What the Eagles can incorporate from Kirby Smart’s defensive scheme at Georgia

The defense belongs to Kirby Smart in Athens, Georgia, but Glenn Schumann has come aboard and taken the Bulldogs’ program to another level.

Since following Smart from Alabama to Georgia following the 2015 season at the ripe age of 25, Schumann has built himself up from an off-the-field administrative role for the Crimson Tide to one of the hottest coaching candidates America.

During his first seven seasons on staff, Schumann has helped develop two Butkus Award-winners and one of the most excellent defenses in college football history, that’s on a current two-year run of dominance.

Schumann helped develop 2017 Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith, 2020 Butkus Award finalist Monty Rice and 2021 Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean.

The Bulldogs’ defense has finished second, second, and third nationally in total defense over the past three seasons while leading the nation in rushing defense in 2019 and 2020 before finishing second in 2021.

Philadelphia has added five National Champion defenders to the roster over the past two drafts.

We’re looking for ways new defensive coordinatorSean Desai can incorporate some of what Schumann had success with into the Eagles’ defensive scheme.

Implement the 'STAR' position

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It’s a role used at Baylor when Jalen Pitre flourished, along with Derwin James and Jalen Ramsey during his tenure with the Rams.

In the 4-2-5, the ‘Star’ is a hybrid safety type that could play outside linebacker in most 4-3 schemes.

If 80 percent of the NFL plays the 11 personnel with a slot receiver, you must have the talented defensive personnel to combat such a quarry.

For Philadelphia, that role should automatically go to third-round draft pick Sydney Brown. The Swiss Army Knife can play in the box, slot, and deep safety position.

Employing Brown or Reed Blankenship as the ‘STAR’ alongside Nakobe Dean or Nicholas Morrow could allow Philadelphia to add athleticism and versatility to the defense.

Implement the MINT Front

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Philadelphia is set to play more 3-4 looks, and 2023 is the perfect time to try new flavors at the NovaCare Complex.

Like most around the NFL, the Eagles offense has a ton of college-based concepts, and borrowing from the Georgia playbook could help speed up the transition for five former Bulldogs that’ll see significant snaps in Philadelphia.

The MINT front includes three down linemen, with a JACK linebacker up at the line of scrimmage.

The Jack (Haason Reddick/Nolan Smith) can rush the passer, play the run, or get out and cover the running back on screens and pass routes.

The three down linemen would be heavyweights, so you’d get a trio of 4I (Brandon Graham, Kentavius Street), a nose tackle (Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox), and another 4I edge (Josh Sweat, Jalen Carter, Milton Williams. ).

With the nose tackle in zero technique and the two down linemen in a 4I technique, the opposing guards would be occupied, allowing Nakobe Dean, Nicholas Morrow, and the other linebackers to shoot the gaps.

The MINT front would allow Philadelphia to play light on the back seven, while keeping Sydney Brown, Terrell Edmunds and Reed Blankenship all on the field alongside Slay, Bradberry and Avonte Maddox.

Figure out how to feature Nakobe Dean

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During his time in Chicago, Vic Fangio was tied for the fewest blitzes called in the NFL, while the Bears had the sixth-fewest blitzes in 2021 during Sean Desai’s one year as defensive coordinator.

For Desai overall that year, Chicago ranked third in passing defense (191.6 yards per game). Philadelphia won’t blitz a lot, but Desai can put second-year linebacker Nakobe Dean in a position to make plays in space while flowing downhill to disrupt the oppositions rushing attack.

Playing behind Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Kentavius Street, Milton Williams, and Moro Ojomo, Dean should have plenty of space to hide.

Get even more flexible

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The Eagles’ offense has all the star power, but the Philadelphia defense has the personnel to be very flexible from now on.

The Birds seem to be in the business of having the right good players in the correct place, and the influx of talent from Georgia offers a more hybrid approach to stopping offenses.

Smart’s defenses at Georgia utilize a “creeper” in the 3-4 defensive structure or a player at the second level (slot corner, inside or outside linebackers) to be the fourth rusher by blitzing from “depth.”

Jonathan Gannon did an excellent job of dropping Haason Reddick into coverage, but he rarely used a safety or WILL linebacker to provide that lack of coverage.

Whether it be Reed Blankenship, Terrell Edmunds, Nolan Smith, Nakobe Dean, Sydney Brown or Avonte Maddox, Desai can benefit from using his most athletic players to create chaos in space.

Get even more selfless

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A regular defensive line rotation would consist of four edge rushers and four defensive tackles, but Philadelphia should embrace “playing nine to 11 players for four spots.”

That’s the Kirby Smart way at Georgia, and the Eagles did an excellent job of using an eight or nine-man rotation at times in 2022.

During the NFC championship game against San Francisco, Philadelphia had eight defensive linemen play at least ten snaps with 9 playing five or more.

That should increase under Desai, and he should look to incorporate as many looks and snaps as he can from his new additions.

Story originally appeared on Eagles Wire