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New Head Coach Eric Mangini and new Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan have me excited about our

defense. With promises to "attack" and to be a hard working unit coming from Rob Ryan, one of the few tactical changes we have heard about has been the addition of the 46 defense to the Cleveland Browns' repertoire. Rob Ryan's father, Buddy Ryan, ran the 46 with great success, most notably with the 1985 Chicago Bears. Buddy Ryan is credited as the creator of the 46 defense. When looking at the 46 defense, it will be important to keep a few things in mind. Theoretically, every player on the field can attempt to do any number of things on a given play after the snap. They can blitz shooting through a gap, they can attempt to take up any number of blockers, they can drop into any number of zone coverages, and they can play man to man defense on any of the five position players, etc. This goes for any formation, not just the 46. Our coaches seem intent on turning this theory into reality. A true "hybrid" defense is one in which multiple players are not only assigned a wide variety of responsibilities, but are actually versatile enough to do everything asked of them and to do those things well. The 46 is a tool in the arsenal of a defensive playcaller. It is just like any other formation in that it has strengths and weaknesses. Without creative and brave play design and playcalling, and without talented, intelligent and disciplined players, those strengths are negated and those weaknesses highlighted.

In Part I of this survey of the 46, I will discuss the 46 alignment against a normal Iformation offense with 2 wide receivers, a tight end, and two running backs (either one RB and one FB or two of either). To counter, a normal 46 defense uses 4 down linemen, 3 linebackers, 2 safeties, and 2 cornerbacks. The 46 begins with a big shift of the defensive line to the "weakside" (non-TE side) of the field. Right End: The RE lines up way wide at what some coaches call the "9-technique". This should be at least 1 yard wide (horizontally) of the weakside offensive tackle (here, the Left Tackle). Desired Skills: speed rushing, some coverage ability NFL ideal: Dwight Freeney, Colts Probable Brown playing the position: Kamerion Wimbley Left End:

The LE lines up much more like a DT than a DE. He begins head-up over (directly in front of) the strongside guard (here, the Right Guard). Desired Skills: strength, power, explosion. Ability to be an effective rusher in a small area and to push the pocket needed. Ability to stunt around other defensive linemen required for optimal blitzing. Zone coverage ability a plus but not needed. Probably at least 290lbs. NFL ideal: Haloti Ngata, Ravens Probable Brown playing the position: Robaire Smith Left Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle: The Left Defensive Tackle lines up directly over the Center. Desired Skills: same as Left End, but bigger. Can sacrifice some mobility for strength/size. Probably at least 320lbs and strong. NFL ideal: Shaun Rogers, Probable Brown playing the position: Shaun Rogers Right Defensive Tackle: The Right Defensive Tackle lines up directly over the weakside offensive guard (here, the Left Guard). Desired Skills: same as Left End NFL ideal: Sedrick Ellis, Saints or Kevin Williams, Vikings, Probable Brown playing the position: Corey Williams

So, the line should look like this:

Now that the defensive line has shifted to the weakside of the play, where do you think the linebackers are going? Yep, they are shifting dramatically to the strong side of the play. They shift so much, in fact, that the Outside Linebackers are no longer called the "Sam" and "Will" (strongside and weakside, or, alternately left and right) linebackers. The artist formerly known as the "Sam" linebacker is called a "Jack" linebacker in the 46, and the "Will" linebacker changes his name to "Charlie". It wouldn't make sense to call a linebacker on the left of the formation a "right outside linebacker", which is why the change in names occurs. "Left" Outside Linebacker--The "Jack": The "Jack" linebacker lines up on the line of scrimmage, with his inside foot on the outside foot of the tight end. Desired Skills: pass rushing, coverage, run-stopping ability, speed NFL ideal: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys Probable Brown playing the position: David Bowens "Right" Outside Linebacker--The "Charlie": The "Charlie" linebacker lines up right next to the "Jack" on the line of scrimmage, with his outside foot on the inside foot of the tight end. The positioning of these two "outside" linebackers means that the tight end will have a difficult time getting a free release off the line of scrimmage if he isn't staying in to block. Desired Skills: Same as the "Jack". Having two guys with identical skills makes your defense more unpredictable, having two with different sets of skills makes your defense more versatile as a whole. NFL ideal: Shaun Phillips, Chargers Probable Brown playing the position: David Veikune "Middle" Linebacker--The "Mike": The third linebacker--the "Mike" linebacker--lines up about 4 yards off the line of scrimmage, in front of the strong side offensive tackle. Desired Skills: Mike: tackling, intelligence, play-reading, speed, strength, coverage, some blitzing ability. NFL ideal: Ray Lewis, Ravens or Patrick Willis, 49ers Probable Brown playing the position: D'Qwell Jackson So with the LBs added, the 46 looks like this:

"Strong" Safety: The strong safety in a 46 plays in a spot traditionally occupied by a linebacker. He walks up to 4 or so yards off the line of scrimmage (even with the Mike LB) over the weakside offensive tackle. Desired Skills: tackling, coverage, play-reading ability, some blitzing ability. The more versatile this player is, the better. Should be a good actor. NFL ideal: Troy Polamalu, Steelers or Brian Dawkins, Broncos (via 3-5 years ago) Probable Brown playing the position: Abe Elam "Weak" or "Free" Safety: The weakside safety lines up about 8-10 yards off the line of scrimmage, and can be anywhere from the center to the weakside offensive tackle, horizontally speaking. Desired Skills: "centerfielder", ball-hawking, coverage, tackling. Ability to hold up in man coverage like a CB a definite plus. Needs to be a good actor. NFL ideal: Ed Reed, Ravens Probable Brown playing the position: Brodney Pool

Cornerbacks: The cornerbacks line up 7 or 8 yards off the line of scrimmage, and they need to be in position to get inside of the wide receiver in front of them. It is common to see cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage "on an island" (with no help) in a 46. If this is the case (and in the vast majority of cases even when it isn't the case), corners will try to remain inside the receiver to force the receiver outside. This allows DBs to use the sideline "as the 12th defender" to make potential receiving area much smaller. It also forces throws that will be in the air longer (think 7 yard "in" route vs. 7 yard "out" route), gives the DBs an opportunity to break up the pass, and forces the QB to plant and step into his throw (and hopefully a rush). Desired Skills: coverage, especially the ability to hold up one on one vs. a WR. Hitting ability and run stopping a plus. NFL ideal: Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders or Champ Bailey, Broncos Probable Brown playing the position: Rod Hood and Eric Wright


More pass rushers, closer to the line of scrimmage

The 46 isn't a huge change from more common defenses because of where the players line up (with the exception that in the 46, there is almost always only one safety deep before the snap). For example, compare and contrast the full 46 formation above with a common 3-4 alignment with the SS as the 8th man in the box.

(side note: the linebackers in this 3-4 are named Will, Mike, Ted, and Sam represented here by letters W, M, T, and S from left to right).

The players are aligned in the exact same spots! The difference is which players are where. Also, one additional player has his hand on the ground in a 46. Since different players do different things well (say, Shaun Rogers' ability to beat blockers and poor coverage ability vs. Brandon McDonald's relatively good coverage and poor ability to shed blockers) the 46's changes in player positioning give the offense a different "look". In the 46, trading a strong safety (who the offense should be able to block 1-on-1 with a running back) for a rush linebacker (who the offense shouldn't be able block 1-on-1 with a running back) and putting an extra player's hand on the ground is an indication that a whole lot of man is going to be coming at the QB after the snap. Even if the players that become the RE, the Charley, and the Jack are all going to blitz after the snap anyway, putting them all at the line means if they do blitz they are going to be that much closer to the QB as he plants to throw on a 5- or 7-step drop. Putting more potential pass rushers at the line of scrimmage is one of the main changes from the 3-4 or 4-3 formations to the 46 formation. Doing this implies to the offense that a rush is coming and that if it does, it will come very quickly. A true hybrid defense would be able to show the offense this kind of look and still drop 8 or 9 players

into coverage. Once an offense isn't expecting what the defense is about to do--or potentially even better, once the offense has no idea what to expect--the defense has the advantage.

8 men in the box and showing a Cover-1/Cover-3 shell

I alluded to another important thing about the 46 earlier: there is only one safety deep. When one safety is deep and the other is in the box, a defense is "showing" a Cover-1 or Cover-3 shell. It is pretty easy to see how a defense would settle in to either after the snap: Cover-1


If a defense stays predictable and only utilizes a Cover-1 or Cover-3 shell from the 46, the quarterback will know what to expect after the snap. That's bad news for the defense because the quarterback then does not have to read the defense after the snap, and the defense loses precious seconds in the race between the quarterback attempting to deliver the ball and the pass rushers trying to sack him before he does. Additionally, a smart and empowered QB can exploit that information by changing the play or a few routes that work well against the defense he knows is coming. A creative and brave defensive coordinator can run a lot of different coverages out of the 46, though. If they have versatile and skilled defensive players, even better. Done effectively, a defense can act like they will be in one coverage and then do something different, which should buy them time after the snap and allow their pass rushers slightly more time to get to the QB. From any given "look", the only limiting factor in a player's ability to complete any assignment is his speed (and sometimes strength, i.e. vs. the offensive line). So, just because the 46 gives a more aggressive "look" does not mean that the defense will play aggressively after the snap. Similarly, just because the 46 gives the offense a Cover-3 look does not mean a Cover-3 defense is coming. Here are a few more complex coverages: Cover-2

Mixed Man/Zone

Stay tuned for part II on the 46, including more "considerations" and how the 46 lines up against a 3 WR package. In Part I I broke down the "normal" 46 formation. Here in Part II, I will address more of the defensive concepts related to the 46 and the Nickel 46 formation, and later in Part III I will cover some of the offensive innovations since the dominant '85 Bears' defense, and more on how we can use the 46 today.

A key area in the 46 is deep down in the trenches. In my understanding, Buddy Ryan was among the first in the NFL to put three big, bad down linemen directly over the offensive guards and the center. It was pretty genius. This "T-N-T front" (for tacklenose-tackle) can be explosive. In the 46, I have called one of those "tackles" the left defensive end, but it really doesn't matter what we call him, the concept is the same. He is big, explosive, lined up over the Guard and he can overpower an offensive lineman.
Less run blocking options

One reason the T-N-T front poses problems for offenses is that it is pretty hard for a guard to pull effectively when there is a defensive lineman right in front of him. This defensive lineman should be ready to use the space vacated by the guard, get in the backfield, and swallow a running back or a fullback whole. Here, the offense can account for every player in the box: they pull the RG to the left, and if they win their one on one matchups (a big "if"), the RB can run untouched into the secondary.

By dropping the 8th man into the box and placing a defensive lineman directly over the RG, the defense changes the effectiveness of the play. The offense can't block everyone: if the RG still pulls, the LE gets in the backfield to make the play:

If the RG stays to block the LE, the RE goes unblocked. If the RT can make it over to handle the LE, the Charlie goes unblocked, and so on. Running up the middle against the 46 is tough because of the 1,000ish lbs. of man there to clog things up. Running outside can be tough because it is hard for guards and centers to pull.

Another reason the T-N-T front poses problems for an offense is that because both guards are covered, the center has trouble getting any help in dealing with a massive DT/NT. Centers are traditionally smaller than other offensive linemen, potentially because against a traditional 4-3 front they are uncovered and in position to get up to the second level to block linebackers (who are traditionally smaller and quicker than defensive linemen). Just imagine a 305lb. center trying to block Shaun Rogers! Even if Rogers can't get a hit on the QB, he can still push the pocket so that the QB has nowhere to step up (which might give a Kamerion Wimbley-esque pass rush a chance). Also, if a QB knows that his center is isolated against a guy like Rogers, the "gotta get rid of the ball" clock in his head ticks a little faster. Furthermore, if that DT/NT is fast enough to either at least kind of play zone coverage or to stunt around the LE or RDT, the defense can strand the Center with no one to block. More on this in the next section.


"Overloading" an offensive line means simply bringing more pass rushers than an offense can effectively block. The potential to overload an offensive line in the 46 should be pretty clear: there are six defenders on the line of scrimmage, and only five offensive linemen. If no skill players stay in to block those six pass rushers (and the defense does indeed send all six), there will be one unblocked rusher coming at the QB and five skill players being covered by five defenders. The 46 also has great potential for what I will refer to here as "selective overload". Selective overload occurs when a defense sends a number of pass rushers that the offense could potentially block (let's say five), but does so such a way that a particular area of the line is outnumbered. For example, lets take a look at that T-N-T front again. If our DT/NT is, in fact versatile enough to drop in to zone coverage and not be a complete liability, the defense can potentially overload the offense with only four rushers. On this play, the NT drops in to coverage as both the LE and the RDT attack the OG in front of them with a bull rush. This colapses the pocket a little, leaving the Center with

no one to block. Meanwhile, the RE blitzes wide and the SS blitzes through the B gap between the LT and LG. The Left Tackle is left with a choice between blocking the RE or the SS and the other gets a free path to the QB.

Now it would be pretty easy for the offense to block the SS with either the running back or the fullback and the QB could probably get the ball out. But, if the offense sends both backs out on pass routes or sends its pass protection to the right, that quarterback is probably taking a big hit. The key is to be unpredictable and to set an offense up. If we run this blitz effectively on one play and show the same look again later in the game, the offense may think it has learned from it's mistake and shift the pass protection to the left. Then we can blitz the Mike, the Charlie and the Jack. Even if the offense kept the TE in, there are 3 blitzers to only 2 blockers:

Another possible overload:

The RE fakes a wide rush, then drops off in to pass coverage. The RDT and LDT shoot the gaps to the weakside of the play, looking to draw the LG and OC's blocks. The LE penetrates the B gap between the RG and RT, while the Charlie rushes wide of the RT. The seas part for the Mike, who gets through the line untouched between the OC and RG.


When the 46 goes up against a 3WR offense, the formation changes. The SS aligns over the third wide receiver with a varying depth. The Mike aligns over the weak OT where the SS was, and the Charlie shifts to be over the strong OT:

This simply highlights the usefulness of a versatile safety. A guy like Polamalu or Dawkins can play in the "normal" 46 like an inside linebacker, and then shift outside in the nickel version of the 46 to cover a WR man to man (and can do both at a very high level). I don't trust Brodney Pool or Abe Elam to be this versatile at a high level, which may require us to bring one safefy up to the line against running formations (I would guess Elam) and the other against 3WR sets (I would guess Pool, who has played some cornerback for us). If either is versatile enough to cover a slot WR, play centerfield, and stop the run, then awesome. This formation looks even more like a version of the 3-4 defense, but it is important to remember that hypothetically both the Charlie and the Jack would ideally be able to rush the passer like a 3-4 OLB (as in: we would have 3 OLBs and 1 ILB on the field with one of the OLBs playing as the RDE). Because the new coaching staff seems to trust LB David Veikune to play either position, he might be a great choice for the Charlie. The nickel version of the 46's similarity to the 3-4 also demonstrates that we could use the "T-N-T" defensive line and other 46 concepts out of our normal 3-4.
Blitz reads

One concept I really hope we employ is what I will call the "blitz/pickup" assignment. Different coaches will probably call this different things, and a team could even name it something unique. What is really important isn't what its called, but what happens: Two defenders are assigned to "blitz/pickup". On the snap, both rush wide and get in the backfield. They both read the running back and react based on what he does: "Is the RB moving to my half of the field?" If "yes", they "pick him up" by covering him if he goes on a pass route, or attacking his block if he stays in to pass protect. If "no", they continue to rush the passer. Here, those two defenders are the Jack LB and the Right Defensive End:

The "blitz/pickup" isn't the only read-and-react blitz that a defense can employ. One thing offenses do is to "slide" their protection one way or the other, meaning the whole line will shift one way or the other on pass protection, often with any pass protecting backs shifting the other way. A smart defense can send a blitz and assign the outside two rushers to read the pass protection: "Is the OT on my side of the field sliding to block me?" If "yes", they drop in to zone coverage. If "no", they continue to rush the passer. This will usually result in a DE/OLB being blocked by a RB, a matchup he should always win (at least eventually):

In the above play, the line shifts to the right to pick up what it thinks are blitzing Mike and Jack linebackers. The Right Defensive End and the Jack linebacker read the shift in the line: since the RT is in position to pick up the Jack, the Jack drops off into

coverage. Since the LT is not in position to block the RE, he continues his blitz. The Mike was never going to blitz and drops in to coverage. Done perfectly, the defense can effectively always have the perfect play "called" (really it is just adjusting it's play to become the perfect play) and get a whole lot of pressure on the QB. Yes, these concepts require some read and react, but that doesn't neccesarily mean that they are passive, vanilla defensive concepts like we saw under Romeo and Mel Tucker. They should always leave an offense under pressure and guessing where the rush is coming from. Even if they aren't run perfectly or even if the offense is making the correct guesses (as to who is blitzing and who will be open), these defensive concepts are a way of responsibly blitzing, staying aggressive, and keeping enough defenders in coverage to defend the pass.

46 defense
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46 Formation, original 4-3 base set The 46 defense is an American football defensive formation. The formation comprises four down linemen, three linebackers, and four defensive backs. Originally developed and popularized by Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, who later became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, the 46 defense is currently used, as of the 2010 NFL season, on a regular basis by the New York Jets and coached and defensively coordinated by Ryan's son, Rex. The name "46" originally came from the jersey number of Doug Plank, who was a starting safety for the Bears when Ryan developed the defense, and typically played in that formation as a surrogate linebacker.[1][2]


1 Description 2 Lining up 3 See also 4 References

5 External links

[edit] Description
Buddy Ryan once said in an interview (while he was with the Chicago Bears), "to stop a passing game you had to put pressure on it, some teams are good enough do it with a three man rush, but we're not, in fact I don't know if we can do it with a four man rush, if we need to send eight we'll send eight but we're not going to let you sit back there and pick us apart all day." The 46 defense was an innovative defense with a unique defensive front. Bill Walsh himself said that the 46 defense was the single most important innovation on the defensive side of the ball in the last 25 years. The 46 defense was designed to confuse and put pressure on the opposing offense, especially their quarterback. A hyperaggressive variant of the 4-3 base set, the 46 dramatically shifted the defensive line to the weak side (the opposite end from the offense's tight end), with both guards and the center "covered" by the left defensive end and both defensive tackles. This front forced offenses to immediately account for the defenders lined up directly in front of them, making it considerably harder to execute blocking assignments such as pulling, trapping and pass protection in general. Moreover, the weak side defensive end would be aligned one to two yards outside the left offensive tackle, leaving opposing tackle 'on an island' when trying to block the pass rush. Another key feature of the 46 is that both outside linebackers tend to play on the strong side of the formation. To avoid confusion, the strong and weak side linebackers (who are no longer lined up on opposite sides) are often renamed the 'Jack' and 'Charley' linebackers, respectively. The linebackers line up behind the linemen somewhere between one and three yards from the line of scrimmage. The primary tactic is to rush between five and eight players on each play, either to get to the quarterback quickly or disrupt running plays, although dropping some players back into pass coverage after seemingly indicating that they will blitz (see zone blitzing) is another method of creating confusion. Buddy Ryan would use all of these rushers to out-man and overwhelm the offense. Another major key to the 46 is the ability of the cornerbacks to play man-free and bump-and-run coverage. Bump-and-run can allow the defense to take away the quarterback's immediate decision-making ability, by disrupting the timing of short routes needed to make a quick throw to beat the 46 defense.[3] The formation was very effective in the 1980s NFL because it often eliminated a team's running game and forced them to throw the ball. This was difficult for many teams at the time because most offensive passing games centered around the play-action pass, a situation that often favored the defense even further with the quarterback lined up to receive the snap from directly behind the center. Currently, the 46 is rarely used in professional and college football (with the exception of the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns, who are coached and coordinated on defense, respectively, by Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan, Buddy's sons). This is largely because of the popularity of the West Coast Offense, used successfully by San

Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, and other offensive schemes that rely on short, timed passes from formations with multiple receivers. A minor weakness of the 46 defense can be too many defensive players lining up near the line of scrimmage to blitz, leaving areas wide open for receivers to catch passes. Also, short, timed passes can be thrown before the players blitzing have a chance to reach the quarterback. Another problem is that most teams do not have enough impact players to run the 46 as effectively as the 1980's Bears and late 1980's Eagles did. Those teams fielded some of the best front-seven defenses ever, and included such players as Mike Singletary, Reggie White, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, Clyde Simmons, and Wilber Marshall. The ideas of the 46 defense are more often used in today's game by bringing a fourth defensive back (usually the strong safety) up closer to the line of scrimmage, as an eighth man in "the box" to help stop the run. Defenses today may also run safety blitzes and corner blitzes at crucial moments without committing wholly to the "46" defense. Up front, teams still use the concept of the "T-N-T" front, where defensive linemen are lined up over the center and the two guards. This makes it difficult for the interior linemen to reach any of the linebackers on the second level.

[edit] Lining up
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This is where defensive players would line up against a normal I formation offense.

Defensive ends: The weak side defensive end lines up one to two yards outside the weak offensive tackle. The strong side defensive end lines up directly in front of the strong side guard. The object of the weak side defensive end against the run is to protect against reversals and counters. Otherwise on pass plays he goes after the quarterback. The strong side defensive end is to make sure the offensive guard in front of him does not push him inside and does not get released to block the linebacker. Defensive tackles: The weak side defensive tackle lines up in front of the guard. The other defensive tackle essentially becomes a nose guard and lines up in front of the center. The main objective for the weak side tackle is the same as the strong side defensive end - to avoid being pinched inside or let the guard release to block the linebacker. Linebackers: The jack linebacker lines up on the outside shoulder of the strong tight end and, like a defensive lineman, lines up on the line of scrimmage. He ensures nothing gets outside of him on the run. He can do multiple coverages on the pass or he can blitz. The charley linebacker will line up on the line of scrimmage and on the inside shoulder of the tight end, to cover the tight end or making it difficult for the tight end to release easily. The middle linebacker will line up about four to four and a half yards off the line of scrimmage and directly in front of the strong offensive tackle.

Safeties: The strong safety will line up four to four and a half yards off the line of scrimmage and will stand directly in front of the weak side tackle. The free safety will stand about ten to twelve yards away from the line of scrimmage and will stand directly in front of the weak side guard. Cornerbacks: Corners will line up seven to eight yards off the line of scrimmage in front of their receivers in man-free coverage or they will play up on the line of scrimmage in bump and run coverage.

When three or more receivers are used by the offense, the defense makes what is called a jayhawk adjustment. The charlie linebacker will step back to where the middle linebacker was in the normal alignment, the middle linebacker will move to where the strong safety was aligned and the strong safety will move out to cover the third receiver. If the offense uses a fourth receiver, the middle linebacker lines up in front of the center and the charlie linebacker would cover the fourth receiver.

Installing the Bear or 46 defense from the 3-3

Coach and Athletic Director, April, 2006 by Kenny Ratledge

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After several years of mediocrity at Sevier County H.S. the coaching staff decided to shake things up. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One of the first changes was to switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-3-5. It was a winner. We went 9-3 and finished second defensively in our conference with a 175.5 yards allowed per game average, surrendering only 9 points per game, and leading our region in run defense. Highlight: Sevier County High held the conference champions to 77 total yards and held the #1 offense in the conference to a field goal. Even though we abandoned the 4-3 for the 3-3-5, we kept a few things from the 4-3 playbook. One of the major things was the Bear or 46 defense. It had been very good to us in the past and we couldn't see abandoning it.
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Diag. 1 illustrates our old 4-3 look and Diag. 2 shows what happened when we shifted into the 46 look. Following is an overview of 4-3 personnel. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 4-3 PERSONNEL * S- Stud (end) * T- Tackle * N- Nose * E- End * B- Bandit (Strong Outside Linebacker) * M- Mike (Middle LB) * W- Will (Weak Outside LB) * SS- Strong Safety * FS- Free Safety * C- Corners Diag, 3 shows the base 3-3 alignment and Diag. 4 the Bear look in the 3-3. Included is a compendium of 3-3 personnel. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] * S- Stud (end) * N- Nose * E- End * B- Bandit * M- Mike

* W- Will * D- Dog * R- Rover * FS- Free Safety * C- Corners COVER RULES FOR THE 3-3 INCLUDE: * Corners- #1 man to man * Dog- #2 man to man * Rover- # 2 man-to-man motion. Adjuster vs two back motion * Mike- #3 man to man * Bandit- Edge Rusher * Will- Edge Rusher * Free Safety-Hole. Spin to #3 on any 3X1 formation Diags. 5 through 10 show some basic formations with defensive reactions. As we learned more about the 3-3, and as we evolved defensively, we discovered it was much easier to get into the Bear from the 3-3, and that the 3-3 had many inherent advantages over the 4-3. THOSE ADVANTAGES INCLUDE: * A better athlete is on the tight end. The 4-3 look required an outside linebacker to cover the end. The 3-3 uses a defensive back on the tight end. * The 3-3 allows the defense to declare to the numbers. The 4-3 required the defense to declare to the tight end. * Alignment rules are easier. If an athlete can count to three, he can get lined up. Corners don't have to cross the formation to match up with receivers. Should a coach choose to match up, he can do so but isn't required to do so as a basic rule. * The Mike stays on the strong side in the 3-3 as opposed to sliding to the weak side in a 4-3 configuration.

* A three-deep zone, out of the Bears look, can be incorporated in the 3-3. The defense gives the illusion of pressure with man free coverage, but in reality, it is a three-man rush with eight defenders dropping into a three- deep zone. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] BEARS COMBO Years ago, when we first started using the Bear look, the defender responsible for the tight end would walk down and play tight man to man coverage from a 7 technique. Diag. 11 illustrates this. We found there were many inherent disadvantages to playing a 7 technique. Many years, we didn't have the personnel to play this technique and enough quality practice time was just too hard to find. We have now gone to lining up the defender on the tight end at a three to four yard cushion. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The problem with this alignment is that it is sometimes hard to tell if the tight end is blocking inside or running a drag route. This angle, by the tight end, puts the defender in a quandary. The problem has been solved by using a combo technique on the tight end. Combo is a read by the defender covering the tight end and the Free Safety. The assigned defender will take the end man to man on any outside or vertical routes with the Free Safety working to the hole. Diag. 12 shows this. Should the tight end block, the defender will fit where needed and the Free Safety will run the alley. Diag. 13 exhibits this. On inside cuts, the Free Safety takes the tight end man to man with the original defender working under the dig route. Diag. 14 shows this. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SPIN When the defense is confronted by 3X1 formations, the Free Safety will give a "spin" call to the Rover. The Free Safety will take the #3 man to man while the Rover replaces him in the hole. This adjustment keeps us from having to assign Mike to #3, which could result in a defensive mismatch, or bringing Rover across the formation to man up on #3. Diags. 8 and 9 illustrate the spin call. By Kenny Ratledge, Defensive Coordinator, Sevierville (TN) County H.S.

Chalk Talk: the 46 Defense Ryan went on to coach the Eagles and Cardinals
By Jeremy Stoltz
BearReport.com Correspondent Posted May 24, 2007

| More From the Steel Curtain to the Purple People Eaters, the NFL has had many incredible defenses over the years. But Buddy Ryan's 46 defense, which led the Chicago Bears to a crushing victory in Super Bowl XX, is perhaps the most memorable. BearReport.com Correspondent Jeremy Stoltz breaks down the birth of the 46, what made it so successful, and why it essentially disappeared. On January 12, 1986, the Los Angeles Rams lined up for a first-down running play in the NFC championship game. The Rams running back, Hall-of-Famer Eric Dickerson, saw through the cold air of Soldier Field that the Chicago Bears defense had lined up in a stacked, eight-man front. Seeing arguably the greatest defensive front in the history of the game hovering around the line of scrimmage, Dickerson turned to quarterback Dieter Brock and said, "You are going to audible, arent you?" The 1985 Chicago Bears defense is considered by many to be the most dominant defensive unit in the history of the NFL. It caused legendary athletes like Dickerson to shake in their cleats and gave opposing offensive coordinators nightmares for over a decade. The defense was known as the "46," and its creator was then defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Ryan broke into the league in the 1960s with the New York Jets. He played in integral part in coordinating the Jets defensive unit of Super Bowl III, which held the highpowered Colts offense to only seven points. He then moved on to the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s, where he developed the intimidating defense known as the "Purple People Eaters." In 1978, Ryan accepted the defensive coordinator position for the Bears. It was then that he began developing the famed 46 defense. The schemes name derives not from the position of players on the field like the 4-3 and 3-4 but from the jersey number of one of Ryans favorite players, Doug Plank. Plank was a hard-hitting safety who played with reckless abandon, a style that Ryan loved. As the foundations of his new defense were taking shape, Ryan felt it proper to name the system after the player who most exemplified its all-out attacking style.

The 46 philosophy was designed around a simple concept: pressure wins games. By putting constant pressure at the line of scrimmage, the offense will not be able to run the ball and the QB will not have enough time to throw. These are the basic goals of any defensive coordinator, but Ryans new system took that line of thinking to an entirely new level. The 46 base defense consists of four linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks, and two safeties. It differs from a base 4-3 in the fact that the strong safety lines up near the line of scrimmage, or "in the box," instead of 10-15 yards off the ball. It is critical that he be a powerful run-stopper, like Plank and his successor Dave Duerson, for this defense is not reliant upon deception. It basically states, "There are eight of us here. Try and get through us." The four down linemen are composed of a nose tackle, two ends, and a "rush" end. The nose tackle and ends line up over the center and guards, respectively. The rush end is normally positioned on the weak side of the field, or the side without a tight end. His job is to line up a yard or two wide of the tackle and rush hard off the edge. These four pass-rushers alone can cause problems for an offensive line, but the 46 does not stop there.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Two outside linebackers act as the fifth and sixth down linemen. They line up side by side on the opposite end of the field from the rush end. The middle linebacker and strong safety round out the eight players in the box, beginning each play 4-5 yards off the line of scrimmage. The strong safety, in essence, becomes the fourth linebacker. Now is when the fun starts. At the snap of the ball, any combination of these eight players may rush the quarterback. On one play, only the four linemen will rush. On another, all eight may come on a blitz. It is a gambling, in-your-face defense that looks to put constant pressure on the quarterback and makes running the football difficult if not impossible. Many times, the opposing offenses only choice is to pass the ball, attempting to exploit a weakened secondary.

The two cornerbacks in the 46 play man-to-man coverage, normally in a tight, bumpand-run fashion. Both must have the coverage ability to stay locked on to a receiver for the duration of a play. If the receiver gets behind them, their only hope is that the free safety roaming the middle of the field can provide sufficient deep support. It is this overwhelming pressure on the secondary that eventually led to the demise of the 46. After the 1985 season, opposing offenses began mimicking the short passing game of Bill Walshs West Coast Offense. It revolved around a vertical, quick-strike passing attack that did not allow opposing defenses time to reach the quarterback. With eight men constantly in the box, offenses soon learned that the short passing game could have great success against the 46. Spreading receivers all over the field forced most 46 units to move to a more conventional package. Ryan moved on to coach the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, eventually retiring from coaching in 1995. Since then, only one team has attempted to resurrect Ryans 46 defense: the Baltimore Ravens. It is no coincidence that Baltimores defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, is the son of the 46s famed creator. Rex Ryan utilizes middle linebacker Ray Lewis in the same way his father used Hall-of-Famer Mike Singletary, and hes gotten outstanding results. Says Lewis, "No running back in this league wants to face me, and they know that. My thing is bashing running backs. Thats what the 46 defense lets me do."