For those that dont know, the 4-3Under is basically the hybrid that you saw last year in Seatle. I will try to breakdown ths defense as best as I can, and analyze which parts on our current roster fit into this defense. Our secondary is a HOT MESS, and needs to be re-done regardless of what type of defensive alignment we run, so I am only going to focus on the front 7.
For fans that arent familiar with the Hybrid the best way I can describe it to you is this: The right half of the defense (side that the TE is on) think 4-3. The OLB on that side should be very close to a traditional SAM. He will be used to blitz, but it is imperative that this player can COVER TE's. On the left side of the defense (no TE) think the WIDE 9. The OLB on this side in Davis scheme is called,THE PREDATOR, who will serve primarily as a pass rusher. The Predator will line up taking a WIDE angle outside of the OT (Think our DE's in the Wide 9). So this OLB wil get the OT out on an island and force the OT to block him in space(not easy to do), AND the NT has to to eat up the Center...what that does is leave the RG to have to block the 3tec Tackle STRAIGHT UP, and because the predator takes a wide 9 angle taking the OT away...This is going to put the RG on an Island as well trying to block Fletcher Cox with alot of room to operate...Thats not going to be an easy job for RG's next year. So basically you are trying to overload the side without the TE (the wide 9 side) and get two 1 on 1 match ups (one for the predator, the other for Fletcher Cox), both with alot of space to operate...thats going to spell T R O U B L E for opposing Line coaches lol. The other side, the traditional 4-3 side..we should all be familiar with. The NT lines up between the NT and the LG(OG on TE side) and the DT opposite Cox lines up between the guard and tackle. This player obviously wont get the 1on1 match up in space that Cox will get on the other side, so its important that this DE/DT is STOUT against the run,and can hold his ground. The ILB's in Davis scheme operate as the MLB and WIL that you see in the traditional 4-3.
How our current roster fits with the front 7 of a hybrid:
NT: The only thing close to a NT that we have is Dixon. However there will be plenty of different ways to get a NT.As JasonB pointed out early in the week we could go after an oldhead SB champion NT like Kemoatu as a stop gap for a year or two to groom Kwame Gaethers who we could scoop up in the 4th-5th rounds. Depending on draft day trades and players slipping, we could also have a chance at a guy like Hankins,Jenkins,Jesse Williams (mid rd1-rd 2). There have been plenty of breakdowns on BGN about how NT is not a position that you are forced to adress early in the draft. However, this position can not wait til the following Offseason. We have to bring in atleast 1 NT(and thats only if you think Dixon can be the other NT)
DE(No TE side) 3 tecnique: fletcher Cox was BORN to wreak Havoc from this position. RG's are going to have to block him 1on1 in space, I LIKE OUR CHANCES lol!!!
OLB "The Predator" (lines up outside fletcher cox, on the side with no TE). Our Roster is filled with Predators: Graham, cole, Curry,and Hunt. The Predator is primarily a pass rusher, who rarely will be asked to drop back in coverage to confuse the offense.
DE(TE side): I dont think our starter for the next 5 seasons at this spot is on our team yet. For this season, we can get away with Cullen and Thorton..but I think THorton will eventually be Cox's backup, and this position will need to be adressed for sure next year(if not this year)...If we draft Star Latululei (This is where I would play him for most of his career, I would play him at NT his rookie year only out of neccessity, not having a NT)..This position could be upgraded in FA with a guy like Randy Stark
OLB (Sam, TE side): This player, at times will rush the passer but he absolutely has to be able to cover TE's, and with the TE's that are emerging in todays NFL, this player will be very important. Might be a good idea to draft a guy like Dion Jordan or Jarvis Jones..We are Deep at Predator, and unless Vinny Curry has this secret abillity to cover TE's, we have a HUGE hole at this spot that we must address immediately.
ILB1 MLB: Dameco is more than an adequate Thumper. I really believe that you will see him elevate his game another notch this season. Last year he switched franchises for the first time in his career, came to a dysfunctional defense, 2nd year back from a terrible injury..and he was still one of our top 3 defenders. EXPECT an even better Dameco next year.
ILB2 WIL: Kendricks is really going to shine in this role using his sideline to sideline speed to fly around and make plays all over the field. In arizona, Davis used Carlos Dansby for this WIL position. Here is what Davis said about this position (Courtesy of Sheil Kapadia): "The way the defense is set up, he has a nice protective shield to keep potential blockers at bay. “What we’ve done with Karlos is put him behind a three-technique, so basically – we call these anchor points – he’s got a wall in front of him,” Davis said. “So he can run and use his athleticism. The center can’t get him because the nose is on him. The guard can’t get him because the end is on him. And the tackle can’t get him because the predator is on him. So this is your athlete that can run, go cover ground and make plays".....
....Remember all those passes Kendricks was getting his hands on in coverage? Very soon we can expect them to start turning into Pick 6's.
Conclusion: Basically, in terms of starters for the front 7, the only major holes that HAVE to be addressed this offseason is the NT, and the OLB(SAM)...We will eventually have to find the DE opposite of Fletche,r but Cullen and Cedrick can hold it down for one more season. I dont see any way that we can keep 4 Predators on the roster (Graham,Cole,Curry,hunt). Curry could get a look at the SAM(but I see him as our backup Predator to Graham in the future when we move away from Trent Cole). I dont see any way that they can keep Hunt unless he has an ability to cover TE's that I dont know about lol. Wonder if he can fetch you better than a 7th rd pick in a trade.
Billy Davis was not a sexy hire by any means. He isnt a name that anyone will be excited about. However, for me personally, I have much to be pleased about. His style of Defense, is the defense I wanted all along, THE HYBRID (one of the things I liked about hiring Gus Bradley). He also brings a wealth on NFL experience having coached under many different bright nfl minds. SUCCESS, wont just leap out at you from his resume from his years as a DC but in fairness to the man, he always had inferior rosters so although he hasnt had much success, he hasnt underachieved with super talented rosters either. Im actually pleased with the hire, but I still question the process of coming to the decision of hiring the brown LB coach. I got crucified for questioning the process that led to the hiring when in reality Im glad to give him a chance, as long as Chip lets him coach his defense. I dont want to see another scenario like last year. Bowles was made th DC, but couldnt coach a Todd Bowles defense. I know Chip likes the 3-4, but if this man is a HYBRID guy, then let him do what he does especially since we are fortunate that its a scheme that fits what few good players we currently have on the roster. Something Philly can get excited about is that Mr. Davis seems to believe in HEAT (blitzing), which seems to have passed away with Jim Johnson. As a DC his units ranked in the top 8 in terms of most times sending 5 rushers at the QB. Conversly he only sent 3 rushers about 4% of the time. So it seems that the man definitely believes in Blitzing which many people in Philly seem to miss.
I think the reasons I questioned the hiring process were fair, and I just wanted to speculate about what the truth could possibly be, before we got the Eagles public relations SPIN on the matter which is coming on Monday. As much as I actually like the hire, it doesnt change from the fact that its a peculiar hire on many different levels. We didn't have to compete with anyone for his services. I was under the impression that typically the position coaches that get promoted to coordinator come from the teams who performed the best that year (BROWNS and BEST are hardly ever used in the same sentence). Adding to the speculation was the fact that we waited til after the superbowl, and national signing day (2 things that have NOTHING to do with Billy Davis) to hire a DC. Davis also isnt a guy that chip has coached against or has any real link to...It wouldnt matter if Monday the eagles would just be open and honest and truthfully answer the questions that will be asked. BUt that wont be the case, like always it will be a high degree of SPIN, BUT you cant blame them for not wanting to tell the fans that hey, Billy Davis wasnt my first choice, but conversly you cant blame a fan for being curious and wanting to know the truth either. I was just curious is all...even if BILLY DAVIS was our 10th choice as Defensive Coordinator, I still wouldnt make the correlation that it equates to him having no shot at doing a good job for us. I like so much of what this man will bring to our defense, but that doesnt mean we cant wonder about the behind the scenes workings... Billy Davis is the coach, hopefully Chip lets him implement his scheme. Nothing left to do but get behind our coaches and see what they can do. Best of Luck to Billy Davis, hopefully he can bring us back the Philly STYLE defense that we havent seen in Philly since the beloved JJ. GO EAGLES!!!