FLETCHER Cox just signed a huge deal, and already fans are calling for him to get 12, 14, 14.5, and 15 sacks this year. He’s coming off of a career high 9.5 and moving inside to DT. So if double digit sacks is your idea of Cox having a good year, get ready to be angry.
In most cases DT’s don’t notch 10+ sacks and with all the attention Cox will get, 8 sacks would represent success. (At least as far as a stat sheet goes.) However Cox’s biggest impact won’t be the number of sacks he gets, but instead it will be the havoc he wreaks on blocking schemes.
Drawing a double team on the inside will allow MLB Jordan Hicks to roam mostly untouched and stymie the run game between the Tackles. As you can see in the diagram below:
(I’m expecting a monster season from Hicks.)
This will also give everyone else on the Defensive Line one-on-one match-ups in pass rushing situations. With DE Vinny Curry being virtually unblockable one-on-one, opponents will want to get that ball out FAST. The easiest way to do that is with a slot receiver. As is indicated here by the yellow dot:
If you don’t cover him he’s an easy pre-snap read for the QB. So you have to walk the WLB over to him:
This unfortunately opens up a natural lane to run through:
Here is where my concern lies. The knee jerk reaction to this problem is to either walk the FS down over the slot instead of the WLB; or (as we used to do under Jim Washburn) walk the FS into the gap vacated by the WLB. Both of these are wrong.
The first option robs the CB of any deep help. If man coverage on that side is beaten, it becomes a game of catch. In case you aren’t clear on what I mean, let me say two words: Nnamdi Asomugha. Let me follow that with three letters: DRC.
So what you want is Safety help deep.
The second option (walking up the FS) is what we did under Washburn. Funny thing about 200 pound Safeties. They’re utter shit at taking on 320 pound Offensive Linemen. The result was footprints on the front of our defensive player’s jerseys. We were easy to run against, throw against, score against, lean against…
The correct solution is to shift the WLB over to the slot, and slide the DE from outside the LT to the edge of his outside shoulder:
Truth: I could have just written that from the start, but I did it this way for a very good reason.
Lots of fans are still worried about the Wide Nine because we were thoroughly embarrassed using it before. So I wanted to show step by step, the cause and effect of doing certain things. I wanted to show that the problem wasn’t the system, the problem was how the system was run. The problem was who we had running it.
Today we have better people running the system. Today we have an actual Defensive Coordinator, not an Offensive Line coach masquerading as one. Today that system has been installed by the DC, not by a position (Defensive Line) coach. Today it’s an entire system for an entire defense, not just a technique for the line.
Today, the gaps in our Wide Nine have been closed.