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3-4 or 4-3?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; I'm stuck here in Niner Country (clearly out of the Saints' loop) and I've been wondering. Does anybody whether the new coaching staff intends to run a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme? Dallas brought in the 3-4 last year and since ...

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Old 03-16-2006, 11:23 PM   #1
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3-4 or 4-3?

I'm stuck here in Niner Country (clearly out of the Saints' loop) and I've been wondering. Does anybody whether the new coaching staff intends to run a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme? Dallas brought in the 3-4 last year and since many of these guys are from Parcells' camp I'm curious. Do we know if Charles Grant can be effective as a DE in a 3-4? Will Smith as a McGinist type LB?
Any help or insight would be appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:39 PM   #2
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RE: 3-4 or 4-3?

This question has been asked quite a few times in the last few weeks. The thing about this is, if we're going to do it, now would be the best time. In the draft, there is a huge possibility of us trading down and picking up quite a few draft picks. With an additional 2,3, even 4 picks (not to mention any comp picks we might receive), we will have the opportunity to draft a lot of defensive players in order to get the right personnel for a 3-4. The 3-4 for the current Saints would require:
1) A big impact, run-stuffin DT... this doesn't seem to be possible via FA, but could be an option through the draft with a guy like Broderick BUnkley from FSU or Halota Ngata from Oregon.
2) At least two more LBs. Right now we could use Fujita and Watson as two of the backers, but we would really need to pick up some IMPACT LBs because there is so much focus on this position in the 3-4. Guys like Hawk, Hodge, D'Qwell Jackson, Thomas Howard, and Ernie Sims come to mind.

My prognosis is as follows... this franchise has been so conservative and so unwilling to change throughout the years that I seriously doubt a switch to the 3-4. The switch, as I said earlier, would require the use of most to all of our draft picks for defense (especially DT and LB). I just don't think that with the hole at OC and the possibility of trading down for D'Brick that we are going to use all of our first picks for defense, which would be a necessity for the 3-4 switch.
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:52 PM   #3
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RE: 3-4 or 4-3?

So I take the coaching staff has been mum on the subject, right? BTW, thanks for the insight. One thing I might disagree with is your item 2. I think "impact LBs" can be borne or a 3-4 as easily as they are brought in to make an impact. The three down lineman, by creating the mismatch of a five vs three scenario, can allow LBs to make an impact. That of course require at least two double teams by the offensive line. If the D-line can't force that then it's a non-issue. I think an example of this could be Ray Lewis. Clearly he's a helluva linebacker but he doesn't get of blocks of offensive linemen very well. Ever since the Raven's d-line became average Lewis's play has too.
Naturally I'm not saying you can park chumps out there behind the defensive lineman. Just that sometimes average can become better than average given the right linemen involved.
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:09 AM   #4
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They said they woud use the 4-3.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:38 AM   #5
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They will use the 4-3 based off of all that I've read and has been posted here, but don't be surprised if you see a 3-4 mixed in this year.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:14 AM   #6
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Well...as far as personnel we don't really have it in order to run a 3-4. But man wouldn't it be sweeeeeet if we could.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:43 AM   #7
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Gibbs has served the past four years as Dallas' linebackers coach, in both the 3-4 and 4-3 formations, and head of a position that was the heart and strength of the Dallas defense.
...The Saints are expected to stay with the 4-3 - they lack the defensive linemen for a three-man front.

Newly named Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs said Tuesday that despite his history of coaching a 3-4 scheme, he'll likely keep the more commonly used 4-3 front in New Orleans.
...But the Saints' recent use of a 4-3 and the team's available personnel, Gibbs said, make it likely he'll retain that approach.
..."But that's not an issue with us here in New Orleans. We're going to look at a variety of things in terms of a package, but we'll probably maintain a 4-3 look and do some things like everybody does around the league."

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Old 03-17-2006, 12:08 PM   #8
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I almost posted a thread devoted to this topic a few days ago. I think the Saints should really consider doing it.

I'm of the opinion that our defense needs a near total rebuild anyway. So if we're going to put in a crowd of new starters we have the freedom to pick up players that fit a new scheme. It also makes sense for the coaching staff (now that we're so beautifully in the driver's seat with the draft after the Brees signing--kudos guys) not to show their cards. If they are planning to switch to the 3-4, why let the rest of the league know about the guys we need?

If we were to switch schemes, he are some of the observations I have.

1. It would be nice to have the different scheme in the division. No one else is running it, so they'd need a little more prep time next season to get ready for us. They would also have very limited film to study on how we'll use our players. I like the idea of running the 3-4 in this division.

2. The 3 man front. Right now we don't have it. I figure that Charles Grant is the only guy we have to put on the line as of now. We would still need a very good NT and another DE to anchor the line. It would be nice if Sullivan could be that guy for us, but I'm pessimistic about his ability to even start next season. We have several 1 gap DTs but no real NT.

3. The Linebackers. If we were to attempt this, I'd project Will Smith into one of the OLB positions. Leave Fujita in the middle and look for either a rookie, Fincher, Watson or Colby to platoon there. Then I'd move heavan and earth to sign Levar Arrington to man the other OLB position. At this point, we might even be able to get by with 1 more free agent LB to handle the outside.

4. The secondary. I basically like this unit. I'd still prefer another CB to play opposite McKenzie, but if we had to go with what we have now and wait another year, I'm ok with it. (not great guys, just ok) On a positive note, I'm really pleased with Smith and Bullocks at the safety spots. I'll even eat some crow here. I was furious about the Bullocks selection, but I was wrong, the kid can play.

5. The BMG projection for getting into the 3-4 this season.
5a. Sign Levar Arrington or another competant FA linebacker to play outside.
5b. Move Will Smith to OLB
5c. Trade some combination of players and picks in next year's draft to the Broncos for both of their 1st round selections.
5d. With our pick in round 1a, take Super Mario at DE to play opposite Grant.
5e. Ideally, trade pick 1b and 1c to Oakland, Buffalo, Detroit or Arizona and pick DT Ngata.
5e1. If this happens, take the best available LT or LB in round 2.
5f. If we can't trade up, then stand pat and take best available DT and LB at the other 2 picks.

As it is, we need at the very least 3 players to shift to that scheme (NT, OLB, ILB). I think the switch is quite do-able. If we trade down with either the Jets or Titans, we might even be able to still take Brick and manage to move up and take Ngata too. The downside is that this will take a LOT of work to make happen.

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Old 03-18-2006, 10:11 AM   #9
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The offensive signings we're making sure make an all-defensive draft look more possible. If we go all defense, I could see us trying a 3-4.

I wonder what my good friends JKool, BnB, WhoDi and JoeSam think about the 3-4?
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Old 03-18-2006, 10:27 AM   #10
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if we sign an LT, i could see us taking 2 LBs with our first 2 picks also, mario williams has been discussed and he is fast enough to play LB kinda in the Derrick Thomas mold except bigger and faster, he would most likely play the "on the Line" LB position
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