Top 10 Defenses: Brazil National Superliga Playoffs

“Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.”

This standard phrase is related to football played in the United States but it may already be used here in the main American football league in Brazil. As much as the quarterbacks are the main players in this game, the wide receivers and running backs are like pop stars and the eyes of the spectators are facing the offense for most the game, having a solid defense has proven essential for any team winning a championship in the Brazil Bowl.

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Below we have listed 9 of the 10 defenses that allowed the fewest points during the regular season of the Superliga. But this is easy, because it’s just numbers, not even a detailed analysis. So after watching hours of games and talking to the coaches, I decided to arrange and put all these defenses in order from # 1 to # 10, based on everything I have seen and heard. Before detailing this, it is worth noting that of the 16 team defenses that are in the playoffs, two of them use a 4-2 front, and seven of them use a 4-3 and another seven of them use a 3-4.

10. Cuiabá Arsenal

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Despite remaining unbeaten, the Cuiabá Arsenal defense has not had one game with an outstanding performance – yet. Even with a defense which includes safety Brandon “The Rocket”  Watkins and his nose for pick sixes (interceptions returned for a touchdown), the team took two TDs in almost every game, which is a good average, since their offense can score.

The main players on this defense are SS/LB Igor Mota # 14 and Watkins.

9. Ceara Caçadores

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The arrival of American defensive back T. Battle to Ceará made a huge improvement to their defense. With its 4-3 scheme, the team has an amazing speed in the front seven. With Battle, this defense suddenly had its missing piece. Battle forms a big double with CB Paulo Alberto. The defensive line is led by the excellent DT Xicão, who already has three sacks this year and still having as highlight the DEs Marco Giovati and Kaleo Melo, players with 4 and 3 sacks, respectively.

“We have very good expectations for our defense in the playoffs, we want to increase the turnovers created and mostly we score with our defense. This industry does not play to avoid opponents points, plays to create opportunities and score these opportunities.” – said Defensive Coordinator Jonas.

The highlight is T Battle, who leads the league with 5 interceptions and 3 defensive TDs.

8. Vila Velha Tritões

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 The only team on the top 10 to use a base front with only 2 linebackers. Although on their first game they gave up 49 points the team found its course and in the following 4 games they conceded only 19 points. Tritões defense is led by Jefferson # 52 linebacker,  leader in interceptions (3) and the second defender with more points in the league (2 TDs). With the defensive line led by DE Pedro # 8 and a secondary anchored by one of the best cornerbacks in the country, Junis Bozetti # 32. It is a defense that is finding its place on the field and deserves to be in the top 10. What to expect of this defense in the playoffs:

“I expect a defense that plays with joy, unity and great intensity from start to finish” – stated Bruno, Tritões Defensive Coordinator.

7. Coritiba Crocodiles

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The 4-3 basic front is solid and has been effective for years. The good linebacking corps led by Leonardo Tomadon – LB # 27, good DL led by defensive tackle Fernando Zimmer # 75 and the secondary led by Jhone S # 39, a leader in interceptions in Croco. The team managed to surrender only 53 points of which 25 were only in one game. This defense will be tough for any team to face.

“What I expect from our defense in the playoffs is to be aggressive and improve our pass coverage. Increase the pressure on QB opponent, because we couldn’t hold that against Rex, we mainly need to lower ours mental mistakes that happened in our last two games and we need to eliminate the “big plays” we suffered in the last two games.” said Victor Hugo, Defensive Coordinator.

 6. White Sharks Istepôs

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The arrival of new players to the White Sharks filled the holes that existed in the defense of Istepôs, making the defense of the WSI one of the strongest in the league. This is a defense that even with the loss of one of the greatest linebackers in the country – Gerson “Polamalu” Santos – managed to stay intact, and even with a smaller DL, the team can work well against the largest OLs. The 4-3 scheme helps a lot against the ground game. Featured players are Vinicius Zanon # 94 DE/MLB, Vinicius Araujo # 1 S/CB and the leader in interceptions competition Paulo Torquato # 28 S with 5 interceptions.

I hope acutely difficult games that will challenge us. The Rex has one of the most difficult attacks to stop, but our defense is more intermeshed than it was on the end of Santa Catarina and the first game of the Super League.” said Chico, Defensive Coordinator.

5. Flamengo F.A

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Flamengo surrendered 28 points in the first game and in the following 5 games just an incredible 10 points. This defense has the best defensive line in the league, good linebackers and a very good secondary, as shown by the play of experienced safety Trapeze and linebacker Ival Maziero and the excellent work of CB/S Luis Honkis, league leader in interceptions with 5. Their defense uses a hybrid formation and the base is a 4-3, with some hybrid players like Herbert Justin that make the defense of the “Flamenguista”  one of the top 5.

4. Recife Mariners

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One of the strongest in the country, the Mariners are the team that gave up the fewest points in the competition. Recife relies on a basic “30 Stack”.

We played with 3 linemen on defense and we can use between 3 to 5 linebackers depending on the situation. This scheme gives us tremendous flexibility while following the basic principles of defense.” said the Mariners Defensive Coordinator.

This is certainly an excellent defense with aggressive linebackers and a powerful defensive line, which can carry the blue side of the northeastern to Brazil Bowl.

What should we expect from them in the playoffs?

Coach Lowery:

Of course it’s continued success. But that depends entirely on our training ethic and attention to detail. In the playoffs, everything intensifies, so we have to be more prepared and willing to work harder if we want to continue our success ” 

3. TIMBO REX

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Their hybrid  3-4  scheme which turns into a 4-3 has been the terror in the South Conference. This team gave up an amazing 34 points, and the defense yielded only 14 of them in 6 games, which would give an average of 1 field goal per game. The Rex has the best linebacking group in Brazil with Luis Polastri, Laércio Anacleto and Dariel Soares. Running on this team is not an easy task and when you think of throwing you’ll find Marco Okopny a difficult to overcome CB, which is covered by American Keith Smith II, an extremely physical defensive line that begins with NT Caião Lucas. These quality players plus the fact they can always get the ball into good field position makes this defense one of the best in the country.

2. João Pessoa Espectros 

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This defense surrendered 71 points but 42 were in the first game. After that, no one could score more than 14 points in a single game, and 2 gave less than 10 points and the other 2 did not give one single point.

One of the defenses that creates more turnovers in the league is a team in which it is hard to single out a few players, because they work in a way where the ground tackle gets to be rare.

A team with a strong defensive line, good linebackers and a great secondary.

“We hope to continue our defense physically playing as it has been in recent years, and we continue to generate many turnovers!” Said Kevin Veloso, Head Coach.

The main players are the linebacker Igor Nery and DB Charles Cox, in addition to free safety Edvaldo “Bigfoot” Roses who already has four interceptions in the league.

1. Paraná HP

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In the very first game of the season, this defense gave up an incredible zero yards to the Coritiba Crocodiles, not even a pass.

This is one of the most complex and difficult defenses to read that I’ve ever seen playing in Brazil. Despite a standard 3-4 front, the Parana have seven players who can change position with each other at any time. For having hybrid players, they can play with several different configurations, depending on the situation that the game presents. And when I say several, I really mean it! The HP can play with 4, 3 and 2 down linemen, in a nickel scheme. The team has one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, Carlos Copi, that beyond these formations still throws in many stunts and obviously zone blitzes, which makes it an unpredictable defense.

“It is not  a simple defense to teach athletes. It took us two years to prepare and educate all before taking the field this advanced concept and we still have several things that will be implemented next season when, in my opinion, we will complete the installation of the ideal tactical concept. But we are already reaping the early fruits of  this bold adventure,” said Copi.

Impact players are LBs Rivers and Maximus and the DBs Cleverson and Anderson Kvas.

Source: 100jardas.com.br

Magnum Nascimento
Passionate practioner of American football, Magnum specializes in Brazil's Confederação Brasileira de Futebol Americano (CBFA) Superliga. He's followed all seasons of now defunct TTD and has extensive statistical spreadsheets. Magnum has written for 100jardas.com.br since August 2015.
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