I was perusing the Eagles SB Nation site today and found this article about how happy and relieved that the Eagles Linebackers were to have ditched the wide-9 defense.
It's a realization that many of us here at POD have known for awhile, but the article is a good read for those not really knowledgeable with the wide-9. For those of you who don't like to read, at least look at this picture.
Now think about a simple run between the LT and the RG (The "G" and the "T" on your right for those who are challenged) with a one TE set. The QB hands the ball off to the RB(it could be Phil Dawson, doesn't really matter) and he takes it between the gap. Now, the DE (our own KVB) takes a wide loop to the QB so the LT hardly has to do a thing, maybe stick an arm out and head to the second level to take out either the LB or Safety, and the LG and/or Center(let's say Center) takes out one DT(Suh or Fairley) while the Guard either doubles the DT or takes out a LB. If a double team doesn't take place then the Guard takes out the Linebacker. If a double does take place then the FB(yes, teams actually use the FB) goes up to take the Linebacker out.
Now that scenario above is simple and needs cohesion to work, but as we've seen this year and last year as well, it works more often than not. This puts so much pressure on the Linebackers and Safeties while putting 0 pressure on the DE's. You ever see our Safeties get burned on a play action fake? Cause they have so much to do with stopping the run. Luckily for us, Suh, Fairley, SLH, and Williams are all above average at getting through O-linemen pretty quickly, which is why teams don't run for 200+ yards per game on us.
The most irritating thing about the wide-9 defense is that fact that, for it to work even slightly, the DE's need to pressure the QB. Heh. Raise your hand if you forgot we had DE's. Mine is up. And guess what? That's the job 95% of the time, which means that plays designed to take pressure off the QB like screens, draws, etc...are easily executed against it. Sound familiar? Last week ATL had 4, COUNT EM, 4 screen plays on ONE DRIVE work to perfection and led to a TD.
Now don't get me wrong. I understand that the Wide-9 is a base alignment, and yes, the Lions don't strictly use this formation. But it's quite clear to see when they are using the formation, and a smart Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback can spot it in a second.
So what is the biggest need to make the wide 9 work? Pass rushing DE's that get pressure on almost every play. Obviously, the Lions do NOT have those. The Lions have a pass rushing DT extraordinaire (Suh), two all-around DT's (Fairley and Williams) and a run stuffing DT (SLH). Then Kyle "Chicken with its head cut off" Vanden Bosche and Cliff "Outside moves are the best" Avril. This defense is not built for the wide-9, granted, no defense SHOULD be built for that, but especially not this defense.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I doubt that I am.
/rant. Let's just hope Detroit follows the Eagles ways and ditches the dreaded wide-9.