Prevent/Soft Zone Defense

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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:19 pm
  • As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:22 pm
  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.


    The Denver game looked stupid because BAL needed 7 and they got beat over the top. I agree that prevent makes sense in that scenario.

    We can agree that your offense should score more and not waste chances, but should we not be able to seal the deal in 5 chances this year in the 4th quarter? It's just that difficult to close a game out with your number one scoring defense? Don't buy it. When only 3 is needed, how does giving up 15-30 yards at a pop make sense?
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:24 pm
  • Also keep in mind that we did NOT run a full prevent defense on the last two plays against Atlanta, we sent a blitz on them to try and get any sort of pressure on Ryan at all but it didn't work.

    So... no pressure cost us the Atlanta game... I wonder who was putting this forward way before the game started? Hmm? Calling English!
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:36 pm
  • Aros wrote:Can someone who understands the X's and O's of football please help me understand why this Achilles Heel Scheme exists so much in the NFL? My wife was asking me what I thought about our new DC and it got me on the topic of saying how Gus Bradley won't be missed too much by me at least due to his dependence on the prevent defense/soft zone coverage that too often ended up losing games for us, the least of which being the divisional playoff game against the Falcons.

    Then it made me wonder...What if our new DC will do the same thing in the same situations? In fact, why is it even utilized when 99 out of 100 times fans end up bitching about why it was used?

    We all know the saying..."The only thing prevent defense does is PREVENT you from winning!"

    For years and years, regardless of coaching staff, players and schemes, that statement always seems true.

    So what gives? Please help me and perhaps others understand what I may be missing here. Why is soft zone, prevent D used, especially at the end of the game when the game is on the line and so often - so it seems - that very scheme is the reason we end up losing?

    (kearly, Absolute, etc...Please pick up the white courtesy phone...)


    All I know is that sometimes it really works.

    For example, see the Patriots game. The Pats still had a minute left when the got the ball back. We played a very generous prevent D and just kept everything in front of us. Game over.

    I think Gus became way too reliant on it due to that game.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:47 pm
  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:As TDOT put so well, the late-game prevent defense is the lesser of two evils. It exists because offenses are looking to score as quickly as possible at the end of a close game, and will be trying to beat you over the top. They may still be able to march down the field against the underneath players, but it's harder to do than one big play. NOT doing prevent defenses can look like the Denver game.

    If it seems too easy for defenses to march 30 yards and win with a field goal, I would agree. But that's just the nature of the length of the field. If you don't like being in a close game in the fourth, have the offense score more, or the defense play better early. Close games are always a tough thing, and making a living with them is a dangerous way to be an NFL coach. Pete should have just kicked that stupid field goal before halftime.


    Exactly. The difference between playing defense to not give up a field goal and not give up a TD is huge. If the offense's goal is to just get to the 37 yard line - the amount of space to defend is still large. When the offense is on the 50 and needs 13 yards - they have 3000 square yards with which to do it. This means that the defense must have have at least 2 men deep - so at most - 5-6 men are defending that 37 yard line.

    If they are on the 10 yard line going for a TD - the offense only has 1000 square yards to do it and the safeties are now certainly in relevant coverage positions for all plays. So now 7 men are defending that area. Much more difficult.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:24 pm
  • Yeah, and there are even more square yards to defend when it's the 1st quarter and it's a 2nd and 5 and basically the entire field must be defended. Yet somehow we manage not to give up 30 yard pass plays on those occasions every time.

    No one's saying it isn't difficult to close out a game, but the whole lesser of the two evils concept implies that all of the advantages are on the offense's side of the ball and that just doesn't pass the sniff test when you have a secondary like ours that manages to play so well the for 59 minutes, 30 seconds. It sure as hell doesn't pass the sniff test when it's Miami, or Carolina, or Arizona that we can't manage to stop. The disadvantage should be on the offense that needs a comeback, that is playing a stellar secondary, and that has to throw out the short yardage playbook!

    Everyone agrees that a good pass rush with the front 4 makes defending the late-game scenario much easier, what I'm saying is, with the talent on our defense and the way they play the rest of the game, we should be able to close out more games this year than the New England game. If we closed out half of the games we choked away in the 4th quarter this year I might be hearing these arguments. But we couldn't do it against DET, MIA, CHI, ARI, ATL.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:07 pm
  • hawk45 wrote:But we couldn't do it against DET, MIA, CHI, ARI, ATL.


    Well, ARI and ATL both scored 20 points or less. It feels a little unfair for me to criticize the defense in those games when our offense couldn't score more than 16 points. That's a tough job.

    Miami and Chicago were last-minute breakdowns by one player, Hill in MIA and a rare bad play by Sherman in CHI. Honestly, the pass rush is the biggest problem. That's supposed to go hand-in-hand with soft zone and prevent defense.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:22 pm
  • Great question. Great responses. Great website. Go Seahawks!!!!
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:45 pm
  • I don't like zone either, but here are some reasons why it exists:

    #1: Man coverages are often exposed against mobile QBs. Having linebackers sitting in zones gives a defense a safety valve if the QB takes off.

    #2: Zone coverages tend to force a higher rate of interceptions, particularly against non-elite QBs. This is mainly because of deception- players who look wide open really aren't, and because a QB will sometimes fail to notice a LB sitting in the line of fire. Another factor is that very few corners can play coverage and look for the ball. Zone is built around looking for the ball and watching the QB's eyes.

    #3: Zone coverage tends to be stingier with big plays, and scoring drives against zone defenses tend to require a lot of plays. More plays equals more chances for turnovers.

    #4: Zone coverage is generally considered to be easier to find talent for (the Seahawks ability to find great man coverage corners is truly exceptional).

    Man coverage is a lot better for actually covering WRs, but is harder to find talent for and generally forces fewer turnovers, and is more susceptible to dual threat QBs.
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Re: Prevent/Soft Zone Defense
Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:17 pm
  • kearly wrote:I don't like zone either, but here are some reasons why it exists:

    #1: Man coverages are often exposed against mobile QBs. Having linebackers sitting in zones gives a defense a safety valve if the QB takes off.

    #2: Zone coverages tend to force a higher rate of interceptions, particularly against non-elite QBs. This is mainly because of deception- players who look wide open really aren't, and because a QB will sometimes fail to notice a LB sitting in the line of fire. Another factor is that very few corners can play coverage and look for the ball. Zone is built around looking for the ball and watching the QB's eyes.

    #3: Zone coverage tends to be stingier with big plays, and scoring drives against zone defenses tend to require a lot of plays. More plays equals more chances for turnovers.

    #4: Zone coverage is generally considered to be easier to find talent for (the Seahawks ability to find great man coverage corners is truly exceptional).

    Man coverage is a lot better for actually covering WRs, but is harder to find talent for and generally forces fewer turnovers, and is more susceptible to dual threat QBs.


    I can buy point #2 there Kearly, but ...

    Point #1 - Matt Ryan does not scare me in the open field considering our ability to close down, he ain't that fast. He most certainly couldn't pick up the big yardage they needed with his feet, IMO.

    Point #3 - Scoring drives that result in a TD do require more plays I'm sure, but this was a FG. It wasn't like they need to go 80 yrds so "More plays" doesn't take there. Like someone said about the Denver game, Ravens needed 7 and that would have been more of a justification to play "prevent" but not when the other team has a short field.

    Point #4 - Yes, we have great DB's that can hang in man coverage, another reason to possibly consider abandoning the softness.

    Finally, I don't consider Matt Ryan a "dual threat" QB ... he is a tall drink of water but ,considering his caucasian dissent, I'd be all in on him pulling up and try running on our D.

    I can see where you are making a point about traditional reasons for running the type of Defense we typically see in those situations but I think, with our team, it could have been dealt with differently, again ... IMO
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