January 10, 2019 at 1:28 am #533
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The scheme that carried the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowls (2013-14) has become increasingly popular around the league. It helped Atlanta get to the big game last year and was the catalyst for Jacksonville’s stunning turnaround this season. It also got rave reviews down the stretch in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In a copycat league, this is the one being emulated right now.
And for good reason. The Seahawks rode the scheme to six straight playoff berths between 2012 and 2016, and as more of Pete Carroll’s defensive assistants moved on to become coordinators and head coaches elsewhere, they brought it with them.
Now, it spans coast to coast.
”It really takes on the flavor of the coaches that are doing it, so they have their uniqueness,” Carroll said. ”But there are a lot of similarities.”
Similar results, too.
The Jaguars ranked second in the NFL in yards and points allowed this season, relying on their defense to mask offensive deficiencies. The Chargers ranked third in scoring defense, allowing just two opponents to top 21 points in their final 11 games. The Falcons (eighth) and the injury-riddled Seahawks (13th) weren’t far behind. The 49ers finished 25th at 23.9 points a game, but were considerably better over the final five weeks of the regular season. They allowed 19.9 points during a five-game winning streak that included victories against three playoff teams.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Atlanta defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn and Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash all spent time in Seattle under Carroll.
Bradley, Manuel, Saleh and Wash were on the same staff in 2012. Former Oakland defensive coordinator Ken Norton also was there and had the Raiders playing the Seattle scheme until he was fired in late November.
”It’s good. It’s nice,” Carroll said. ”I love that the guys are getting the opportunities and they are doing stuff.”
Seattle players don’t seem as ready to credit anyone for doing it as well as they did while picking up the ”Legion of Boom” nickname in 2012.
”There is only one Seattle Seahawks,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Maybe so. Seattle allowed the fewest points (14.4) and yards (273.6) in the NFL during the 2013 season and forced a league-high 39 turnovers. The Seahawks emphatically stated their case as a generational defense – right up there with the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens – with a 43-8 drubbing of Denver in the Super Bowl. The Broncos shattered an NFL record with 606 points during the regular season but were overmatched on the NFL’s biggest stage.
That same season, thousands of miles away, Bradley and Wash were building the foundation for Jacksonville’s current defense.
Two years later, Quinn was implementing it in Atlanta with some help from Manuel. Quinn’s offensive coordinator at the time was Kyle Shanahan, who saw the defense every day in practice and knew he wanted it to be part of his rebuild with the 49ers this season. He hired Saleh. And former Jaguars head coach Bradley resurfaced with the Chargers.
”It’s a very sound scheme that starts with stopping the run,” Shanahan said. ”It makes you work all the way down the field, so it’s extremely tough to get explosives on. It’s tough to go against. They make you work for everything, and it’s something that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week. It’s something that if you just do over and over and over again, it’s hard not to get better at it.”
The premise of the Seattle defense is that it uses an eight-man box to stop the run (one safety positioned close to the line of scrimmage) and a single-high safety who can get sideline to sideline in ”cover three” (a three-deep zone in which defensive backs split coverage areas into three sections). Cornerbacks play a lot of aggressive [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-alex-tuch-jersey]Alex Tuch Jersey Kids[/url] , bump-and-run coverage that works best when the four defensive linemen are pressuring quarterbacks. Linebackers are usually undersized and fast.
It’s a 4-3 base defense that incorporates many elements of the popular 3-4.
”We are all different in our own ways,” Manuel said. ”But … just the understanding of methodically making a team have to go 13, 14 plays to score and play with great red-zone defense and understand that taking the ball away is the most important thing. Plays are going to happen that are big, but if you eliminate the ones that you know are about to happen, offenses have to do something else.
”You call plays that guys understand. You can get exotic (and create) paralysis by analysis; guys are overthinking on the field. That’s part of what you see in this defense. I guarantee you in each one of these (Seattle-influenced) defenses, guys are flying around and playing fast because they’re not thinking.”
Regardless of the schematics and subtleties, the common thread is solid – more like star – players.
Seattle has Wagner, cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor, among others.
The Chargers boast disruptive pass-rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, linebacker Denzel Perryman and cornerback Casey Hayward. They tied for fifth in the NFL with 43 sacks.
The Jaguars had the second-most sacks (55) in the league thanks partly to Pro Bowl defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson and budding star Yannick Ngak
PHOENIX — The San Francisco Giants extended their best month in exactly two years with a victory at Arizona on Friday, given a huge boost by rookie outfielder Austin Slater and left-hander Andrew Suarez.
At 17-10, the Giants are having their first winning month since June 2016, and with a victory in the second game of the three-game series Saturday, they will have one more victory than they had that June.
Slater had three hits, including two RBI doubles, in a Giants 2-1 victory on Friday, his sixth day back on his fourth recall from Triple-A Sacramento this season. Suarez gave up one run in six innings and ran his streak to 13 starts without walking more than two.
“He really has that composure out there,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of Suarez. “He’s got some savvy out there. He knows when to make his pitches. He knows when to be careful, too.”
The Diamondbacks will send right-hander Shelby Miller (0-1, 12.27 ERA) to the mound Saturday for his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery in an attempt so salvage another series win.
The D-backs are 5-0-1 in their last six series since losing two of three at San Francisco from June 4-6. Giants rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (2-1, 3.82) will make his sixth start of the season on Saturday. Rodriguez has never faced Arizona, but he allowed just one run and four hits over seven innings in his most recent start, on Sunday against San Diego. He did not get a decision but the Giants won the game 3-2.
Miller, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, made his first start of the season in Miami on Monday [url=http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-brad-hunt-jersey]http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-brad-hunt-jersey[/url] , when he gave up six hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings while reaching 95-96 mph on the radar gun.
“The fastball command was outstanding,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know he is working on his secondary stuff. That’s to be expected. Knowing that he has taken a 15-month journey to get to this point, it’s not going to be a perfect science right away. The secondary pitches are feel pitches, and I know that he is working hard. Landing the second stuff is something that we are hoping to see. We know we see it in bullpens and at different tunes. I know that Shelby is going to be ready for that challenge.”
Miller, the key return in the trade that sent Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson to Atlanta at the 2015 winter meetings, used words of encouragement from Patrick Corbin and the Arizona training staff to get through rehab. Corbin underwent Tommy John in the spring of 2014 season and missed the whole year.
“I talked to Corbin a lot,” Miller said. “The guys in the training room, day in and day out they were giving me reassurance. What to expect. I leaned on them and relied on them a lot. They were big. I am definitely feeling good.”
Miller admitted to feeling some nerves before the Miami start.
“For sure,” he said. “It is different than any other game. It is a big day. I had some minor league rehab starts, but those don’t even compare to the games that are mattering up here. I definitely had some jitters.”
Miller is 2-5 with a 3.51 ERA in nine career starts against the Giants.
Slater has been tearing up the Pacific Coast League in his time between stints in San Francisco. He is slashing .344/.417/.564 with 24 doubles and five homers in 53 games with the River Cats. His 24 doubles were second in the league, and his batting average was sixth when was promoted again last Saturday.
With third baseman Evan Longoria expected to miss at least another month, manager Bruce Bochy mentioned the possibility of giving Slater more time, especially against left-handed pitchers.
Slater is hitting at least .300 against righties and lefties in Sacramento this season, and during his short stay wth the Giants before a leg injury in 2017 hit .333 in 38 plate appearances against lefties.
“We’re missing a right-handed bat, and he could provide that,” Bochy said. “Not that other guys can’t, but you look at what he did tonight and what he’s been doing. He’s going to help stretch out this lineup and us some added offense, which we need against lefties.”
Even with veterans in the outfield, “You have to go with the guys who are swinging the bat well,” Bochy said. “They dictate their lineup.”
Slater has made three starts since being recalled the most recent time Saturday.
“The first couple of times up and down, it is easy to lose focus,” Slater said. “But for me it was try to prove a point that it wasn’t a fluke, that I was here to stay.”
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