Ways to get the ball back:
1. Four downs
2. Punt or missed FGA
3. Opponent scores
The idea is to increase 4 without increasing 3 (because of failed gambles trying to get 4). That's the part that I'm wondering about.
Bend but don't break says that the zone is so effective in a small field that I'll play it all the time (and get good at it), because you've got to get three FGs to beat one TD. That math I can believe in - but I don't know how it actually compares.
All this said, it seems a plausible speculation that OB wanted Butler to have full support of his staff for his scheme so that he could succeed or fail on his own terms, not because he didn't have buy-in. And I can believe that VL, with all his knowledge, experience and success might not have been able to "buy in" to something he believed doesn't work as well.
I'm completely OK with the way this is working out. I like watching gambling man to man and blitzes (Buddy Ryan is my favorite football coach ever), but I think the smart money is on bend but don't break.
Might find it hard to recruit for that, though.
Missed one. I believe JoePa often said it takes 3 field goals to beat one touchdown. Although I think he said one TD beats 2 FGs. Our defense (bend but don't break) has been hard to watch at times. I don't know how many times I've said out loud "they have us right where they want us" when the other team had 3rd and long. I don't know what percentage of 3rd and 8 or longer we've given up the first down over the years, but it seems like a lot.
I like the idea of being aggressive between the 20's and then playing the bend but don't break in the red zone. Seems like that's the point anyway -- keep them out of the end zone. Sure, we'll give up more long TD plays. But I think we'll get more turnovers, safeties, and 3 and outs.