This is the fourth & final post of the four part mini-series which focuses on the 4-3 Defensive Line. This week I will be focusing on the Weak Side Defensive End. Below I will explain what are his responsibilities, his alignment, & which current NFL players thrive at this position.
As most of you know, the Dallas Cowboys will be moving to the 4-3 defense where pressure & penetration is key. So far in this mini-series we have already covered who our DT's & Strong Side DE will be. Now we focus on the weak side defensive end. DeMarcus Ware will be transitioning from OLB to DE & critics have questioned whether the move will affect him & his impact. I say he will excel in this scheme as he does not have to drop into coverage or read and react. The beauty of this one-gap scheme is that you are playing the run on the way to the quarterback so there is not a lot of thinking involved. Obviously, Kiffin & Rod will have some new kinks added to his 4-3 scheme & only they know what is in store for the Cowboys 2013-14 Defense. I will call it the Dallas 2 Defense for now.
The Weak Side DE (or 9-tech) lines up outside of the Left Tackle, and outside of the TE if one is present.
The main responsibilities of the Weak Side DE in the 4-3 one-gap scheme is to get the corner & rush the passer. Since the Weak Side DE is mainly a speed rusher, he must have an explosive first step in order to beat the Left tackle around the corner, or cause him to over commit & give up a counter move straight to the quarterback. The Weak Side DE focuses on attacking the C or D Gap depending on the offensive formation. If there is a TE on the weak side, the DE will line up on the D-Gap.
I don't know about you guys but I am extremely excited to see DeMarcus Ware play in this 4-3 one-gap scheme without having to drop back in coverage. I do not think he will have a hard time adjusting to putting his hands down as he will still have that explosive first step. He also played with his hand down in college so he has experience on the position. He may be getting older but DeMarcus Ware is still a top 3 rusher in the NFL. I'm sure Monte Kiffin & Rod Marinelli are happy to have him on their defense.
5 Draftees that fit the bill:
1. Ezekiel Ansah | DE | 6'5 | 271 lbs |
2. Cornellius Carradine | DE | 6'4 | 276 lbs |
3. Datone Jones | DE | 6'4 | 283 lbs |
4. DaMontre Moore | DE | 6'4 | 250 lbs |
5. Barkevious Mingo | DE | 6'4 | 241 lbs |