Going into the 2012 season, the most anticipated rookie to watch was the Indianapolis Colts number one pick, quarterback Andrew Luck. This week Luck will be seeing a 3-4 defense for the first time when he faces the Green Bay Packers.
The 3-4 defense is a very different look than the typical base 4-3 defense and the key to having success with the 3-4 is disguising the linebackers before the snap.
“Disguise is going to be important, so you don’t want to give him a lot of pre-snap looks. You want to make a young guy think on the move,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.
Capers is one of the best at zone blitzes and disguising his players at the line to confuse quarterbacks. He will plan on moving his star defensive player Clay Matthews on both sides of the ball to make Luck find him on the field, adjust at the line and keep him on his toes.
However, Luck isn’t thought of as a typical rookie quarterback. Even in his college days at Stanford, he was able to grasp his pro-style offense with ease and his adjustment into the NFL has seem to come with ease for him. Though he seems to be fitting in well, Luck still shows signs of being a rookie quarterback. He has thrown four interceptions so far in three games and his focus during the bye week was to cut down on the interceptions. This will be a hard task to do, considering the Packers defense is built around causing turnovers.
Luck is a smart football player, but as a rookie seeing the 3-4 defense for the first time in the league, he may be prone to over-thinking. With the variety of zone blitzes and Matthews moving all over the field, Luck will be paying more attention and adjusting too much at the line unnecessarily, instead of focusing on his offense and the play call.
As for the Packers, they need to stay disciplined on defense and not give any hints to Luck. The Packers often play five rookies at one time, so just like Luck, they are just as capable of over-thinking or giving Luck pre-snap reads at the line. The battle of the young Colts offense and the young Packers defense will be an interesting battle to watch. Both sides will have to make sure they stick to their gameplans and do what needs to be done and not focus on what the other team is doing.
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