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Om Field: Will Redskins go 4-3, 3-4 or Hybrid?

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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The Daily Redskin 1.19.10

Whether you can articulate the difference between a Fairbanks-Bullough 2-gap 3-4 defense and a Phillips 1-gap 3-4 defense, are someone whose eyes glaze over at mention of such things, or, like most of us, fall somewhere in between … you probably know that one of the key stories we’ll be following during this offseason will be the style of defense the Redskins employ in ...

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servumtuum

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Excellent piece, Om. Just the thing for me to curl up with the ol' laptop and digest during the off-season.

By the way, the Waldo at footballsfuture.com who provided the detailed(!) analyses is, I'm certain, the same Waldo who is a member and heavy contributor to that Packer site I visit. I PM'd him a thank you note for having provided us with so much useful info to chew on, digest, and discuss till-the-cows-come-home-or until we finally find out what the new crew is planning, and then probably far into the future, depending on how it seems to be working...or not. :)
 

MisterPinstripe

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Om, I have no idea how you are going to be able to keep up the this daily thing. When you said you were going to do that I assumed it would be something a little... shorter and not quite as in-depth, just a daily splurt if you will.

But hey, if you do, I am loving these posts.

Thanks for doing the leg work and writing up this stuff.
 
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Riggo-toni

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For all the sexiness of the 3-4 buzz being bantered around, consider this:
ALL of the remaining playoff teams use a 4-3 defense.
The 2 teams that switched to a 3-4 - Cards and GB, set a playoff record for the most combined points given up. In 2 playoff games the Cards gave up 90 friggin' points!
2 of the 4 teams left - the Saints and the Jets, utilize variations of Buddy Ryan's 4-3 and "46" defense.
I just don't see any reason or wisdom to switch to a 3-4. The 3-4 was concocted largely because it's more difficult for teams to get quality DL. We have Haynesworth, Orakpo and Andre Carter, of whom only Orakpo seems suited for a 3-4, and that's as an OLB, which every know-it-all fan whined endlessly about last year despite his success. Carter failed as a 3-4 OLB in SF, and Haynesworth is too good at penetrating the line to be wasted just clogging space.
 

Om

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Thanks guys ... feels good to be regular again. It was on advice of my doctor. ;)

Riggo-toni, I tend to agree ... something just doesn't "feel" right to me about the Washington Redskins playing the 3-4. Can't really quantify the feeling, it's just something that's never quite worked for me. I keep seeing Brandon Jacobs and other traditionally between-the-tackles NFCE maulers coming at us in cold, wet November and December conditions, and wishing we had four big-assed solid DL anchors across the front to meet them.

On the other hand, I remember the Giants having some pretty decent success with their version of the 3-4 back in the day ... and I look at the Steelers and Ravens today, and see how the damn thing can not only work, but work in the kind of in-your-face, slobbernocking, intimidating way a "traditional" 4-3 can work.

Honestly, I think it's about 20% scheme in the NFL, and about 80% personnel. You get the right bodies out there and get them all motivated and heading in the same direction, and I think you can pretty much count on a top defense whether it's playing a 4-3, 3-4, 46 or 1-10 (ahem).

Anyway ... given the Redskins situation (inheriting defensive personnel assembled with the 4-3 in mind), IF they opt to make a switch, that's one of the reasons I think they'll go hybrid. Gives them the flexibility they need to both head in the direction the coaching staff feels most comfortable schematically, plus mitigates the need to overhaul the existing personnel in one offseason and hope to be competitive from the start.
 

Hog Fever

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It seems to me that it would be easier to find players who fit the physical types needed in a 3-4 defense than it would for a 4-3. Finding a guy who plays LB or who was a DE in college who goes 245-260lbs and can run are a dime a dozen compared to a guy who has that same skill set and is 280 or 290.

You can make the argument that using Haynesworth in a 3-4 would be a waste of talent and I would probably agree with you. Still, the 3-4 scheme has a lot of merits and wouldn’t cause the type of personnel panic that some have suggested.

Would we be better off keeping a 4-3? If we expect to use Haynesworth as the centerpiece of our defense my answer would be “yes”. I’m just not sure we can count on him to be that guy for 16 games. I’m also not sure we SHOULD count on him like that for 16 games. Perhaps his contract has already made that decision for us.
 

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