The Phillips 34 philosophy

It's a fortuitous day here at BTB. I managed to get my hands on a Wade Phillips defensive playbook of recent vintage. I can't post it, and I'm not going to post any of the specific plays or diagrams, that would be wrong. But I can quote from it and analyze the different formations and blitzes he uses. It's long and detailed so it's going to take me a while to get all the way through it, but it should give me some significant insight into the Phillips 34.

It won't tell me anything that the rest of the NFL coaching staffs don't know, they've been watching film on the Phillips 34 for years, make that decades. They know all about his defenses. San Diego players mentioned some of the philosophy in quotes when he was hired in Dallas. They all talked about his attacking style. But it's interesting to see it defined.

Over the next week or so I'll be posting my observations after reading through it. But let me give you some of the meta-details about the Phillips 34, straight from the playbook.

The opening line states that the defense is an attacking defense. Music to your ears? I thought so. It further states we will play zone, man-to-man and blitz in any situation. In all situations we will defend the inside or middle of the field first - defend inside to outside. We will not allow the ball to be run inside, we want to force the ball outside. We will not allow the ball to be thrown deep down the middle or inside. We want to force the ball to be thrown short and/or outside.

It also talks about eliminating mental mistakes, using different personnel packages in different situations, the importance of communication between the players, and being a physical defense. The final section of the philosophy chapter ends with this - Finally, our job is to take the ball away from the opponents offense and score or set up good field position for the offense. We must knock the ball loose, force mistakes, and cause turnovers. Turnovers win games!

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