A premature look at the NE Patriots’ changes on D

Is Bill Belichick moving the Patriots away from the 3-4 defense? The buzz in Boston is that they are. Here’s a video clip of Richard Seymour talking about it and excerpts of a Q&A¬†Seymour did with the Boston Globe’s Reiss’s Pieces blog:

To 4-3, or not to 4-3?

To 4-3, or not to 4-3?

4-3 vs. 3-4 defense

“. . . .We have the versatility to play in a lot of different fronts, a lot of different packages, whatever is going to give our team the edge. You know, the offense always knows where the play is going and the snap count, so if we can do some different things on defense to help us out in that process, whether it’s the 3-4 or the 4-3, whatever can give us the best chance to win.” . . . .

Does the 4-3 allow him to stand out as a pass rusher?

“It depends on what we’re executing. It isn’t always about sacks, [that)] can be overrated. It’s about getting pressure on the passer, taking care of your responsibilities first. There’s a time and a place for everything. If it calls for us to penetrate, get in the backfield, then that’s what we’ll do. But sometimes we’ll 2-gap, when playing 4-3 front as well. Some teams have different philosophies, where it’s a 1-gap defense, but we still 2-gap and everybody is responsible for two gaps.”

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The transition, far too long in the works, is now complete. I will now be posting exclusively here at smartfootball.com, as I had outgrown the old blogspot location. So update your bookmarks, links, and feeds. To immediately quell any fears, the blogspot site will remain open in perpetuity, as porting over all the archives was too hard and I also had no desire to shut any of that stuff down. Moreover, if you want to refresh your memory of some of the old site’s greatest hits (and keep up with what I’m writing elsewhere around the web or in print media), check out the Featured Articles page above.

Other than the new location and fancier digs, everything else should remain pretty much the same. I’ve flirted a bit with becoming a blogger for someone else’s platform, but for now I think it’s best to stay independent and just try to improve this site’s quality and visibility even more. I’m not quite ESPN.com yet, but the site’s readership has grown with an increase in my posting. In July 2007, we had a mere 10,000 hits; in July 2008, 20,000; and last month, July 2009, we had 170,000, and eight-fold increase over the prior year. I’m convinced that number can double at least another time.¬† I should have plenty of time to update frequently, at least until November, when my real job will pick up speed. But overall, it should be more of the same.

Of course, I’ve been writing a bit for Dr Saturday every Thursday, which will continue, and I hope to increase my reach elsewhere in the web as well. Moreover, I want to regularize a few features here, including possibly a detailed breakdown every Tuesday here, similar to what I’ve been doing for Doc Sat.

Lastly, I just want to thank all the readers here for your support and interest. I’m always amazed at how knowledgeable the commenters and emailers are, be it statistics, football history, or schemes and strategies. I’m convinced the Smart Football community is the smartest one on the ‘net, and that has very little to do with me. Stay tuned for plenty of content this week, and feel free to let me know what you think of the new design, and any suggestions.