Do you ever have to explain something to somebody that you know so intuitively but haven’t the words to convey what you know? Unless, of course, they know what you know, then the question would never arise.
So I did a bit of writing on the difference between Gregg Williams’ (GW) and Steve Spagnuolo’s (SS) defensive schemes in order to explain it. Writing always helps distill your thoughts into easily followed, (We hope!) logical constructs. So, here is my primer.
GW’s schemes were heavily blitz based requiring more defenders to rush at the QB. With so many players thus engaged, the remaining defensive players had too much field to cover to play a zone defense.
This dynamic resulted in the defensive backs having to play man-on-man coverage in order to defend the pass or run. The law of averages dictates that eventually you will be beat on man-to-man coverage because the other team’s players are good too– even if you beat them out most of the time.
To counter the QB rush, teams provide maximum protection for the QB and get the ball out quicker to nullify the blitz. To counter the man-to-man coverage, other teams would identify the man-on-man matchups and use the skill sets of their players to tip the matchup in their favor.
A man-to-man scheme requires players to beat other players. Whereas, in a zone scheme, the scheme is used to beat the other team.