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Denver will switch to a 3-4, meaning more competition for Patriots-type players

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  1. Deus Irae

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    The Way We Hear It - NFL pro football rumors and insider news from Pro Football Weekly

    Switch to 3-4? Not so quick - The Denver Post

    The pool of players is going to get picked clean.
  2. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey

    The old version of the 3-4 will be copied ... Bill will stay ahead of them I am sure of it. I still think at some point he will have a system of 3-3-2 instead of a 3-4. Of course I have been thinking this for 3 years now and it still has not happened.
  3. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    wuts a 3-3-2?
  4. Rob0729

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    The Jets could switch back to the 4-3 or even the 4-6 if Rex Ryan is hired as head coach. The Broncos and Jets could negate themselves.

    Besides, if McDaniels learned from Belichick, the switch from 4-3 to 3-4 will not be overnight and could take 2 years or longer to complete. Remember the Pats primary defense in the 2001 season was the 4-3 because they struggled with the 3-4 early in the season. The Pats didn't switch to the 3-4 as their base until the 2003 season.
  5. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rookie

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    Good Question. I was getting in to the post when that one stumped me
  6. billdog3484

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    they still have to draft the right players. easier said than done.
  7. Deus Irae

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    Yes, but where once not that long ago the only teams running the 3-4 were New England and Pittsburgh, we could now see up to eight teams running it:

    Denver
    New England
    San Diego
    NYJ
    Cleveland
    KC
    Miami
    Baltimore

    Given the lack of 3-4 teams in college, that will really put a strain on the number of players available to step into the sytem quickly, and will leave a lot of teams, the Patriots included, looking at long-term conversion projects a la Tedy Bruschi. It will also likely mean a lot more competition for the 'right' free agents. Guys like Dansby and Scott will be happy with the extra bidders, but the Patriots' salary structure will likely be tested.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  8. MassPats38

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    Apparently also referred to as the 33 stack (I'm familiar with that reference). A better diagram here.

    It requires 3 safeties and 2 corners (3 LBs, 3 linemen). Given the difficulties keeping d-backs on the field in the past, the Pats would have to start stockpiling.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  9. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Mangini switched to 3-4 and it ended up messing the team up more than it helped the Jets.

    He also completely mortgaged their future by trading future picks and also spending huge money.
  10. Deus Irae

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    Which is why the next coach may not want to go through that same process all over again.
  11. mayoclinic

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    I'm a little surprised at the idea of Denver and KC switching to the 3-4. I understand that Pioli has mainly scouted 3-4 players, but his skill has been more finding players to fit a system than exclusively being a 3-4 guy. McDaniels comes from an offensive background, so it shouldn't matter to him. Mike Nolan has a 3-4 background, but I also believe some 4-3 mixed in as well.

    It seems to me that switching schemes when the personnel aren't well adapted to it is a potentially big mistake. The Jets are a good example of how hard the change can be. I understand that Denver has a lot of holes and that some of their recent picks (e.g., Jarvis Moss) might be adapted to a 3-4 switch, but others less so. DJ Williams is probably the best player currently on their front 7, and he is 6-1 242# - not really the site (or temperment) to play 3-4 OLB. They could try moving him back inside to 3-4 WILB, but they have already spent a lot of time moving him around from ILB to OLB, which can really mess a player up. Jamie Winborn is 5-11" 230#, and Wesley Woodyard, whom they converted from S to OLB last year, is 6' 230# - more the speedy kind of OLBs for a Cover 2 scheme than the big OLBs suited to take on blockers in a 3-4 scheme. Tim Crower at 6'4" 275# is too small for an effective 3-4 DE. I could see Moss moving to 3-4 OLB and DJ Williams moving back inside, but it seems like they would have to rebuild their whole defense from scratch.

    KC is even more perplexing to me. Glenn Dorsey at DT and Derrick Johnson at OLB are just not at all physically suited to the demands of a 3-4 defense. In addition, it is probably harder to find suitable 3-4 personnel at the DT, DE, and LB positions, and may take years to develop or convert, so it would seem to make a rebuilding job harder.

    Mike Tomlin took over the Pittsburgh job coming from a 4-3 DC background, and there was speculation about whether he would try to convert Pittsburgh to a 4-3 team. He wisely left Dick LeBeau and the defense alone, continuing to draft players such as Lamar Woodley who fit their existing scheme. I understand that KC and Denver are in much more of a rebuilding mode than Pittsburgh, but it still seems to me like this is not necessarily a recipe for success.
  12. kas

    kas Rookie

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    I'm actually of the opposite opinion - I think the more teams that shift to the 3-4 the better it is for BB and the Pats. Look, it's obvious BB prefers vets in his front seven. Some of you may bring up guys like Mayo, Seymour, Warren, Wilfork but these guys were early/mid 1st round picks. The only notable exceptions have been Guyton (and to a lesser extent Green and Wright).

    That being said, we will be seeing a lot more FA's who have experience in the 3-4 and in D's somewhat similar to ours (Cleveland, Denver, KC). There will be more of those underappreciated vets floating around for BB to pluck. Fewer Monty Beisels and Steve Martins, more Anthony Pleasants/Bobby Hamiltons/Mike Vrabels.

    Consider these teams to be our own little breeding ground of future FA possibilities
  13. unoriginal

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    If there's any team in the team ripe for a defensive front switch, it would be Denver. They have very little talent in their current front seven, and it's been that way for awhile.
  14. Box_O_Rocks

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    I haven't read that KC is making any switch on defense yet. Pioli is still in the process of evaluating his new team.

    Denver needs a complete overhaul, if any team out there might be in the running for Mike Wright it's Denver. Picking number 16, I wouldn't be surprised if they targeted B.J. Raji as a potential NT.
  15. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan Rookie

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  16. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    The 3-3 Stack is a 3-3-5. It is an 8 man front stack defense primarily played in college and HS.
  17. TripleOption

    TripleOption Rookie

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    Ryan runs a 3-4 but it is no similar to the Pats defense. The "46" is an odd front with similar personnel but is not something that is played all the time or as a base anymore. It's more of a change up these days.
  18. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    Would this have been what we saw mostly this year HAD Tank Williams and Rodney been healthy all year?
  19. Rob0729

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    First, the Chiefs probably won't switch to a 3-4 until next year at the earliest since it looks Herm is coming back. Besides, they spend some high draft picks in recent years trying to get 4-3 players. Pioli might decide it may be better to build a 4-3 team especially if he hires a head coach with that philosophy.

    Second, the Jets could switch back to a 4-3 now that Mangini is gone. Rex Ryan loves his father's 4-6 and if he gets the job, he may move the Jets to that formation once he has final say over all philosophies. He pushed for it to be implemented under Billick.

    Third, with Ron Rivera as the DC of the Chargers, he might morph that team into a Tampa 2 defense. That is what he ran in Chicago and it was a dominant defense. So the Chargers could let go of some of their 3-4 players in the next few years. Granted they are an one gap 3-4 defense which is very different than the Pats' two-gap.

    Fourth, Baltimore could change their defense after this season. If they lose Ryan and two of the three free agent LBs in Suggs, Scott, and Lewis; they may decide to move back to a more traditional 4-3.

    So there is a chance that there could be 3-4 less teams running the 3-4 than you state.

    Besides, there are two sides of every argument. With more teams running the 3-4, it also means that there will be far more free agent LBs in near future who will be versed in the 3-4 and can come into the Pats and make an immediate impact. The chances of the Pats acquiring Vrabel type of players increase in this scenario. There will be LBs who aren't seeing playing time because of depth at a certain LB spot who can come to the Patriots and potentially break out right away because they already know the Pats' system.

    I don't think it is as dire as you make it sound. The Pats have rarely drafted a LB who has made the team anyway. In fact, it wasn't until the 3-4 became all the rage in the NFL that the Pats even drafted a LB higher than the fifth round. So if a couple more teams start running the 3-4, it isn't going to affect the Patriots drafting? San Deigo and Pittsburgh have never been active in free agency and choose to draft talent instead. The Jets are going to be cash strapped for the next year or two. So is Cleveland. Neither will be big free agent players.
  20. Rob0729

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    He runs it now, but he has been fighting to implement the 4-6 for years. He is a huge proponent of the defense and even written a book on it. When he calls his own show, he may implement it as the base defense. Besides, Ryan has successfully run both the 3-4 and 4-3 in Baltimore. But he could stay with the 3-4 in NY if he gets the job. But it isn't guaranteed.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  21. Scouse Patriot

    Scouse Patriot Rookie

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    Do Denver have the linebackers to for any variant of it to be effective? The likes of D.J. Williams are better suited to a 4-3, sideline to sideline 'backers. Obviously he could come inside but is taking on guards his thing.

    It could be a problem with more 3-4 teams but theres thousands of players out there, you just have to make sure you scout them an get them in before everyone else. Pats may end up having to pay more than they would like to too..
  22. MassPats38

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    Consistent with my understanding, but I was trying to translate the 3-3-2 reference as I had never heard of it (other than noting the numbers don't add up).

    My response was an attempt to answer the 3-3-2 question, the link calling a 3-3-2 a 33 stack I now see is for 8-man football (which explains why the diagram looked incomplete). In fact, every reference to that defense I can see is to 8-man football. If it applies to 11-man football, I'm not seeing it.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  23. MassPats38

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    I like to think Belichick isn't married to traditional formations and will throw players in whatever role he thinks will best stop an offense (he tried a defense a few years ago against the Colts that Madden had never seen previously, as an example). With more defensive backs on the field, that would seem like a special purpose defense that would be better against a pass.

    I believe Belichick wanted safeties to perform the Bob Sanders-type role of stuffing the run, therefore more physical at the line of scrimmage, but you would not need to change formations to do that. Your front seven are still the best defense against runs.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  24. Deus Irae

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    I don't yet know what KC is going to do, although I'm expecting Edwards to be fired. My point wasn't really a complaint or a panic, but it was about the bolded part in your quote, and the impact it's going to have on the 3 most talented 3-4 teams in the NFL: Patriots, Steelers, Chargers. Frankly, of the 3 teams, it's the Chargers who will likely feel the effects first, since Williams would seem to be the first of the 3-4 NTs to walk off into the sunset, but I still think it's going to be very interesting to watch the ramifications of these teams converting over from the 4-3.

    One of the reasons that the Patriots have been able to stay at the top of the talent pile even while picking at the bottom of the rounds is that there's been very little competition for the 3-4 player. Or, to put it another way, you're damned lucky if you can find 1 top shelf 3-4 NT in a draft. With up to 8 teams possibly competing for such a player, a guy like Wilfork will see his worth and salary increase, and it will be extremely difficult for your favorite 3-4 team to find his replacement in the draft if they are picking in the teens or lower if there are more 3-4 teams scouring the colleges to find him.

    One final observation that I should have made in the OP is that having all these teams playing the 3-4 is also going to mean having more coaches who develop in the 3-4 system, so it's entirely possible that the future will lead to even more 3-4 teams as those coaches branch out on their own.
  25. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    This would be good, except at the NFL level these types of players are hard to find and when they do play, you can almost be assured of an injury at some point of the season.
  26. MassPats38

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    Agreed, since the prototype, Bob Sanders, himself cannot stay on the field for a full season.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009
  27. Deus Irae

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    It's been very interesting to read the boards of the Chiefs and Broncos. A lot of the Broncos fans are basically saying "Hey, we sucked in the 4-3 so what can it hurt?" This column, with the terrible defensive numbers it shows, seems to explain why most of the Broncos fans I've read seem to have no problem with the idea of making the switch:

    Broncos Forums - View Single Post - Nolan to be Broncos' Defensive Coordinator
  28. mayoclinic

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    I would agree with your points, which is one reason that I could see us losing someone like Seymour after 2009. There are more lower tier teams with cap room playing the 3-4 who could be willing to throw an inflated contract offer at him. Denver fans are already inquiring about Jarvis Green on other boards, in case we should be unable to renegotiate his high cap hit and cut him this year. Mike Wright's value has probably gone up as well. We will need to be smarter than ever to stay ahead of everyone else, both in terms of keeping our key personnel and contuining to build through the draft.

    Building the 3-4 obviously starts with the DL, and the DT is probably the single most key position. If Denver is serious about coverting to the 3-4 then I could easily see them drafting BJ Raji at #12 in the first, as he is the only high caliber potential 3-4 NT available. I could see them drafting players such as Tyson Jackson at #44 in the 2nd, and Jasper Brinkling at #76 in the 3rd. Bulk up Tim Crowder and you have a DL of Jackson-Raji-Crowder. Move DJ Williams back inside to SILB, convert Jarvis Moss to 3-4 OLB (where he is probably more suited than 4-3 DE anyway) and you have Moss-Williams-Brinkley-+1 at LB. Sign one UFA 3-4 OLB (Terrell Suggs or Karlos Dansby if they have a lot of money; Carlos Polk if they don't) and you have instant 3-4, at least for a start. Sign one more UFA 3-4 DE (Chris Canty) and suddenly you have a half-way respectable 3-4 defense. It will probably take years to tweak the players and get it just right, but I could see putting together an initial effort in that kind of way.
  29. Deus Irae

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    And just to stay with the Broncos here for a moment for the cap room observation you made, the Broncos have about $41 million available, if this guy's numbers are correct:

    Denver Broncos Wishlist For 2009 Offseason | Bleacher Report

    That's a lot of cabbage to be tossing around at the Suggs/Scott types this year.
  30. mcsully

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    What draft picks did they trade for the future? Only one I can think of is Jenkins and he was playing up to all pro level for about 13 weeks (until his injury)
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