• January 23, 2022

Remaining Final Four Have Plenty Of Quality Linebackers

One thing that all of these final four teams have in common is great linebackers and very strong secondaries.  Only the Bears play the “4-3” defensive scheme and they generate their pass rush primarily from their front four.

These other teams have “3-4″ schemes and generate most of their pass rush rush from their exotic blitzes and stunts packages with their linebackers and defensive backs.  These schemes which include the linebackers and defensive backs are very diffcult to run against.

Here’s is a quick look at some of the Top LB’s playing in this weekend games
Packers – Clay Matthews Jr, A.J. Hawk
Bears – Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs
Jets – Calvin Pace, David Harris and Bart Scott
Steelers – LeMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison

One thing that gets overlooked about these final four teams is their offensive line play.  Outside of the Jets, the other 3 teams have only average offensive lines, who have had stretches of really breaking down and playing poorly at times.

This current Steeler offensive line is probably the weakest in their last 30 years and the Bears unit gave up the most sacks in the NFL (56 total), so I think these games may very well come down to which offensive line can play at the highest level and limit the negative plays, like penalties, sacks, plays for loss yardage, etc, etc..

Usually during the playoffs, teams need to have good to great offensive line play to get far and to advance.   This year it’s the defensive linebackers and secondary play that’s been making the difference so far.  Football becomes more of a passing game and a game of match-up.

Match-Ups to watch this weekend:

Pass rushing linebackers matched up on blocking tight ends and running backs

Coverage linebackers matched up on pass receiving tight ends and running backs..

Coverage safeties matched up on pass receiving tight ends,

Linebackers matched up on pass receiving running backs coming out of the backfield,

Cornerbacks matched up on the big wide receivers…

Paul Mancini

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17 Comments

  • Yup something the eagles dont believe in!!!!! lol. I mean come one. Even the giants had pierce, who wasnt the most dynamic guy but he was good and smart!! Saints had Vilma. It is what it is. I would love to have a david harris, or ray lewis, bartt scott, harrison, you name it

  • Duh Paulman. I said that last week that all the teams in the Super Bowl hunt have a least 1 stud LBs. You didn’t tell us anything new LOL.

  • Anyhow, Reid doesn’t seem to value LBs as much as lineman and DBs. That’s been a mistake for a long time. You need those big, athletic and fast guys that bring a toughness to your team. I’m tired of the nice guys who play nice on the field. I know we all talk about how guys like James Harrison and Bart Scott say idiotic things. But their attitude on the field outweighs the stuff they say. Bart Scott didn’t have a very good year but I’d take him along with his attitude over every one our of LBs. Same for Harrison. I don’t care what people say about the running game, this is a passing league or what….. defense still wins championships.

  • Yes I did Scorp if you read the entire posting,
    We all have been told for years that you have to have a dominating Offensive LIne to win a Championship..
    Well guess what, 3 of the 4 teams left, simply have average O/Lines no better than the Eagles O/Line. It’s the Back 7 on the Defense that makes a difference in today’s NFL and all of these 4 Teams are far superior than the Eagles in this regard.. In fact the Eagles back 7 is probably their
    weakest part of their team and needs a big upgrade at LB,C & Safety to play with these and other
    top teams..

  • I did read. I speaking to the title of your posting. I’m only kidding with you anyway. But maybe you want to title it to actually mention the o-line.

    Anyhow, I agree with you about the o-line. 3 things messed us up:

    1. Peters hasn’t performed at the level he should for the money he’s making. His pro bowl votes are fraudulent
    2. The Andrews sisters. We got debacled with that one (in my Emmitt Smith voice)
    3. Injuries. Herremans is always banged up and with Jackson being hurt that constantly affects the RG position.

    It also doesn’t help that you have guys like King Dunlap as reserves.

  • lol scorp..you do a pretty good Emmit imitation. How could you leave out Justice’s problems later in the season…the guy reverted to his previous sucky play

  • scorp its a passing league but stats dont deny that we have to run the ball more to keep defenses honest. Hense the statistic one of the other gcobb followers posted. We have to at least attempt to run the damn ball. Look at the steelers. look at green bay. They at least try. never know when you can break that 20 yarder with someone like mccoy back there

  • green, I didn’t point out Justice just because because between last year and this year he’s played well overall. He had a few rough games but remember he’s not used to protecting the QB blindside which is in a lot of cases he sees blitzes from the opposing team best pass rushers. Not sure he was able to adjust to the upgrade in talent he was facing. It’s no coincidence that with Vick starting, Peters seems to be able to protect his side a lot better than with the RH QB. Just my thoughts about that.

    dawk, I agree. I’m with you and drummer about the run. But my post wasn’t about the run specifically just that people can argue about running the ball and debating whether it’s a passing league but at the end of the day defense still takes the crown.

  • For the record Scorp,
    G-man pulled the above posting which was in a response to another article abouy the Defense’s of teh playoff teams reamining so it’s not really a complete article..
    Don’t get me wrong, the Eagels O/Line needs upgrading but the real weakness of this Eagle team right now is the back 7 on Defense which was like last year (the LB’s and Secondary) is just not up to the talent level of these teams remaining in the playoffs and teams like the Pats,Ravens,Chargers

  • Yea scorp i agree about the defenses! Thats why i knew superbowl wasnt gonna happen this year. Defenses win championships. All the teams left in the playoffs are top 10 defenses, and 3 are top 6 I can only hope we hire a good DC. Id like someone that Runs the zone blitzing schemes. Or is that primarily for 3-4 defense???

  • paulman not sure about that. Usually when G pulls a posting he posts it as himself and says something like “one of our readers….” But anyhow, it doesn’t matter. I was only fooling with you. So it’s over.

    I agree that that the defense is the more problematic part of the team. I actually like the LB as long as the starting 3 are Bradley, Chaney and Fokou. I’m not in love with them but I think they are serviceable. But definitely no studs. I don’t like that our defensive line wears down at the end of each year and gets no pass rush and can’t stop the run. To me, that is more concerning than the LBs but not by much. One of my biggest problems is that we seem to not blitz our LBs as much as I think we should. We spent too much time blitz Joselio Hanson from the slot or bringing up Q. And that’s all well and good but guys like Fokou and Bradley will never be able to make an impact like the mentioned LBs if they are always in coverage. Not sure if it was design or players limitations. But I’d much rather see Bradley crashing the line of scrimmage instead of seeing his flailing arms try to cover a TE. Hopefully the next coordinators will use our LB more to attack the backfield instead of constantly dropping into coverage.

    Like McDermott will drop his best pass rusher in Cole in cover and blitz Mikell in his place and that wasn’t working. Remember the days when Jim Johnson would line Dawk and Trot up right over the Center? You could see the QB didn’t want to hike the ball. But I agree with you about the defense for the most part. We have slightly different concerns for the unit but I think we agree all areas of the defense needs upgrading.

    The o-line should be better if Jackson is back and ready. We shall see.

  • dawk, either you need a top defense or you need one like the Saints from last year that forces turnovers and make plays when necessary. We got pushed around. And didn’t get enough turnovers in the second half of the season. Zone blitzes can be used for 4-3. That’s just a matter of changing the pass rushers from the d line and the LBs. You need the right personnel for that. Good pass rushing LBs and lineman that feel comfortable dropping back into coverage. It does seems that the 3-4 allows for more flexibility there but it certainly can be done in the 4-3 with the right personnel and coaching.

  • common sense, Eagles want to win a Super Bowl. do what SB champions do. that is have 2 players with 10 or more sacks. 1 or both are usually LBs. here is proof.
    starting in 1986 Giants Sb Champion sack leader-lawrence taylor (LB)21 sacks 1988 49ERS SACK leader (LB )cHARLES Haley 12 sacks 1989 (Lb)Haley 11sks 1990 Giants TAYLOR (LB) 11 SACKS 1992,93,95 Cowboys Haley 3rd in sacks in 92,93 and had more sacks in SB than Bruce Smith 95 sack leader Haley 11 sacks NEXT yr Packers lbs not big factor for sacks they had Reggie white then Broncos two years Romanowski sack leader Mobley notable LB Rams, ravens, bucs won next three. De ruled(sacks anyway) Carter 17 sacks, ravens of course lewis and boulware tampa bay had rice 17 sks then came patriots 2001,03,04 Vrabel,mcginest,brusci,johnson took turns leading sacks for LBs 10+ sacks Giants 3 players umenyiora (de)13 tuck (dt)10 strahan (de)9

  • of course Steelers won 2 of last 5 Sb are close again Harrison lb 16 sacks woodley(lb) 12 in 2008 and in 2005 leading sack leaders 2 (LBs) Porter 11 and Haggans 9 last year Saints sack leader DE will smith 13 Seems like Lb lol were very important to past Super Bowl champions not just in stopping the run but SACKS the few teams that DE ruled they had 16 17 sacks not 10 If Andy Reid is not going to be fired for not running ball when westbrook and Mccoy ave 5.2 a carry,changing game plan when not working, clock management shouldn’t he be fired for not having a beast of a DE, 2 AWSOME lb’s, a pro bowl SS this year Eagles sack leader is Cole with 10 but 2nd player is no where near 10 Parker with 5 DC Johnson must have been a miracle worker cause EAagle Super Bowl yr sack leader was kearse with 6

  • great dhani helped out big that yr with half a sack and ike reese with 1 sack man i thought douglas was a bigger factor but he had 3 for the year just think if johnson had a romanowski,mathews,vrabel,mcginest

  • tydm, I hear you but last year the saints only had 1 players in double digits in sacks. That was Will Smith with 13.5 and the next person behind him had 5.5. Both DEs. But they are probably an exception. But I do agree with you for the most part. But I think it takes a total defensive effort. You need to get turnovers as well. Sack stats aren’t the only thing. And only in mainly 3-4 defense will you see many LBs leading their teams with sacks. In my opinion it doesn’t matter whether it’s the DE or LB getting the sacks, somebody needs to get them.

    But I agree with you that you do need to get a lot of sacks but I’m not sure if it matters how it’s allocated as long as you keep pressure on opposing QBs. When playing the 4-3 we need to be able to get consistent pressure with the front 4 because LBs will not be chasing the QB often. Whether you play the 3-4 and send a LB or play a 4-3 and send 4, it’s still 4. Our problem is that our 4 is too inconsistent. The only way to really have a LB lead a 4-3 defense in sacks consistently is to constantly blitz him along with the front 4 or drop one of your linebackers into coverage. With the way our LBs cover I’m not sure either one is an option with this personnel. Just my thoughts.

  • Yea but how many of them can say they’re hybrid players? pfff… dude this article is just another reminder of our shitty talent evaluation. A blind monkey could have drafted lesean and desean in the second round. The only good move in our shit drafts was the move up for maclin. Anything else sucked.

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