This is the third post of a four part series which focuses on the 4-3 Defensive Line. This week I will be focusing on the Strong Side Defensive End. Below I will explain what are his responsibilities, his alignment, & which current NFL players thrive at this position.
The Strong Side Defensive End in the 4-3 One-Gap scheme is usually the bigger & stronger of the two defensive ends. While the left defensive end's main job is to stop the run & penetrate, he must also bring pressure when needed. Michael Bennett has made his case for being the best strong side defensive end in the NFL this past year & it is unfortunate that he may never be the same player he was after tearing his rotator cuff. Last year, the Buccaneers were one of the best run stopping defense in the entire NFL due in large part to Bennett's breakout year. Anthony Spencer is also coming off a career year where he notched up 11 sacks, 96 tackles, & seven for loss in 2012 while lining up as the strong side linebacker. Under Monte Kiffin, Spencer will be asked to do much of the same while putting his hand down on the dirt.
The Strong Side DE(or 7 Technique) lines up in the gap between the RT and the TE. He can also play the 6-technique depending on the offensive formation.
The main responsibilities of the 7 tech in the 4-3 one-gap scheme is to be stout against the run & provide containment. The 7 technique must be ready to attack the C-Gap on his side of the formation & stop the run on his way to the quarterback. If the Tight End and Right Tackle double team the strong side defensive end, he must try his best to split the block & make a play in the backfield. Since the 7 technique is a power player he can often use his strength to anchor & wait for the other linebackers to help. Monte Kiffin often preaches "gang tackling" so expect this to be a recurring theme in the off season.
Overall, I am excited to see how Spencer will develop under Rod Maranelli's coaching & how he reacts to putting his hand on the ground. I believe the Cowboys have trust in Spencer's abilities to play the position otherwise they would not have tagged him. I expect at-least 8 sacks from Spencer this year while having another solid year at the position.
5 Draftees that fit the bill:
1. Bjoern Werner | DE | Florida State | Drafted 1st Round |
2. Sam Montgomery | DE | LSU | Drafted 1-2 Round |
3. Alex Okafor | DE | Texas | Drafted 1-2 Round |
4. John Simon | DE | Ohio State | Drafted 3-4 Round |
5. Devin Taylor | DE | South Carolina | Drafted 3-4 Round |