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Dropping D linemen into coverage

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Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:38 am
  • The most consistent thing that's really got me fired up watching the Seahawks on defense is how consistently they drop defensive lineman back into coverage.

    3rd and 8? Let's drop Kerry Hyder Jr back in coverage and rush 3.
    3rd and 14? Let's drop Dunlap back into coverage and cover Kittle.

    Stupid stuff like that just boggles my mind. IMO, the biggest reason our defense struggled to get off the field on 3rd down under Ken Norton's defense is their inability to generate a pass rush. How do you expect the defense to generate a pass rush when you're dropping your pass rushers back into coverage?!

    I don't have stats or anything to backup my claims here, it's just my armchair analysis.
    I don't even recall once where they even considered putting Taylor and Dunlap on the same side to rush the passer. Remember how they'd put Avril and Bennett on one side, and Bennett would destroy the guard trying to block him? Why not do that with Dunlap? Instead of asking him to cover 10 yards downfield, where he's obviously out of position and a huge liability.

    Just wanted to air that grievance since I haven't seen it posted here.

    STOP DROPPING OUR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN INTO PASS COVERAGE!
    Jerhawk
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:00 am
  • Agreed. Whoever came up with that strategy was off their rocker. It didn't work. Once they stopped doing that, the pass rush improved.
    hawkfan68
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:12 am
  • Maybe the d-lineman dropping into coverage are just better defenders than the defensive backs. If thats the case then the DBs are worse than we think. I hope thats not why. I sure would like a good explanation.
    oldhawkfan
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:38 am
  • A lot of teams have been doing this for many years. They used to call it a "zone blitz" back in the day when the Steelers did it, usually from a 3-4 formation as that was their base. When they first did it, it worked because they would use one of the LBs to rush the passer with a DE (usually) dropping into coverage, mostly as a body in a zone rather than a real pass defender. The QB would see the off-color jersey and figure the zone was covered.

    It used to be effective when it was new and innovative. Now, everybody does it and it doesn't surprise anybody any more. QBs look for it and throw to the guy being covered by a slow, ham-fisted DL. I don't really know how many times per game they do it, but it sounds like it is far too often.

    Yeah, if they used it more selectively it might work once in a while, but most offenses can counter effectively. It's like those car/pickup hybrids. They look like crap and don't really do either job well.

    :229031_shrug:
    sutz
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:26 pm
  • The use of the zone blitz in the 2020's NFL just shows how dumb Ken Norton is.

    In the zone blitz's heyday of the 1990s, it was shocking and sneaky. This was also the era of two back NFL offenses, meaning of the 5 eligible receivers on the field one of them was a fullback. We are talking 90s fullback that stayed in to block and would never go out for a pass. The TE's were also more like linemen during this era and would not attack the seems like they do now.

    Basically, it was not that shocking to have a 300 pound Ray Seals drop into coverage to cover a short zone. Due to how few teams would attack that area of the field.

    The 2020's NFL that has only 1 back on the field with slot receivers and TE's that attack every area of the field make it completely stupid to have a pass-rushing lineman drop back into coverage. If they can rush the passer they need to do that. If they can cover space then they need to do that.
    sdog1981
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:02 pm
  • It can work and still does if it is used sparingly so it comes as a surprise, when you do it all the freaking time like the Hawks do, it is just stupid. This is just my personal opinion.
    nutluck
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:24 pm
  • Jerhawk wrote:The most consistent thing that's really got me fired up watching the Seahawks on defense is how consistently they drop defensive lineman back into coverage.

    3rd and 8? Let's drop Kerry Hyder Jr back in coverage and rush 3.
    3rd and 14? Let's drop Dunlap back into coverage and cover Kittle.

    Stupid stuff like that just boggles my mind. IMO, the biggest reason our defense struggled to get off the field on 3rd down under Ken Norton's defense is their inability to generate a pass rush. How do you expect the defense to generate a pass rush when you're dropping your pass rushers back into coverage?!

    I don't have stats or anything to backup my claims here, it's just my armchair analysis.
    I don't even recall once where they even considered putting Taylor and Dunlap on the same side to rush the passer. Remember how they'd put Avril and Bennett on one side, and Bennett would destroy the guard trying to block him? Why not do that with Dunlap? Instead of asking him to cover 10 yards downfield, where he's obviously out of position and a huge liability.

    Just wanted to air that grievance since I haven't seen it posted here.

    STOP DROPPING OUR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN INTO PASS COVERAGE!



    Going back to my playing days, when a lineman goes into coverage someone f*** up....ALWAYS. Lineman never ever drop into coverage. Lineman are lineman and stay on the line...period.
    hawks85
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:58 pm
  • Would definitely explain why Dunlap only had .5 a sack 11 games into the season and then ended up the sack leader at the end, KNJ is by far the dumbest coordinator in franchise history.
    Polk738
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:58 pm
  • There is nothing inherently bad or dumb about dropping defensive linemen in to coverage. It has risks and rewards, just like any other play call. And just like any other play call, execution is important.

    There are plenty of examples from this season where it worked out well - and other examples where the defense got burned.

    Some good reasons to use it are to a) confuse blocking schemes to get a free rusher, b) confuse the quarterback and receivers who are expecting a certain coverage pre-snap but see something different post-snap, c) give opposing coaches another thing to prepare for. Also, if your pass rush isn't getting home consistently anyway, might as well have some O-linemen blocking air and put an extra man in underneath coverage.

    I think it ties in to other changes in the defense (keeping two safeties deep leaving more gaps underneath, where you don't have a safety way up on the LOS at the snap, or a robber rotating in to shallow coverage from a 2-deep look pre-snap.

    Ideally you have players that are well-suited to doing this, DBs and LBs who are good blitzers, and defensive linemen who are versatile and athletic enough to a) get in to position quickly, b) have awareness and anticipation in zone, and c) can potentially make a play when the ball is in the air. Even if the players aren't particularly suited, there is still value in doing this occasionally, but the better suited the personnel, the more often you can get away with doing it.

    From the DB perspective, I think Pete and KNJ were hoping to have Adams (SS) and Blair (Nickel) rushing more often to provide more of threat (including zone blitz calls) but the corners were so bad early on that they were forced to play a lot more two-deep coverages, Blair got hurt and wasn't an option at Nickel, and by the time the corner play improved Adams got hurt. From the DL perspective, the coaches didn't really know how the players would adapt to covering more (Pete talked about this a lot in pre-season, particularly in regards to players like Taylor and Robinson).

    If you're going to do this you want both of your edge players (SAM and LEO, typically) to be capable of pass rushing AND coverage. That way there's a credible threat that one, both, or neither of those players could either rush or drop on any given play. This became even more important when using Tite/Bear fronts where the SAM and LEO positions are even more similar and interchangeable. I think this is a big reason KJ Wright wasn't retained - he lacked the pass rushing threat that coaches want out the SAM role, and they wanted to get Brooks on the field so KJ wasn't going to go back to WILL.

    No matter what, it takes plenty of reps from all involved to make it work.
    Last edited by A-Dog on Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:06 pm
  • Very good counter point A-Dog. You raise many good points.

    But for the personnel this team had on the field, it was counter productive to have pass rushers playing in space when they clearly looked out of position and lost.

    Yes, it would make sense with Adams and Blair on the field, but when they were both gone it looked more like KNJ outsmarting himself and basically giving away yards to the other team.
    We needed to get the QB off his spot, not stand there and pick apart our lousy pass defense.

    Again, that's just my opinion.
    Jerhawk
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:28 pm
  • Jerhawk wrote:Very good counter point A-Dog. You raise many good points.

    But for the personnel this team had on the field, it was counter productive to have pass rushers playing in space when they clearly looked out of position and lost.

    Yes, it would make sense with Adams and Blair on the field, but when they were both gone it looked more like KNJ outsmarting himself and basically giving away yards to the other team.
    We needed to get the QB off his spot, not stand there and pick apart our lousy pass defense.

    Again, that's just my opinion.


    Yeah, that's fair. The problem is our pass rush in general sucked, so Pete and KNJ had to figure out what to do about that. If there was consistent pressure from the front 4 then I doubt we'd have seen as much of it, but unfortunately there wasn't for much of the year.

    The biggest error in judgement the team made in 2021 was thinking Witherspoon and Flowers were good enough to be the starting corners. Pete in particular was insistent that Flowers was having an amazing camp and deserved the spot. They were flat out wrong - monumentally wrong - in both cases. This on its own probably cost the team the playoffs.
    A-Dog
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:44 pm
  • Interesting points by several of you about this tactic. Personally I think it has more to do with very little creativity in schemes and how to hide what your intent is to the other team's OC. This is a failing not just on Norton who is clearly over matched, but also PC who put him in this position.

    It just smacks to me of coaches who don't have the ability to create an original game plan every week based on the other teams strengths and weaknesses. In addition no real ability to make those same in-game adjustments other teams do to us all the time.

    It's been the case for years.
    kf3339
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Re: Dropping D linemen into coverage
Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:25 pm
  • Jerhawk wrote:The most consistent thing that's really got me fired up watching the Seahawks on defense is how consistently they drop defensive lineman back into coverage.

    3rd and 8? Let's drop Kerry Hyder Jr back in coverage and rush 3.
    3rd and 14? Let's drop Dunlap back into coverage and cover Kittle.

    Stupid stuff like that just boggles my mind. IMO, the biggest reason our defense struggled to get off the field on 3rd down under Ken Norton's defense is their inability to generate a pass rush. How do you expect the defense to generate a pass rush when you're dropping your pass rushers back into coverage?!

    I don't have stats or anything to backup my claims here, it's just my armchair analysis.
    I don't even recall once where they even considered putting Taylor and Dunlap on the same side to rush the passer. Remember how they'd put Avril and Bennett on one side, and Bennett would destroy the guard trying to block him? Why not do that with Dunlap? Instead of asking him to cover 10 yards downfield, where he's obviously out of position and a huge liability.

    Just wanted to air that grievance since I haven't seen it posted here.

    STOP DROPPING OUR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN INTO PASS COVERAGE!




    I'm right there with you. I think Dave Wyman is also.

    Thing is, SACKS are huge when it comes to stopping drives, and we did squat! Yet as soon as they stopped dropping Defensive Lineman in to coverage, and started RUSHING THE PASSER, we started racking up sacks, and stopping drives!!
    ivotuk
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