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View Full Version : Going to a 4-3 will NOT solve our defense's problems



SteelTorch
12-09-2009, 10:14 PM
I'm going to try not to rant here, but one thing that's really been irking me lately is the amount of people (not mentioning any names) claiming we should switch to a 4-3 defense. My answers to some of the main points:

"We have personnel better-suited for it."
No, we don't. The people we have work just fine in a 3-4 formation. They have worked fine for the past 5 years. If they didn't, would we have performed that well?

"Teams are no longer surprised by the 3-4."
Reality check, people. The NFL has seen 4-3 defenses since the 60's. Do you honestly believe a 4-3 would surprise them more?

"A lot of great defenses are 4-3."
Well, guess what, so are a lot of 3-4 defenses. In fact, want to know how many of the top-five ranked defenses are 3-4 in the NFL right now? Four.

Also, in going to a 4-3, you lose a lot of flexibility. You no longer have the option of dropping that fourth man into coverage. It's less confusing for quarterbacks, and less risky to them.

So in short, don't pine for a 4-3 just because it's different. What really matters is how well you execute the system you are using. We can utilize the 3-4 just fine. Bone-headed play and mistakes are what are costing us games, not the scheme.

BURGH86STEEL
12-09-2009, 10:46 PM
I'm going to try not to rant here, but one thing that's really been irking me lately is the amount of people (not mentioning any names) claiming we should switch to a 4-3 defense. My answers to some of the main points:

"We have personnel better-suited for it."
No, we don't. The people we have work just fine in a 3-4 formation. They have worked fine for the past 5 years. If they didn't, would we have performed that well?

"Teams are no longer surprised by the 3-4."
Reality check, people. The NFL has seen 4-3 defenses since the 60's. Do you honestly believe a 4-3 would surprise them more?

"A lot of great defenses are 4-3."
Well, guess what, so are a lot of 3-4 defenses. In fact, want to know how many of the top-five ranked defenses are 3-4 in the NFL right now? Four.

Also, in going to a 4-3, you lose a lot of flexibility. You no longer have the option of dropping that fourth man into coverage. It's less confusing for quarterbacks, and less risky to them.

So in short, don't pine for a 4-3 just because it's different. What really matters is how well you execute the system you are using. We can utilize the 3-4 just fine. Bone-headed play and mistakes are what are costing us games, not the scheme.

It is better to ignore all the nonsense about switching to the 4-3. The 3-4 defense is just fine. There were a number of teams that switched to it this season for its effectiveness.

The bottom line boils down to what I always say, execution. There were times on those final drives the QB's had to much time to pass. There were times the DB's did not make plays on the ball that were there.

I did some thinking about our defense and QB with the ability to run. Is it me, or does it seem like over the years our defensed had some trouble with QB's that have the ability to run? There are times that our players might hold back for fear of those QB's running. Maybe the coaches ask them to hold back? Just seems like some of those QB's have posed some problems for the defense. Not really basing this on any thing concrete or solid research. Just a thought I had.

MicroBioSteel
12-10-2009, 01:29 AM
If Fat Casey departs next year we lose a key component to the 3-4 making it more likely that we transition. A stud 3-4 NT will demand a huge premium in the FA market since there is much higher demand than just a few years ago. I think we will know if a transition is in the plans based on how the next draft shapes up.

Chadman
12-10-2009, 01:36 AM
Just to defend the udea of the switch to the 4-3 for just one second...

At the end of this season, 32 year old NT Casey Hampton becomes an expensive, aging, declining FA. The steelers only other back-up at NT is 33 year old Chris Hoke- a guy who, seriously, doesn't inspire grand dreams of NFL glory.

Most of us will agree that the crux of the 3-4 is the play of the NT- and a 3-4 without a DOMINANT NT, is not a good mix. You only need to look as far back as when the Steelers tried to fill Joel Steed's shoes with Kimo Von Oehlhoffen- a move that simply did not work.

This puts the Steelers in a situation- they either need to overspend to keep Hampton (which would seem unlikely given Tomlin's fight with Hampton to keep his body weight down), Sign another FA NT (another unlikely move seeing as how 3-4 NT's are now at a premium with so many teams switching to 3-4) or draft a NT & play him almost immediately- not a move the Steelers make often, but it would seem the most likely, if they stay 3-4. Of course, looking at what is available, there isn't a whole lot of 3-4 NT's coming out in this draft.

This would be the argument Chadman would make regarding personell & the 3-4...the lack of a NT beyond this season.


Conversely, the Steelers could move aaron Smith inside to DT, play him alongside Ziggy Hood, and have Keisel & Woodley (who was a very good 4-3 DE at Michigan) as the DE's. Timmons, most agree, is probably better suited to a 4-3...probably same could be said of Fox.


It's easier for college players to contribute on a 4-3 defense right away- simply because there is so little exposure to 3-4 defenses in college.

And FA 4-3 D-Lineman seem to be far more readily accessable than 3-4 D-Lineman.


There is nothing wrong with a 3-4 scheme. There is nothing wrong with the Steelers staying with a 3-4. But there isn't much reason to get so worked up over a suggestion that the move to a 4-3 could possibly be of benefit.

If you are so adamant that the Steelers stay 3-4, how would you solve the NT situation?

JTP53609
12-10-2009, 08:25 AM
you need a sold NT to be an effective 3-4 team...between losing casey and having aaron smith get a year older and farrior playing the way he is at his age and clark perhaps leaving as well, next year we can swith to 4-3,3-4,2-5,0-9 or any other combination, but i think by the looks of it we need to sure up the middle through the draft or free agency, and i think we know what route we will take.....

stlrz d
12-10-2009, 09:04 AM
Chadman - I think the reason the 3-4 supporters are so ardent in their support is because some people seem to think a switch will just magically make the D better.

Something that is lost in all of this...if they switch then every single player on that defense now has to learn an entirely different scheme. Responsibilities change. In some cases positions change. Those things can cause issues with instincts in the heat of the battle.

The 3-4 is still a very good scheme and the Steelers have been one of the best teams at running it. Honestly, the only way I see it going away is if LeBeau hangs it up after this season.

As for NT, the Steelers have always been pretty good at finding players to fit their scheme. Who knows...they could have their eye on some team's practice squad where there is an oversized 4-3 DT who very well could make a nice 3-4 NT. Perhaps they're just waiting to see what the future HoF DC does before making a move in the off season? Just thinking outside the box here....

papillon
12-10-2009, 09:29 AM
Just to defend the udea of the switch to the 4-3 for just one second...

At the end of this season, 32 year old NT Casey Hampton becomes an expensive, aging, declining FA. The steelers only other back-up at NT is 33 year old Chris Hoke- a guy who, seriously, doesn't inspire grand dreams of NFL glory.

Most of us will agree that the crux of the 3-4 is the play of the NT- and a 3-4 without a DOMINANT NT, is not a good mix. You only need to look as far back as when the Steelers tried to fill Joel Steed's shoes with Kimo Von Oehlhoffen- a move that simply did not work.

This puts the Steelers in a situation- they either need to overspend to keep Hampton (which would seem unlikely given Tomlin's fight with Hampton to keep his body weight down), Sign another FA NT (another unlikely move seeing as how 3-4 NT's are now at a premium with so many teams switching to 3-4) or draft a NT & play him almost immediately- not a move the Steelers make often, but it would seem the most likely, if they stay 3-4. Of course, looking at what is available, there isn't a whole lot of 3-4 NT's coming out in this draft.

This would be the argument Chadman would make regarding personell & the 3-4...the lack of a NT beyond this season.


Conversely, the Steelers could move aaron Smith inside to DT, play him alongside Ziggy Hood, and have Keisel & Woodley (who was a very good 4-3 DE at Michigan) as the DE's. Timmons, most agree, is probably better suited to a 4-3...probably same could be said of Fox.


It's easier for college players to contribute on a 4-3 defense right away- simply because there is so little exposure to 3-4 defenses in college.

And FA 4-3 D-Lineman seem to be far more readily accessable than 3-4 D-Lineman.


There is nothing wrong with a 3-4 scheme. There is nothing wrong with the Steelers staying with a 3-4. But there isn't much reason to get so worked up over a suggestion that the move to a 4-3 could possibly be of benefit.

If you are so adamant that the Steelers stay 3-4, how would you solve the NT situation?

Chadman,

The NT situation can be solved with Casey Hampton. His play isn't declining to the point that he is ineffective and I doubt that even on the open market teams will be willing to shell out large sums of money for him. That being said, there is a track record in the NFL of NTs in their 30s playing very good football. While many believe Casey's effectiveness has diminished I don't see it. He's a 2 down player, but isn't horrible on certain passing situations.

My solution is to tag him for a year, draft a potential replacement (keeps him motivated) and attempt to sign him for 4 years at a reasonable , but fair salary and signing bonus.

PAppy

steelblood
12-10-2009, 09:54 AM
3-4 4-3 It doesn't really matter. The problem with this defense is not the front 7 (save for Farrior on pass coverage). The problem is the secondary. That won't change if we switch to a 4-3. I'm not against the switch. But, it is not really why this defense sucks in the 4th Q.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-10-2009, 10:04 AM
3-4 4-3 It doesn't really matter. The problem with this defense is not the front 7 (save for Farrior on pass coverage). The problem is the secondary. That won't change if we switch to a 4-3. I'm not against the switch. But, it is not really why this defense sucks in the 4th Q.

With all respect, steelblood, I'm not as sure about this as you seem to be. I think if an effective 3-4 forced the QB to release the ball 1.2 seconds earlier, our corners and safeties would look a whole lot better. It may be true that the FO decided to put their eggs in the personnel that rush the passer, but as long as there's pressure on the QB and we have Troy in the backfield, that seemed like a good strategy.

Of course, in hindsight (with Troy out and 2 of our 3 front 3 out - down to 3rd stringers and rooks now?) I do wish we had spent a bit more money to get safeties and corners that could pick up the slack a bit, or even actually catch a football/ keep up with a good WR for more than 1.2 seconds ... :cry:

Oviedo
12-10-2009, 10:33 AM
Some thoughts on case for the 4-3:

1. Easier to restock talent. The 3-4 is difficult to staff on the DL because NTs are tough to find and DTs must become DEs. Plus the 3-4 forces us to ignore about half the yearly DL talent pool because speed 4-3 DEs in the range of 6'5" and 250-270lbs have to be excluded from consideration because they can't play 3-4 DE because of size and can't be converted to OLB because of speed. Is it really smart to ignore 40-50% of a talent pool? Additionally, top colleges are almost all going to a spread offense and the defensive reaction, particularly, on the DL is to go with DL more suited to the 4-3 than 3-4, e.g. speed pass rushers. Also, college LBs at the top schools play in a 4-3 predominantly. The transition for them would be quicker just like for the DL.

2. The "redshirt effect". The 3-4 forces you to convert DTs to DEs and DEs to OLBs. Essentially this learning process means you lose a player for his rookie year or longer as he learns a new position. Not smart in a salary cap driven league where you need younger players able to contribute early to off set the high cap numbers against a core group of players. Also not a smart approach when injuries hit and you need young players to contribute now.

3. The "LeBeau effect." LeBeau is genius and the defense he runs is unique. What happens when he leaves? Will his replacement be able to "out genius" the other side like LeBeau? If the replacement can, is LeBeau really a genius? There is a concern that if LeBeau is a genius that any replacement will not be able to out Lebeau LeBeau.

4. Will a 4-3 keep Troy healthier? As we have seen this year, no Troy equal no joy! The 3-4 and the scheme we run calls for Troy to really play what is a hybrid LB/DB position. That IMO punishes him physically. The 4-3 could potentially keep him in the line up more and have him do what we need him to do most...intercept passes because no one else can. Please don't come back with the argument that this would take away from Troy being "special." John Lynch playing out of the 4-3 Cover 2 SS position in Tampa was one of the very best players in the league and still was a force blitzing and intercepting passes.

5. We will lose flexibility. No way. Remember the Eagles game last year. They played a 4-3 defense and had LBs coming from all directions and DL dropping into coverage. It's about the calls on defense not the base scheme.

6. Personnel suitability. We have 4-3 personnel now. Woodley is a natural 4-3 DE whose strength is rushing the passer not covering RBs and TEs. Timmons is a natural 4-3 OLB not a 3-4 ILB run stuffer. Kiesel would excel as a 4-3 DE. Not enough space here to even begin discussing whether our DBs would be more successful in a Cover 2 as a routine versus as a variation.

Don't fear something different. The 3-4 was different at one time too.

My primary support of the 4-3 is primarily based on the talent restocking argument which is difficult for anyone to logically argue against (biut you guys will try) but you can twist this to whatever your preference is. IMO success is all about talent acquisition and the the ability to maintain a stream of talent flowing into this team at the entry level. I just think the 4-3 gives you advanatages in that area on multiple fronts.

RuthlessBurgher
12-10-2009, 11:08 AM
In a 4-3, most of your pressure comes from the DE's, while in a 3-4 most of your pressure comes from the OLB's. I think Woodley could be successful in either role, because he has shown what he can doing rushing the passer with his hand down in college and standing up in the pros. However, I wouldn't want to take away the weapon that you have in James Harrison, hoping that you would get similar sack production out of Brett Keisel. A switch to the 4-3 would neuter Harrison and expect a lot out of Keisel.

SteelBucks
12-10-2009, 11:18 AM
However, I wouldn't want to take away the weapon that you have in James Harrison, hoping that you would get similar sack production out of Brett Keisel. A switch to the 4-3 would neuter Harrison and expect a lot out of Keisel.

And this has been my arguement from Day 1 of sticking with a 3-4 alignment.

Oviedo
12-10-2009, 11:34 AM
In a 4-3, most of your pressure comes from the DE's, while in a 3-4 most of your pressure comes from the OLB's. I think Woodley could be successful in either role, because he has shown what he can doing rushing the passer with his hand down in college and standing up in the pros. However, I wouldn't want to take away the weapon that you have in James Harrison, hoping that you would get similar sack production out of Brett Keisel. A switch to the 4-3 would neuter Harrison and expect a lot out of Keisel.

Again reference the Eagles game last year. You can generate just as much rush pressure form a LB in the 4-3 as the 3-4. In the 4-3 it may actually be easier to disguise because everyone knows Harrison is rushing out of our 3-4. Its all about how you scheme out of the 4-3 and the call you have on for that specific play.

Oviedo
12-10-2009, 11:49 AM
"A lot of great defenses are 4-3."
Well, guess what, so are a lot of 3-4 defenses. In fact, want to know how many of the top-five ranked defenses are 3-4 in the NFL right now? Four.


Yea we are ranked #5. How you liking that 6-6 record and 6 blown 4th quarter leads given to our opponents courtesy of our defense. Here are more details on overall defensive rankings:

#1 Green Bay, 3-4 defense, Record: 8-4
#2 New York Jets, 3-4 defense, Record: 6-6
#3 Denver Broncos, 3-4 defense, Record 8-4
#4 Bumgals, 4-3 defense, Record 9-3

BTW the UNDEFEATED Colts and Saints, both of whom play a 4-3 IIRC, are ranked #17 and #18 respectively. So much for defensive ranking. I'd trade records with either. teams with the best records seem to be playing 4-3 (Add Vikings 10-2). Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not? I think not.

Don't you just hate stats now?

ikestops85
12-10-2009, 12:26 PM
Some thoughts on case for the 4-3:

1. Easier to restock talent. The 3-4 is difficult to staff on the DL because NTs are tough to find and DTs must become DEs. Plus the 3-4 forces us to ignore about half the yearly DL talent pool because speed 4-3 DEs in the range of 6'5" and 250-270lbs have to be excluded from consideration because they can't play 3-4 DE because of size and can't be converted to OLB because of speed. Is it really smart to ignore 40-50% of a talent pool? Additionally, top colleges are almost all going to a spread offense and the defensive reaction, particularly, on the DL is to go with DL more suited to the 4-3 than 3-4, e.g. speed pass rushers. Also, college LBs at the top schools play in a 4-3 predominantly. The transition for them would be quicker just like for the DL.

Colleges tend to imitate the pros when it comes to schemes. Since many pro teams are transitioning to the 3-4 I think you will see the same in the college ranks. Besides, the 3-4 is a quicker defense than the 4-3 and that will be used to advantage in stopping the spread offenses. As far as the talent pool goes most college DEs are too small to be playing DE in the pros. They are better suited as outside LBs. Many of the DTs are also too small to play that in the pros so they transition to DEs. So my point is that no matter what you are ignoring 40-50% of the talent pool. When push comes to shove either the guy has pro talent or he doesn't. If he does they will find a place for him. No matter what they will have a big learning curve.


2. The "redshirt effect". The 3-4 forces you to convert DTs to DEs and DEs to OLBs. Essentially this learning process means you lose a player for his rookie year or longer as he learns a new position. Not smart in a salary cap driven league where you need younger players able to contribute early to off set the high cap numbers against a core group of players. Also not a smart approach when injuries hit and you need young players to contribute now.

The steelers tend to lose a year for the rookies because they have talent on their starting lineup. Most teams you see that have rookies crack the starting lineup and make an impact do so because their defense isn't very good. The *'s drafted Mayo a couple of years ago and he did well for them his rookie year. Don't they play the 3-4? It's not the 3-4 that prevents rookies from starting on our defense ... it's the talent level we have on the team.


3. The "LeBeau effect." LeBeau is genius and the defense he runs is unique. What happens when he leaves? Will his replacement be able to "out genius" the other side like LeBeau? If the replacement can, is LeBeau really a genius? There is a concern that if LeBeau is a genius that any replacement will not be able to out Lebeau LeBeau.

LeBeau is not the ONLY genius in the NFL. He is a great D-Coordinator but their are others. If you look at the history of our defense I think you will see Dom Capers was the architect of the 3-4 in Pittsburgh. He brought back the Steel Curtain moniker that we had lost in the 80s. Now LeBeau has certainly put his stamp on the schemes he runs out of the 3-4 but Capers was damn good at it also.

We do have a LeBeau disciple waiting in the wings in Butler. Will he be as good as DL? Who knows but that would be the case whether we use the 3-4 or 4-3.


4. Will a 4-3 keep Troy healthier? As we have seen this year, no Troy equal no joy! The 3-4 and the scheme we run calls for Troy to really play what is a hybrid LB/DB position. That IMO punishes him physically. The 4-3 could potentially keep him in the line up more and have him do what we need him to do most...intercept passes because no one else can. Please don't come back with the argument that this would take away from Troy being "special." John Lynch playing out of the 4-3 Cover 2 SS position in Tampa was one of the very best players in the league and still was a force blitzing and intercepting passes.

I'm not sure why you think how we use Troy depends on the 3-4 or 4-3. Lynch at Tampa and Dawkins at Philly both played in a 4-3 and often were used as an extra linebacker ... both run blitzing and pass blitzing just like we use Troy. If you notice last year we got more pressure on the QB so we didn't use Troy as much as a pass rusher and he made all those interceptions. We were doing that with Troy this year also but he got hurt. Troy will play like Troy no matter what system we use and his style of play makes him injury prone. By the way, playing the 3-4 or 4-3 has nothing to do with playing a cover 2 defense. You can play the cover 2 out of the 3-4 (and we do at times) with no problem.


5. We will lose flexibility. No way. Remember the Eagles game last year. They played a 4-3 defense and had LBs coming from all directions and DL dropping into coverage. It's about the calls on defense not the base scheme.

I think many believe a Linebacker is more versatile than a defensive lineman. That is why they feel the 3-4 is more flexibile than the 4-3. I agree that you can blitz any position from either scheme


6. Personnel suitability. We have 4-3 personnel now. Woodley is a natural 4-3 DE whose strength is rushing the passer not covering RBs and TEs. Timmons is a natural 4-3 OLB not a 3-4 ILB run stuffer. Kiesel would excel as a 4-3 DE. Not enough space here to even begin discussing whether our DBs would be more successful in a Cover 2 as a routine versus as a variation.

I agree that Woodley's strength is rushing the passer. His weakness is also stopping the run. Having him play a DE position would make us more vulnerable to him being run over. He can use his quickness better stopping the run from an upright position where it's harder for the tackle to get his hands on him and ride him out of the play.

I can't say whether Timmons would be better on the outside since we haven't seen him work from there. I will say it's nice having his quickness on the inside where he can move sideline to sideline.

I do think Keisel would be a good 4-3 DE just as he is a good 3-4 DE. The problem is if you make him a 4-3 DE you neuter James Harrison. I don't ever want to put a leash on Jimmy Hate!!

I still don't see the coorelation between playing a 3-4 or 4-3 and a cover 2. Once again you CAN play the Cover 2 out of the 3-4.


Don't fear something different. The 3-4 was different at one time too.

My primary support of the 4-3 is primarily based on the talent restocking argument which is difficult for anyone to logically argue against (biut you guys will try) but you can twist this to whatever your preference is. IMO success is all about talent acquisition and the the ability to maintain a stream of talent flowing into this team at the entry level. I just think the 4-3 gives you advanatages in that area on multiple fronts.

I think we all agree the key to defensive success is talent. I just think we can still get great talent for the 3-4 system AND the 4-3 system. The reason I don't think we need to change is our strength is still in our linebacking corp. One of our weaknesses is the depth and age of our defensive line. Since the 3-4 puts more linebackers on the field at one time then go with your strength. If the defensive line becomes the strength of the team then switch to the 4-3. JMHO

Either way let's kick some Brownie arse tonight!! :tt2

ikestops85
12-10-2009, 12:28 PM
In a 4-3, most of your pressure comes from the DE's, while in a 3-4 most of your pressure comes from the OLB's. I think Woodley could be successful in either role, because he has shown what he can doing rushing the passer with his hand down in college and standing up in the pros. However, I wouldn't want to take away the weapon that you have in James Harrison, hoping that you would get similar sack production out of Brett Keisel. A switch to the 4-3 would neuter Harrison and expect a lot out of Keisel.

Again reference the Eagles game last year. You can generate just as much rush pressure form a LB in the 4-3 as the 3-4. In the 4-3 it may actually be easier to disguise because everyone knows Harrison is rushing out of our 3-4. Its all about how you scheme out of the 4-3 and the call you have on for that specific play.

Ask Kurt Warner how that worked out for him thinking Harrison was rushing the QB :D

stlrz d
12-10-2009, 09:49 PM
"A lot of great defenses are 4-3."
Well, guess what, so are a lot of 3-4 defenses. In fact, want to know how many of the top-five ranked defenses are 3-4 in the NFL right now? Four.


Yea we are ranked #5. How you liking that 6-6 record and 6 blown 4th quarter leads given to our opponents courtesy of our defense. Here are more details on overall defensive rankings:

#1 Green Bay, 3-4 defense, Record: 8-4
#2 New York Jets, 3-4 defense, Record: 6-6
#3 Denver Broncos, 3-4 defense, Record 8-4
#4 Bumgals, 4-3 defense, Record 9-3

BTW the UNDEFEATED Colts and Saints, both of whom play a 4-3 IIRC, are ranked #17 and #18 respectively. So much for defensive ranking. I'd trade records with either. teams with the best records seem to be playing 4-3 (Add Vikings 10-2). Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not? I think not.

Don't you just hate stats now?

Offensive rankings YPG:

Saints #1
Colts #4
Vikings #5

Offensive rankings total points scored:

Saints #1
Vikings #2
Colts #4

Offensive rankings PPG:

Saints #1
Vikings #2
Colts #4

Offensive friendly NFL rules...hmmmmmm....

Oviedo
12-11-2009, 09:21 AM
How's that 3-4 defense and all the flexibility it brings working for us :stirpot

Oviedo
12-11-2009, 09:27 AM
Some thoughts on case for the 4-3:

1. Easier to restock talent. The 3-4 is difficult to staff on the DL because NTs are tough to find and DTs must become DEs. Plus the 3-4 forces us to ignore about half the yearly DL talent pool because speed 4-3 DEs in the range of 6'5" and 250-270lbs have to be excluded from consideration because they can't play 3-4 DE because of size and can't be converted to OLB because of speed. Is it really smart to ignore 40-50% of a talent pool? Additionally, top colleges are almost all going to a spread offense and the defensive reaction, particularly, on the DL is to go with DL more suited to the 4-3 than 3-4, e.g. speed pass rushers. Also, college LBs at the top schools play in a 4-3 predominantly. The transition for them would be quicker just like for the DL.

Colleges tend to imitate the pros when it comes to schemes. Since many pro teams are transitioning to the 3-4 I think you will see the same in the college ranks. Besides, the 3-4 is a quicker defense than the 4-3 and that will be used to advantage in stopping the spread offenses. As far as the talent pool goes most college DEs are too small to be playing DE in the pros. They are better suited as outside LBs. Many of the DTs are also too small to play that in the pros so they transition to DEs. So my point is that no matter what you are ignoring 40-50% of the talent pool. When push comes to shove either the guy has pro talent or he doesn't. If he does they will find a place for him. No matter what they will have a big learning curve.


2. The "redshirt effect". The 3-4 forces you to convert DTs to DEs and DEs to OLBs. Essentially this learning process means you lose a player for his rookie year or longer as he learns a new position. Not smart in a salary cap driven league where you need younger players able to contribute early to off set the high cap numbers against a core group of players. Also not a smart approach when injuries hit and you need young players to contribute now.

The steelers tend to lose a year for the rookies because they have talent on their starting lineup. Most teams you see that have rookies crack the starting lineup and make an impact do so because their defense isn't very good. The *'s drafted Mayo a couple of years ago and he did well for them his rookie year. Don't they play the 3-4? It's not the 3-4 that prevents rookies from starting on our defense ... it's the talent level we have on the team.


3. The "LeBeau effect." LeBeau is genius and the defense he runs is unique. What happens when he leaves? Will his replacement be able to "out genius" the other side like LeBeau? If the replacement can, is LeBeau really a genius? There is a concern that if LeBeau is a genius that any replacement will not be able to out Lebeau LeBeau.

LeBeau is not the ONLY genius in the NFL. He is a great D-Coordinator but their are others. If you look at the history of our defense I think you will see Dom Capers was the architect of the 3-4 in Pittsburgh. He brought back the Steel Curtain moniker that we had lost in the 80s. Now LeBeau has certainly put his stamp on the schemes he runs out of the 3-4 but Capers was damn good at it also.

We do have a LeBeau disciple waiting in the wings in Butler. Will he be as good as DL? Who knows but that would be the case whether we use the 3-4 or 4-3.


4. Will a 4-3 keep Troy healthier? As we have seen this year, no Troy equal no joy! The 3-4 and the scheme we run calls for Troy to really play what is a hybrid LB/DB position. That IMO punishes him physically. The 4-3 could potentially keep him in the line up more and have him do what we need him to do most...intercept passes because no one else can. Please don't come back with the argument that this would take away from Troy being "special." John Lynch playing out of the 4-3 Cover 2 SS position in Tampa was one of the very best players in the league and still was a force blitzing and intercepting passes.

I'm not sure why you think how we use Troy depends on the 3-4 or 4-3. Lynch at Tampa and Dawkins at Philly both played in a 4-3 and often were used as an extra linebacker ... both run blitzing and pass blitzing just like we use Troy. If you notice last year we got more pressure on the QB so we didn't use Troy as much as a pass rusher and he made all those interceptions. We were doing that with Troy this year also but he got hurt. Troy will play like Troy no matter what system we use and his style of play makes him injury prone. By the way, playing the 3-4 or 4-3 has nothing to do with playing a cover 2 defense. You can play the cover 2 out of the 3-4 (and we do at times) with no problem.


5. We will lose flexibility. No way. Remember the Eagles game last year. They played a 4-3 defense and had LBs coming from all directions and DL dropping into coverage. It's about the calls on defense not the base scheme.

I think many believe a Linebacker is more versatile than a defensive lineman. That is why they feel the 3-4 is more flexibile than the 4-3. I agree that you can blitz any position from either scheme


6. Personnel suitability. We have 4-3 personnel now. Woodley is a natural 4-3 DE whose strength is rushing the passer not covering RBs and TEs. Timmons is a natural 4-3 OLB not a 3-4 ILB run stuffer. Kiesel would excel as a 4-3 DE. Not enough space here to even begin discussing whether our DBs would be more successful in a Cover 2 as a routine versus as a variation.

I agree that Woodley's strength is rushing the passer. His weakness is also stopping the run. Having him play a DE position would make us more vulnerable to him being run over. He can use his quickness better stopping the run from an upright position where it's harder for the tackle to get his hands on him and ride him out of the play.

I can't say whether Timmons would be better on the outside since we haven't seen him work from there. I will say it's nice having his quickness on the inside where he can move sideline to sideline.

I do think Keisel would be a good 4-3 DE just as he is a good 3-4 DE. The problem is if you make him a 4-3 DE you neuter James Harrison. I don't ever want to put a leash on Jimmy Hate!!

I still don't see the coorelation between playing a 3-4 or 4-3 and a cover 2. Once again you CAN play the Cover 2 out of the 3-4.


Don't fear something different. The 3-4 was different at one time too.

My primary support of the 4-3 is primarily based on the talent restocking argument which is difficult for anyone to logically argue against (biut you guys will try) but you can twist this to whatever your preference is. IMO success is all about talent acquisition and the the ability to maintain a stream of talent flowing into this team at the entry level. I just think the 4-3 gives you advanatages in that area on multiple fronts.

I think we all agree the key to defensive success is talent. I just think we can still get great talent for the 3-4 system AND the 4-3 system. The reason I don't think we need to change is our strength is still in our linebacking corp. One of our weaknesses is the depth and age of our defensive line. Since the 3-4 puts more linebackers on the field at one time then go with your strength. If the defensive line becomes the strength of the team then switch to the 4-3. JMHO

Either way let's kick some Brownie arse tonight!! :tt2

All great points for your side of mthe argument, but the reason that our LBs are a strength is because we acquired LB talent to play the 3-4. You have to make the decision to shift to the 4-3 to give you the impetus to acquire the DL talent.

BTW--can you honestly believe that our LBs are a strength? Harrison, Woodley and Timmons are IMO top notch. Farrior is in RAPID decline. Other than Key Fox who do we have who will ever start an NFL game except in an extreme emergency? No one. We have three premier LBs but not really that much beyond that.

SteelTorch
12-11-2009, 09:53 PM
How's that 3-4 defense and all the flexibility it brings working for us :stirpot
The defense wasn't really the problem last night...

By the way, you know the Browns run a 3-4? Seemed to work against us, didn't it? :lol: