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Football 101: Explaining the “Wide 9” technique on defense?

Getting to know what Dee Ford will be doing on defense

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Earlier today, we wrote about Kris Kocurek and what the defensive line coaches addition means for the San Francisco 49ers draft. Let’s take a deeper look at what “Wide 9” even means. Here’s a list of “techniques” to reference.

So when you hear somebody reference “Deforest Buckner plays 3-tech”, they’re saying he is lined up over the outside shoulder of the guard. You’ll see the “4i” or any “i” designation in the graphic above. That’s just letting you know a player is on the inside shoulder of the offensive lineman.

What the Wide 9 looks like

We care about what the significance of the “Wide 9” is, though. The entire point of this is spacing. Your defensive ends get a couple extra yards of space, which gives them an opportunity to build some momentum as they rush the passer. You get better angles, as well. Kocurek was with the Miami Dolphins last year. This sack my Cameron Wake gives you an idea of the benefits that lining up in the “Wide 9” presents.

From left to right, there is a 9t, 3t, 2i, and a 9t. This ensures that someone gets a 1-on-1. It’s not always going to be your edge rusher, though.

This is where the value of Dee Ford comes in. Ford is going to get attention against everyone he faces. That gets us back to the benefit of the spacing. This is Kansas City Chiefs star Chris Jones.

Buckner will see this a handful of games. On obvious passing downs, with the addition of two pass rushers, Buckner will be better in 2019. That’s scary.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. You usually stay away from this on early downs, or short yardage situations, because of the running lanes. Your linebackers aren’t protected. You’re giving up five yards before the running back is even contested. Any run that is going off tackle has a good chance of being successful.

Bosa effect

It’s not taking a shot at Bosa saying this isn’t his best fit. Here’s a better way to put it. If Bosa lines up in a 9-technique, he’s going to have at least five sacks. He’s that good. He’s just better when he’s right on top of the tackle. Whether that’s a 5 or a 7-technique. Bosa is so proficient with his hands and can counter that initial move by the tackle, that you’d want him to be close. Bosa has a better chance at getting 10 sacks lined up closer.

Why would you want to move that further away from the line? He’s a really good athlete. That’s not what is in question here. It’s just putting Bosa in the best position for him. Bosa is scheme proof, though.