4-3 Under and the Elephant Rusher…

…or How Rick shut up and learned to love the new defensive draft picks

By Rick

Pete Carroll worked on the same staff with Monte Kiffin at Arkansas and with the Minnesota Vikings and claims Kiffin as his primary defensive influence. With the proliferation of more TEs and WRs into the pass happy NFL both the Patriot’s Belichick (that picked both Seifert and Kiffin’s brain) and Seahawk’s Carroll has been trying to acquire the personnel to play this 3-4 / 4-3 modified front.

After reviewing what the Patriots were trying to do, and what Capers now has to work with, I think that along with the 4-3 Under, Capers will also be using this pass-rushing variation that was first popularized by George Seifert in San Francisco. Looking to create mismatches anywhere he could against opposing offensive lines, Seifert allowed his weakside defensive end to move around his defensive formation to rush the passer from either side of the defense from a two-point stance. Players like Charles Haley, Chris Doleman, Rickey Jackson and Tim Harris filled this “Elephant” role with great success.

With the Elephant rusher in a two-point stance and the strongside linebacker usually near the line of scrimmage as another capable pass rushing option, these defenses look like a 5-2 or 3-4 front. This should be the task that 1st round pick Perry takes as the Elephant rusher and CMIII plays the Strong side LB spot.

Elephant Defense

Whether it is a 3-4 or a 4-3 is somewhat of a semantic argument because there will be four players in a two-point stance behind three down defensive linemen, but this front is more like a 4-3 than a 3-4 because of how the three linemen line up. The lineman to the inside of the Elephant rusher is aligned as a 3-technique, something that you won’t see in a base 3-4 set. This look is essentially a 4-3 Under with a standup defensive end.

I am still unhappy with some of the draft picks with the value I saw on the board in the 4th round but after a 10-6 record and a Super Bowl win and best in NFL record at 15-1, Ted Thompson should easily get the benefit of the doubt from me and this system works with the players Capers now has to work his magic with. Now let’s go get another Super Bowl win!!

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