Film Sessions: Haslett vs LeBeau Battle Of The 3-4

| October 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

Everywhere I look recently I see or hear the questions ” What is wrong with the defense?” and ” Why cant we get pressure without Orakpo?”. There seems to be this feeling that you have to have elite talent to have any chance of getting pressure on a QB these days. Talent is always nice but a great scheme and intelligent coaches can still dial up effective defenses and pressure a QB.

The Redskins are three years into their switch from a 4-3 to the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense. LeBeaus 3-4 is built on creating confusion,wearing down a offensive line, and pressuring the QB. Offenses often struggle against 3-4 fronts because they can not account for where the extra rushers are coming from.The defense is unpredictable and aggressive by nature that will create confusion as long as the man calling the shots is not predictable. \

After hours of film I have come to the conclusion that Jim Haslett is not running the LeBeau 3-4 correctly in Wasington DC. In the LeBeau 3-4 the CBS should be in man coverage 85% of the time or more to give the front 7 more time to work. The defense is aggressive with blitzes,slants,and stunts aimed at causeing confusion in the middle of the offensive line that opens holes for pass rushers. The scheme creates the pass rush in most of the defensive packages.

The Redskins do feel Orakpos loss from a base 4 man rush situation but this scheme is not suppose to be built on many 4 man rush opportunities. They feel the lack of a creative and instinctive defensive coordinator even more. Jim Haslett has developed a reputation around the league,media,and fanbase as being to predictable with his calls and that reputation is well earned.

The Redskins and Steelers are the only two teams in the league that run the LeBeau 3-4 so how do they mirror with eachother? I see some of the principles and blitz concepts in Washington but flawed coaching and use of personnel. I have posted a lot of screen shots below of Pittsburgh and Washingtons pressure concepts for everyone to discuss and hopefully enjoy. The Pittsburgh clips are all from their week 5 game vs the Eagles and go in order from 1st quarter thru the 4th. One thing that stood out to me was how diverse the steelers attack was in their pressure packages. When they are bringing the heat the will stack the line of scrimmage to create confusion, have every defender near their coverage assignments, and when blitzing the secondary they are on the line to allow them to get to the qb faster.

The Redskins love to send CBs and SS more than LBs in their pressure packages. The CB are asked to run from their position in coverage which takes longer for them to get to the quarterback. Washington does have a lot of success when in man coverage and rushing their LBS but they do not do it enough. Linebackers also always stay at depth (5-6 yards) which allows the offensive line to clearly identify their responsibility.

Check out the screen shots of both teams and let us know what you think.

-Steelers are aligned in their base 3-4 defensive front playing man cover 1 zone under
-The ILB and OLB will be coming on a blitz

-The Defensive line will slant right
-OLB & ILB begin to drop into their zone coverage

-The slant by the defensive line caused the Eagles to over shift
-RT kicks out to defend the outside edge against the OLB
-Huge hole is opened up between the Guard and center leaving the ILB 1 on 1 with a RB

-The ILB makes contact and puts the RB on his butt

-The ILB is in hot pursuit of the QB
-QB does not have the time to hit his open WR and is flushed from the pocket

-QB was forced to take a sack or throw the ball away. This desperation throw almost ended up as a easy interception on the right sideline

-Steelers are in their 3-4 base defense
-The ILB & OLB will blitz off the left edge
-Defense is in man cover 1

-This is now a 2 man rush game with 2 athletic linebackers in space vs 2 Lineman
-The OLB & ILB are working in coordination with each other as both press and extend the edge on the LT & G
-Notice the OLB has stuck his upfield foot in the ground and is prepared to make a move

-ILB spins off the Guard and back into the open lane
-OLB uses the LTs momentum against him and pushes him past his upfield shoulder
-OLB then will move to take on the Guard which will allow the ILB to be a free rusher

-With the TE doubled the QB is feeling the pressure and begins to run
-The ILB will make the play and cause a QB fumble on this play

-The QB had a WR streaking past A OLB on a go route
-Without pressure on the passer this play could have been a TD instead of a turnover

-Steelers have their 2-4-5 (2 DL,4 lB,5 DB) personnel on the field
-Cover 2 Man is the coverage

-Steelers will bump the WRs off the line of scrimmage

-Nomrally the 2 down lineman in a 2-4-5 would line up off the guards outside should but the Steelers are being creative.
-1 DL man is over the nose while the other is standing up over the LT
-50 & 92 are lined up in the gap between the G & LT
-All 5 Offensive lineman now have to be concerned with those 3 defenders ( NT,50,92)

-Center takes on the NT
-Both LTs kick out against the perimeter rushers
-RG slides and reaches to take on the LB (50) aligned in his gap
-LG slides and reaches to take on the LB (92) that WAS aligned in his gap
-92 drops back into a spy position
-See the crease that has been opened up in the center of the OL?

-The guard steps out on 92 which widens the rush lane for the LB
-94 will again be 1 on 1 with a RB and he wins his battle
-The QB rushes and throws a incomplete pass after 94 comes free

-Steelers are in 2-4-5 personnel
-50 & 94 are stacked in the A gaps on each side of the center
-The presence of the defenders in the line in the gaps will attract the immediate attention of the OL

-Everyone except 99 (DE) will slant left post snap which takes the offensive line left as well
-99 stalls and keeps the attention of the LT
-92 is matched up 1 on 1 with a RB on the right of your screen

-The RB wins this battle and cuts 92 down
-Eagles hit 10 on the slant for a big gain but you will take a pass rusher on a RB any day of the week

-Steelers in their base 3-4 defense
-50 will slide into the A gap between the C,G right before the snap
-92 & 93 will drop into zone
-94 will come on a A gap blitz

-50 in the A gap pre-snap takes the centers attention
-G & RT slide right to take on what they thought was going to be the strong side rush
-LT & G slide out to take on the slanting DT,DE
-These movements again open a wide lane for 94 on the A gap blitz and he is 1 on 1 with a RB

-94 beats the block of the RB

-The QB is pressured off his spot and hurried into throwing a incomplete pass

-Without pressure its possible the QB finds one of these open WRs

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 package playing Cover 2 man
-50 Will drop into man coverage on the TE post snap
-Steelers overload the weak side and are blitzing the OLB and SS

-94 attacks the guard
-DE attacks the LT
-The RB is stuck in a 2 on 1 vs a LB & SS
-The RB should of taken the inside rusher but he takes the SS
-93 is on a free run at the QB

-The QB goes down after almost instant pressure

-Here is the coverage on the play
-TE breaks open on a go route past the LB but no time to make the throw

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-NT over the Center
-DT over the TE
-2 LBs will attack the A & B gaps left of the center
-DT will attack the A gap on the right
-93 will drop and cover the TE

-LT & C crash to help the LG based on their pre-snap read
-RG assumes the Center has the DT

-DT has a free run at the QB

-DT completes the play for a easy sack

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-DT will attack the outside shoulders of the guards trying to push up field
-OLBs will stunt back towards the middle of the DL

-The DTs pushing upfield will serve as a pick
-OLBs stunt towards the open hole left by the guards

-OLB has a free run at the QB and forces a rushed throw that falls incomplete

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 man cover 1
-DT over the center
-DT over the TE standing up
-LBs on the line of scrimmage pressing the gaps

-LT slides out to get the outside rusher
-G is focused on the LB (92) that was in his gap pre-snap
-C slides right this time to take the DT
-The DT is unblocked

-DT has a free run at the QB
-QB is rushed and ends up throwing a incomplete pass

-Steelers in their 2-4-5 with LBs pressing the gaps
-93 will drop into the middle of the field to man the TE

-Center is taken up by the NT
-LT slides out to grab the outside rusher
-92 stunts inside and attacks the guard

-92 blows past the Guard and puts instant pressure on the QB
-QB throws a pass into coverage to avoid the sack and it falls incomplete

The Steelers clearly have a great scheme that puts their pass rushers in 1 on 1 situations that are favorable to them. I very rarely saw the best pass rushers against the Eagles best pass protectors on the offensive line over the course of the game. The other thing that stood out to me was the Steelers scheming to get free rushers thru from the A gaps on a consistent basis. Shortest distance to get pressure and effect a QB is thru the middle not the edge and clearly the Steelers do it very well. When Pittsburgh is in their 2-4-5 personnel they stack the line of scrimmage to cause confusion in the blocking scheme while playing cover 1 or 2 behind it.

Lets get on to the Redskins defense coordinated by Jim Haslett.

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel
-DL and 91 will slant left
-23 will come on a cornerback blitz

-OL shifts right to account for the DL slant
-23 is left 1 on 1 with a RB and is stonewalled

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-SS & 23 will blitz off the edge

-OL slides with the slant
-RB takes the SS on the blitz
-23 gets a free run on the QB and records the first sack of his career

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense running A & B gap blitz
-NT will attack the right shoulder of the center
-59 will attack the A gap on the inside shoulder of the guard
-LT will step out to take the DE
-56 will have to deal with a RB once he hits the crease

-59 sheds the Guard and has a free run at the QB
-56 sheds the RB and has a free run at the QB
-Bradford escapes the pocket and gets to the sideline while completing a pass to Amendola

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-23 will blitz from the CB position

-CB is 1 on 1 with the RB

-CB is picked up and the ball is out

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL attacks down on the OL
-59 and 23 will blitz off the edge

-LT slides out on the DE
-Center goes left to try and sell the play action
-RB slides out to pick up the blitzing CB
-59 has a free run to the QB

-QB is pressured into a quick throw which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense
-OLB & ILB will blitz on this play

-The DL and LBs attack straight down
-Offensive line has plenty of time to read their individual responsibilities

-QB has a clean pocket to throw from

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT will attack the Centers inside shoulder
-59 will attack the inside shoulder of the guard
-51 will attack the crease

-51 gets a free run on the QB
-QB is forced to make a quick pass which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will go straight up field
-CB will blitz off the edge

-Center slides to pick up 59
-LT slides to pick up 51
-CB is 1 on 1 with a guard
-Clean pocket for the QB to throw from

-Redskins are in their 3-4 personnel
-DE crashes to take on G,C
-ILB will blitz down on the guard
-OLb will attack the LT

-Guard pushes DE onto the center
-Guard is free to take on the LB
-LT slides out to take on the OLB
-Clean pocket to hit the open TE

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DE will stunt inside
-91 will attack the guard
-96 will attack the A gap
-59 will attack inside shoulder of the LT
-OLB will press the edge

-OL accounts for the rushers and the QB gets off a quick completion

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT crash in
-OLB attack the LT
-CB blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run at the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the pass off for a completion

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel with 91 on the line as a DE
-DL will slant right
-SS AND CB will blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run on the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the ball out for a completion


It also seems that LBs are attacking wrong gaps - the blitzes are poorly designed and unorchestrated/organized. It's almost like he tells them "ok - go get em" and that's it.


That was phenomenal analysis. Why are we so unimaginative and rely on the CB blitz instead of getting A-gap pressure? Your points about Haslett are starting to have even more truth.


no idea but it is very frustrating to watch us dial up the corner cats over and over again.


  1. [...] maybe he is to blame. I don't hold account though.. Check this blog for all you Haslett haters. HTTR24-7-Skins Podcasts & Blog – Film Sessions: Haslett vs LeBeau Battle Of The 3-4 __________________ HTTR Redskin Fan since [...]

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