Broncos vs. Colts: 1st Quarter Defensive Alignments and Defensive Tackle Techniques

Dilip Vishwanat

So here's what's going to happen from now on. Four times a week you'll get one of a kind breakdowns of the Denver Bronco defense. Consider these posts an archive/encyclopedia for what the Broncos are doing defensively. I will include front 7 alignment along with techniques for each defensive alignment on every play. Why four posts? One for each quarter of the previous game. It portions out the work for me and gives us a chance to process the information in smaller parcels.

How do I figure out offensive personnel?

The magic number is always "5". The first number always tells you how many RB/FB are in the formation, the second number always tells you how many TE are in the formation. You figure out how many WR by adding up the two numbers and taking it away from 5.

Example:

11 personnel

1 RB 1 TE

1+1=2

5-2=3 You have 3 WR's in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR)

It is just shorthand folks.

What the hell does 3-3-5 or 4-2-5 mean?

Again it's just shorthand for the defense. The first number tells you how many DL there are, the second number tells you how many LB there are, the last number tells you how many DB there are (corners and safeties). Therefore 3-3-5 means there are 3 DL 3 LB and 5 DB in the game on that formation.

If you have 5 DB in the game, that defense is called "nickel"

If you have 6 DB in the game, that defense is called "dime"

Why call it the 3-4?

Both outside players (Phillips and Miller) played from a 2-point stance. That's it. Just using a very simple physical tell in order to classify it. You could still think of it as 5-2 or under if you'd like

Why not call it a 2-4-5 then?

I could, and contemplated it. But it's still nickel defense. Rather than try and throw out the notion that it is something completely different, I'd rather call it what it is. The biggest difference is that both outside players played every snap in this defense standing up. Just know that going forward. Will be interesting to see how they treated Robert Ayers later on (hand in dirt or standing up), because if his hand is in the dirt, you need to know they are treating Miller and Phillips more like OLB's.

Techniques, what are they?

Techniques are a system in which defensive linemen are labeled according to how they line up across from their offensive counter parts. There are several different systems that folks can use, I use this one:

D-line-alignment-and-gaps-copy_medium

What's the difference between a 7, 8, or 9 tech?

These are all outside players (OLB or DE's). But how far outside they like to line up will tell you what they are. Sometimes players are there to give you definitive proof, other times you have to eyeball it. Bronco Mike does not use 6 tech. Other than that I do my best to approximate distances.

1st Quarter Log

Snap

Down

Offense

Defense

1

1-10

11

3-3-5

2

2-6

11

3-3-5

3

3-2

22

3-4

4

1-10

21

3-4

5

2-10

20

4-2-5

6

2-3

11

4-2-5

7

3-6

11

3-2-6

8

1-10

11

4-2-5

9

1-10

11

4-2-5

10

2-3

21

3-4

11

1-10

21

3-3-5

12

2-10

20

4-2-5

13

3-10

11

4-1-6

14

1-G

11

4-2-5

15

1-15

11

4-2-5

16

2-13

11

4-2-5

17

3-13

11

4-2-5

18

1-10

21

3-4

Each play is numbered, identified by down and distance, broken down into offensive personnel the Broncos were facing, and finally what kind of defense the Broncos put out there.

- Broncos faced 11 personnel 11/18 plays (61%). They combated it using 3-3-5 (nickel) two times (18%), 4-2-5 (nickel) seven times (64%), 3-2-6 (dime) once (9%) and 4-1-6 (dime) once (9%)

- Broncos faced 20 personnel 2/18 plays (11%). They combated it with 4-2-5 (nickel) both times (100%).

- Broncos faced heavy personnel (22 or 21) 5/18 plays (28%). They combated it with the base 3-4 defense four times (80%) and 3-3-5 once (20%).

3-3-5 Nickel

335_medium

Three linemen, three linebackers. Von is a LB rushing from the 7 tech above (outside of #78). I don't list him in the chart below with techniques because it is essentially a 3-man line. You could call it 4-2-5, but again for the purposes of categorizing I will just stick with the simple "hand in the dirt or standing up rule."

Now how to read these charts....the RDE always starts first, so you basically read the defense with the view above.

Snap

Down

Offense

Front/Techniques

1

1-10

11

Wolfe 9, Knighton 3, Vickerson 3 (pictured)

2

2-6

11

Same

11

1-10

21

Knighton 4, Vickerson 1, Wolfe 7

3-4

3-4_medium

Both Phillips and Von are standing on the outside

Snap

Down

Offense

Front/Techniques

3

3-2

22

Phillips 7, Knighton 3, Vickerson 1, Wolfe 5, Miller 8

4

1-10

21

Miller 7, Wolfe 4, Knighton 1, Vickerson 3, Phillips 9

10

2-3

21

Phillips 7, Knighton 3, Vickerson 1, Wolfe 4, Miller 8

18

1-10

21

Phillips 7, Knighton 3, Vickerson 1, Wolfe 3, Miller 9

4-2-5

2-4-5_medium

Snap

Down

Offense

Front/Techniques

5

1-10

20

Phillips 9, Jackson 3, Knighton 1, Miller 7

6

2-3

11

Phillips 7, Jackson 3, Knighton 1, Miller 7

8

1-10

11

Phillips 9, Jackson 3, Vickerson 3, Miller 9

9

1-10

11

Phillips 7, Jackson 1, Vickerson 3, Miller 7

12

2-10

20

Phillips 7, Knighton 3, Jackson 3, Miller 7

14

1-G

11

Phillips 9, Jackson 3, Vickerson 1, Miller 7

15

1-10

11

Phillips 7, Jackson 1, Vickerson 3, Miller 9

16

2-13

11

Phillips 7, Jackson 1, Vickerson 3, Miller 9

17

3-13

11

Phillips 9, Jackson 3, Vickerson 3, Miller 7

3-2-6

326_medium

Snap

Down

Offense

Front/Techniques

7

3-6

11

Wolfe 9, Jackson 0, Phillips 7

4-1-6

4-1-6_medium

Snap

Down

Offense

Front/Techniques

13

3-10

11

Phillips 7, Jackson 3, Wolfe 3, Miller 7

Wrap-Up

I will tally everyones numbers in each front at the very end. Each player will have a snap/technique/front chart. How's that for thorough?

GO BRONCOS!!!

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