Originally Posted by Number19
I still have several comments/questions.
2) Now, I've always thought when one of the OLB's dropped down to come on the rush, the defensive alignment more or less stayed as above, in a 34 alignment. But it seems this may not be the case; Capers may shift into a traditional 43.
I believe you are describing two situations.
In the first situation, the Texans move out of their base 3-4 into a nickel, or dime coverage. Because the Texans are adding DBs, they have to take somebody off the field. Not infrequently, the Texans were taking DEs (like Deloach and Sears) off the field and having the OLBs (like Wong and Peeks) put theirs hands down, heads up on the offensive tackles, in the hopes of generating a pass rush. In some cases, Gary Walker would move to NT and Seth Payne would come off. It appears in these situations that the Texans are still in a 3-4, because their are still three 'linemen' with their hands down, but instead of it being Walker-Payne-Deloach, it's Wong-Walker-Peek (say). It is not a 3-4, because there are not 3 defensive linemen and 4 linebackers(remember the extra DBs). The announcers make it particularly confusing, because if Peek gets a sack from this formation, they will say that Capers specializes in getting sacks from OLBs, but technically, although Peek gets the sack, he earned it 'as a DE.
In the second situation, a Team wants to shift from a 3-4 to a 4-3, to confuse the blocking scheme of the offense. In this case, their will still be 4 DBs on the field. It is difficult to do this generally, because you need a defense tackle who can switch to a one-gap technique (Walker can), a DE who can play like a 4-3 DE (Smith can) and a OLB who can put his hand down and play like an outside DE in a 4-3 (we are told Babin can). I believe that the Texans are excited by the prospect of sliding from the 3-4 to the 4-3 effortlessly next year, a fairly unique situation. In the 4-3 configuration, the remaining OLB (Peek) will play the Will LB, one interior LB will play the MAC and the other will play the SAM.