June 08, 2007

Eagles Continuing Two Gap Technique

Written by Garry Cobb

I'm convinced now that Jim Johnson is a brilliant blitzer but on basic run defense he's below average. After talking to Eagles new defensive tackle Ian Scott, I learned that the Birds are foolishly continuing to play a two gap technique at times against the run.

The two-gap technique is utilized by bigger D-lines like the Patriots and the Cowboys. If a smaller defensive line like the Eagles gets caught sitting at the line of scrimmage and playing two-gap techniques, they will get worn down and lose their effectiveness like their defense did a year ago.

Ian said there was one major difference between what he was asked to do for the Bears and what he'll be asked to do for the Eagles. Scott said, Chicago played a one gap system all the time and asked their DT's to simply get off on the ball, attack, disrupt and get penetration into the backfield. He said the Birds ask for the same most of the time, but some of the time they want them to play a two-gap technique.

Let me break this down for you. On a one-gap technique, each player is asked to control a single gap along the line of scrimmage. A gap is the area in between offensive blockers on the line of scrimmage. Defensive linemen are asked to get off on the ball and get penetration upfield. They don't have to worry about anything other than controlling their particular gap. This technique is ideal for smaller defensive lines which have more speed and quickness than they have size. The Eagles qualify as one of these types of lines.

In a two-gap technique defense, you ask your defensive linemen to control the gaps on each side of their blocker. The defender has to be able to control the blocker then come off to either side of him. This takes a tremendoujs amount of size and strength. You're asking a defensive linemen to take on a 330 pound blocker, then control the opponent and be able to toss him either way before coming off and making a play on the ball.

Notice that Scott said the Bears smallish and speedy defensive line is never asked to play two-gap technique. Remember the Indy game, when the Eagles were asked to play two gap against the Colts. It was embarrassing.

The Bears had a much better run defense and never play two gap techniques. Don't think the Eagles should copy what the Bears are doing.*

I remember when G brought this issue up last year, and I think he has a valid point. These guys are too small to be 2 gappers. Let them do what they do best, rush upfield, be disruptive. Pete Jenkins is a very good defensive line coach, but I do not think he is a good fit for the Eagles defense.

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