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Switch to a 3-4 defense might work for Redskins

Hopefully Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett will soon reveal their exact plans for the Redskins' defense, but it seems there's some excitement building over the possibility of shaking things up and changing alignments.

On the surface, it might seem like the Redskins have personnel in place to switch to a 3-4 defense. So how do you think it would work?


Even if he was playing out of position and struggled early in the season, Brian Orakpo just might have gotten a year of valuable experience by switching to linebacker. It'd seem he'd be a lock for an outside linebacker spot.

Andre Carter seems like he'd be too small for the line. In San Francisco, Mike Nolan had moved him to outside linebacker and it'd seem likely that he'd be moved back again in a 3-4 defense. London Fletcher should still be one the league's top inside linebackers next season, and the team would have to decide whether it sees Rocky McIntosh playing inside or out.

Chris Wilson and H.B. Blades would also be able to contribute, it would seem. And because of his size, Jeremy Jarmon seems like a player who would likely have to move from the defensive line to the outside linebacker position.

As for the line, Albert Haynesworth is familiar with the 3-4 principles from his time in Tennessee, where the Titans often showed a 3-4 look with a hybrid scheme of sorts. If you can put the right body in the middle, Haynesworth could slide over to defensive end.
Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston and Cornelius Griffin are all similar sized linemen, but someone like Anthony Montgomery could provide that big body you need clogging up the middle. That nose tackle spot is an important one in the 3-4, though, and the team might need to go outside to fill it.

So, do you like the personnel that they have in place? What additions do you think they might need to make to successfully convert this defense?

Flashback: Spurrier vs. 'Haze-lett'

Remember the time Steve Spurrier taunted Jim Haslett? Dan Steinberg didn't, but he found someone who did. Details at The Bog.

Pigskin Club honors Orakpo

The Pigskin Club of Washington has named Brian Orakpo the Redskins' most valuable player.

In its annual awards, it also named Ray Rice the Ravens' MVP; Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs the area college player of the year; Alabama's Nick Saban the national college coach of the year; Alabama's Mark Ingram of Alabama the national offensive player of the year; and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh the national defensive player of the year.

By Rick Maese  |  January 13, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bugel's goodbye comes from the heart
Next: Samuels hasn't decided about retirement yet

Comments

I don't think we should move to a 3-4 as I just don't think the personnel is there. Orakpo is the only one that I can see that would fit comfortably into a 3-4. Haynesworth would hate I reckon as It would really diminish his opportunities to get after the QB and ball carrier since the D-Linemen in the 3-4 need to fill the gaps and the LBs provide the pass rush. I might be wrong but if you move to a 3-4 then I think you create one giant, Haynesworth-shaped, unhappy distraction.

Posted by: tartanskin | January 13, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The Redskins would greatly benefit with a switch to the 3-4 defense. The defense has given up too many big plays and that has a lot to do with the lack of pressure on the QB. People complain about our CB's not being able to cover, but if we didn't give teams 5 and 6 seconds to run double moves all day then it would be less of an issue. If you think we don't have the right personnel then you're forgetting the fact that we always go out and sign a big name every year. I'm sure we'll find someone who can fill the one or two holes in the front 7.

Posted by: rreader | January 13, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I guess someone at wa-po finally took a look at what I wrote and posted here at 10AM

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

moving to the 3-4,seems foolish to me, we don't have the ends for this, not the NT, and AC has already tried this and performed poorly in SF, but other than that...full speed ahead....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

With AH on the roster you dont have to sign a big name DT. you can pick up 2 big bodies in the late rounds to clog space and give AH a breather.

Posted by: GreatOne1 | January 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Jarmon is almost big enough to be an End in the 3-4. A guy can add 10 lb's in an off season.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

So does Haslett's scheme, mean we are going to be more attacking style of defense???

Do we have the right personnel for this Defense, if not, why did we move to it?? Seems like we are going to be rebuilding for a couple of years to fit the mold of a team that Shanny prefers...

I dont see A. Carter being successful in a 3-4 defense, wasnt at San Fran. This worries me a little bit, but in my eyes anything is better than Blache's fall apart late in the game Defensive Scheme

Posted by: mhartz1 | January 13, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting for WP to have something on or new Associate Head Coach/Running backs. The media in Denver has been reporting that a deal has been agreed to and will be finalized today.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Jansen was a backup for the Lions (who may be the only team with a worse line than the skins)

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw him whiffing some blocks on teams for them.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | January 13, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, cuz if we had a 3-4 this past year, we would have had two weeks to prepare for this weekends game.

*Sarcasm meter spiking*

Posted by: mattsoundworld | January 13, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think it'll take a few years for the defense to be effective if they switch to a 3-4. There will be some components available though in free agency. Seymor, Merriman... seems there will be more free agents available to switch to a 3-4 than there would be to fix the offensive line.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Bean, its not that hard a switch, really they need a NT and a MLB and they are there. The truth is, Andre Carter had a very nice season but how long do we really think he's going to be a part of this team? IMO a 3-4 takes advantage of our young talent that is really all tweeners in a 4-3. Sign a NT, let Monte be the backup NT, have DE rotations of Haynesworth, Alexander, Gholston, and Daniels. Orackpo would be ridiculous in the Harrison/Ware/Dumerville role backed up by Wilson and Jarmon. Rocky stays outside Fletcher and a signed MLB inside backed up by Blades. We'll see, but if they want to build a new scheme around Haynesworth, Fletcher, and Osackpo I'm fine with it. The Jets made the transition in one offseason and were the #1 defense this season. It can be done.

Posted by: zjfr2 | January 13, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

So does Haslett's scheme, mean we are going to be more attacking style of defense???

Posted by: mhartz1 | January 13, 2010 2:15 PM

Does anyone in the NFL have a less attacking style of defense? I guess you'd have Landry stand back at the goal line on every play and run from there to hit the ball carrier out of bounds.

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

If the Skins offense was not as bad as it is, then maybe thinking of changing to a 3-4 would make sense. This offseason has to be about fixing the problems on the O side first.

Use a 4-3 and transition to a 3-4 in 2011. JH's use of players correctly will hopefully stop those big plays that have killed us of late.

Posted by: Skins930 | January 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

They can do both and flow in and out of it freely based on different looks. They did versions of it this year and last year why do you think Orakpo was seen rushing from both sides and JT#55 production increased the one year we let him roam at the end of the year in 08'. Embrace change people don't be scared!!! If it doesnt work they will go back to 4-3.

Posted by: hammer4 | January 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if they will try to utilize a hybrid scheme like the titans did under Schwartz, switching back and forth from 4-3 to 3-4 for certain plays...will be interesting. Could imagine our D with Seymour and AH together, good lord. Danny better be ready to open that Check book even more.

We need better LB to play 3-4 without a doubt.

Posted by: mhartz1 | January 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Are they now reading comments and posting blogs as if it were their idea??

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Are they now reading comments and posting blogs as if it were their idea??

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 2:22 PM

To answer your question


YES

Posted by: GreatOne1 | January 13, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

If the Skins offense was not as bad as it is, then maybe thinking of changing to a 3-4 would make sense. This offseason has to be about fixing the problems on the O side first.

Use a 4-3 and transition to a 3-4 in 2011. JH's use of players correctly will hopefully stop those big plays that have killed us of late.

Posted by: Skins930 | January 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------------

I was gonna say the same thing. I'll add that we had a top 10 D with anemic special teams and offense, so... I'll refrain from slobbering on Mr 3-4's family jewels just yet.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | January 13, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Are they now reading comments and posting blogs as if it were their idea??

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Hahaha yeah I know. Been reading about this in the comments for a while now.

Posted by: FedorEm | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

So waht happens with Gray since the DC went to Haslett, does he stay on as secondary coach again? Does he want to stay on? Do we want him to stay on?
On the 3-4, I agree that Fat Albert wouldn't be happy just eating up blockers.

Posted by: joeboggs | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think if you're gonna blow things up, you might as well do it now. The word rebuilding seems to be a dirty word but I see no reason to keep a 4-3 defense if a 3-4 defense is what you think you need to win a championship in the long run.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone in the NFL have a less attacking style of defense? I guess you'd have Landry stand back at the goal line on every play and run from there to hit the ball carrier out of bounds.


Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 2:19 PM


I prefer a more attacking style, just dont know much about Haslett to be honest with you.

I can only hope that the defense does more than stand 20 feet off the WR this time around.

Posted by: mhartz1 | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

This is pretty good even for RI. The coach hasn't even evaulated the personnel yet (or even met most of them) and we're already telling him what defense to run. I especially like the advice to draft a couple of big defensive linemen in the late rounds to clog up the middle. Because you can always get high quality nose tackles late. Oh, and draft a qb in the 1st round, because then you have that taken care of for a few years. Plus we can get McNabb for a 4th-round draft choice. And we can trade Portis for a #3. Maybe you could get Rodgers for Campbell, straight up.

Posted by: groundhogdayguy | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

so, sign a nt, ac just had 11 sacks, and we're gonna move him, sign another mlb, move rocky m, move AH, and rely on monty for meaningful snaps....that about sum it up??

How about, leave all the pieces in place where they are and instead of trying to make them fit the SCHEME, you fit the SCHEME to them......instead of playing not to lose, try playing to win....

I mean, trying not to use all my logic and stuff...

In reality, they have 1 guy, Rak, who would benefit from this...they dont' have the Ends, nor the LB's to pull this off....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm in favor of switching to 3-4.

I'm not going to weigh 3-4 vs 4-3 here though, I'm just going to refute the most common "keep 4-3" argument.

Those who don't want 3-4 don't seem to have any philosophical problems with the 3-4 defense, mostly they don't see it fitting our personnel. This is an invalid argument.

Next year is a rebuilding year, that's plainly obvious. Nobody expects to make the playoffs much less the superbowl next year.

If we take a 2 year view, which is still quite optimistic, that gives us 2 full offseasons to fill in any gaps we have in personnel, very doable. In the mean time, next year, the players we do have become familiar with the system, so that we have real experience in 2 years when new players fill the last gaps. This would put us in a better position in 2011 than if we waited until then to switch to 3-4.

So to summarize, it makes sense to switch now regardless of personnel because it's a rebuilding year.

Posted by: REXskins | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Sign Jolly, Seymour, and a MLB and you're there. DE's Seymour and Haynesworth, NT Jolly would be nasty!!!

Posted by: zjfr2 | January 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Has potential to work but, with the holes in our team, I'd stick with a 4-3 one more year at least. A 3-4 would mean getting a NT and at least two LBs in.

Coach Shanahan is smart enough to tailor his system to the available talent in the short term.

Drafting and acquiring O-Line is still the priority.

Posted by: stevebeagrie | January 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

They have plenty of "too small" ends in the 4-3 to play linebacker in the 3-4. All are **very** weak against the run from hand in dirt position, something the silly fans here tend to forget or "pooh pooh" which is probably why they finished 10th instead of 4th. Jarmon, Orapko, and Wilson would all be linebackers. And Carter. Leaving big bodies like Haynesworth, Montgomery, Griffin, to play precisely where they belong. Again, the big problem with switching over is the lack of a good defensive backfield. Its pretty miserable people.
First year: focus on the offensive line ... worry about the defense in the next draft. Dude Shanny has 5 years. Hopefully, not just one.

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I think it would be tough to run 3-4 with both Orapko and Carter as outside linebackers. Probably need to get a nose tackle from somewhere too.

The defensive line was pretty good this year so don't think big changes are needed for 2010.

Posted by: Pensfans | January 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Shanny and Haslett will see that most of the guys on D are suited for a 4-3 and will stick with that.

Haven't there been a couple posts about Shanahan coaching to his players strengths? Wouldn't a 3-4 be the exact opposite of this?

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | January 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

seymour, no thanks....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

YES...All this ish is premature...

ALSO...

...Remember Andre Carter came here because Mike Nolan was trying to convert him into a 3-4 OLB? And he hated it. He thought he was a true DE.

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Offensive line first and foremost. Portoise plus Haynesworth salaries preclude all of the outlandish signings recommended here. Forget it people. Its got to be done through the draft ... next year (2011) hopefully Portoise and his salary will be gone. Leaving Shanahan and Allen with some more flexibility. OL first. Forget QB: Campbell and Colt are **CHEAP** and good enough first year out.

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Haven't there been a couple posts about Shanahan coaching to his players strengths? Wouldn't a 3-4 be the exact opposite of this?


Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | January 13, 2010 2:34 PM

Yes, if he's keeping the same roster. But there is going to be a lot of turnover on the roster, and he will be bringing in the type of guys he thinks he can win with -- and he will be coaching to their strengths.

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

if it ain't broke don't need to fix...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Looks like 3-4 is coming:

The Steelers have lost another assistant from their coaching staff and could be in danger of losing one more.

Lou Spanos, a defensive assistant for the past 15 seasons, has agreed to become the linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins under new Coach Mike Shanahan. The Redskins have hired former Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to install the 3-4 defense in Washington

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10013/1027940-66.stm#ixzz0cWU7e7qX

Posted by: Pensfans | January 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I really don't care what the system is as long as our corners aren't 15 yards deep every play. I guess that's what appeals to me about the 3-4 as it seems to be more of an aggressive scheme. But if we can commit to more aggression I don't care if its a 3-4 or a 4-3 or a 2-2-4-5 or 4-6 or a 7-8 or what, just no more of the corners 15 yards deep and the safeties 30 yards deep. I'll just say I trust Shanny and whatever he picks I'm on board, just like the JC topic, just like the Portis topic, and I just can't wait to see how the next few months unfold. Its just fun having renewed faith in my team's decision makers and its possibilities.

Posted by: zjfr2 | January 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No thanks on the 3-4 defense.

I'd settle for letting LL play SS. Letting Haynesworth do his thing. And getting corners to not line up 10 yds down field.

Some creative type blitzes would be nice, but you don't have to run a 3-4 to do that.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | January 13, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I believe the 3-4 is the flavor of the day defense. There have been some teams that have had success with it, but that is just until other teams come up with some offensive wrinkles to defeat it. At the end of the day, whether or not a defense is successful is more about being creative in how you run it than whether or not it is a 3-4, 4-3, 5-2 or even a "pshyco" defense.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I could care less if the Skins run a 4-3, 3-4, 46, or a 40 oz Defense. The main issues for Haslett are

1. Can he get Albert Haynesworth motivated by something other than his contract and get him to stay in shape.

2. Can he get Laron Landry to take his profession more seriously (Study, Watch Film, Offseason Work) and stop just trying to get by on athletic ability.

3. Can he get Deangelo Hall to give a crap about tackling anybody.

4. Can he get this unit to hold on to interceptions, create scoring, make stops in the 4th Quarter and get off the field on 3rd down.

None of these have happened with this Defense and it's the bigger issue than what type of base defense they will use.

Posted by: moseley_brian | January 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if he's keeping the same roster. But there is going to be a lot of turnover on the roster, and he will be bringing in the type of guys he thinks he can win with -- and he will be coaching to their strengths.

Same old silly fans who couldn't see 4-12 coming right after the draft ... sigh .. look there is this thing called the salary cap and Portoise is the biggest component from which the least amount of value is derived. That is why you have **cheap** offensive lineman. Who's fault? Vinny? Heck no, its the stupid little owner he needs a "project" to keep him out of everyone's hair. Noing that he has likely made himself president ... sigh ... Little to no turnover if they are smart ... they willl have to make due with what they draft this year and pickups like Levi Jones ... if you beleive anything else you belong in the Avatar movie as a character.

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I somewhat agree with what REXskins has to say....I am also in favor of switching to a 3-4 defense but...Part of being in the NFL is to put your best possible team on the field and have the best product you can put on the field. Remember its also a business. We simply just do not have the personal, heck the bodies to field a 3-4 defense. And think if injuries hit. Absolutely no depth. The best option is to stay in the 4-3 for this upcoming season and put your best team on the field and not make a mockery out of a top 10 defense. Draft for the 3-4 and by the 2011 season make the switch. If we are a 4 win team with a top 10 defense, think how bad we be with a patch work 3-4 defense. No matter if we have no shot to make the playoffs you can't be the laughing stock two years in a row. Not only is it bad for moral, just bad for the franchise. If you are going to make a poor choice now for the sake of the future. Then forfeit every game now for next season and be done with it.

Posted by: TheReporter | January 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

or even a "pshyco" defense.

I meant... or even a "psycho" defense.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Whoa. Lou Spanos.

Posted by: skinfanman | January 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, cuz if we had a 3-4 this past year, we would have had two weeks to prepare for this weekends game.

Posted by: mattsoundworld


Indeed! Couldn't have said it better myself.

I don't get all the b*tching or pouting from the anti 3-4 scheme.

I think it's better when defending pass, especially the intermediate stuff... the league is turning into a passing league, why not?

I seriously doubt they're going to draft have on defense, don't worry.

Posted by: RedDMV | January 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if you've heard anything about this or not but next year is going to be an uncapped year, while acquisitions will be interesting because of the RFA thing we can dump and sign as many people as we want.

Posted by: zjfr2 | January 13, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

if it ain't broke don't need to fix...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 2:38 PM

Are you the BeantownGreg who used to own a typewriter factory or are you the one who made his living selling Mrs. Pacman games to video arcades?

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

All season we were frustrated and pissed about the play of the offense, especially the offensive line. Now we are focusing on changing the D which was pretty good minus some bad scheming from Blache's system.

Focus people. This year fix the OL and Offense. Use some hybrid looks to get the D players some experience to switch to 3-4 in 2011.

Offense was the real weakness last season. And the previous 4.

Posted by: Skins930 | January 13, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Adios Olivadotti.

Posted by: skinfanman | January 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

So to summarize, it makes sense to switch now regardless of personnel because it's a rebuilding year.

Posted by: REXskins | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse
----------------------------------

Or we could spend those two years improving an already solid 4-3.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | January 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Steelers have lost another assistant from their coaching staff and could be in danger of losing one more.

Lou Spanos, a defensive assistant for the past 15 seasons, has agreed to become the linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins under new Coach Mike Shanahan. The Redskins have hired former Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to install the 3-4 defense in Washington.

Also, Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler is a candidate to become defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10013/1027940-66.stm

Posted by: Vic1 | January 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What's going on in Pittsburgh with all the coaches leaving. Probably good the Skins have a coach from the Steelers. Promote that winning attitude.

Posted by: skinfanman | January 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Spanos is a good hire.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Switching to a 3-4 makes no sense to me. We have a relatively large number of very capable D linemen who fit the 4-3, and a paucity of LB's. McIntosh at ILB? Why don't we just pencil him in at FS? Jarmon and Orapko at OLB? Are we going to stop using LB's in pass coverage? Jarmon/Orapko could be the perfect book ends in a 4-3 for the next 10 years; maybe better than Mann/Manley. We are a real SAM short of having 3 starting LB's, let alone 4. Again, why screw with a good thing?!?!

Posted by: kenboy1 | January 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like 3-4 is coming:

The Steelers have lost another assistant from their coaching staff and could be in danger of losing one more.

Lou Spanos, a defensive assistant for the past 15 seasons, has agreed to become the linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins under new Coach Mike Shanahan. The Redskins have hired former Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to install the 3-4 defense in Washington

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10013/1027940-66.stm#ixzz0cWU7e7qX

Posted by: Pensfans | January 13, 2010 2:39 PM

I like this hire. With Haslett and Spanos we should get some creative blitzes out of the LB spot. Also, Rak and Wilson should benefit from their expertise. I would like to see Waufle hired as DL coach.

Posted by: TWISI | January 13, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: skinfanman | January 13, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if you've heard anything about this or not but next year is going to be an uncapped year, while acquisitions will be interesting because of the RFA thing we can dump and sign as many people as we want.

Posted by: zjfr2 | January 13, 2010 2:45 PM

Yeah, you can sign anyone you want, but if their team tendered them a qualifying offer, you will have to compensate them with draft picks, maybe multiple draft pics. So don't start drooling over your shopping list just yet....

Posted by: kenboy1 | January 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm for keeping the 4-3 because unless we're really overhauling the personnel, we'd get run over in a 3-4. We don't have the NT, or complementary ILB to Fletcher to run the system. Without quality components at those positions, teams will run it down our throats all day.

The thing is, people seem to be equating the 3-4 with a defense that is agressive, that blitzes and wrecks havoc.

Really, it comes down to your philosophy and playcalling. You can run an aggressive 4-3 on running downs and mix in all types of zone blitzes, safety blitzes, etc on passing downs and when you just want to mess with the QB. You can do this from the 4-3.

Just ask Gregg Williams.

Posted by: manifested | January 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: skinfanman | January 13, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm not against to a 3-4 defense. I just do not see it working well with the players the team currently has.

Would need major overhaul on D-line and LBs. Plus picking Jarmon last year would be a waste of pick then.

Posted by: noonefromtampa | January 13, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins would greatly benefit with a switch to the 3-4 defense. The defense has given up too many big plays and that has a lot to do with the lack of pressure on the QB. People complain about our CB's not being able to cover, but if we didn't give teams 5 and 6 seconds to run double moves all day then it would be less of an issue. If you think we don't have the right personnel then you're forgetting the fact that we always go out and sign a big name every year. I'm sure we'll find someone who can fill the one or two holes in the front 7.

Posted by: rreader | January 13, 2010 11:57 AM

Most of the big pass plays were because of our DB's biting too fast and too hard on double moves, and at times just being terrible out of position. Our pressure this year was better than it has been in years.

Posted by: kenboy1 | January 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, go ahead and have Orakpo, Wilson, and Carter at OLB's and watch them get toasted time and time again on pass plays. Ridiculous..

Posted by: ga8085 | January 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

bobby turner has signed with the skins as associate head coach

Posted by: mopp04 | January 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Spanos is a good hire.


Posted by: dfbovey


IDK, is he white? If so, Lisa won't like it at all.

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that London Fletcher and HB Blades are suited for a 3-4. They're both kind of small for the pounding they'd take without 2 DT's in front of them.

I think Rocky Mac has the size and athleticism they'd need for the ILB position amd could do very well.

Andre Carter has played OLB in a 3-4 before and he did not do well, if I recall. Orakpo and Chris Wilson could be beasts, though.

Not sure about Monty as a nose tackle because of his motivation issues. We would most likeley ahve to either draft or pick up a true NT. Speaking of which, I read somewhere that Vince Wilfork is unhappy at the moment. Just saying.

Posted by: Original_etrod | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Jarmon is almost big enough to be an End in the 3-4. A guy can add 10 lb's in an off season.

Posted by: alex35332
_______________________
how can you add 10lb's, i know it can be done, but HOW?

Posted by: Skins2 | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Would love to see a defensive coach who could convince Fat Albert to show up next pre-season in condition and ready to play.

Posted by: Vic1 | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, go ahead and have Orakpo, Wilson, and Carter at OLB's and watch them get toasted time and time again on pass plays. Ridiculous..

Posted by: ga8085 | January 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse
--------------------------------

Plus Fletcher isn't getting younger, and McIntosh is another knee injury from retiring.

Posted by: mattsoundworld | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

how can you add 10lb's, i know it can be done, but HOW?

Posted by: Skins2 | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Well I would do it mostly by eating 5 guys.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Spanos was a center in college hiking to none other than former Redskin Gus Frerotte? Then he went on to coach linebackers?

I like the hire. No one can argue with the play out of the linebackers he has coached. Pittsburgh is like the Mecca of 3-4 linebacking...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The switch to the 3-4 makes little sense this year. We don't have enough players that fit that scheme, so why install it when we MUST overhaul the OL? I say if the coaches are serious about installing a 3-4 defense, then this year we get what we can for the def while getting at least 3 starting caliber OL, and install a hybrid defense this year. Next year, after we get the proper personnel for it (i.e. not have the biggest defensive underachiever in Montgomery be your only NT), then install it full time. JMO.

Posted by: JesusFreakKaren | January 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse


Jarmon is almost big enough to be an End in the 3-4. A guy can add 10 lb's in an off season.

Posted by: alex35332
_______________________
how can you add 10lb's, i know it can be done, but HOW?

Posted by: Skins2 | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM
------------------------------------------
Easy. Don't poop.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Plus Fletcher isn't getting younger...

Posted by: mattsoundworld | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM

We need more guys on the roster who are getting younger. Does Benjamin Button play LB?

I've never understood that expression.

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Switching to a 3-4 makes no sense to me. We have a relatively large number of very capable D linemen who fit the 4-3, and a paucity of LB's. McIntosh at ILB? Why don't we just pencil him in at FS? Jarmon and Orapko at OLB? Are we going to stop using LB's in pass coverage? Jarmon/Orapko could be the perfect book ends in a 4-3 for the next 10 years; maybe better than Mann/Manley. We are a real SAM short of having 3 starting LB's, let alone 4. Again, why screw with a good thing?!?!

Posted by: kenboy1 | January 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The other thing to look at is that with most teams switching to a 3-4 and a 3-4 using different personnel we would be better off staying in a 4-3. The reason why we'd be better off is because we can catch the 4-3 castoffs from these teams and get the best 4-3 defenders coming out of the draft. That's the issue with the copycat league. You want to be the first or the second team to copy. You don't want to be the 20th team copying. By that time it's too late.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | January 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

how can you add 10lb's, i know it can be done, but HOW?

Posted by: Skins2 | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Try to eat 3000 calories plus a day (not junk food though), hit the gym lifting heavy weights with decreased reps, and get on creatine - I recommend the chewable tablets.

Posted by: ga8085 | January 13, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, you can sign anyone you want, but if their team tendered them a qualifying offer, you will have to compensate them with draft picks, maybe multiple draft pics. So don't start drooling over your shopping list just yet....

Posted by: kenboy1 | January 13, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

------------------

Not every free agent on the market will be restricted. There will be teams releasing players and veterans who don't fall under the rule where the team can tender them.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

It's done, it's decided. You can still debate the decision, but it but the hiring of Spanos clinches it.

1) Shanahan scouted teams with 3-4 defenses throughout the season
2) Shanahan rumored to be interested in 3-4
3) Shanahan gets DC with 3-4 experience
4) Shanahan gets LB coach with extensive 3-4 experience.

I'd be surprised even to see a hybrid 3-4/4-3 this year, the way they're stacking 3-4 coaches.

Posted by: REXskins | January 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"It's done, it's decided. You can still debate the decision, but it but the hiring of Spanos clinches it." -- REXskins

It sure looks that way.

Posted by: manlius1 | January 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the team looked at the number "tweeners" coming out of college and decided it would be easier to get 3-4 linebackers than 4-3 defensive ends.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

so spanos is a 3-4 coach, or a lb coach?

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | January 13, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I've never understood the London Fletcher is too small to play LB in a 3-4. That doesn't make sense, he's one of the best LB's ever, has more tackles than anyone in the past decade and he's never injured. How can he possibly be too small to play in a 3-4. That's like saying "Dwayne Wade is too small to play in the triangle offense."

IDIOTS

Posted by: iH8dallas | January 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

IDK, is he white? If so, Lisa won't like it at all.

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | January 13, 2010 2:58 PM

Olivadotti is too, so that would be a push.

The blog starter staff (JReid, PTen, Consonants, and Maese) need to keep up with the blog ... we got a LB coach here.

So then let's find a new job for Olivadotti ... secondary?

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

First year: focus on the offensive line ... worry about the defense in the next draft. Dude Shanny has 5 years. Hopefully, not just one.
Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse
___________________________________

This was the guy on draft day that was screaming for O-Line when we wanted Orakpo... I still wouldn't trade him for Oher BUT you were right.

Posted by: tony325 | January 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the team looked at the number "tweeners" coming out of college and decided it would be easier to get 3-4 linebackers than 4-3 defensive ends.

Finally, intelligence. They already have 4 'tweeners' who are poor at stopping the run from the hand down position: Carter, Orapko, Wilson, and Jarmon. They don't really need anymore ... they need cornerbacks who can cover wide receivers and not get burned by double moves ... and can actually tackle someone. NOT 'tweeners'.

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Andre Carter just became trade bait for a heftier OLB. Straight up swap, no picks. Make it so.

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Although in my opinion this is not the right year to look at changing the D, if this is what BA, MS and JH are planning, I am behind them 100%.

These guys all have proven track records and are the type of football guys we wanted in here running things, so why not have faith that they know what they are doing.

Especially compared to me and my guess at least one or two more blogga's on here...

Hail to a change of culture in Redskins land!

Posted by: Skins930 | January 13, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"Hopefully Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett will soon reveal their exact plans for the Redskins' defense, but it seems there's some excitement building over the possibility of shaking things up and changing alignments. On the surface, it might seem like the Redskins have personnel in place to switch to a 3-4 defense."

Hopefully MS and JH won't reveal their plans soon. For if they did, it would mean that they would NOT be developing the scheme that best fits the players, they would be installing a scheme they wanted without really looking at the abilities of their players. I'm not sure what 'surface' JR is looking at but I don't see one that suits a 3-4 (and I am someone that gives Orakpo the benefit of the doubt when it comes to potentially playing OLB). But then again, I am not reviewing every play of every player like MS said he was going to do. I feel safe in saying newly hired Haslett has some film homework to do before fully developing plans for a defense, provided he is putting together a scheme to fit the players.

Posted by: amaranthpa | January 13, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The candidate for new WR coach is African American or whatever not that any of that matters.

I am concerned with the lack of female assistants and gay assistants too. But enough about my dream of the hiring hot lesbians to coach this team.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Might as well go after Richard Seymore in free agency if we switch to a 3-4.

Posted by: coparker5 | January 13, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I would worry more about those linebackers stopping the run than whether Orapko, Wilson, and jarmon can cover tight ends and running backs on pass downs. Again, this is fixed with the right defensive backfield. Linebackers will spend more time rushing and stopping the run in the 3-4. This isn't like the 4-3. All have a year under their belt. Let's see how they do second year out in coverage.

Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

everyone needs to relax, don't worry 'bout a thing.... sorry, Marley moment there. we have no idea who they'll target in the offseason both with regards to free agenst and the draft. 3-4 4-3, i don't give a damn unless they win.

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | January 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Post being locked out of breakin news....

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 13, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Damb ... Andre Carter, Brian Orakpo, and Demarcus Ware tied for 7th in number of sacks (12). Carter also had a fairly high number of tackles (62) and 3 forced fumbles. Anyway, other than Ware, the most comparable OLB choices in 3-4 defenses are Elvis Dumervil (no chance of a trade) and Calvin Pace (Jets, same age, fewer tackles). Option 3 ... Tamba Hali, OLB from Chiefs 3-4.

So much for evaluating talent and scheming a defense to fit your roster.

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Easy. Don't poop.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 13, 2010 3:02 PM

Easy? Have you ever succeeded at this for more than, say, a week?

I realize some of the guys who post here are full of sh_t, but I always thought it was a figure of speech.

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"No thanks on the 3-4 defense."

"Some creative type blitzes would be nice, but you don't have to run a 3-4 to do that."

The real issue related to the team experimenting with a hybrid 4-3 look is cornerback play.

Most teams that employ 'confusion' based looks also have excellent corners.

The jets have Revis, the stillers Ike Taylor, the ravens, D Foxwroth, and the packers C Woodson.

You need a corner who can control or shut down a dominate receiver to force the q-back to throw to where the pressure is forcing him to place the ball.

We know the team will need two big, fast 'backers to make this work.

Will the skins go after a big money FA corner or draft a guy like J Haden?

We'll see.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 13, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

You guys DO know defense is like Math...

If you are a Calculus teacher you are also pretty well qualified to teach any of the prerequisite courses as well [Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry Etc.].

Sure you may need a quick refresher to push out the cobwebs, but it's all still there.

You aren't doomed to a life of JUST teaching Calculus [not that there is anything wrong with teaching Calculus...lol].

Haslett has coached 3-4, 4-3, and even a pinch of a 4-6 variation.

I'd bet on a 4-3 base with MAYBE a 3-4 package.

Haslett's FAR too smart to try and force our TINY ends into service for a 3-4.

The cost of personnel overhaul required to go 3-4 [in $$$ and picks spent] would preclude upgrading the offense, and I don't think Coach Shanahan would lean that way.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | January 13, 2010 1:10 PM

Same thinking, plus it wasn't the front 7 that was the problem with our defense.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 13, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Damb ... Andre Carter, Brian Orakpo, and Demarcus Ware tied for 7th in number of sacks (12). Carter also had a fairly high number of tackles (62) and 3 forced fumbles. Anyway, other than Ware, the most comparable OLB choices in 3-4 defenses are Elvis Dumervil (no chance of a trade) and Calvin Pace (Jets, same age, fewer tackles). Option 3 ... Tamba Hali, OLB from Chiefs 3-4.

So much for evaluating talent and scheming a defense to fit your roster.

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

-----------

Shawn Merriman will be available in free agency next year. When healthy, he produced 12.5 and 17 sacks in the 3-4 defense.

I don't keep saying his name because I want him here. I keep saying it because I think the Redskins will definitely sign him.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Linebackers will spend more time rushing and stopping the run in the 3-4. This isn't like the 4-3. All have a year under their belt. Let's see how they do second year out in coverage.
Posted by: periculum | January 13, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Guess what? If a team spreads out the Defense with empty backfields, 4 WR's, guess what? The LB's are going to do a whole heap of covering, cause if they rush, there's going to be WR's roaming free all day. You act like the 3-4 is unstoppable. Ask Green Bay how that worked out for them. Carter and Orakpo will have coverage responsibilities from time to time, and a good Coach will exploit that. And Fletcher and McIntosh aren't exactly great at covering either. Unless you get a Dansby in here, it ain't going to work like you're predicting.

Posted by: ga8085 | January 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Could some of you afficianados (sp) come up with an identity for the DEFENSE this year. Since the HOGS, that has been missing for this team for too long. A few of you seem to be very good at this sort of thing. Say after 2-3 games, maybe something like that gets some cohesiveness to that unit and then they can maybe have some in-house discussions with the offense over the seating arrangements for dinner (old school style).

So far, really liking the hires for coaches. All seem to be of the attacking type and dont put up with prima donna or just go thru the motion, grab a paycheck types. Maybe give the younger players some guidance on what it means to play NFL FOOTBALL whether highest paid or not.

Posted by: HPYTRKR1 | January 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that ... Tamba Hali, 3-4 OLB (opposite Vrabel's side), 6'3" and 243 lbs, 4th season, former first round pick, Liberian (did I mention that I heart American African players, esp. on defense ... super smart, super high character guys ... Asomugha, Orakpo, Okoye, Atogwe, and soon ... SUH).

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

listening to the Bugs Presser finally. Guy is just a super human being.

Posted by: alex35332 | January 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Although in my opinion this is not the right year to look at changing the D, if this is what BA, MS and JH are planning, I am behind them 100%.

Posted by: Skins930 | January 13, 2010 3:14 PM

I agree. If you've decided to change, then you change. You don't say "Hey, this year we're playing a 4-3. Let me show you how we do it. Next year we're playing 3-4. You'll love it. I'll show you then. Meanwhile, concentrate on this 4-3 stuff." Sheesh.

Posted by: League-Source | January 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The jets have Revis, the stillers Ike Taylor, the ravens, D Foxwroth, and the packers C Woodson.

You need a corner who can control or shut down a dominate receiver to force the q-back to throw to where the pressure is forcing him to place the ball.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 13, 2010 3:22 PM

Well, between D.Hall and Carlos Rogers, where does that leave the Skins? I mean other than needing to now add not only two LBs and NT ... to the existing list of gaping needs at FS, OT, G, and RB ...

Posted by: dcsween | January 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

How about we make the switch to the 3-4 and find a way to get McClain from Alabama in the first round and draft linemen afterwards?

Posted by: AcePhoenix77 | January 13, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

posted that BOBBY TURNER just hired on as assistant head coach, rb coach.

Posted by: HPYTRKR1 | January 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Same thinking, plus it wasn't the front 7 that was the problem with our defense.

Posted by: zcezcest1

They were bad too. What team didn't average over 4 plus yards a carry against us. Hopefully, the Haslett will prove that it was more of a scheme issue versus talent.

Posted by: dcwun | January 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Can Ndamukong Suh play nose tackle? If so will it make sense to trade up for him? If we do, what about O-Line?

Posted by: abxinc | January 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm telling you there is clearly a dearth of burka wearing bit ches on the redskins staff. They are gonna need to fix that soon.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | January 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Merriman will be available in free agency next year. When healthy, he produced 12.5 and 17 sacks in the 3-4 defense.

I don't keep saying his name because I want him here. I keep saying it because I think the Redskins will definitely sign him.

Posted by: dfbovey | January 13, 2010 3:24 PM

So what pick of ours would you like to trade to SD for his services. He's only had FOUR years of service.

AJ Smith isn't letting a commodity like him walk.

Posted by: Diesel44 | January 13, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

We would have to sign GERALD McCOY and trade HAYNESWORTH. He's too expensive to man a hybrid DT/DE position, and we lose our best pick. This will not happen IMO.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Can Ndamukong Suh play nose tackle? If so will it make sense to trade up for him? If we do, what about O-Line?

Posted by: abxinc | January 13, 2010 3:33 PM

He could but he would be a perfect fit as a 3-4 DE. You need a space eater that eats blocks. Casey Hampton, Shaun Rodgers, Bama NT Terrance Cody.

Posted by: Diesel44 | January 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Double Beeps

Posted by: Diesel44 | January 13, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Why are we even talking defense when the O-line is so terrible. That is priority # 1

Posted by: iH8dallas | January 13, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Guess what? If a team spreads out the Defense with empty backfields, 4 WR's, guess what? The LB's are going to do a whole heap of covering, cause if they rush, there's going to be WR's roaming free all day. You act like the 3-4 is unstoppable. Ask Green Bay how that worked out for them. Carter and Orakpo will have coverage responsibilities from time to time, and a good Coach will exploit that. And Fletcher and McIntosh aren't exactly great at covering either. Unless you get a Dansby in here, it ain't going to work like you're predicting.

Posted by: ga8085 | January 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, guess what, ga8085. When the offense sends out 4 wr's, the DC sends out a different package, called our "dime" package. You match personnel with personnel.

What some of us are talking about with the 3-4 is a change of pace/different look kind of D. Not something that is our base D, but something will cause confusion. I agree that we do not have the personnel to run a 3-4 all the time. Unless we are very active in the offseason, I see this as a change of pace defense.

Posted by: frediefritz | January 13, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

we might as well go ahead and change the team colors and uniform too, since we're changing everything else

Posted by: vtsquirm1 | January 13, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

if we go 3-4 deense then we better go after casey hampton who is a free agent because we know that big al can't go all game that would be a great compliment to our team but I just hope and pray we get a good rb and some good o lineman in this draft

Posted by: bert3 | January 13, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

3-4 might be a good idea, but it will take a few personnel moves. Better get the offense established before changing the defense.

Posted by: midniterc | January 14, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm against it. I think that you keep the defense the way it is, just upgrade at certain points.

I think we need to look for another young Dt to help out with AH, and maybe a free agent/late rd linebacker...

I feel that there are only a few must haves that the redskins need...outside of that it's all about depth. I like Henson and Blades, but you never stop adding depths.

One thing I'd like to see the Redskins institute is to a way to develop the back ups, so that when they are needed they can perform. I realize that the reps are limited towards starters, but I woiuld have almost a seperate staff that's their primary dedication is preping the practice squad and back ups. Think about it..If you had someone who consistently worked with the back up independently like they are starters, it would 1)weed out the no-talent players quickly, 2)prep those positions such as qb, rb, db that have alot of injuries, that way the next person in is up to date.

Posted by: impervious99 | January 14, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Redskins currently are built for 4-3. Lots of linemen, few linebackers. Orakpo needs to stay at DE...If they do make the change, they'll need to find another ILB and a NT. I wouldn't put AH at NT- I'd move him to DE. Also, why Fletcher is not MVP I don't understand. He was all over the field.

Posted by: sdalev | January 14, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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