Lions new defensive scheme

All this talk about Parsons got me looking into what scheme the Lions are likely to run next season. The tea leaves are pointing to a 3-3-5 single gap defense

Forgive me if this has already been covered but I found this article informative

This article came up when looking into that scheme

“…Since the 3-3 stack usually only has six players in the box instead of the conventional seven, clogging up gaps with linebackers and safeties is more important for stopping the run.

If executed correctly, rush defense can be a strength of the 3-3-5 — San Diego State allowed the second fewest rushing yards per game

Linebackers may be asked to be edge rushers, run stoppers and pass defenders at once…”

So seems like we can expect LB and S to be prioritized in the draft. And regardless of whom they draft at LB they are going to need to be diverse enough to attack the run as well as drop in coverage.

Seems the advantage here is being able to disguise the defense and assign players to attack multiple single gaps. This can help stuff that run and confuse QBs. The weakness is potentially leaving the CB with less help. CBs will have to keep contain and not get beat over the top

On one hand we played so much man, that our personnel should be able to adapt. On the other hand, our secondary was the worst ranked secondary in all of football last year. A lot will depend on Okudah and his new number giving him better mojo. And hoping Corn can be a new Colonel on the field


Hufanga’s likely to slide after his pro day but he’s a really impactful hybrid type and wouldn’t cost a fortune.

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A player that I really like to fit our new system =


The biggest difference is what our DL will be asked to do. In this front, the lineman line up very similar to a 4 man front. Got a 1 tech a 3 tech and a 5 tech with a backer lining up outside the strong side TE. Single gap attacking style instead of 2 gap read and react. .Looking forward to seeing it play out


Should be interesting to see what Flowers can do in a 1 gap scheme, he’s played his entire career in a 2 gap scheme.


What’s interesting to me is what these guys are being labeled on the roster.

Flowers DE
R Okwara DE
J Okwara… DE
Harris… DE
Bryant… DE

If we are going to a Rams style 3-4 Under front, don’t we need some 3-4 OLB’s??


Just because Holmes came from Rams, I wouldn’t count on that.

R Okwara. Brockers. D Hand. Flowers
C Harris. J Penisini. N Williams. J Okwara

   Collins                        Anzalone
    Tavaii.                        JRM

AO. Okudah
Dunbar. Ford

                 Walker.             Harris

A Bryant- 4-3

C Elder- nickel

Truthfully we need a solid LB and a FS to field a deceny talented young D

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I don’t buy it. I suspect that we will remain somewhat Hybrid but with a 4-3. Base.

Okwara is more a 4-3 end. I do not think we would resign him if we’re going to a 3 man front.

Think about the LBers we signed and what Campbell said about them.

JRM is more a 4-3 LBer Campbell talks about how he wasn’t a good fit for MP’s defense.

Anzalone has played his entire career in a 4-3 base.
McVray a d Hamilton have played in both a 3-4 and 4-3.

I think we will remain to an extent a hybrid style defense. But I believe we will see a lot of the NO concepts. If we were going 3-4 then why sign Rokwara and Anzalone? I think our base defense will be a 4-3.


You may be right. There was an earlier quote from either Holmes or DC about the Rams style front. Then we hired Dom Capers. Then we hired DeLeon the Bears INSIDE LB coach. Then we brought in Brockers. 3-4 WILBs can be EXACTLY like Anzalone and JRM. Both can be used as Nicklebackers and 3-4 teams always have guys like this who can be used in coverage. MP was just so stupid that he thought Tavai and Jones were athletic enough to handle covering backs and TE’s and their spectacular failure at that is why teams cut us to ribbons on crossing routes.

Even Harris when he was first interviewed after signing here said that they would be running both 4-3 and 3-4 concepts and how that fit him well as an EDGE player. What I don’t think you can do is say we resigned Okwara, so no 3-4. Okwara could easily fit as a 3-4 OLB if used to rush. Look at the size of the Rams DE in 2020 Morgan Fox and how his size aligns with Flowers. The Rams did not follow conventional 3-4 personnel. They had different sizes and shapes and lined them up where and when it made sense to do what they wanted to do. Fox and Brockers are very different builds, and both have lined up as DE’s in the Rams system. You know who technically backs up Aaron Donald?? A’Shawn Robinson. So yeah… go figure that out. Trying to say we are not X because of Romeo Okwara is not the tell it normally would be IMHO. We will see, but it wouldn’t shock me if we are mainly 4-3 with all these guys listed as DE’s. TBD methinks…

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It’s not “just because,” it’s one piece of the puzzle. The Brockers signing is another, the comment of the “Rams style front” is another, DeLeon’s hire is another, Dom Capers hire is another, attempting to hire Griff Smith from the Chargers is another, so it isn’t like I’m going Holmes = Rams defense. I’m reading the tea leaves like everyone else and I’m reading more than one leaf.

Here is more:

"They (the Lions) definitely said I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing," Brockers told The Detroit News. “I’m really versatile. I can play anywhere, so it really doesn’t matter to me. I can play anywhere on the defensive line.”

Detroit, meanwhile, is expected to deploy what will look like a 3-4 defense, with first-year defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn calling the plays. And it’s a scheme that Brockers is equipped to play in, after his years of playing in new L.A. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley’s version of the 3-4 with the Rams.

Brockers described his favorite part of the scheme to The Detroit News.

“The fact that you can get one-on-ones when you have those rushers on the edge and you don’t know which one is coming,” Brockers said. “Sometimes, we bring both of them, and sometimes, we bring the Will (linebacker). So, you never know which one is coming. They’re always standing up on the outside, so you have to respect that. We get a lot of one-on-ones inside, with the guards. Usually, those quick wins inside, beating a guard, is the quickest way to get to the quarterback. Having those one-on-one opportunities definitely set yourself up for success.”

-Me: So does this sound like a guy who’s been told he’d be moving to a totally new 4-3 defense??? And during an interview he went into granular detail of what’s great about the Rams defense… when he won’t be playing in it anymore?? I’m not saying it’s obvious we are going to run the Rams 3-4 front. What I’m saying is it is NOT obvious we are going to run a 4-3 and signing Romeo or Anzalone does not change that.


This is a point I’m also curious on.

IMO, you could definitely label Julian Okwara a 34 OLB. I think you could also label Harris a 34 OLB.

I actually think Austin Bryant’s best position is a 34 OLB who plays in space and crashes down. You put him at defensive end and I think he’ll fail because I don’t think he can set an edge well.

Not that any of these guys strike fear as pass rushers. We might have a good one in Julian Okwara but his rookie season put a damper on my hopes. He’s got the athletic profile to rebound if he can stay healthy and put it all together.

The way I look at this is that in a 34 UNDER we need two different OLBs on each side. On the open side, we need a guy good in space. He doesn’t have to set an edge, but he needs to be athletic and cover ground quickly. He needs to be able to crash down the line and blow up a play and be good in pursuit. Those two guys on the current roster are Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant (as Bryant is not a good edge setter, I’ve seen him blocked by a TE). This makes no mention of either them actually staying healthy…

On the other side, you need an OLB that can set the strongside run edge vs the TE, then get after the QB on a pass. I think Flowers can do this. I think we might more likely see some Jamie Collins there too. Vastly different players, I know. I would think R. Okwara could also do that. And I know we’ll see some variation in our fronts.

Even in LA with Staley, the 3-4 under was the base, but they ran a lot of EAGLE front, which is probably why we hired Dom Capers who specializes/well versed in the EAGLE.

And with the 3-4 in LA they had Ramsey to lock down WRS and that allowed them to play their safeties close to the line for run support in two deep looks. But the key is allowing your off ball LBs to fly around. This is why I think Parsons will be such a good fit. Not that we couldn’t find guys later on.

Anyway, I digress, sorry. Just excited to see them line up. :grin:

For the record I never said no 3-4. I said a hybrid but with a primarily 4-3 base. That means we will be using some 3-4 concepts.

The part I highlighted is exactly my point. If you intend to use ROkwara as a 3-4 DE he’s going to be a little one sided. I don’t think you pay that salary if your planning to force him into being a role player in a 3-4.

Everything we’ve done screams hybrid with a lot of 4-3 base to me.

I don’t think we have enough of the right DL, LBers or DB’s to succeed primarily as a 3-4 base.

I could be wrong but that’s how I see it.

So basically what you’re tying to say is we are going to run the same defense as last season with personal that don’t fit the scheme but the only change is from a 2 gap to a 1 gap?

Sounds like this season our defense will be even worse than last but I’ll give these guys the benefit of doubt


Neither me or 3rd is saying that. We both see a hybrid type of defense. Which is a growing trend in the NFL.

I think your going to see a defensive front that’s driven more on pressure and getting after the QB and less on gap integrity.

For that to work we’re going to need a lot better LBer and safety play.

Which is one of the reasons I’m big on Parsons.

Ok copy… I’m curious to what they’re going to do. Not a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball so scheme is going to be huge this year

I agree … that’s why I feel it’s important to grab a defensive difference maker like Parsons.

I’d love to have an offensive skill guy like Smith but I think Parsons is what we need for our defense.

That one gap to two gap is a big difference though. I’m not saying we’ll be great suddenly, but as Campbell said in his initial presser this one gap style where virtually everybody shoots a gap makes for a way more aggressive downhill defense and it should make for more sound run defense assignments.

It usually means the LBers have easier assignments… so less thinking but you need LBers who are good run support guys. Which we don’t have. I also think it’s more important to have speed and range at LBer in a one gap system.

Exactly, you want those guys (LBs) flying around.