A bit of FootBall History, Ladies + Laddies:
In 1880 ~ 132 long and lustrous years ago ~ the number of Players on the Field was reduced from 15...to 11.
And so the merciless + unrelenting Persecution of Defenses...began!!
And it established a Trend that has persisted to this very day.
For 132 years, the vast majority of the Paying Public ~ as well as the Innovators who crafted the Games's Evolution before there was a Paying Public ~ have displayed a relentless, ever-increasing appetite for Offense ~ along with a shamefully minimal appreciation for Defense!! ~ as a result of which the Trend of Change in the Game's Rules and Regulations, almost since the Game's very inception, has carved out a 132 Year Offensive Bull Market.
And there's no end in sight.
Time for a gratuitously + unnecessarily confusing + complicated Chart:
So, yes: Virtually since The Dawn of FootBall, Defenses have adapted to this Relentless Persecution by becoming increasingly Quicker, Faster, Smaller, and Smarter...And Defensive Coordinators have indeed been compelled to forge Systems and Schemes that have become increasingly Flexible....and increasingly Unpredictable and Deceptive.
And as any Student of Warfare ~ or Football ~ will tell you: The more Flexible, Unpredictable, and Deceptive that you wish to be...the fewer Soldiers you should commit to The Front Line BEFORE the Inception of Battle.
The Relentless Persecution of Defenses would compel numerous Evolutions in Strategy and Scheme in the decades to come, as described eloquently yet understandably by Jene Bremel of the New York Times:
* In the late 1940's, Coach Greasy Neale of the Philadelphia Eagles forged a Dynasty with a dominant "524".
* But on Opening Day 1950, the 2 Time Defending World Champion Eagles were shredded by the phenomenal Tactics of Coach Paul Brown's CleveLand Browns...and the rest of the NFL scrambled, in more or less sheer panic, to try to find some way to combat this new and Revolutionary CleveLand Offense. The result: The "43".
* In the 1970's, we saw the rise of the "34". It receded in the 1980's, but is now rapidly taking over the Game.
Time for another gratuitously complex + complicated Chart to illustrate the Point:
So I've got that going for me.
Which is nice.
2011 ~ 3 or 4.
You, um...get the picture.
But we're seeing the first signs, ere the last few years, of even Smaller, more Flexible, and less Decipherable Defenses gaining Market Share with some of the bolder, more creative Defensive Coordinators and Head Coaches:
* New EngLand Patriots ~ the 155!!
* PittsBurgh Steelers ~ the 245 + 155!!
* GreenBay Packers ~ Nickel + Psycho Packages!!
* Seattle SeaHawks ~ the Amoeba Defense!!
Mind you: all of these are instances of the "155" and the "245" being employed as Sub Packages.
Nobody's talking about installing the "155" or the "245" as a Base Package.
Well, except for me.
Indeed, the concept of Sub Packages, itself, is undergoing a Revolution: The changes in the Rules ~ and the implementation of the Rules ~ have been so severely detrimental to Defenses since 2003 that ~ just in order to survive without getting "40 Burgers" dropped on them every single week ~ DC's've been compelled not only to adapt with increasingly indecipherable Defenses that keep their options open ~ hence the recent rapid resurgence of the 34 ~ but have indeed needed ~ for sheer survival's sake ~ to seek out and try to field personnel who can morph between multiple formations, in order to Multiply the Indecipherability of their Strategy + Schemes!!
It's even called for the invention of new words...such as "Indecipherability."
The Greatest, Most Merciless Evil in The History of Defensive FootBall...Strikes.
I refer, of course to:
So what does General Tom do??
Why, he waits until he's got the best Match Up of Personnel on both sides of the Ball...and then he hits the Gas!!
But the increased Specialization of today's Defensive Personnel ~ "Specialist" being of course a clever euphemism for "Not Good Enough To Be A Starter" ~ offers savvy QuarterBacks an unprecedented multitude of Opportunities to strike Defenses when they're most vulnerable...and to drive them all the way downfield before they can recover.
Mind you: Not everyone can do what Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers can do.
Not on their Scale.
But as soon as the rest of this famously "CopyCat" League fully embraces the stunning enormity of this gaping hole that the explosive growth of Sub Packages has exposed Defensive Schematics to ~ and I believe that the 2012 season will reveal that, in fact, they already have ~ the FloodGates will truly be thrown open.
I'm not joking: I believe that Tom Brady and a few others have already proven ~ via The No Huddle Offense ~ that the entire premise behind the recent explosion of Sub Packages is fundamentally and fatally flawed!!
And therein, I believe, lies the Vacuum.
And I have posited that Sub Packages have been exposed...and are about to be shredded on a league-wide basis.
Furthermore, it has been argued that any Base Defense that doesn't have at least three Down Linemen ~ in other words: the "245" or the "155", to say nothing of sending out zero Down Linemen!! ~ can be run on all...day...long.
Ladies and Laddies?
I call "BULLSHIT."
Because that, Ladies and Laddies...is what they once said about the 34!!
And while I wasn't privy to the meetings ~ to the best of my recollection, anyway ~ I'll bet that Coach Stagg got hit with a ton of PushBack, back in 1890, when he moved from the "92" to the "722"!! Hah!!
"They're gonna run the ball down our THROATS, Coach!!"
Defenses have evolved from the "92" to the "722" to the "524" to the "43" to the "34" over the last 132 years, as they've scrambled to react to the introduction ~ in 1906 ~ of the Passing Game, and to its explosive expansion.
And they are now forced to pay a tiny fraction of attention to the Running Game that they once did, back in the day.
And yet D's are still able to compete against the Run, to this very day.
"How in the name of God is that even possible??", one might ask.
One word, Ladies and Laddies:
And there's no sense in DC's kidding themselves.
In order to survive ~ and in order, ultimately, to thrive ~ Defenses must once again evolve with it.
I won't venture a TimeLine, but I believe, yes, that the "43" is about to rapidly disappear from the NFL as a Base.
And I wouldn't be surprised to see the "34" Base vaporize in the next decade or so, either.
"74" Schemes ~ such as the "34" and the "43" ~ are about to fade away, Ladies and Laddies...in my opinion.
"65" Schemes ~ such as the "155", "245", "335", and "425" ~ are about to explode...as Base Defenses!!
Remember where you read it first, if you'd do me that Honor!!
The two most critical Principles, in my view, both of which I've touched on, are these:
1 ~ Embrace "65" Schemes and leave "74" Schemes behind: D's that hope to compete against the Flying Circuses of the 21st Century had damned well better deploy 5 Defensive Backs. At is simplest, it is far better to have an extra Corner or Safety occasionally attack upfield against the Run...than to ask a MidFielder ~ Middle LineBacker, Earthlings ~ to be constantly backpedaling downfield, desperately trying to keep up with a guy 30 pounds lighter than'm!!
2 ~ Substitution and Specializing can be fatal: Aggressively seek out Players with the Intelligence, the Athleticism, and the Character to play effectively in the "155", the "245", the "335", and the "425", or at least two of them. I believe that it's the D's that can seamlessly morph between Schemes ~ thus eliminating The No Huddle's greatest advantage ~ and then disruptively implement those Schemes, who will come to dominate the League in the not so distant future.
An Amorphous D that can seamlessly morph between Multiple "65" Fronts IS The Wave of the Future!!
Am I out'f my mind??