March 25, 2017, 05:43:51 AM
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When Jim Schwartz was hired as the Eagles' defensive coordinator last month, many in Philadelphia felt a tingle down their spine when they heard the term Wide 9 thrown around by analysts, as the idea of a Wide 9 defensive scheme has been attached to Schwartz since his days as the defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. Is it really a scheme, though?The answer is no.Every team in the league utilizes some fronts that deploy an edge player in a Wide 9 technique, meaning that he is lined up a full gap away from where the tight end would line up before the snap. The Eagles, under Bill Davis, utilized the Wide 9 technique. The Denver Broncos have done the same under Wade Phillips, the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick and the Steelers with Mike Tomlin, yes, all use defensive ends or linebackers as 9-technique players at different points throughout a game.So if Schwartz’s scheme isn’t called a Wide 9, then what is it? He explained it best upon his arrival, calling it an "attack" defense. Regardless of what front they line up in (and after watching his defenses in 2013 and 2014 I saw pretty much every defensive front in the book), they’re going to come at you as an offense. What is the calling card of the scheme? After watching the tape, there were two main themes I came away with. First, Schwartz wants to unleash the four-man defensive line. Second, he wants to eliminate what you do best as an offense. I’m going to split this piece up under that umbrella, showing you plays that explain both central themes of this scheme.