Sunday, July 19, 2009

The 3-3 Defense

by: Chris Sullivan

Last week, Eric Williams put together an awesome summary of the 3-3 Defense, a look that Gus Bradley has suggested the Seahawks would be sliding into from time to time throughout 2009 (amongst other looks including, most likely, a 3-4 -- so ha!).

Williams links this article, which is invaluable in understanding the concepts behind the 3-3. Basically, the 3-3 defense is a nickel defense (five defensive backs on the field). In the past, when the Hawks have dropped into the nickel, you would see one of the linebackers trot off the field and Josh Wilson or Jordan Babineaux take his place. Would you trade Aaron Curry or Leroy Hill for them? The 3-3 allows you to keep all three linebackers on the field and relies on the ambiguity of the formation to confuse the offense and get to the quarterback as often as possible. It also gives a defense the option of getting as few as three or as many as eight men in on the rush.

The 3-3 is not an every down formation, but it has some good applications (shown in this anatomy of the play, for example). Like other nickel packages, the 3-3 will come into play on passing downs -- 3rd and 4th and long, potentially some 2nd and longs. If you check out that video link, you'll see it also can be effective as a goal line defense.

What do you guys think of the 3-3? What other defensive packages would you like to see the Hawks slide into from time to time?