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Dr Z

'Inside Triangle' Key to Defense on 1st & 2nd Down

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One of my favorite things about attending a Zips game is to watch the Zips defensive unit work, and to see how they game plan against an offense.

It has been a pretty awful thing to watch the last decade. I'm hoping this changes with coach Amato and his defensive and linebacker experience.

'Inside Triangle' Key to Sucess on 1st & 2nd Down

by Pat Kirwan

We hear coaches say "it all starts up front." when describing what a good football team looks like. That's not entirely accurate because what coaches really mean is "it starts up front inside." It doesn't matter if your favorite team is in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense there is an inside triangle that is the foundation of the defense and if it isn't rock solid the rest of the package will crumble.

The inside triangles look like this:

• The 3-4 inside triangle: Two inside linebackers and the nose tackle.

• The 4-3 inside triangle: Two defensive tackles and the middle linebacker.

There are different philosophies about the inside triangle with all fronts.

Two 4-3 coaches may build entirely different inside triangles. Same for any two 3-4 coaches.

For example:

• Shade 4-3 inside triangle front: A DT on the outside shoulder of a guard, a nose tackle on a side of the center and the MLB in a gap.

• Base 4-3 inside traingle front: But both defensive tackles over the guards and the MLB over the center.

It changes from team to team. The Eagles' 4-3 inside triangle is based on quickness with Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson at defensive tackle and DeMeco Ryans at the MLB. The Buffalo Bills have a combination of quickness and thickness with Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams at DT, plus big middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. The Giants have a big thick inside group with Linval Joseph (6-foot-4, 328 pounds) and Chris Canty (6-7, 310) in front of a number of different middle linebackers who are hard to reach for would-be blockers.

The shade look usually requires quick One-Gap players who penetrate while the base look has bigger defensive tackles controlling the line of scrimmage.

If you're still looking for evidence supporting the inside triangle's importance, consider this from an NFL offensive coordinator: "If I can isolate the inside three on early downs, we always have a good chance to beat that team. We will run right at a bad inside triangle and away from a good one."

Continue reading here for those interested

Who fits into what philosophy for the Zips this year?

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