This is the  third of a series on drawing football diagrams, and this time we’ll be talking about drawing the defensive side of the ball. For now, we’re going to have the offense going “up” the image and the defense going “down” the image. It’s easy enough to invert. Draw the offense the way we show in Part 2, rotate the result by 180 degrees, and then add your defensive players. In the old days, the defense was indicated with triangles. Most football bloggers, however, like to use fonts with names on them for the defense. The problem with fonts is that fonts are often tied to an operating system, so using them well requires some familiarity with font families. A good introduction to font families is here. And to note, Helvetica is installed as part of Image Magick, so if you want a no nonsense solution that should just work, set your font to “Helvetica-Bold”.

Since we are using Image Magick to generate our graphics, we can add color at will to our diagrams, and so one convention we’re going to follow for now is to use shape and color to distinguish offense from defense. offenses will be in white, defenses in yellow. Other conventions we could use are:

  • Using different shapes for linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.
  • Tilting the defensive symbol to indicate a slanted lineman.
  • Shading the offensive lineman to indicate a shaded orientation on the  part of the defensive player.

For now, we’re going to use this image as the basis for our defenses. We’ve spoken about the Desert Swarm, a kind of double eagle defense, here.

Arizona versus Washington, 1992. I formation versus Desert Swarm. Whip (flex tackle) on TE side of formation..

And these are our attempts to duplicate that photograph. Obviously one corner and the free safety position are a product of speculation.

Defense in yellow, using symbols. Slant lineman denoted by tilt of triangles.

This graphic is a text based representation of the defense.

Helvetica-Bold is the font used here.

The images as displayed above are about 3/4 their actual size, so double click on them to see a full sized image (unless you’re using Chrome, in which case you’ll get a huge image).

Font notes:

To list the fonts that Image Magick can use by name, use the command (Win32/64 cmd window or Unix shell):

convert -list font | more

fonts that are not listed here can be accessed by direct path to the font file itself. In Ubuntu/Linux, the Fontmatrix utility can be a big help in seeing which fonts are good and determining the font path.

In this article, the example code is going to be given in Perl, using the Image::Magick module.

Code samples:

Previous parts of this article:

I can’t say for certain if the 1991 Super Bowl (highlights here, DVD here) contains the oldest nickel front in the world, as there is a side of me that  thinks the Miami 4-3 is a thinly disguised 2-3-6 – think about it, using what kinds of players are placed where, as opposed to what kinds of names the positions are called. Isn’t a Miami 4-3 equivalent to this:

And not all that far removed from this:

Just sayin’.

In the book “Education of a Coach“, by David Halberstam, a book about Bill Belichick, and a decent read, Halberstam goes into great detail about  the base nickel front that Belichick used in the 1991 Super Bowl. And yes, isn’t this, the first offensive play of the Bowl, an argument that Belichick is your nickel front daddy?

I say, who is your nickel front daddy?

Halberstam says this defense was, in modern terms, a 2-3 dime. Of course,  with Lawrence Taylor as the rush linebacker, it was a rather stout 2-3.

Miami 4-3 notes..

  • This thread from Football Futures, I think, is one of the better reads on the Miami 4-3.
  • Coach Hoover: Miami 4-3 versus the flexbone.
  • Coach Huey: Miami 4-3 compared to the K State 4-3.
  • Fifth Down Blog on the 4-3 (including the Miami). The whole guide summarized here.
  • Linebackers in the Miami 4-3.

This will be a brief review of defensive fronts shown by Green Bay during their playoff victory over Atlanta. I’m doing this because Dom is a hot commodity, courtesy of  his #2 ranked defense. I’m mostly interested in defensive fronts, so this is a study of the fronts that can be gleaned from the 6 minute highlight video from nfl.com. There are 6 of these in all. 2 of these were short yardage fronts and so we’ll just skip those. We’ll concentrate on the four remaining fronts that we can see.

This line has 3 men in a 3 point stance, a fourth in a two point stance. Number 95 (or is that 96?) is over the LG, the NT is over center, the LDE is outside the tackle in a slant, pointed as if he’s going to crash onto the RG.  A fourth player is in a two point stance just outside the tackle and inside the split end.

This one is either a 3-3 or a 2-4, depending on whether you consider the third player in the “RDE” position an end or a linebacker. Update: per this article in Blitzology, this position is called a Rush Linebacker. Note the wide spacing of the 3 along the front, as the “ends” are outside the OTs.

Matt Ryan gives up an interception in the end zone on this play, due to excellent play by Green Bay’s “other” cornerback, Tramon Williams. The front resembles a 3-4 front with the NG removed from the line, and LBs playing extremely deep. The 2 lineman appear to be playing in the “B” gap. Note: This article from Blitzology cover this particular Dom Capers front. Check out the first diagram.

Matt Ryan gives up an interception for a touchdown on this play. Note that not a single lineman is in a 3 point stance. Note the wide placement of the DEs, outside their opposite offensive tackles. The uniform numbers for A J Hawk (50) and Desmond Bishop (55) are visible perhaps 5 yards behind the LOS. Before the snap, the NG tried, but never quite made it into a 3 point stance.

I’m tying together data from a series of older forum posts, breaking down video of the eighth game of the 1985 season, a game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings.

(more…)

This content is a personal interpretation of elements of Rex Ryan’s book on the 46. The diagrams come from scans from the book.

(more…)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 243 other followers