pro football's paean to
    wanton human destruction slips into the sublime.
    User avatar
    TDOTSEAHAWK
    NET Veteran
     
    Posts: 2962
    Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:16 pm
    Location: Hamilton


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:24 pm
  • Yeah, and there are even more square yards to defend when it's the 1st quarter and it's a 2nd and 5 and basically the entire field must be defended. Yet somehow we manage not to give up 30 yard pass plays on those occasions every time.

    No one's saying it isn't difficult to close out a game, but the whole lesser of the two evils concept implies that all of the advantages are on the offense's side of the ball and that just doesn't pass the sniff test when you have a secondary like ours that manages to play so well the for 59 minutes, 30 seconds. It sure as hell doesn't pass the sniff test when it's Miami, or Carolina, or Arizona that we can't manage to stop. The disadvantage should be on the offense that needs a comeback, that is playing a stellar secondary, and that has to throw out the short yardage playbook!

    Everyone agrees that a good pass rush with the front 4 makes defending the late-game scenario much easier, what I'm saying is, with the talent on our defense and the way they play the rest of the game, we should be able to close out more games this year than the New England game. If we closed out half of the games we choked away in the 4th quarter this year I might be hearing these arguments. But we couldn't do it against DET, MIA, CHI, ARI, ATL.
    hawk45
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
    *GOLD SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 5253
    Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:08 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:07 pm
  • hawk45 wrote:But we couldn't do it against DET, MIA, CHI, ARI, ATL.


    Well, ARI and ATL both scored 20 points or less. It feels a little unfair for me to criticize the defense in those games when our offense couldn't score more than 16 points. That's a tough job.

    Miami and Chicago were last-minute breakdowns by one player, Hill in MIA and a rare bad play by Sherman in CHI. Honestly, the pass rush is the biggest problem. That's supposed to go hand-in-hand with soft zone and prevent defense.
    GO HAWKS!!!

    Visit my Seahawks blog at 17power.blogspot.com!

    Follow me on Twitter at @17power
    User avatar
    MontanaHawk05
    * 17Power Blogger *
     
    Posts: 11327
    Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 8:46 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:22 pm
  • Great question. Great responses. Great website. Go Seahawks!!!!
    Keyhawk
    NET Rookie
     
    Posts: 198
    Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:01 pm


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:45 pm
  • I don't like zone either, but here are some reasons why it exists:

    #1: Man coverages are often exposed against mobile QBs. Having linebackers sitting in zones gives a defense a safety valve if the QB takes off.

    #2: Zone coverages tend to force a higher rate of interceptions, particularly against non-elite QBs. This is mainly because of deception- players who look wide open really aren't, and because a QB will sometimes fail to notice a LB sitting in the line of fire. Another factor is that very few corners can play coverage and look for the ball. Zone is built around looking for the ball and watching the QB's eyes.

    #3: Zone coverage tends to be stingier with big plays, and scoring drives against zone defenses tend to require a lot of plays. More plays equals more chances for turnovers.

    #4: Zone coverage is generally considered to be easier to find talent for (the Seahawks ability to find great man coverage corners is truly exceptional).

    Man coverage is a lot better for actually covering WRs, but is harder to find talent for and generally forces fewer turnovers, and is more susceptible to dual threat QBs.
    User avatar
    kearly
    * Mr Random Thought *
     
    Posts: 11235
    Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:44 am


Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:17 pm
  • kearly wrote:I don't like zone either, but here are some reasons why it exists:

    #1: Man coverages are often exposed against mobile QBs. Having linebackers sitting in zones gives a defense a safety valve if the QB takes off.

    #2: Zone coverages tend to force a higher rate of interceptions, particularly against non-elite QBs. This is mainly because of deception- players who look wide open really aren't, and because a QB will sometimes fail to notice a LB sitting in the line of fire. Another factor is that very few corners can play coverage and look for the ball. Zone is built around looking for the ball and watching the QB's eyes.

    #3: Zone coverage tends to be stingier with big plays, and scoring drives against zone defenses tend to require a lot of plays. More plays equals more chances for turnovers.

    #4: Zone coverage is generally considered to be easier to find talent for (the Seahawks ability to find great man coverage corners is truly exceptional).

    Man coverage is a lot better for actually covering WRs, but is harder to find talent for and generally forces fewer turnovers, and is more susceptible to dual threat QBs.


    I can buy point #2 there Kearly, but ...

    Point #1 - Matt Ryan does not scare me in the open field considering our ability to close down, he ain't that fast. He most certainly couldn't pick up the big yardage they needed with his feet, IMO.

    Point #3 - Scoring drives that result in a TD do require more plays I'm sure, but this was a FG. It wasn't like they need to go 80 yrds so "More plays" doesn't take there. Like someone said about the Denver game, Ravens needed 7 and that would have been more of a justification to play "prevent" but not when the other team has a short field.

    Point #4 - Yes, we have great DB's that can hang in man coverage, another reason to possibly consider abandoning the softness.

    Finally, I don't consider Matt Ryan a "dual threat" QB ... he is a tall drink of water but ,considering his caucasian dissent, I'd be all in on him pulling up and try running on our D.

    I can see where you are making a point about traditional reasons for running the type of Defense we typically see in those situations but I think, with our team, it could have been dealt with differently, again ... IMO
    I reject your reality and substitute my own
    User avatar
    HawkHouse
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
    *BRONZE SUPPORTER*
     
    Posts: 806
    Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 9:12 pm
    Location: Eugene, OR




It is currently Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:36 pm

Please REGISTER to become a member

Return to [ THE OFFICIAL NET NATION FAN FORUM ]




Information