OT: Grantland article on Pete Carroll and 4-3 under

Submitted by cm2010 on January 17th, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Grantland just published an awesome article about Pete Carroll and how he's used and adapted the 4-3 Under defense over the years. And, more specifically, how the hybrid versions of the scheme he's using with the Seahawks today have helped them adapt to the modern offenses and be as dominant as they have.

Note: It's a somewhat lengthy article, so save it for when you have a bit of time.

EDIT: Chris Brown of Smart Football wrote the article.




January 17th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

“There is no offensive play calling or defensive scheme that is going to win championships for you. It is how you can adapt and adjust to making the schemes work. The only way you can do that is to have a strong belief system.”

I actually really liked this quote at the end from Carroll. From a football standpoint, he's turned jarring lessons into opportunities to improve, which is more than a fair number of coaches do sometimes. The rapid improvement of Seattle's defense in his time so far is a good example of what I took as the main message here - adapting one's beliefs to the situation that they inherit. 

Great read. Thanks for sharing that!


January 17th, 2014 at 12:00 PM ^

Good Read. Thank you. What I took away most is as important as schemes are finding the right players to fit your schemes is equally important. Go Blue!

Laser Wolf

January 17th, 2014 at 1:27 PM ^

Forgive me for I am but a novice when it comes to watching football from an analytical point of view, but Dungy and Carroll both mention that there are 8 gaps to cover. In all of the diagrams, there are seven gaps highlighted. Two A gaps at center-guard, two B gaps at guard-tackle, two C gaps on the outside shoulder of the tackle, and then a D gap on the outside of the strongside TE. Where is the 8th gap? Do you count the fullback or H-back as a gap since you will need to account for him once all gaps at the point of attack are covered?


January 17th, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

They wrote the article from a defensive standpoint. The seven gaps they highlighted where the seven gaps the 7 defenders where responsible for. The thing that got me was even tho Michigan runs a 4 3 under base defense, how different these 2 defenses look. Their Strongside DE is 323 pounds, while ours is 265.

Their safety and linebacker play seems to be completely different from the 4 3 under we run also. From those charts the Will LB is responsible for contain on the left side, whole we tend to have our DE responsible. I'm new to this breakdown stuff too, so i'm only guessing from game film and breakdowns like this one listed.

 The coverage in the secondary reminds me alot of what MSU does and did to Denard. PRess coverage to the outside, zone in the middle and pulling a safety in to support the run or shadow the mobile QB. Am i right or way off here?

Laser Wolf

January 17th, 2014 at 3:37 PM ^

Yes, but Dungy mentions this in regards to eight gaps:

"The need to choose between one-gapping and two-gapping arises, according to Dungy, “because of simple math: You have eight gaps to fill and you only have seven front players."


I'm still not entirely sure where the last gap is.


January 17th, 2014 at 4:46 PM ^

i think it depends on how the offense lines up. If you line up in an I formation with 2 tight ends on the LoS you have 8 gaps. Just my guess

lol sorry about the paintbrush. I'm terrbile. You get the point tho. It's just having a tight end outside of your tackles in the offensive formation