New Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Jim Bates defense might look eerily familiar to
some long time football fans, as it is basically the old Jimmy Johnson lead Dallas Cowboy’s defense of the early 1990’s that won three Superbowls.
The essence of Bates philosophy is speed, speed and more speed. He wants waves of penetrating defensive linemen to fit a one-gap scheme and rotate constantly. He wants fast linebackers regardless of size and he wants smart defensive backs that won’t make mistakes in a quarters or Cover 2 coverage scheme.
Generally speaking, the defenses that Bates was associated with over the last decade were able to press with their cornerbacks within a quarters or Cover 2 zone coverage scheme. The reason for using press man coverage is to try and take away every throw and make the quarterback hold the football longer to allow the edge rush more time. It comes down to making it harder for teams to beat the rush with a quick-rhythm throw off short drop backs.
If an opposing team shows run, one safety will force and the other safety will rotate to the deep middle, Bates schemes don’t necessarily blitz safeties, but will align the safeties a couple of yards closer to the line to quickly fill in run defense.
The pure Johnson system evolved under Bates and others. Still, the objective is to limit blitzing to maybe 20%, stress third down and play smart. Limit mental mistakes, the philosophy is always execute the system better than the opposing offense plays.
It is just a solid, aggressive, fundamental defense that will keep the score down, to where games are winnable
Defensive ends will set up wider then normal, which will allow for better angles and leveraging up field on passing downs, on runs the ends will pinch everything to the inside.
The ”Tiger” package, 4-2-5 defense, is the same defensive personnel as a base 4-3, but rotates a linebacker into coverage, slips a defensive end to a tackle spot and moves a defensive end to a linebacker spot with five blitzers blitzing from different gaps and angles, it is the same defensive scheme used by the Giants to beat the Patriots in the Superbowl, it is a max blitz, which comes down to being a key blitz or a read blitz package, with the linebackers blitzing to coverage & absorbing the backs on the way to the quarterback.
Linebackers will be asked to make quick pre-snap reads, determine what the offensive players will be doing based on formations, mirror receivers with tighter coverage, run to and force things back inside. All three linebackers will play several yards off the line of scrimmage, rather than the conventional 4-3 in which one is directly over the tight end.
The play of the defensive tackles will be to play big, control the point of attack, they must stay square, gobble up blockers and prevent guards and centers from reaching linebackers.
The defense comes down to a matchup defense, which if everyone matches up their player, the team should have a much better chance at intercepting a pass or getting a sack. It will still be, a swarming style of defense with all eleven defenders flying to the football.
Don’t expect to see a lot of blitzing or stunting or slanting as it is easy for an opposing team to wash the down lineman out of a gap and allow for a big run or time to get off a pass.