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Greg Blache simplifying the defense

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We retained a good bit of coaching continuity defensively, even if we let Gregg Williams walk. Greg Blache has been around these players, under that former system, for some years now. And while much of that defense will remain, he's making his own changes, per Inside Slant:

However, minicamp revealed that there are substantial differences between Williams, now Jacksonville’s coordinator, and Blache, Chicago’s coordinator from 1999-2003. For example, Williams’ beloved “packages,” which numbered well into the teens, have been considerably reduced.

“We will have fewer packages because this is about the players,” Blache said. “This is not about building the perfect castle. It’s about giving the players something they can execute in the heat of battle and under stressful situations. The biggest thing is being able to execute, get to the football and knock the ball out. We’re trying to be a hard, physical defense that’s intimidating with our speed and hitting ability and you can’t do that when you’re thinking about 20,000 different things. You can do that when you’re comfortable knowing what you have to do. And that’s what we are going to try and focus on.”

I'm willing to stay my criticisms of the new approach and let the results speak for themselves, but I had little problem with Williams' complicated packages schemes when they were producing top 10 ranked defenses. I like blitzes. This new defense will place less emphasis on that than in the past, if it works:

“This is the same defense we ran in Chicago,” Daniels said. “Greg’s only aggressive when he has to be, where Gregg (Williams) would mix it all in. If we can stop teams with our base defenses, we’re not going to blitz.”

The strategy as stated by Blache is extremely personnel dependent. He noted that if/when injuries occur, that's when changes will be made (tailored to the new personnel). As he sells it, Blache has a huge amount of faith in the current defensive roster which helps to explain why we didn't expend many resources on that side of the ball this draft. That should be the case, as we've spent a lot of draft resources in recent years on that side of the ball in players like LaRon Landry, Carlos Rogers, and Rocky McIntosh.

Bad news for Derrick Frost, elsewhere in the article:

Quote To Note:   “Our (special) teams are pretty good. We don’t want to be average at anything. We punted nine times in (the wild-card playoff loss at) Seattle and we didn’t have a 4.5 hang time on any of ‘em. If you line-drive the ball, these premier returners will stick it right back down your throat.”—Special teams coach Danny Smith explaining why incumbent punter Derrick Frost is being challenged by sixth-round draft choice Durant Brooks.

This feels like more than 4.5 seconds:


And indeed the word on Brooks' hangtime, emphasis mine:

After Tuesday's practice featured the length of Brooks' punts, Wednesday focused more on directional and pooch punting drills. With the NFL scouts already aware of his leg strength, Brooks proved he could consistently down the ball inside the 10-yard line. "Everyone knows that Durant can kick the ball a good ways, but what's underrated is how incredible his hang time is," one scout said. "When you're trying to punt the ball inside the 20 it's all about hang time, and Durant does it better than anybody."...

Compares To: MIKE SCIFRES-San Diego … Scifres is much bigger than Brooks, but both have the same philosophy in their punting approach - boom the ball high and long, giving the coverage team an excellent chance to set up and prevent the long return. Both have a very good ability for placing their kicks inside the 20-yard line. Outside of Scifres, no one in the NFL can match Brooks' hang time (just needs to be more consistent).