A few years back, Chadman favoured the mythical switch to the 4-3 Defense. Then Tomlin & co invested heavily in what was meant to be an influx of 3-4 talent. Thing is, these 3-4 guys they brought in have not become the 'new age' 3-4 players. Chadman said during the gameday chat that the Steelers defense is now "straight ahead" fast, but "laterally slow". This is a problem when, as chiken pointed out, the opposition are forcing guys like Woodley & Harrison into coverage, exploiting their 'laterally slow' tendancies. Even our DB's are 'laterally slow'. Including Troy- who is very 'straight ahead' fast. It might be time to switch to the 4-3. It would mean that the Steelers potentially have 1 DT too many between Hood, Heyward, McLendon & Taamu (for next season- won't happen this season) & not enough genuine DE's of high quality (Woodley, Worilds, Keisel, Carter). The switch would benefit LaMarr Woodley most- his straight ahead speed is great, his strength & pass rush, great. His pass coverage skills... average at best. If he was a 4-3 DE with the task of just getting upfield all day, he would most likely excel. Same goes for Worilds, who doesn't seem able to switch into coverage with any confidence.
The LB's could also get a boost because a 4-3 would likely suit 2 of it's more promising players more than the 3-4- Timmons (who would move to OLB in a 4-3, and Sean Spence who excelled at college at ILB, but may not be big enough in a 3-4). Stevenson Sylvester is fast enough to get a look at the other OLB spot, but the Steelers would likely need to add another OLB to the roster- or use Brandon Johnson there.
At DB, the Steelers need to move away from the 'big CB' mantra they seem to adore & start bringing in some agile, quicker guys. Curtis Brown still seems, to Chadman, to be the best suited CB to play man coverage. He's 'laterally quick'. Cortez Allen looks 'straight ahead fast' & might be suited to a FS role more than CB. Keenan Lewis does not inspire Chadman much. Clark & Polamalu are getting close to retirement age now, and moves MUST be made to secure young talent to learn from them while there is still time. Ike could hold a CB spot in a 4-3 as easily as he does in a 3-4, but he's getting shown up when the pressure from the OLB's isn't there.
To move to a 4-3 will take time to get it 'right'. But even 'half right' for a year or two, so long as it's moving more towards 'right' than 'wrong', is better than the current 3-4 system we use, which has been progressively getting shown up for a few years now. The Steelers 3-4 is moving more towards 'wrong' than 'right', and with the current roster, doesn't look to be making any significant moves to rectify that.