In talking about how Aaron Curry fits Seattle, coach Mora said this:
"We are a 4-3 team, but we play a lot of over defense, which means that we play with three linebackers off the ball."
Eric also linked to an explanation of the 4-3 Over/Under on About.com (the football forum of which I've long been a prolific member).
Gus Bradley mentioned coverage, particularly underneath coverage, keying on the QB instead of just trailing their receiver through their zone.
He & Mora have both talked about aggressive mentality, extensively, which doesn't really mean much, except that they juxtapose it against blitzing to point out being aggressive is more than blitzing. Mora did say recently, though, in one of those juxtapositions, "although we'll be doing a lot of that," regarding blitzing. With a 4-3 Over base, I could see that blitzing would indeed be more a part of what we do, even so long as they emphasize that it alone doesn't embody all that they mean when they cite aggression.
And yet it's been confirmed we're still doing a lot of cover 2 and doing a lot of what Tampa has done, without being Tampa 2. Aside from cover 2, it's the pressure out of your front four that most distinguishes Tampa 2.
John's observations about their line acquisitions, their characteristics, has lent him to guess (when pressed) that "West Coast Defense" would be most distinguished from Tampa and what we ran under Marshall as more situational substituting on the line. Given our rotations, I can indeed see that as likely.
So, maybe the team never meant to make much of "West Coast Defense," and Tim Lewis is just one of those good but crazy ol' defensive coaches that makes the team cringe whenever he gets a microphone, like the Redskins' Greg Blache. But I think they are trying to do something unique here, and the question has fascinated me. Will it really be unique?
Tony Dungy was fond of pointing out that his Steelers did pretty much everything he & Kiffin ran in Tampa, that it was nothing new. But as a scheme and philosophy, it definitely was a new type of defense.
it's hard to find something truly new under the football sun. The Wild Cat isn't new. The spread isn't new. The A11 is.
If Seattle is borrowing existing parts and combining them in a way never done, or never done systemically, it might truly be something different, something unique, new, and something worthy of its own monniker like West Coast Defense. Presuming it's at least moderately successful.
4-3 Over base, cover 2 shell. Underneath coverage keying on the QB, with situational substituting on the line. Is that the future history of the Seahawks and the NFL?
Pressure disguising from the 3-4, using 4-3 talent. With cover 2 zones, would figure to not be as vulnerable to TEs as the 3-4. Frequent blitzing, but not married to it like the zone blitz 3-4, where if you don't send an OLB you don't have good pressure-generating talent sent forward.
Far less rigid or predictable than Tampa 2. Less "read and react. The way your DTs slide to go from over to under, and keeping with rotated 4-3 talent as opposed to 3-4, you retain the interior pressure threat over the guards, which is how Steve Spagnuolo turned Justin Tuck into a star. And don't make yourself vulnerable to the running game in the process.
The best of the Steelers, Buccaneers, and Giants?
The one thing I am left wondering is on those occassional days we just don't generate adequate pressure on a smart QB, will our cover 2 zones get picked apart at the seams? Mora did say they don't want to be predictable. But they have mentioned cover 2 and talked about Tampa, as well as "eliminating any gray areas" so I don't anticipate there being any complex zones being used.
But it's worked for Tampa 2 teams, they find ways to get pressure and don't often get picked apart if they're talent is decent. And this sounds more resourceful in being able to generate pressure, with a few different approaches to choose from. I was worried before, but the more I think about it, the more excited I get.