We are seeing some creative sub defensive packages from defensive coordinators in the NFL this season. A few weeks ago, Todd Bowles used such packages in a victory over the Green Bay Packers. Using 1-4-6 or 1-5-5 defenses, with Ndamukong Suh as the single defensive lineman, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to confuse Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
On Sunday night we saw more from the Arizona Cardinals and their 0-6-5 defense. Starting in their game against the Carolina Panthers, Vance Joseph has been using this group more an more. It culminated in both a sack and interception in overtime, with Russell Wilson being fooled by these looks.
Now, we all know the NFL is a copycat league. And these defensive coordinators might have gotten such ideas from the New York Giants and Patrick Graham.
Thanks to a hat-tip to a Giants fan on Twitter - NYGfaninCLT, whom you can follow @clt_ny - I was pointed in this direction after doing work on the Arizona 0-6-5 defense. On 52 plays this year, the Giants used a defense with either zero or one defensive lineman in the game. In this video breakdown, you’ll see how the Giants have used these sub packages - not always on third and long - to generate pressure and confuse opposing passers:
When the Giants face Tampa Bay, perhaps the team with the best sub personnel package on defense will be the one to carry the day.