Grading The Dallas Cowboys 2012 NFL Draft: Round 3- Tyrone Crawford

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Last year I wrote an article entitled the “The Recipe For A Successful 3-4 Defense”. I am going to include that as a means for making my point. The reason being, at the time I wrote it, I was seeing the same inability to collapse the pocket following the 2010 season.

In recent years, the 3-4 defense has been becoming more and more popular around the NFL.

Bud Wilkinson, from the University of Oklahoma, designed the scheme back in the 1940’s, but it didn’t reach the NFL until 1974, when  Chuck Fairbanks brought it to the New England Patriots. The scheme has been around for all these years, but it was not widely utilized in the NFL until recent years when the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots won Super Bowls using the 3-4.

These two teams started using the scheme back in 2001, since that time, they have both dominated offenses around the NFL, totaling a combined 182 wins in the regular season alone. Not to mention these two teams won five of the last eight Super Bowls. Top contenders this year such as the Jets and the Steelers have been successful using the formation and once again the Steelers are in the Super Bowl.  In My opinion the old saying is true.


Certain teams have shown that the scheme can be effective , while  others have shown that there can be a huge down side to it. Without the proper personnel and/or  coaching in place,  the system can back fire in a huge way and be completely ineffective.  Teams like the Cleveland Browns, had the right coach in place, but not the necessary personnel and were a primary example of this.

So the question becomes, how do some teams manage to put together an elite roster, while others don’t? The answer is elementary: Without having the ability to know exactly what you need to create a solid  core of players, it is pretty much impossible to succeed. If you leave out 1 ingredient, you have ruined the whole batch of cookies.  If the cook doesn’t know how to properly prepare the cookies, they will never turn out right.

Teams like the Patriots and the Steelers scout their players to the nth degree, while still having the abilty to coach up lower round picks and below par free agents to fit the recipe. It’s kind of like substituting no salt for salt, but still ending up with a good flavor.  On the other hand, teams like the Browns and the Cowboys have been known to take the best player on their board and forget a primary ingredient in the recipe. (This is just as important on offense as well.)

In order for the 3-4 to be effective you need these primary ingredients, without them you will fail.

A solid pass rusher on both ends. A Nose tackle that can handle a center and a guard with the ability to collapse the pocket on a consistent basis. Great outside linebackers.  Corners that can handle man to man coverage. Enough depth to be able to rotate players in and out on the line and at the line backer position. If you don’t have these primary ingredients, your cookies won’t taste right. If your cook doesn’t know how to effectively use the right ingredients and prepare them properly,  your cookies will end up burnt.(Unfortunately our 2010/2011  season was a perfect example of this.)

"“This is How a TRUE NFL nose tackle collapses a pocket”! “Seriously, explain how Jay Ratliff has attended more Pro Bowls than this beast”."

My Story is continued on the next page…..