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Considering 4-3 vs. 3-4

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While I believe we are built to be a 34 team, there is always talk of whether we would switch to a 43, so here is a look at how we would look.

    DL
    We would have the deepest DT position in the history of the NFL
    Wifork
    Warren
    Wright
    G Warren
    Lewis
    Brace
    Pryor

    I actually think in a 43 we would have Wright at DE along with
    Cunningham
    TBC (could also be OLB)
    Burgess if he shows

    LB
    Mayo at MLB backed by Spikes
    with
    Ninkovch
    Spikes
    Woods
    Guyton
    McKenzie
    all potential OLBs.

    I think we are still better suited to a 34, although 2gap is 2gap and the differences are minor.
    The above, however, also lines up our sub packages (nickel/dime) which we are in over half the time.
  2. Elijah

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    #11 Jersey

    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    I don't know much about the 4-3, what would Wilfork do in it? Aren't 4-3 DTs supposed to be smaller and faster? It would simply be a waste of talent if Wilfork didn't fit the system. Otherwise, I like the idea of actually having a decent defensive line. The linebackers might be good, too.
  3. SEPatsFan

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Like the 3-4, the 4-3 can be run a variety of ways. For example both the Ravens and the Vikings have, in the past, run 4-3s with two huge DTs allowing the LBs to run clean to the ball. Wilfork is also not a slouch as far as his mobility goes, he came out of Miami as a penetrating DT, and has show impressive agility and speed by chasing players down away from the center of the field.

    SSDD
  4. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    We would still play a 2gap system, so Wilfork would do the exact same thing over the G instead of over the C. However, many 43 teams align a DT over the C often anyway shifting to the strength of the formation.

    Essentially if you look at the alignment of our 34 compared to 43, you are flipflopping the DT/NTs and the ILBs. Obviously the players change, but if you took our 34 stood Wilfork up and moved him back 5 yards or so, and put the ILBs down on the line head up on Gs, you have our 43.
    The 43, though employs more shifting toward the strength in the formation.
  5. SEPatsFan

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    There is a lot of versatility in the front 7, it is what allows the sub packages (around 50% of the snaps last year) to work.

    There are a bunch of ways to do the D-line, VW would be a tackle, a bunch of people could play the other spot (Prior for example, I think would be at his best as a penetrating 4-3 DT). The DEs would be interesting, Cunningham/TBC would be obvious on the weak/QB Blind side, the strong side could be Warren (I think is is athletic enough) or someone like Wright.

    I'm less sure about how the LBs would shake out. I think Spikes would actually be the best choice in the middle, allowing him to read/react and negating his, relative, speed disadvantage. Mayo should be great on the weak side, keeping him away from the TEs, and running to the ball. The strong side LB? I'm not so sure about. Guyton/McKenzie would make sense from a talent perspective. Guyton is terrible at OLB in the 3/4 because he gets eaten up by OTs, but I think he would fair much better against TEs; both in blocking/rushing and in coverage.)

    So something like

    Warren--Prior--Wilfork--TBC
    Guyton--Spikes--Mayo

    ????


    SSDD
  6. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4


    The 4-3 lineup I saw yesterday had Pryor and Lewis in the middle with Wright and Warren on the outside, with Cunningham in elephant and Spikes and Nink as LB. It seemed to be an effective front.
  7. Patspsycho

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Wilfork comes off the field for the most part.
  8. AndyJohnson

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    We wouldnt really have a 'penetrating DT' though because it would be 2 gap.
    I wouldn't take Mayo out of the middle, he would be better at 43 MLB than any other spot in any alignment. Spikes actually ought to be a good SOLB in the 43, and I think Ninkovich would fit well there too. Most think WOLB is Guytons best spot.
  9. SEPatsFan

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    You saw it, not me, but that sounds like a pass defense sub package. If they made a switch to the 4-3 on normal downs, I would expect it to look pretty different. Never mind, not that any of us would ever forget, it is preseason and people will be tried out all over the place.

    SSDD
  10. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    The idea was if we changed from 34 to 43 full time.
  11. SEPatsFan

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    True enough, swap Warren and Prior then.

    SSDD
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Thats the thing though, all of our DL are DTs.
    None of them are ableto effective rush the passer from the DE spot except maybe Wright. But I dont think we will ever field a defense with 2 250-260 lb DEs.
    I think it we went to a 43, we woud still play 3 300lbers, but the DE in the group would be Wright. We'd play a 34 OLB on the other side.
    The biggest thing we lose is that we identify the 4th rusher.
    BB has always felt it was important to not do that which is why we tend to not have 1 OLB who is always the 4th rusher and one who is mostly a cover guy. We have always liked to split the duties somewhere in the vicinity of equally.
  13. cstjohn17

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    #54 Jersey

    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Good one... funny stuff
  14. AndyJohnson

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Seriously though, our entire DLare DTs.
    We would start Wifork and Warren and have GWarren, Wright, Leiws all NFL starters as backups with Brace and Pryor.
    I didnt say the best, I said the deepest.
  15. PATSNUTme

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    #75 Jersey

    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    If we look at the draft this year and last, the signing of Lewis and Warren, it points to playing more 4-3 but not exclusively. Wilfork use played in a 4-3 in college and did well. I think would be a 3 down player (mostly) if we went to a 4-3 as a pocket pusher.

    In 2001 the Patriots switched to a 4-3 and that was the beginning of the run to the championship. BB can come up with variations off the 4-3 as well as the 3-4. But if your personnel dictate that a 4-3 is a better fit, that's what you go with.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    I diagree, because we wouldn't be drafting and signing DTs when we have Wilfork, Warren and Wright there, we'd be signing guys to play DE.

    I dont think our personell fit the 43 better/
  17. PATSNUTme

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    But most can play DE in a 4-3, if you are looking at stopping the run first. Our division is full of run first teams as well as the AFC Central that we play this year.

    But we shall see what BB comes up with. Just don't be suprised to see more 4-3 than we have in the past.
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    I dont think 4 300lbers would be very effective.
  19. jmt57

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    Mike Dussault of Pats Pulpit tries to make Make The case For A 4-3 base -- Dussault actually mentions this thread specifically in his column.

    In the past the players on the Pats roster seemed to be better suited for the 3-4 than a 4-3, so making a switch to the 4-3 as the team's base defense didn't make sense. Dussault feels the opposite is the case now.

  20. AndyJohnson

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    The flaw in his approach is that while he is tallying which players he thinks are better suited for 43 or 34 he doesnt look at who the positions would be filled in.
    We would be overloaded at DT, and thin at DE if we converted to a 43.
    Also with pass rush being a question mark, I dont think we want to give away the advantage of the 34 by telegraphing who the 4th rusher is.
  21. 5 Rings for Brady!!

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    Re: Considering 4-3 vs 3-4

    Wilfork played 4-3 in college and was good at it. I think he is the least of the problems at 4-3. We have lots of DTs and no DEs, IMO. Putting our OLBs in at DE would not be ideal either...
  22. miDeuce

    miDeuce Rookie

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    I feel better about our 4-3 DE depth than I do our 3-4 OLB depth.

    4-3 DE
    Ty Warren
    Wright
    G. Warren
    TBC
    Cunningham
    Maybe Burgess, Maybe Brace

    3-4 OLB
    TBC
    Woods
    Ninkovich
    Cunningham
  23. Sciz

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    Going to a 4-3 gives me one huge problem: Ty Warren.

    Put him at DT, and we're right back where we started, with two of Nink, TBC, and Cunningham starting at the DE spots. Put him at LE, and it's basically a 3-4 without the question of who the 4th rusher is, because 90% of the time, it'll be the RE, most likely TBC. That makes our passrush even worse, and yes, that's possible.
  24. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    That's the key element to any talk about moving from a 3-4 to the 4-3 in the Pats system. The basic techniques for the linemen and LBs remain essentially the same. Besides both are 7 man fronts, just with a different distribution of LBs and DL.

    I think as defenses evolve in this pass crazy era of the NFL, the distinction between a 3-4 and 4-3 becomes moot. Today, IMHO, its all about the "situations" and the MULTITUDE of personel packages that are now SOP in NFL. The era of standard sets and "starters" who play 90% of the snaps is pretty much gone. Now we are into rotations and different situational personel packages. With some so called starters playing only slightly more than half the snaps in a given game plan

    In other words you really need at least 6 starting quality DBs, 3 starting quality OLs. Conversely ILB has become less of a need because they are often replaced with a DB (ironic since it seems we have 4 quality guys at that position now) and fewer DLmen, since some of them leave the field in passing situations. Which is almost EVERY down in this era.

    (which brings to mind the rationale of paying big money to Wilfork, a guy who will be on the bench roughly 40% of the defensive snaps, even when healthy. BTW-originally I was all for his signing, but now I'm beginning to wonder if its worth it. If he plays even 80% of the snaps, its a decent deal for both sides, but less than that and you have to wonder if the Pats are getting what they paid for.)
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  25. IcyPatriot

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    This debate still goes on in spite of the team being built to be a 4-3 or a 3-4 from down to down or game to game. fun to discuss I guess but we are both.
  26. AndyJohnson

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    Thats not an accurate list.
    Warren and Warren are DTs in the 43.
    The 34 OLBs and 43 DEs are that same guys.
  27. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The other side of the argument though, is that 1st and 10 is the most important down. Your base may only play 50% of the snaps, but its out there most on 1st and 10. If you succeed on 1st and 10 you put yourself into a position to better succeed on 2nd and 3rd. If you fail on 1st and 10, you scramble all day.
  28. AndyJohnson

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    Sure, we can, but over the last few years we have played VERY little 43.
  29. patfanken

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    That was the old adage back in the day, Andy, but I wonder if they did the stats over the last 5 years whether that would still hold true. Teams passing games, especially the short passing games are SO efficient now that 2nd and 8 is not an overwhelming obstacle to attain. With QBs routinely completing 65% of their passes, its really hard for a defense to stop a team 3 straight plays ESPECIALLY when defenses have to defend the open field.

    I think in the red zone, however, the importance of first down would again become key because the defense starts to regain the advantage because they are defending a smaller area.

    It would be interesting to find out the real stats since Polian changed the game.
  30. OldNEPatsFan

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    You can argue all you want, but this isn't a good 3-4 or 4-3 defense. As long as they have to keep using sub packages the oppostion will know who is going to rush the passer. In the old days you had no idea who was going to drop back and cover and who would rush. The Pats biggest problem is a lack of three down players.
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