OT - NFL Defense evolution

Submitted by AC1997 on October 21st, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Chris Brown has a column on Grantland today about how dynamic safeties like Reed and Polamalu have changed the way NFL defenses match-up to the latest offensive schemes.  He also outlines some of the evolution of defensive schemes from the 4-3, to the 46, to the Tampa 2, and now the Cover 4.  There's also an interesting footnote about the Desert Swarm defense implemented in the 1990's by Arizona. 

Michigan's defense still has a long way to go, but we finally have a coordinator on the front lines of this evolution.  We also probably have our best pair of safeties since......since....hmm......Welbourne-Murray?  I don't think Kovacs-Gordon are THAT good and still make their share of mistakes, but the bar isn't set very high for a pair of Michgian safeties. 





October 21st, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

I think you are getting a little carried away with Mattison.  

Mattison was a pretty solid coordinator with Michigan, ok to meh at Noter Dame, shared duties at Florida and took over in Baltimore after Rex Ryan.   I don't recall anyone citing Mattison for coming up with any new defenses and he hasn't shown anything as of yet that was so creative that it flipped a game for us that talent wise we couldn't have already won.

In our 3 toughest games he was on the wrong end of the hypothetical RPS with ND, MSU and NW.   We're getting better and I like Mattison, but he's not a miracle worker.


October 21st, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

I'd say ND falls under the category of a game we wouldn't have won without him.  The Kovacs interception on the goal line that was the result of disguised covereage was a pretty big deal.


October 21st, 2011 at 11:00 AM ^

We got shredded in that game.  I know we have forgotten what a real defense looks like, but that was hanging on and getting lucky.  I'm talking about a surprising dominant preformance that comes about because of scheme tweak or great calls. 

Last night Arizona who has been terrible made a scheme tweak and came out and buried UCLA.  Not that UCLA is any good but for Arizona it was big.

Last years performance by Auburn in the championship game was another example.


October 21st, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

A) UCLA is terribad so that wasn't too hard to see coming for Arizona.

B) The game against ND was the 2nd game in a brand new system for most of the players. Sure we got shredded but it isn't like RR stocked our defense like an Alabama or LSU defense. The fact that we have made strides out of the territory of being one of the worst defenses in the nation is a good thing to have hope for the future. In my mind, judge Mattison fully when we hit year 2/3 and he has a solid amount of time and more players designed to what he wants to do.


October 21st, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

I liked that article.  Not sure but I think Narduzzi may have been playing this defense a bunch.   The corners were off and Meyer and Spielman kept  talking about their 9 man front.  The safeties were not in the box so I thought they were incorrect but they were only 10-12 yards of the LOS so maybe this is what they were speaking of.


October 21st, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Let's not debate whether Mattison is pretty good, very good, great, or amazing.  Let's all agree he's a significant upgrade from whatever we've had in recent memory and gives us the best chance to return to a solid defense as just about anyone.  He's not perfect and neither is our roster or execution, but we're far better off than we have been.

Against ND and MSU we did not perform very well, but it was the offense, not the defense, that is primarily responsible for those performances.  My point was that Mattison at least has experience with a variety of complex and evolving defenses and the capability of using them.  I did not mean to imply he was responsible for that evolution, merely a part of it.


October 21st, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

I think that Mattison's biggest strength as a defensive coordinator at the college level is his proven ability to recruit.  This does not have any real impact this year but you can see the change already in the 2012 class.  A class that is top 5 in the country at the moment and just filled with defensive talent.  His impact will be clearly evident in two more years.

Broken Brilliance

October 21st, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

I think Hoke has changed the tide on the rivalry. Hell people in Ohio are starting to believe him. Never in a million years I would have thought that. Selling Michigan jerseys is a great start.