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4-3 or 3-4 Defenses?

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Gridreaper, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Gridreaper

    Gridreaper BoltTalker

    Jan 19, 2008
    ...Just posing a question to drum up some conversation. Part of the allure of switching to a 3-4 defense is obviously due to the personnel available. Another major reason (according to different coaches I've seen interviewed) is to present something that the opposition doesn't commonly see. The 4-3 still dominates, having 21 teams using it, as opposed to 11 for the 3-4. However, in the AFC...it's split 50/50 with 8 teams using the 3-4 now. Over the years, the most dominant defenses relied on the base 4-3 alignment, the Steel Curtain, the 85 Bears, the 80s/90s Eagles, the 90s Packers, the 80s Giants and even the Super Bowl Ravens team. Dick LeBeau's success with the 3-4 and the zone blitz seems to be drawing teams in that direction, with even Baltimore switching despite it's unreal Super Bowl winning team's defense. However, Pittsburgh drafts players strickly to fit that scheme.

    Whether it's a 4-3 or 3-4...remember it's only the BASE defense. Looking at the Chargers personnel, factor in an aging and oft-injured Jamaal, an untested Vaughn Martin, unimpressive back-up nose guards, a lack of two quality inside backers and a defensive coach who specialized in a 4-3, is the 3-4 still the way to go. Jim Johnson, Spags, Rivera and others trained in Johnson's 4-3 mayhem have done very well with it. The Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and the Eagles should have that year with Feely at QB using a 4-3.

    Merriman, English and Shaun Phillips were all DEs in college. Castillo was a D tackle in college. Osi, Strahan, Freeney, among others, thrived as small, quick DEs. Castillo could easily do more damage inside battling guards instead of being up against a massive tackle. Is this Charger team, personnel-wise, still set up better for a 3-4? Before I get lambasted with abuse for broaching this subject, think about just how badly this defense has sucked recently. Other than the miracle year, when they got all those turnovers, where have they ranked? Anyway...just a thought. Change is not always for the worse, especially if your personnel might force that issue. This team is loaded with ex-college defensive ends, defensive tackles but lack any depth at nose.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Meh... Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Excellent post.

    Will reply later when boss is not looking.... :lol:
  3. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Nice post. :tup:

    I think that Rivera is going to use the 3-4 as the base scheme, but that doesn't mean that we won't see plenty of alternate sets from that base. He's already talked about drawing up ways to have Shawne, Shaun, & English on the field together. Possibly the simplest way to do that is to move one of the ends inside & have one of those three put their hand down.

    Rivera is a disciple & product of the Jim Johnson coaching tree. I think it's safe to say that we'll be seeing his MO all over this D. I find that one of the more exciting things about the upcoming season.

    Finally, just a little regarding Martin. He may be working at the end position right now, but I have a feeling that he'll move inside at some point, whether as a nose or, if we gravitate more towards a 4-3, an under tackle. He's a big, strong body & could generate quite a bit of interior push once he gets adapted to the NFL.
    • Like Like x 1

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    I like our 34 defense and I'm hoping we'll use some of the Stillers blitz packages this year. It's a very effective defense and can cause mass confusion on the offensive team.
  5. !~BOLT~!

    !~BOLT~! Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Excellent post, should be published!

    I agree obviously; when we switched to the 34 it was a welcomed change for me, it meant we were going to see better outside speed, and complicated blizt packages. Our personell fit in perfect at the time as well.

    With the drafting of English, and the decline of middle line and lbs as you stated, you have to consider using the 43 as this teams base. On paper its the only way to go.

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