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View Full Version : 3-4 vs. 4-3


Caphorn
01-18-2006, 10:41 AM
Has this been settled? Last time I checked the base D we run is also being run by very succesful NFL defenses - Pitt, NE, SD and Baltimore. In my opinion, the base 3-4 worked fairly well for the upstart Texans before this season and the problems seemed to be related to playcalling/personnel more than scheme. I'm curious because it seems that most of the DCs currently mentioned for the Texans open DC spot have a base 4-3 philosophy.

Vinny
01-18-2006, 10:44 AM
No coaching decisions will be made until we get some coaches.

Big B Texan Fan
01-18-2006, 10:49 AM
Broncos Panthers Seattle run a 4-3. It seems to be the dominant D so far this post season. We'll see though. Steelers look tough.

Vinny
01-18-2006, 10:52 AM
Broncos Panthers Seattle run a 4-3. It seems to be the dominant D so far this post season. We'll see though. Steelers look tough.One note from me...Manning is probably the most successful QB of our era (statistically) and he has had trouble with elite 3-4 defenses more so than elite 4-3 defenses. He seems more confused and less sure of himself faced with a good zone blitz that comes out of the 3-4. I don't think he has been comfortable spotting the hot read the last few years vs the Pats and the Steelers as they lost to both these teams in the playoffs over the last few years.

Blake
01-18-2006, 10:54 AM
They are both fine designs. But our plays didnt seem to do so well in a 3-4. I think the 4-3 sounds like a better use for OUR players.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:11 AM
I'd like for us to stay with the 3-4. Utilizing this design correctly would reap great benefits to this ball club. Sure we used 3-4 the past 4 years but....just cause you have a hammer doesn't make you a carpenter, as having kids doesn't make you a good parent, or a wrench make you a plumber.........neither did Capers and Co. having the 3-4 make them compitent in that regime. With the right staff, becoming truly effective with it can manage the current 3-4 defense we have now and become successful.

By changing to a 4-3, drastic changes would be made to personnel and it would take some time to make the overhaul. I'll use another metaphor here... Just as you wouldn't tear down a house because of some termites but rather fumigate the house with proper pest control and thus salvaging the home.....the new coaching staff should keep what they have instead of taking a few steps back to then make the neccessary changes in order to make a successful 3-4 to 4-3 transition.

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:14 AM
They are both fine designs. But our plays didnt seem to do so well in a 3-4. I think the 4-3 sounds like a better use for OUR players.

OK. But haven't the Texans been drafting and landing FAs for the 3-4? I mean anyone can speculate how the talent would do in the 4-3, but you can't deny that the talent has been selected for fit in a 34 scheme. Seems like a bigger reconstruction project and possibly - if it can be done - a step back from a scheme perspective. I was more hoping they could get better players - esp. at LB. You cannot underman the LB position in a 3-4. I think we are the best example of that.

I hear what you guys are saying about Carolina, but they beat all of Chicago - one of the worst offenses in the league - to get to the NFC championship game. Pitt put the absolute kibosh on one of the best offenses in the league running a 34. With healthy, high quality LBs, you can dominate a team using the base 34. NE's won how many Super Bowl's with it?

MorKnolle
01-18-2006, 11:19 AM
Both defenses have their strong points and weak points and either one can be dominant if run correctly. 3-4 defenses are probably a little harder to run as effectively and are harder to insert the correct personnel since so few colleges run a 3-4 and some guesses have to be made as to how people will fit into that system (i.e. Babin), but at the same time a 3-4 defense is generally harder for QB's to read where blitzes are coming from (look at how Peyton struggles against Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego, etc.) and can be harder for OLinemen to figure out where blitzers or run stoppers are coming from as well, so if a 3-4 is run properly it can cause significant problems to some QBs and offenses. Some teams can run a combination (Baltimore switches it up some to confuse opposing teams, and Denver has the personnel that they could do it too but they don't) to confuse offenses or play to an offenses' weaknesses.

Str8tupg42k1
01-18-2006, 11:20 AM
I'm for the 3-4 defense because of how you can scheme against your oponnent like in the madden game Madden says in the 3-4 you only have 3 down linemen that are going to be rushing the quarterback and the other one can be coming from the outside inside or everyone can come. Also all of the zone scheming remember how we used exotic zone coverages that kinda shut down Chad Johnson against the bengals in game 3. We almost have right personnel just need a very few pieces like a sure tackling linebacker and another adequate corner. The last half of the season we were getting some sacks because we played more like a 3-4 defense should be played.

cadahnic
01-18-2006, 11:21 AM
Caphorn, I am a huge proponent of the 3-4 defense, and yes we have drafted for that defense. Most of the players that we have drafted or signed have played mostly in 4-3 base sets. Truth is the transition is so much easier to go from a 3-4 to a 4-3 than vice versa. Right now we have a lot of outside LBs and no real quality MLBs unless you consider Polk quality. We have a high mix of DTs and two DEs. One is an everydown kinda guy like Babin, who could also play MLB and Peek is a situational passrusher, unless he ads 15lbs. The idea of the system does not really have to change you can be agressive in both systems, that was the main problem. You are absolutely right that the best big athletes(LBs) can dominate a game more than any other player on Defense. I really dont care which we line up in, but be agressive in it.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:21 AM
OK. But haven't the Texans been drafting and landing FAs for the 3-4? I mean anyone can speculate how the talent would do in the 4-3, but you can't deny that the talent has been selected for fit in a 34 scheme. Seems like a bigger reconstruction project and possibly - if it can be done - a step back from a scheme perspective. I was more hoping they could get better players - esp. at LB. You cannot underman the LB position in a 3-4. I think we are the best example of that.

I hear what you guys are saying about Carolina, but they beat all of Chicago - one of the worst offenses in the league - to get to the NFC championship game. Pitt put the absolute kibosh on one of the best offenses in the league running a 34. With healthy, high quality LBs, you can dominate a team using the base 34. NE's won how many Super Bowl's with it?
Baltimore won a Super Bowl with that D and that D alone, quite convincingly and had several other divisional titles to add to that. They've always lacked the offense to compliment it. The Steelers have pretty much always been successful with the 3-4. Overall.....the success:lack of ratio is very distant. In the past 4 years, 3 years really cause year 1 the Texans ranked 10th in defense if I'm not mistaken....the Texans are the only team to have tarnished the 3-4 scheme. Last year, either all of them won their division and/or end up making the AFC Championship/winning the Super Bowl.

infantrycak
01-18-2006, 11:25 AM
Actually the Falcons tarnished the 3-4 as well a few years ago under Reeves trying to run it with the wrong people. This is their 2nd season back in a 4-3.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:26 AM
Actually the Falcons tarnished the 3-4 as well a few years ago under Reeves trying to run it with the wrong people. This is their 2nd season back in a 4-3.
I stand corrected. And thanks for the info BTW.

In the 2004 season the Jets were hot, made the playoffs and boasted the best defense at one point of the year and held a top 5 and the conclusion of the season. They too, at times, run a 3-4. I saw them use it several times that year.

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:29 AM
Caphorn, I am a huge proponent of the 3-4 defense, and yes we have drafted for that defense. Most of the players that we have drafted or signed have played mostly in 4-3 base sets. Truth is the transition is so much easier to go from a 3-4 to a 4-3 than vice versa. Right now we have a lot of outside LBs and no real quality MLBs unless you consider Polk quality. We have a high mix of DTs and two DEs. One is an everydown kinda guy like Babin, who could also play MLB and Peek is a situational passrusher, unless he ads 15lbs. The idea of the system does not really have to change you can be agressive in both systems, that was the main problem. You are absolutely right that the best big athletes(LBs) can dominate a game more than any other player on Defense. I really dont care which we line up in, but be agressive in it.

So why in hell aren't there more DRAFT AJ HAWK threads. Seriously. Draft Hawk. Stick to the 34. And this defense, with one of the best middle LBs I've ever seen, will be astounding. I seriously hate the fact that we will be playing Indy 2x a year and they will have Manning from now until forever, yet we are just about to abandon the scheme that worked him to dealth over and over with the best 34 LB to have entered the draft in the last 5 years sitting right there at the top of the board and us sitting pretty with the No. 1 pick. It's sickening really.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:31 AM
So why in hell aren't there more DRAFT AJ HAWK threads. Seriously. Draft Hawk. Stick to the 34. And this defense, with one of the best middle LBs I've ever seen, will be astounding. I seriously hate the fact that we will be playing Indy 2x a year and they will have Manning from now until forever, yet we are just about to abandon the scheme that worked him to dealth over and over with the best 34 LB to have entered the draft in the last 5 years sitting right there at the top of the board and us sitting pretty with the No. 1 pick. It's sickening really.

I wouldn't mind one bit if the Texans traded down and got him. He's the best defensive player coming out of college I've seen in all my time watching college football. The guy's just like Polamalu in the sense that he's (Hawk) almost in on every play, run or pass.

travfrancis
01-18-2006, 11:35 AM
I'm in favor of keeping the 3-4 (although it would be nice if would be run properly) for the same reason Vinny stated, also most of the top D's in the league run it (chargers, pats, steelers, jets use it some, ravens over the last couple years).

the 3-4 run properly is a beautiful thing.

cadahnic
01-18-2006, 11:35 AM
One you dont take a 3-4 LB with the first pick, and even if we trade down to like 8 or 9 it is really high to take him. Yeah I agree that Hawk needs to play in a 3-4, if not he will not look nearly as good as most people think he is. I dont think he is better than Vilma, definately not as instictive or athletic, which would put him around pick 13 or so. AJ is a good LB and will be a good one barring injuries and set backs, he kinda reminds me of Dan Morgan when he came out in the draft. That guy was a terror all over the field at the U. Personally I am looking at Mario Williams, Jimmy Williams, or an OT other than D'Brick(Eric Wnston). Though if somehow AJ fell to around 20 I would trade back up and get him in a heartbeat.

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:36 AM
He's the best defensive player coming out of college I've seen in all my time watching college football.

So why trade down? And I agree with you completely on this. Some may dispute the talent, but you know you have a guaranteed player even if he doesn't turn out to be the best. This team can't afford an expensive miss.

MorKnolle
01-18-2006, 11:42 AM
So why trade down? And I agree with you completely on this. Some may dispute the talent, but you know you have a guaranteed player even if he doesn't turn out to be the best. This team can't afford an expensive miss.

You don't draft a LB at #1 if that's what you are implying. The top three picks will easily be Bush, Leinart, and Young (not necessarily in that order), so you could trade down to at least #4 and get Hawk while paying him less money and acquiring more draft picks in exchange. That said, it is rare to see a LB taken above #9 (last one was LaVar Arringotn) and Hawk is not in Arrington's class so I would not take him in the top 10. I agree with Cadahnic, if Hawk somehow falls to #20 (which he won't) then I wouldn't mind trading back up and getting him there. Another thing, Hawk is not a true MLB in the NFL (maybe a 3- ILB but probably still more of an OLB) and our team is already flooded with them, we need a true MLB if we are going to bring in someone new, plus with some of the contracts we have at LB it would be difficult to bring in a new one for at least a year, and I once again agree with cadahnic that if we're going to get a LB I'd prefer a faster one like McIntosh that we can get later in the draft and pay a substantially lower salary to.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:43 AM
the 3-4 run properly is a beautiful thing.
.....in the words of Vandermeer of Sports Radio 610......"it's a beautiful thing!" http://www.houstontexans.com/fan_zone/messageboards/images/icons/icon10.gif

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:44 AM
One you dont take a 3-4 LB with the first pick, and even if we trade down to like 8 or 9 it is really high to take him. Yeah I agree that Hawk needs to play in a 3-4, if not he will not look nearly as good as most people think he is. I dont think he is better than Vilma, definately not as instictive or athletic, which would put him around pick 13 or so. AJ is a good LB and will be a good one barring injuries and set backs, he kinda reminds me of Dan Morgan when he came out in the draft. That guy was a terror all over the field at the U. Personally I am looking at Mario Williams, Jimmy Williams, or an OT other than D'Brick(Eric Wnston). Though if somehow AJ fell to around 20 I would trade back up and get him in a heartbeat.

Hawk is definitely instinctive and heady. I'm not sure, but Vilma probably would top him in the 40 yard dash. But with pads on and coming at you, I'd fear the crap out of Hawk over Vilma. His motor and toughness is Urlacher level.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:46 AM
So why trade down? And I agree with you completely on this. Some may dispute the talent, but you know you have a guaranteed player even if he doesn't turn out to be the best. This team can't afford an expensive miss.

Trade down because Bush, Leinart, Young, and Ferguson are the hot prospects for those teams picking first. Hawk won't be taken second. With that alone, you're inclined to trade down to the second pick...same with third and even further down. Staying in the first spot and drafting Hawk is not the most prudent thing to do IMO.

SBTexans08
01-18-2006, 11:47 AM
Hawk is definitely instinctive and heady. I'm not sure, but Vilma probably would top him in the 40 yard dash. But with pads on and coming at you, I'd fear the crap out of Hawk over Vilma. His motor and toughness is Urlacher level.
I agree wholeheartedly!

cadahnic
01-18-2006, 11:49 AM
I would not fear Hawk coming at, I have had Dat Nguen coming at me so I would definately not fear Hawk. Dat hits like a truck by the way, that is why he hurt his neck the guy is a freakin torpedo. Anyway that is not the point, the point is Vilma is going to make plays. Hawk he will make tackles and be around, but like all LBs he gets sucked up in blocks and can be taken out of alot of plays by the type of FBs and H-backs that are in the NFL. Vilma coming at you means you better wrap the ball up or he is going to make you fumble or pick off the pass coming to you, Hawk I know all I have to do is try to make a move and expose him, or just run away from him like Selvin Young or whoever the UT RB is. Damn I just made a UT reference, I am sorry.

UT SUX DONKEY OJOS!!!!

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:55 AM
Trade down because Bush, Leinart, Young, and Ferguson are the hot prospects for those teams picking first. Hawk won't be taken second. With that alone, you're inclined to trade down to the second pick...same with third and even further down. Staying in the first spot and drafting Hawk is not the most prudent thing to do IMO.

He will not slip past Green Bay at No. 5. They are looking for an Urlacher and this is the guy. He's shortish, but he makes up for it with intensity and motor.

He is known to be too aggressive at times. I think having support around him will help him alot. The OSU DL was subpar this year and the reason Vince won the game was because the DL's got no rush on him. The OSU LBs were on an intentional contain and did not rush deep leaving those plays up to the DL. They still did the best job all year of containing Vince and it was Hawk that spearheaded that extremely difficult job.

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 11:57 AM
I would not fear Hawk coming at, I have had Dat Nguen coming at me so I would definately not fear Hawk. Dat hits like a truck by the way, that is why he hurt his neck the guy is a freakin torpedo. Anyway that is not the point, the point is Vilma is going to make plays. Hawk he will make tackles and be around, but like all LBs he gets sucked up in blocks and can be taken out of alot of plays by the type of FBs and H-backs that are in the NFL. Vilma coming at you means you better wrap the ball up or he is going to make you fumble or pick off the pass coming to you, Hawk I know all I have to do is try to make a move and expose him, or just run away from him like Selvin Young or whoever the UT RB is. Damn I just made a UT reference, I am sorry.

UT SUX DONKEY OJOS!!!!

Funny that Dat was considered too short for the position as well. Given that you have not had Hawk bearing down on you, I assume you still probably would need another lesson ;)

UT is your 2006 ROSE BOWL winner and College Football's Undisputed Champion. i.e. - EVERYBODY sux worse ;)

Str8tupg42k1
01-18-2006, 12:05 PM
If we were to trade up again in the first round we could work a trade with morency and some picks or something to get Hawk but I doubt it because they would be gunshy about doing it again and remebering the Babin trade. I remember about Andre Davis from the Cleveland Browns when we played them this year he was making tackles all over the field but with Morlon Greenwood being here and us signing Kailee Wong to a new deal I doubt we see that happening.

cadahnic
01-18-2006, 12:11 PM
I will not discount a guy for being to short or to small unless it impact his play like Ferguson. AJ is not an Urlacher type freak though. At 5 that is almost saying he is a Arrington like freak and he is not even close to that. I think Hawk should go between 10-15 if all things were considered, but seeing that he is the class, right now, of a shallow high end LB pool then he might get a run higher. He also has some ability to add weight that might make him more attractive as a passrusher. GB I think will be looking at Mario Williams if we dont take him. Aaron Kampman is UFA and they have two solid LBs Barnet is a young star. They can afford to address LB later in the draft, but their D-line is horrid. It will be interesting to see what defense their coach comes with he has been around both the 3-4 and 4-3 so that will greatly impact who they take at 5.

Caphorn
01-18-2006, 12:36 PM
GB I think will be looking at Mario Williams if we dont take him.

I know you like him as well, but philosophically I am ALWAYS against taking a guy with a high pick who as issues such as taking plays off. That's why Detroit should not have drafted Roy Williams so high. Incredibly talented player with a f'd up motor. I want a guy with no questions as to motor. Not a single question or blemish on effort with a top 10 pick.

cadahnic
01-18-2006, 12:42 PM
Cap I see what type of player you like, and truth is we like the same type of guys, hell I like AJ Hawk. Just not in the top 9. The sad thing about the NFL nowadays is that most of the best players are those guys that take plays off, that is why coaching has become so important. Use to be a coach could just implement the system and had guys that wanted to win and work in that system, now it is not like that, now coaches have to reach players and find a way to bridge the gap between system, off-field crap, and getting the most out of these guys. Mario like his teammate Manny Lawson are both workout warrior type of guys that will take plays off, but a strong DC and DL coach will get that crap off of them. I do understand and agree with your thoughts on high picks and blemishes though.

Xman
01-18-2006, 03:00 PM
I agree that we need defensive talent. But, LBs are very hard to predict that is why so few are usually drafted in round 1.

Either defense can be effective - if you have the people to run it.

However;
If you run the 4-3, you need at least one stud LB, preferably at MLB (a mlb like Ray Lewis (speed and size combo) can dominate in this D if he has 2 big DTs in fornt of him).
Otherwise, this can be a solid D with marginal talent.

If you run the 3-4, you need several things - a NT with bulk, at least one OLB that is hard to block and ILB with size and enough speed to cut off the corner.
Liek someone else said, the 3-4 can be a beautiful thing when you have the talent to run it. But, without the right talent, it is not near as good.

Mathis13
01-18-2006, 09:12 PM
I agree that we need defensive talent. But, LBs are very hard to predict that is why so few are usually drafted in round 1.

Either defense can be effective - if you have the people to run it.

However;
If you run the 4-3, you need at least one stud LB, preferably at MLB (a mlb like Ray Lewis (speed and size combo) can dominate in this D if he has 2 big DTs in fornt of him).
Otherwise, this can be a solid D with marginal talent.

If you run the 3-4, you need several things - a NT with bulk, at least one OLB that is hard to block and ILB with size and enough speed to cut off the corner.
Liek someone else said, the 3-4 can be a beautiful thing when you have the talent to run it. But, without the right talent, it is not near as good.
True but Ray Lewis plays MLB in the 3-4 Defense of the Ravens.

YodAa
01-18-2006, 09:30 PM
The 3-4 is a very good D. It creates huge confussion on everyplay and can be very succesful if its run right. For it to run right you gotta have DEs that are around 6 2 290, a DT thats about 6 4 310, and LBs that are at least 6 4 240, theres no special size needed for the secondary. 3-4 can be great but if not run correct its a nasty thing to watch (ala Texans D).

The 4-3 is a much simpler D to run and although rarely does a 4-3 cause as much confusion as a 3-4 it can be just as or more effective. The 4-3 with its 4 DL allows for smaller players at every position and with small comes speed. Sometimes though since its so small a good big runner can cause problems for it.

dat_boy_yec
01-18-2006, 10:12 PM
So why in hell aren't there more DRAFT AJ HAWK threads. Seriously. Draft Hawk. Stick to the 34. And this defense, with one of the best middle LBs I've ever seen, will be astounding. I seriously hate the fact that we will be playing Indy 2x a year and they will have Manning from now until forever, yet we are just about to abandon the scheme that worked him to dealth over and over with the best 34 LB to have entered the draft in the last 5 years sitting right there at the top of the board and us sitting pretty with the No. 1 pick. It's sickening really.

Because Ngata is the bigger stud in the 3-4 yes we have Payne, but the guy is getting old and Ngata is a freakin beast.

dat_boy_yec
01-18-2006, 10:23 PM
By the way does anybody know someone available who can come in and implement this scheme successfully as DC here.

bdiddy
01-18-2006, 10:32 PM
3-4: This is a really good scheme if run in an aggressive fashion (i.e., not Fangio's design). In order to effectively run this scheme you must have (1) three very large and strong d-lineman b/c in the 3-4 their job is merely to occupy lineman; (2) a very good pass rusher at the OLB position; and (3) an effective blitzing DB.

If you look at the teams that run this scheme really well this is true:
Patriots- Wolfolk and Seymour make the line, Colvin is their rushing force w/ a very strong MLB corp, and before his injury Harrison was a great blitzer.
San Diego- there d-line is underrated, Merriman is a beast, and they have multiple dbs that excel at the blitz.
Pittsburgh- Casey Hampton (ex-Longhorn) is the best nose tackle in the league, Joey Porter is a good blitzer, and Polu...(however you spell it) is an amazing blitzer.

4-3: The greatest advantage to switching to this scheme is the players' general knowledge of the defense. Every player has played their defense throughout their career before coming to the Texans. Draft picks and young players can adapt more quickly to this defense and make a unit at least mediocre quickly.

I personally would continue using the 3-4 in a hybrid form for at least another year, as we will not be able to fully correct the offense (line, TE, Bush, etc.) in the same draft as selecting new players for the 4-3 scheme. We have to realized that other than our d-line, the defense is really young. Babin, Peek, Greenwood, Johnson, Robinson, Earl, Brown, Buchanon all have less 3 or less years in the scheme (and in many cases in the league as a whole).

As far as personnel drafted to fit the 3-4, I would generally agree the Texans have attempted to do this. However, Johnson is not properly suited for the scheme - he is a prototype DT in a 4-3 scheme. Additionally, Babin is more suited for the 3-4.

WILLIEG
01-18-2006, 10:35 PM
Not trying to break up the party but I'm I the only one that sees our defense telegraphing a blitz everytime they bring one? I think that in itself has been a big contributor to the unsucessful attempts at running the 3-4.

Xman
01-19-2006, 01:49 PM
True but Ray Lewis plays MLB in the 3-4 Defense of the Ravens.

True - but I think he will be a FA this offseason. Apparently due to his age, Baltimore doesn't want to pony up a 10 mil signing bonus, which he feels they owe him for past and future service.

Also, my point is that there are others:
ZThomas - undersized for the position, but has one huge DT (Traylor 340) and one normal DT in front of him to keep blockers off of him.
Urlacher - same
Vilma - of course
Odell Thurman - rookie in Cincy looks good

A good MLB can be had, and is vital in the 4-3. Then just put two big (325) DTs (which can be cheap players because they don't need to pass rush much) in front to tie up blockers and clog the middle six feet of the OL. The MLB should scrape off the clog (on either side) for a ton of tackles.