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The New Scheme Seattle Seahawks Defense!

What is LEO?
I’m starting to hear more and more about this scheme, and wondered if any of you run, coach or have seen anyone in high school and/or college using this alignment. I know West Virginia uses this defense.

This scheme is still relatively rare right now on the college level according to articles I’ve read.

Its strength lies in the flexibility to combat both ground-oriented and spread oriented teams with the following personell:

3 DLs, 3 LBs and 5 DBs

The general front is a 3-3 Stack. The three LBs line up directly over the DL, and that’s why it’s call a Stack. The nose tackle almost always lines up directly over the center except for a special front variation. The stack concept is from the old school, and mixed with the 5 DB deployment of the new. I guess you could call it the defensive equivalent to the Spread Option on offense…mixing past with present to form an innovative scheme.

Base alignment vs. the standard I formation:

Personally, I really like the scheme given the pressure you can apply on offenses with the disguise the stack gives you in addition to the added speed and playmaking ability of an extra defensive back. Extremely flexible and a break from the more traditional alignments on defense.

Two of the five DBs will be strong safeties (DB-LB hybrid types). In this scheme, they’re usually referred to as Rovers/Gators/Bandits. I think this really lends to the aggressive and deceptive qualities of the defense because the Rovers can be easily used as blitzers, and also in pass coverage.

It’s also fairly easy to morph from the 3-3-5 into another front without having to make personell changes.

Of course, you need a very active and effective DL to maximize the potential of any 3 DL front otherwise you open yourself up to problems in the ground game specifically. Those leaks can turn into cascades because you put too much pressure on the rest of the defense. Any good defense (run or pass) starts up front with strong DL play.

I’m a fan of attack oriented, physical defenses and that’s why this scheme appeals to me. 40 Canes is another favorite of mine; made famous by the Miami Hurricanes of course. 4-3 front with physical Cover 2 Man secondary coverage.

I could envision the 3-3-5 becoming part of the high school answer to defending the more wide open offenses we see each season. At the HS level, you can face everything from the Wing T to the various Spread forms so it’s obviously very important to employ a more flexible scheme on defense. It’s very tough to find a true DE, and I think that’s also a contributing factor to more teams moving to a 3 DL set up in addition to the need for more speed on the field to combat modern day talent

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2 Responses

  1. The “Leo” scheme is pretty simple, First off- The Leo is an undersized DE in a 2 point stance (he stands up), Secondly, This scheme is a 3-4 defensive (look) but with the same “Gap Responsibility” as a 4-3 defense… Third, The Leo is played at the (Right Defensive end spot) at the other side of the line the (Left Defensive end spot) has to be a BIGGER D-end around 290-310 LBS. he is used as a run stopping end… that’s about it, The Coverage Scheme behind this front is about the same as a 4-3 defensive depending on the Coach and his own scheme…

    This Scheme is used by teams that don’t have any Elite Pass-Rushers at the DE spot, (Like us the Seahawks), But this Scheme has proven that it produces SACKS and that’s what counts….

  2. Forgot the Blitzing Packages:

    The Blitzing packages are far different than the 4-3 scheme, the best way explain it is, The “Leo” should be able to play a little OLB witch means you can hide your true blitzer like a (3-4 scheme) you can drop the Leo into coverage and blitz the OLB,, there is more blitzes out of this package then that, but that’s the basics…

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