Archive for September, 2010

2:59 AM

Prospect Spotlight: Von Miller: When you think of 3-4 defenses, the first thing that comes to mind is “pass rush.”…

11:23 PM

Browns-Ravens: Das Gameballs and Der Goatsen: Eric Wright and Peyton Hillis both got some record totals, but in ve…

8:39 PM

Podcast: Zeppe’s Pizzeria OBR Radio (9/28): Fred, Stef, and Barry look for signs of life inside of an 0-3 record.

2:43 PM

(Subscriber) Xs & Os: Boldin’s Big Day: Doug Farrar goes to the tape and breaks down Anquan Boldin’s big day last …

Talent, Not Scheme Keys Defenses
Don Delco on September 28th, 2010 AT 12:31 PM

Today,’s Gregg Easterbrook leads his weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback column regarding the merits, or lack thereof, of the 3-4 defense.

In 2010, 15 of the 32 teams use the 3-4 defense including the Cleveland Browns.

First, Easterbrook writes about the positives of the 3-4.

?It creates zone-rush uncertainty, since there’s one fewer defensive lineman and one more linebacker, and linebackers are better dropping into coverage. It tends to emphasize speed over strength, which can help in a pass-wacky era.

Yet Easterbrook is suspicious of the 3-4 defense because two of the last four Super Bowl winners — Indianapolis and New York Giants — use the 4-3. Plus, many teams who use the 3-4 also show plenty of other looks in the course of a game like a 4-3 or a 3-3-5.

Easterbrook argues, like anything else in the NFL —? Run ‘n’ Shoot, Tampa 2, No-huddle — things run in cycles.

Through the middle 2000s, the 4-3 was the “It Girl” defense. Then coaches and quarterbacks got a good handle on the 4-3, and defenses started reverting to the 3-4. Within a few years, the 3-4 will be understood again and teams will switch to the 4-3 as the hot defense.

Tactics matter, but players are more important. Give me a 4-3 defense with good players over a 3-4 with poor players any day of the week. There’s earnest debate in sports talk about whether it’s harder to find really big nose-tackle types for a 3-4 or versatile defensive tackles for a 4-3. What really matters is who’s good, not the scheme. There’s earnest debate about whether nose tackles should employ “zero technique” (head on the center) or “one technique” (aligned to the center’s shoulder). Whether the nose tackle is a good player matters far more than how he lines up!

Same for everyone else in a defense. The Jets have shown some 2-3-6 this season. What file folder does that defense belong in? Alignments run in fad cycles; the essential question is how good the players are.

The Browns have run the 3-4 defense for years now and it is a source contention for some fans. Eric Mangini is a long-time proponent for the 3-4 defense. So, as long as he is around, so, too, will the 3-4.

11:19 AM

@iHateJJRedick DM me or write me via the Contact Us link on the OBR web site, and let me know what you’re up to.

11:19 AM

@iHateJJRedick DM me or write me via the Contact Us link on the OBR web site, and let me know what you’re up to.

11:10 AM

@BxLeister5 Hmmm…. wise guy, eh? He’ll keep doing @DraftBreakdown, so he’s both now, I guess. :-)

10:31 AM

A big welcome to Will Spencer, new NFL draft expert for the OBR! Give him a follow: @DraftBreakdown

Another Week, Another Struggling QB?
Don Delco on September 28th, 2010 AT 9:42 AM

On paper, the Browns three opponents in the AFC North look settled at the quarterback position. And for the most part the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers are.

Last week, the Browns went to Baltimore where the locals were restless with recent performances of Joe Flacco. The same can be said for what’s going on down in the Queen City with Carson Palmer.

“When (Palmer) has opportunities to throw the football and deliver the ball he does an excellent job,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, in a story by Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Yesterday he had some guys not quite do the things he needs them to do right. It all reflects back on the quarterback.”

Last week in a 20-7 win over hapless Carolina, Palmer was 19-for-37 passing for 195 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Reedy also spoke with Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski.

?”It wasn’t one of his better games,” Bratkowski said. “But like any quarterback, he needs help from the other guys. The dropped balls and the routes being precise and the protections.

“If everybody bases it totally on numbers, that’s where the criticism comes in and the quarterback always takes the brunt of the heat.”

The Browns had an opportunity to crush Flacco’s confidence early last week, but a probable pick-six by T.J. Ward was dropped. Who knows how Flacco would have reacted if Ward did interception that pass, but it probably would have been in the Browns’ favor. Unfortunately, Flacco settled in as the game progressed because he had all day to throw.

Perhaps the Browns can rattle Palmer early this week. If you remember, last year the 0-3 Browns played host to the Bengals in Week Four. Cleveland held tough before losing 23-20 in overtime. In that game, Palmer completed only 52 percent of his passes and had two touchdowns and one interception. Pedestrian numbers and maybe a positive sign for the improved defense, as the Browns start preparation for the Bengals tomorrow.

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on September 28th, 2010 AT 7:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for September 28th from 06:40 to 06:44:

11:28 PM

Browns-Ravens: Joe’s Game Review: Joe Brownlee shares his impressions of the team’s latest narrow loss.

11:28 PM

Browns-Ravens: Report Card: TSX tallies up the marks for the Browns third straight loss.