I thought might draw some interest on Falcfans. I was saw this posting on the Falcon board and falconsroost and I think this was an excellent post. The poster was M Salmon to give credit for the information. It is certainly something to think about come free agency and the draft on what players the Falcons may look to acquire. Since Nolan now will be here for 2 yrs and I would suspect he'll have alot more say on who the players are the Falcons acquire.
The type of Defensive Linemen Mike Nolan Looks For
All the talk about Aaron Donald and different guys in the draft is awesome. But we have to ask ourselves as draft-nerds—what type of defensive linemen does Mike Nolan prefer? While it’d be great to ask him this question, odds are we would get no reply. That said, as we all know, managers of all ilk tend to be creatures of habit and wed to their scheme. So for fun, I went all the way back to Mike Nolan’s career coaching record as a DC or HC at San Francisco, and listed his defensive linemen. In my research I went towards the end of his tenure (starting at year 3 where applicable) in my look at his roster. The reason for this, is like any DC, Nolan “inherited” players from other DCs. Don’t forget this tidbit, as in year 3 here, we have much expiring Defensive Linemen contracts. Here is what I found:
New York Giants (defensive coordinator)
--Interesting to note, they started out under him as a true 43 alignment and became more and more hybrid as he continued to coach and acquire players.
DEFENSIVE LINE ROSTER
Erik Howard 6’5” 275 lbs
Mike Strahan (yes he was drafted when Nolan was in town!) 6’5” 275
Robert Harris 6’4” 295 lbs
Keith Hamilton 6’6” 295 lbs
Mike Fox 6’8” 285
• Interesting note, he also had a bunch of LB/DEs averaging 6’2” to 6’4” 240-260 lbs
• AVERAGE HEIGHT: 6’5
• AVERAGE WEIGHT: 285 lbs
• NOTE: NO LARGE NT; but remember this was the 90s—this was a big roster for it’s time
Washington Redskins (DC)
Dan Wilkinson 6’4” 350 lbs
Anthony Cook 6’3” 295 lbs
Kenard Lang 6’3” 280 lbs
Dana Stubblefield 6’2” 300
Marco Coleman 6’3” 286
• NOTE: Had all world NT in Wilkinson, all DL were long armed or had great leverage and again LB/DEs similar to NYG roster
• Average Height: 6’3”
• Average Weight: 302 lbs
BALTIMORE RAVENS (DC)
Marques Douglass 6’2” 286
Kelly Gregg 6’0 315
Kemoeatu 6’5” 340
Abrayo Franklin 6’1” 320
Dwan Edwards 6’3” 315
Jarret Johnson 6’3” 285 (also played LB believe it or not)
• NOTE: Note big NTs are present again, all DL were long armed or had great leverage and again LB/DEs similar to NYG roster
• Average Height: 6’2”
• Average Weight: 310 lbs
49ers (Head Coach)
Abrayo Franklin 6’1” 320
Ray McDonald 6’4” 276
Isaac Sapoaga 6’2” 321
Kentwan Balmer 6’5” 298
Justin Smith 6’4” 285
• NOTE: Note big NTs are present again, all DL were long armed or had great leverage and again LB/DEs similar to NYG roster. Also note Nolan had complete control here; and arguably the reason the niners defense is so good is the players and philosophies he set in place. 3-4 base all the way at this point
• Average Height: 6’3”
• Average Weight: 300 lbs
Denver Broncos (DC)
Ronald Fields 6’2” 310
Vonnie Holliday 6’5” 290
Darrell Reid 6’2” 288
Ryan McBean 6’5” 277
LeKevin Smith 6’1” 310
Marcus Thomas 6’3” 314
• NOTE: Note big NTs are present again, but note Nolan only had one season in Denver. Not sure the sample size is relevant, but I’ll include anyway as there was a flurry of defensive FA on that team. 3-4 base all the way at this point
• Average Height: 6’3”
• Average Weight: 298 lbs
Miami Dolphins (DC)
Randy Starks 6’3” 312
Jared Odrick 6’5” 301
Paul Soliai 6’4” 344
Kendal Langford 6’5” 285
Tony McDaniel 6’7” 295
• NOTE: Note big NTs are present again, Notice trend of loading up on 5 tech type guys? Long and strong and can move inside in 43 sets. 3-4 base all the way at this point
• Average Height: 6’4”
• Average Weight: 307 lbs
Atlanta Falcons (DC) * used 2013 season
Peria Jerry 6’2” 295
Jonathan Babineux 6’2” 300
Corey Peters 6’3” 305
Cliff Matthews 6’4” 270
Maliciah Goodman* 6’4” 275
Travian Robertson* 6’4” 305
Adam Repogle* 6’3” 294 (on and off roster)
• *= Acquired while Nolan was DC
• NOTE: Note no big NTs are present. Notice trend of loading up on 5 tech type guys (goodman and Robertson)? Repogle is a stout player known for his leverage and strength like Kelly Gregg was. Weird hybrid
• Average Height: 6’3”
• Average Weight: 292 lbs
So the average Heights and weights of Nolan’s past rosters in 6 stops were 6’3” and 300 lbs. Keep in mind this number is skewed by counting the weights of his NYG and Washington Rosters when average weights of players were considerably lower than now. But more than just average height weight what can we glean from this statistical information? Here are things that I noticed:
• Predominance of long tall DEs with great strength and length
• Move towards 5 tech DEs that could also move inside on 43 sets
• Big NTs with great leverage and clogging ability
• Long Arms seem to be a focus. We see that in Goodman. Marques Douglass by the way while only 6’2” had grape vines for arms
• Lots of hybrid OLB/DEs (I didn’t list them) that ran behind physical and long DL
• Very few UT types
o Here’s where the height/weight can be confusing. If you look at his Redskins Roster and even Baltimore you see guys that height/weight ratios of UTs. But remember this from late 90s-early 2000s players were decidedly smaller—particularly in weight. The NYG roster was amazingly long and tall for that time period; but note no 320 plus NT
• Our 2013 roster was decidedly the smallest of Nolan’s teams
• We have a bunch of expiring DL contracts
So what does all this tell us? Well for one, last year’s DL doesn’t look like a Nolan DL. Two it gives us an idea, particularly from Nolan’s squads from Ravens forward, an idea of what he looks for in Defensive Linemen. I noticed these things:
• Goodman is a typical Nolan type of DL at 6’4” 276 with long arms
o Most of Nolan’s squads had at least 2 players in this size and type
• Nolan typically has at least 2 true NTs
• Nolan typically has at least 1—most times more—6’5” to 6’7” 300-305 lb 5 techs that can move inside in a 43
• Almost all are known for their physicality and tend to be good athletes
Most importantly, this may be a way we can gauge Defensive Line prospects in upcoming draft and FA. Me personally, I think we’ll focus on getting at least a true NT or 2 and maybe 2 5 techs. Not sure how Donald fits into this, as I view him as a true 43 UT. Could he work? Yes, but not really seeing a player like him in past Nolan schemes.
DRAFT DL PROSPECTS I SEE US INTERESTED IN:
J. Clowney 6’6” 270
R. Hageman 6’6”315
S. Tuitt 6’6” 310
Josh Ellis 6’2” 340
Ryan Carruthers 6’1” 330
Brent Urban 6’7” 295
D’Qaun Jones 6’3” 318
There are others of course
FA DL I SEE US INTERESTED IN:
Linval Joseph 6’4” 325
Michael Johnson 6’6” 270
Paul Soliai 6’4” 340
Not sure I’m seeing Babs, Peters or Jerry being in our radar.
Well, long read; but I hope you find it interesting. Thoughts?
I also got this from a poster named RYNE
I heard something from a friend that there was a big thing on NBC sports network last night about us. It was an NFC south draft preview. Did anyone see it?
Apparently they said on there that Nolan didn't want to resign with atlanta because he was very unhappy with the personnel on defense. And it was only after TD agreed to draft and bring in through free agency Nolan type players that he resigned. Then they went through a list of players that we will look at. Basically suggesting Nolan wants a 3-4
I've been trying to look for this video but can't locate it. My friend has no reason to lie. He was texting me telling me to turn on the channel but I wasn't home at the time. Anyone see it?
My friend isn't a falcons thing but he said the piece they did on atlanta was incredible. Said they were talking about getting a huge anchor for the Dline maybe even in the form of Terrance Cody.
They said that Clowney wouldn't be traded up for because he doesn't really fit a 3-4 but we would draft him if he was at 6.
Said we won't go after Michael Johnson contrary to all the other reports.
Said we like Louis nix after a small trade back
A lot of confusion is still going on around this place in regards to what kind of defense we run, what Nolan prefers and what the "4-3 Leo" defense is. I want to start a thread to help clear the air
For starters, there is nothing called a 4-3 Leo defense. The Leo is the name of a position unique to the 4-3 Under. It's also called the Elephant. This is primarily what we run. Not a plain 4-3 like Chicago/Minny and not a 3-4. That's why the Big Tackle looks became a big part of our defense once Ray Edwards left. He was manning the 5T role, but wasn't a fit skill wise nor attitude wise. But the normal fan saw him as a traditional left end in a 4 man front.
Here is a breakdown from The Fifth Down of the 4-3 Under and the Elephant Rusher:
[Pete] Carroll worked on the same staff with Kiffin at Arkansas and with the Minnesota Vikings and claims Kiffin as his primary defensive influence. Along with the 4-3 Under, Carroll will be using a 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.
It’s 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.
The confusion is this looks like a 3-4 or 5-2, like the article says, to the untrained eye. You have 3 DL with their hands in the dirt, normally bigger guys, and 2 players standing on the ends in pass rush stances. Where the distinction comes in is the personnel. Our 3 DT looks made since to be labeled a 3-4, except when looking at assignments. 3-4 defense have two 5-Tech ends and a NT. 4-3 Under has one 5T, a 1T and a 3T. Primary players in the draft that can fill these positions are Hageman (5T), Nix (1T) and Donald (3T). Those three players on the same line together would not be a 4-3 nor a 3-4 straight up. But they would be perfect fits in a 4-3 Under together.
Here is more information on eat individual position, broken down at FieldGulls.com, the Seahawks SBNation site (I added players from the draft that fit the positions as well):
The SAM linebacker comes up closer to the line to play hard contain and the weakside LEO is pushed out a bit, maybe a yard off of the weakside tackle. The LEO's main job is to control the C gap while rushing the passer like a wild banshee and the SAM plays contain against the TE, runs in pass coverage with him, or rushes the passer in some situations.
Here is the basic description of each position in the 4-3 Under.
The LEO can be a little bit smaller than a normal DE and tends to be a more athletic and versatile body type for this Elephant position; a guy that can speed rush the QB but also react quick enough to control his gap. Must also be able to drop back into coverage occasionally in zone blitz situations. (Perfect Fit: Kahlil Mack).
The strongside defensive tackle can be short and squat but must be able to take on a double team consistently. (Perfect Fit: Louis Nix).
The weakside defensive tackle, the 3-tech, must be your premiere interior pass rusher and have an explosive first step. His main job is to pressure the QB and stop the run in his weakside B gap. The 5-tech defensive end can be a bigger guy and must be great against the run. This is why you saw Red Bryant move out there in 2010. (Perfect Fit: Aaron Donald).
The SAM linebacker needs to be athletic and rangy; great against the run but able to run with tight ends and running backs in pass coverage. (Current Players: Bartu; Biermann/Perfect Fit: Kyle Van Noy).
The WILL linebacker is going to get a lot of tackles and in this system is typically a faster, smaller linebacker with range. (Current Player: Spoon/Perfect Fit: Ryan Shazier).
The MIKE linebacker needs to be the field general; very instinctual and savvy. He needs to be quick enough to drop back down the middle third of the field in pass coverage in the Tampa-2 coverage. (Current Player: Paul Worrilow/Perfect Fit: CJ Mosley).
The free safety is a guy that's going to move around a lot and be very instinctual as well. He's going to come up to the line a lot and will get a lot of tackles. (Current Player: Decoud/Perfect Fit: Calvin Pryor).
The strong safety has to be good against the run but like the free safety, will move around a lot and have to defend against the deep pass a lot. He will need to be fast and have some ball skills. (Current Player: WillyMo/Perfect Fit: Deone Bucannon).
Finally, the cornerbacks need to be physical and long. They will get involved in run defense a lot so they must be good tacklers. They are protected over the top a lot of the time so typically they're not all-world defenders but need to be pretty fast. (This is where our defense defers. Trufant, Alford and McClain aren't long and only moderately physical, but they can cover. Enables more blitzing for Nolan's touch.)
So now that we have laid the foundation for what we are looking for with our defense, this explains why a player like Goodman was added and where he fits in our defense. It also explains how Bartu and Worrilow were such good fits. Worrilow isn't an all-world LB, but he is very instinctual and savvy. 100+ tackles in half a season says so. Bartu is highly athletic and rangy in the short to medium range. He's also strong against the run and a good pass rusher. I don't agree with labeling him a SLB, but he fits it.
FAs like Arthur Jones and Tyson Jackson make perfect sense to add. Think about Seattle's defense without Mebane or Red Bryant or even Alan Branch when he was there. Not the same team. That's what those guys would bring that we don't have. They already have experience in the role and wouldn't break the back. Obviously, guys like Joseph and Soliai fit the 0-1Tech role to a T. A player I see worth paying a decent contract for is Lamarr Houston. He's similar to what Wilkerson provides in NYJ at the 5T. Michael Johnson would be the more expensive option but could move from the 5 to the 3 to a big Leo.
The defense could see a big shift in talent to make the change from 4-3 BVG style to 4-3 Under Nolan style. Paired with MSalmon thread, and I think a lot of confusion will be cleared up on what players we will be looking at in the draft and FA.
Yea I didn't agree with the Goodman pick until the season started. He is very good in run defense and is a solid interior pass rusher. Adding another player like him would give us depth there vs playing a squatty DT like we had to do. I knew Maponga and Mass were ideal fits as edge rushers, but I didn't think Bartu was an ideal SLB but he fits the description and characteristics.
Also, I think this ends any trade up talk for Clowney if it costs too much. He can only play limited snaps because he can't cover. Kahlil Mack is the ideal Leo at 6 and could even play the SAM. That's also why we would be interested in Barr as well. I think Donald is the perfect 3rd & long 3T in this defense as well. A guy like Cox will be screaming for him if he is there. It's also the perfect draft for DTs because they all won't go in the first. One of the top 5 will be there at our second pick (Nix, Tuitt, Hageman, Jernigan, Donald). I also think this NT class is pretty deep (D. Jones, Carrethers, Ellis) excluding McCullers, who doesn't require double teams despite his size. It's a match made in heaven draft for us.
Clowney I see because of his extreme rarity of skills...not sure trading up makes sense either. I'm torn. Tuitt is ideal addition. Nix, if healthy, is perfect nose and end. Donald is too big a cost for a situational guy. If he's in 3rd--sure. A first for a situational guy? Or early second? I'd pass. If we chose to let OL pass or fill in FA...I'd go this route in draft:
Mack (maybe as I'm still wondering about small school effect)
Mosley potentially--crazy athlete and scheme diverse
Clowney (depending on if available)
Barr--not fan favorite but tantalizing athleticism
Possibly D'Quan Jones (depending on combine)
Soliai (forget Miami crap...he goes to get paid)
The tricky part is how our existing OL fit into tice's plan. Does adding a beadle suffice? Do we need to add an OT early in first or second rounds?
Lastly, safety is issue. A guy like Malcom Jenkins fits perfect in Nolan's scheme
If I'm GM I'm signing:
Beadles (G Denver)
Soliai or Cody (or other NT)
Tyson Jackson (cheap 5 tech)
Before folks say too many FAs, remember in past we re-signed our guys. In this case we have expiring contracts. Also you basically exchange Assante and Decoud contract for an interior guy like Jackson and Jenkins.
Then I go first round:
Add either OL or 5 tech or OLB/DE depending on what we draft in first
Third and beyond:
Ellis or Jones or carrethers girthy but Athletic interior guys
4th and beyond
Ed Stinson, Brent urban or other 5 tech
I'm not liking Donald due to his cost and snaps he may play. If I want UT type, bring Babs back cheap or look later
Said we want big athletic pass rushers
Sometimes running the Mularkey offense makes me feel like I'm in a prison.