Your Switch From 4-3 To 3-4

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by RiggoForever, May 30, 2006.

  1. RiggoForever

    RiggoForever Benched

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    I'm posting this with all due respect to your defense, because I think its only going to get better and a #10 ranking with all the young players you had last year in the 3-4 is going to bode well in the future.

    What I wonder about, is what led to the decision to switch? Zimmer had the #1 defense in 2003 using the 4-3, then the defense slipped big time in 2004. What do you think was the cause of that?

    In 2005 the defense made an upswing once again. What do you all think led to the defense not doing as well in 2004, and how do you think Parcells and Zimmer came about with the decision to switch schemes when the 4-3 in 2003 was the #1 defense in the league?
  2. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Parcells is more comfortable with the 3-4. It was his base D with the Giants. Though he did switch the Patriots from a 3-4 to a 4-3 for 1 year.

    The 3-4 causes some matchup problems now and then. It's a good scheme. So is the 4-3.
  3. chinch

    chinch No Quarter

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    also Tuna also wants CONSTANT pressure without blitz trickery (ie. philly historically). pressure can come from different places, without leaving your secondary totally exposed. It's also more difficult to get 4 quality players who can shore up the DL as opposed to getting guys like Ware, Spears, Canty, etc. and our new rookies.
  4. dmq

    dmq If I'm so pretty, why am I available?

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    Our defense might have had the stats in 03, but we weren't nearly as good as the numbers indicated. We were more of a bend but don't break defense with almost no up front pressure.
  5. ravidubey

    ravidubey Active Member

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    Much like the Washington defense in 2004, Dallas' 2003 defense was an illusion created by an inept offense and in Dallas' case, a ridiculously easy schedule.

    Top defenses can bring pressure from their standard formations and create turnovers. Our 2003 defense did not do that-- it was purely a gap control front seven that flooded gaps with fast little players. The secondary defended well enough thanks to Darren Woodson, but realize that teams didn't need to pass on us. They really didn't even need to run on us either-- the reason is our offense wasn't good enough to move the ball against them. We were bad-- really bad on offense.

    Troy Hambrick would routinely fall to phantom tacklers before he hit the LOS. Quincy Carter would miss wide open receivers and often threw out patterns into the dirt. Parcells simply had to give up, use Joey Galloway as a decoy, and pray we had enough to win in the 4th quarter. This despite having the easiest schedule I can remember the Cowboys ever having.

    We beat Philadelphia on an idiotic onsides kick. We beat Carolina when they inexplicably stopped blitzing. We lost to Atlanta without Michael Vick, and were shut out by Tampa and New England. They only needed 16 and 12 points to beat us-- made our D look good statistically, though. Teams with real offenses, Miami, Philadelphia, and Carolina blew us out down the stretch. We simply could not stop New Orleans-- of ALL teams-- from passing on us at will in the alst game of the reg season in another loss.

    Bottom line: ignore the stats, trust your gut when guaging a defense. If you have to look at stats, check turnovers, sacks, and pressures.
  6. lspain1

    lspain1 Active Member

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    It has been suggested that the 3-4 defense is easier to "staff" because good OLB's are easier to find than pass rushing DE's. There is no doubt Parcells is more comfortable with the 3-4. I think talent acquisition is a part of why Parcells likes it so much.

    When it comes to on-field performance, it has been said (I have no real data) that the 3-4 outperforms the 4-3 against WCO teams and does not do as well against running teams. I would like to see some stats on this subject if anyone has them.
  7. RiggoForever

    RiggoForever Benched

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    Good post. In many ways though we were statistically superior in 2004, the true strength of the defense only emerged last year during the 5 game win streak and the playoffs, when we began to pressure and create turnovers. I think before the win streak, we were like -11 on turnovers. I can definately relate to what you're saying.
  8. SkinsandTerps

    SkinsandTerps Redskins Forever

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    I dont know if its easier. Most college programs dont run a 3-4. So finding players that perfectly fit the scheme are rarer. Fortunately NFL teams that run a 3-4 can usually take calculated gambles on players that are tweeners, and put them at OLB. The reason some teams struggle against the run while running a 3-4 is because the ILBs and NT have to play very disciplined and have dominant size/technique. But if you have good LBS and even a decent NT, you should fare pretty well against the run, as long as the RB doesnt get past that second level, but that can be said for any type of scheme.
  9. RiggoForever

    RiggoForever Benched

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    Not necessarily with regard to stopping the run...San Diego and Pittsburgh had the #1 and #3 defenses against the run in the NFL last year. 84.3 and 86.0 ypg against the run is pretty darn stingy!

    As for defending against the WCO, that's a tougher call. I think beating the WCO is more about having the right game plan and personnel then base defense. Phillys WCO was shutout against Seattle (4-3). Seattles WCO was limited by Jacksonville (4-3), Dallas (3-4), Washington (4-3), and Pittsburgh (3-4).
  10. ravidubey

    ravidubey Active Member

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    I thought that comparison would help you identify with what we experienced.

    Dallas truly needed a complete overhaul of its front seven which I think is now completed mainly thanks to the draft. Washington went another route, choosing free agency and Greg Williams' schemes to get them over the top. Should be a fun year!
  11. Chief

    Chief "Friggin Joke Monkey"

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    I'm not much of an X's and O's guy, so all I know is what people tell me.

    Woody Widenhoffer, who was the defensive coordinator for a while with the Steelers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, lives here now and told me that he prefers the 3-4 because:

    -- Very good 4-3 defensive ends (especially the right ends) are very rare ... guys like Julius Peppers. Dallas should know this as well as anyone (Carver, Pittman, Ekuban, etc.). It's easier to find the 3-4 OLBs to rush the passer.

    -- It's easier to disguise who is rushing the QB in the 3-4. That fourth rusher could come from either side ... or up the middle.

    -- When you run the 3-4, you have more linebackers on your roster, which, in turn, helps your special teams coverage units.
  12. ravidubey

    ravidubey Active Member

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    Really good point.
  13. stasheroo

    stasheroo Well-Known Member

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    Cornerback play (or lack thereof), had a lot to do with the defense's precipitous fall in '04. Signing Anthony Henry and Aaron Glenn greatly improved that aspect of the Cowboys' defense regardless of the Front 7 switch.

    But I think Parcells' affinity for the 3-4 comes from its' versatility. It's easier to overload one side of an offense from a 3-4 than the 4-3 and easier to disguise a defense's intentions.

    I think Parcells' would have wanted to install the 3-4 immediately but the success of the '03 "D" changed his mind. The collapse in 2004 sealed the deal.
  14. Clove

    Clove Shrinkage

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    The only problem Parcells made was not employing this scheme from day 1. It doesn't matter what scheme you run, just how good you run it, and the personell to run it.

    If you run a 4-3 and have 2 great ends and 1 solid tackle, with atleast 1 great linebacker and a fast LB, 1 great corner with 1 solid corner, and atleast 1 good safety, you can dominate in a 4-3.

    OTH, if you have a big strong NT, atleast 1 very good end, 1 great OLB, 1 great ILB, 1 great corner, and one great safety, you can also dominate in the 3-4.

    So when it comes down to it, talent wins.
  15. The Realist

    The Realist Well-Known Member

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    Everybody we beat in 2003 picked top ten except for Philly, Carolina, and Buffalo #13.

    DC twice, Giants twice, etc, etc.
  16. Lifetimeboyzfan

    Lifetimeboyzfan Well-Known Member

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    Great posts in this thread guys!
  17. Tobal

    Tobal Well-Known Member

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    Easy running against 3-4 teams to me is a myth..

    I remember we always had trouble running against pittsburgh during our 90's dynasty. I always thought we'd have a big rushing game and our Hall of fame line and Hall of fame runningback never got much against them.
  18. NorthTexan95

    NorthTexan95 Well-Known Member

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    4-3 or 3-4 ... it all comes down to the players maning the positions. Either defense can be pounded if they have inadaquate personnel.
  19. dargonking999

    dargonking999 DKRandom

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    Simple and easy the 2003 Def benifited from a poor Off, and the ability to bend but not break. We would always give them the ball at the 50 or the 40, and teams never needed to score TD's to beat us.

    Second our 2004 def was killed by injuries, and the lack of rotation, you had guys who were playing over 80% of the snaps. And it doesnt help when your constantly on the field because of poor off excution in the redzone. Throwing INT's in the redzone, dosent help your defense at all.

    the decision to switch was made the day BP was signed as a coach, the only problem was getting the players. Once BP felt he had enough players to make the switch he did. And with the draft picks that we had in 2005 we were able to draft enough guys to make the Switch. And now adding in another strong draft, you can kiss the "Redskins Def being better than ours" Dream goodnightt
  20. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    it was Parcells' decision entirely, because that's the system he's most comfortable running, it was also in a ways, an economical decision, as it is easy to find 2 very good, pass-rushing LBs than it is 2 very good, pass-rushing DEs in a 4-3

    Parcells basically laid the decision on Zimmer and told him to verse himself in it all of last offseason

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