A few months ago, when Scott Pioli and the Chiefs first decided they would run the 3-4 defense this year, Glenn Dorsey seemed destined for one of two things: a trade, or failure.
Dorsey's skill set and body type just do not fit what most people think about typical 3-4 defensive lineman; he is not heavy or squat enough to play nose tackle, and he is not tall and athletic enough to play defensive end. (For an in-depth article on this, click here)
3-4 linemen are supposed to take up blocks and let the linebackers do the work, not penetrate and blow things up in the backfield, and that is exactly what Dorsey is best at doing.
We weren't the only one's who made this connection—that Dorsey's unique skill set would go to waste in the 3-4—the Chiefs realized this too, and made adjustments.
“A lot of people are thinking this is a straight 3-4 defense and it’s not,” said Dorsey. “Being at an end is a new place for me, but it’s not going to be a classic 3-4 end on every snap."
"There's a place for me on this defense."
So here's the plan, the Chiefs will be implementing some sort of 3-4/4-3 hybrid that was run in Arizona last year by defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast that was called the "4-3 Under" by the Cardinals linebacker coach, Bill Davis.
Glenn Dorsey won't be lining up heads up over the offensive tackle, in the five-technique, on most downs. Instead, he will be shaded slightly inside, between the guard and tackle.
Lining up in this manner will allow Dorsey to play a more typical 4-3 defensive tackle role and shoot the gap when the ball is snapped. Disrupting the offense in this way allows Dorsey to utilize his unique skill set to the fullest extent.
Playing outside of him in the DE/OLB role will most likely be Tamba Hali, who on most snaps will solely be rushing the passer. He mainly will be left one-on-one with the left tackle and is expected to be able to beat him on most snaps, especially given he will start from a two point stance most of the time.
With Hali occupying the left tackle, and nose tackle Tank Tyler most likely double teamed by the center and right guard, Dorsey will be left one on one with the left guard. Dorsey left one-on-one with a guard is a match up I will take any day of the week.
This combination of rare positions side by side will not only confuse the offenses, but will apply pressure on the quarterback's blindside from two different positions, causing even more chaos.
Getting this kind of pressure from a defensive end in a 3-4(ish) scheme is very unique, and is sure to cause confusion for the opposing offensive line. Only the Cardinals have run this scheme before, and is still very new to the NFL.
Hopefully the Chiefs will be able to exploit this new fad to the fullest, much like the "Wildcat" formation has done thus far.