Dec 13, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer along the sidelines during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Bengals defeated the Eagles 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, I wrote about the possible combinations of formations and personnel that would excite and intrigue on offense. Jay Gruden, I’m sure, is working on ways to improve a middle of the pack squad. This week I wanted to look at the defense which will also boast an interesting mix of personnel and formation versatility. With several players able to rush the passer from various spots and rotate around the defense, Mike Zimmer and company will have many options to disrupt what the offense wants to do.
We know that Mike Zimmer runs a base 4-3 defense and isn’t big on exotic blitzes and formations. However he does mix and match, counting on guys to take advantages of match ups. I look for players like Michael Johnson, James Harrison, and Carlos Dunlap to move around the formation and apply pressure from several spots. In fact, recent comments by Harrison indicate that he may even rush from the inside. Cover linebackers like Emmanuel Lamur and 4th rounder Sean Porter will hopefully provide diversity within the front seven, especially if Porter can play outside and middle linebacker. Also, rookie third rounder Shawn Williams looks like the perfect guy to bring the safety blitz that Zimmer likes.
Here is a look at some of the front seven formations/personnel groupings that could be headed to a playing field near you…opposing quarterbacks, get your ice packs ready.
DL – Lemur, Johnson, Dunlap, Still, Atkins, Harrison
LB – Burfict
DL – Johnson, Still, Atkins, Dunlap, Harrison
LB – Porter, Burfict