Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I know BB likes defenses that morph into all sorts of different formations, so in some ways the 3-4 vs 4-3 question grossly oversimplifies things. But at the same time, as we think about what players the team should bring in, it does make a difference how they are going to be lining up most of the time and what schemes BB is planning to play most.  

    In your front seven you need a combination of skills: guys who are stout against the run, guys who can rush the passer or penetrate and disrupt plays in the backfield, guys who can attract double teams and occupy blockers, guys who can drop into pass coverage.  Until last season, BB seemed to be drafting for a 3-4 look.  That meant he was looking for his linemen to be the stout run defenders who could occupy blockers.  He looked for size more than speed in defensive linemen.  Similarly, he was looking for bigger OLBs who could match up with offensive tackles, but also had the speed and agility to drop into pass coverage. He also wanted depth at ILB, since there are two positions to fill in the 3-4 there rather than one MLB position in the 4-3.

    Early last year, as we all know, he switched philosophy--bringing in Carter to play as a pass-rushing end, Haynesworth to be more of a penetrator inside, and Ellis to provide some versatility because of his ability to play either 4-3 or 3-4. Wilfork was also playing a different role--not as much two-gap NT, a lot more one-gap techniques and often lined up away from the center of the line. This meant a switch in LB positions.  When everyone was healthly, Mayo was moved outside, Spikes played MLB, and Nink was the other OLB. 

    Looking at the team now, it seems like the core talent still is better for a 3-4 than a 4-3.  Mayo in my opinion is better in the middle (he seemed weak in pass coverage on the outside, I thought) and Spikes really can't play anything but inside.  So our two best LBs are really both inside guys.  Our linemen are all mostly big, 3-4 guys, not really 4-3 types (Anderson and, if he's back, Carter excepted). The problem, though, is we still lack good OLBs for a 3-4.  If we revert to 3-4, we need to pick up at least one (preferably two) good outside guys who can generate pass rush, hold the edge, and drop into coverage.  That seems like a big challenge.  Maybe an easier route is to continue the evolution toward more 4-3, and pick up another 4-3 DE with pass rushing skills. But that raises the question of how to handle Spikes and Mayo.  Do we keep working Mayo outside?  Do we platoon the two? Or do we end up trading either Spikes or Mayo to get help at OLB or DE?  

    I have no idea what the right answer is--and if I know BB he probably has two or three options in mind to allow him to adjust to whatever talent ends up being available--but it's interesting to speculate where the team might go. It seems hard to guess what players the Pats will want to draft or acquire in free agency until we have an idea what scheme BB envisions for his front seven.

    Curious what others think . . . 


    And PS: What ever happened to Cunningham?  Is he a 4-3 DE, a 3-4 OLB, or just a bust?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I think BB likes to be fluid depending on opponent. That way they can't game plan around a single defensive front and BB himself can tailor his D around the opponents strengths.

    He does this but have maximum flexible players.

    34DE's that can play 43DT and 34OLB's that can play 43DE's for example Nin lines up as a DE in the 43 and an OLB in the 34, same with Cunningham and even Anderson was at times lined up at OLB. Ellis was lined up all along the line as was Deadrick and G Warren.

    So I think BB will seek out players that can give him maximum flexibility. He might go after a specialist like Carter (43 DE) for specific roles but I think BB prefers to be a hybrid 34/43 system
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I agree, Eng, he likes versatility in his players and doesn't strictly play any one scheme, but back in the years when our defense was good, he was much more often playing a 3-4 type defense (Warren, Wilfork/Washington, Seymour on the line, Vrabel, Johnson, Bruschi, McGinnist/Phifer at LB).  I think he's varied it up more recently in part because of game planning but also because his talent isn't as good as it was and he needs to use scheme to beat opponents rather than just relying on player skills. 

    The risk with going for versatile players is you may get guys who are good at a lot of things, but great at none.  Very few truly versatile guys are great pass rushers, for instance. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from GoUconn13. Show GoUconn13's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    That is depend who are the DE's/ LB's.  Back in old days, NE have alot of talent LB's where BB like playing 3-4 defense.  But this year, there are not much talent LB's where BB have used alot of 4-3 with a little 3-4 in all season along.

    If Patriots ever draft another Mayo or McCinest guy or two, then the Patriots would more likely play 3-4 defense.

    But this defense need more than LB.  They need younger DE's, secondary and more LB's.  Plus need deep threat receivers!!  They are not a very deep defense team unlike in the past.


     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?:
    [QUOTE]I agree, Eng, he likes versatility in his players and doesn't strictly play any one scheme, but back in the years when our defense was good, he was much more often playing a 3-4 type defense (Warren, Wilfork/Washington, Seymour on the line, Vrabel, Johnson, Bruschi, McGinnist/Phifer at LB).  I think he's varied it up more recently in part because of game planning but also because his talent isn't as good as it was and he needs to use scheme to beat opponents rather than just relying on player skills.  The risk with going for versatile players is you may get guys who are good at a lot of things, but great at none.  Very few truly versatile guys are great pass rushers, for instance. 
    Posted by prolate0spheroid[/QUOTE]

    We won the 01' and 03' SB's playing a 43. Partly due to injury but also because of scheme. We look at those front 7 back in the day and don't always realize BB only switched to a 34 after the 03' season and mainly because we had Wilfork, Seymour, and Ty Warren who combined could provide as much pressure with just those 3 players as a 4 man rush can in a 43. So he used the extra man in the box as either an extra DB or an extra rusher in a 4 man blitz package. If we had 2 DE's of Seymour and Ty Warrens caliber (in those years) I'm sure he'd do the same again since he wouldn't lose any presence on the line and gain that extra player in the box
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    My impression is that they will go back to 34 as the primary set if they can. 

    Right now, it's still a 43 group. Though Anderson made strides standing up.

    In the end, as usual it's a molehill. Execution and talent are far more important than "schemes" which only throw so much perfume on a pig-- even at their best. 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from 49Patriots. Show 49Patriots's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    What they need is a smart safety that can play with Chung.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from msteven. Show msteven's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I think they will be going back to the 3-4.  That is the preferred line up by BB.  I also think the only 3 safe right now are Wilfork, Mayo, and SPikes
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from tanbass. Show tanbass's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I don't care what they call it...or how they line up. Can they get pressure? Can the defend the run? Can the DBs cover?

    Do those 3 things and call it what ever you want.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?


    I guess I think it depends most on what kind of talent BB can get.  If he can find a guy who can play on his feet and has the size and skills to be a 3-4 OLB, I'd expect him to continue to favour bigger linemen and morph back to a 3-4 team.  That allows Mayo and Spikes to man the inside LB spots and leaves Nink as the other OLB.  

    But if that 3-4 OLB continues to elude us, I suspect BB looks for some more speedy DEs who can fit a 4-3 look better.  I guess Mayo continues as an OLB in that scenario, but I like him better on the inside.  Am I wrong about Mayo as an OLB?  Anyone think he looked as good on the outside as he does inside?



     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?:
    [QUOTE]I guess I think it depends most on what kind of talent BB can get.  If he can find a guy who can play on his feet and has the size and skills to be a 3-4 OLB, I'd expect him to continue to favour bigger linemen and morph back to a 3-4 team.  That allows Mayo and Spikes to man the inside LB spots and leaves Nink as the other OLB.   But if that 3-4 OLB continues to elude us, I suspect BB looks for some more speedy DEs who can fit a 4-3 look better.  I guess Mayo continues as an OLB in that scenario, but I like him better on the inside.  Am I wrong about Mayo as an OLB?  Anyone think he looked as good on the outside as he does inside?
    Posted by prolate0spheroid[/QUOTE]


    Mayo played between the tackles in the 4-3. They always used an over/under setup where he was (basically) playing in the same spot. BB was pretty voluble on the topic, and that he liked him for that reason coming out (Tennessee playeed him the same way 4-3 under, iirc).

    It really doesn't amount to a big hill of beans. Talent is the key word. 

    Is it going to be Sterling Moore, Antwan Molden the 2011 version of DMC again? Or something else? NE needs one more great player, and a two or three guys that are worth being starters to make this defense anything but mediocre.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3? : Mayo played between the tackles in the 4-3. They always used an over/under setup where he was (basically) playing in the same spot. BB was pretty voluble on the topic, and that he liked him for that reason coming out (Tennessee playeed him the same way 4-3 under, iirc). It really doesn't amount to a big hill of beans. Talent is the key word.  Is it going to be Sterling Moore, Antwan Molden the 2011 version of DMC again? Or something else? NE needs one more great player, and a two or three guys that are worth being starters to make this defense anything but mediocre.
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]

    I agree about the talent . . . Maybe two more impact players--one in the front seven and one in the defensive backfield--would get us over the hump, but sometimes when I look at that roster it seems like we need six or seven better guys to really be a good defense.



     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    Holy f-ing ish...

    We went this entire season listening to the idiot media telling us how BB was switching to the 4/3 defense, all the while I insisted he wouldn't... the lone voice in a sea of BS.

    When the post season comes along the Patriots ran the 3/4 exclusively.

    Now you guys are telling me that the season has barely ended and I have to listen to the same crap all over again... but then I see who started this thread and it suddenly makes sense.

    Let me put it another way so fools can understand, Belchick will never change to the 4/3, no matter how much you wish and hope that he'll draft some defensive end because you think he'll be an impact player yada yada yada...

    Belichick revolutionized the 3/4 along with the Steelers Dick Lebeau, he is never going to change to the 4/3. 

    We have this same inane conversation every season and every season we end up playing the 3/4.  I'm sorry it doesn't fit into your draft charts but tough ish.... get used to it or start rooting for the Giants.  

    The next person who starts a thread about the Patriots switching to the 4/3 is getting neutered for being an absolute f-tard.  Belichick isn't drafting JJ Watt, get over it.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?


    Were you up drinking late last night Wozzy? Seem kinda grumpy . . .

    Anyway, I don't really care one way or the other what Belichick plays.  And as I said, in a lot of ways it doesn't matter because his defensive formations change all the time.  The problem, though, that we've all seen with the defense is that we don't have a good edge rusher, whether he's playing mostly with his hands on the ground like a DE in a 4-3 look or mostly on his feet like an OLB in a 3-4.  If we're going to speculate about who BB "should" or "might" draft, it seems helpful to have an idea how he might want to play the guys.  

    So I guess, you're thinking he'll want a guy who can play more like a 3-4 OLB? Finding a good one in the offseason is a key then, unless we think Jermaine Cunningham or Markel Carter or someone like that is going to step up.  Ninkovich may be serviceable on one side, but who's on the other side? Mario Williams?Smile


     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3? : Mayo played between the tackles in the 4-3. They always used an over/under setup where he was (basically) playing in the same spot. BB was pretty voluble on the topic, and that he liked him for that reason coming out (Tennessee playeed him the same way 4-3 under, iirc). It really doesn't amount to a big hill of beans. Talent is the key word.  Is it going to be Sterling Moore, Antwan Molden the 2011 version of DMC again? Or something else? NE needs one more great player, and a two or three guys that are worth being starters to make this defense anything but mediocre.
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]
    Tell me I'm wrong about Mayo (and I must be because Bill loves him), but does he look like one heck of an uninstinctive lienbacker? To me it always looks like he's a step out of position in coverage. I can't remember the last time he made a really big play...maybe the pick against Indy? Which was his first career interception - think about that for a second - the guy is always in coverage and yet he only has one pick and almost never breaks up a pass. Now I understand linebackers generally don't run around breaking up passes, but the ball always seems to get caught five yards from where he's standing. I guess he's smart and knows everything that everyone is supposed to be doing out there, is a team leader, good guy off the field, good size, speed...it's just most games it's like he's invisible out there.

    Perhaps more talent around him would make him more visible? Five minutes into the first game Spikes comes back and you could sense his presence...he was all over the place making big plays. Mayo plays most of the year and all I can recall is a nice interception against the Colts and many times when the ball is caught in the middle of the field and the receiver is running free Mayo will give a great effort to limit the guy from scoring. 

    I have two friends that are high school coaches and one of them hates him, the other one loves him.    
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I think Mayo is a sure tackler and he tends to get to the point of attack on the run quickly.  He doesn't make big explosive hits, but he locates the ball carrier quickly, wraps guys up well, and keeps runners from getting yardage.  His pass coverage seems spotty to me--at least from a fan's view of the game (without knowing the schemes and looking at film).  I've seen him make a few good plays in coverage, but I've also seen him give up lots of completions.  I think his coverage skills were exposed a bit in the 4-3, especially when he had to cover guys near the sidelines.  Again, I may be judging him unfairly, because as a fan not looking at film you tend to have selective memory, just remembering one or two plays that stood out.  But I do seem to remember a lot of completions against him along the sidelines and in the flats. 


    I see Mayo and Spikes being a nice inside duo in a 3-4, though, which is what I think BB probably originally intended. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In response to "Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?": [QUOTE]Holy f-ing ish... We went this entire season listening to the idiot media telling us how BB was switching to the 4/3 defense, all the while I insisted he wouldn't... the lone voice in a sea of BS. When the post season comes along the Patriots ran the 3/4 exclusively. Now you guys are telling me that the season has barely ended and I have to listen to the same crap all over again... but then I see who started this thread and it suddenly makes sense. Let me put it another way so fools can understand, Belchick will never change to the 4/3, no matter how much you wish and hope that he'll draft some defensive end because you think he'll be an impact player yada yada yada... Belichick revolutionized the 3/4 along with the Steelers Dick Lebeau, he is never going to change to the 4/3.  We have this same inane conversation every season and every season we end up playing the 3/4.  I'm sorry it doesn't fit into your draft charts but tough ish.... get used to it or start rooting for the Giants.   The next person who starts a thread about the Patriots switching to the 4/3 is getting neutered for being an absolute f-tard.  Belichick isn't drafting JJ Watt, get over it. Posted by wozzy[/QUOTE] Woozy, you can correct me if I am wrong, but they did not run the 3/4 exclusively in the post season. In fact I believe they ran every defensive snap in the first half of the SB in the 4/3 with Nink on the end and White in the game.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    I don't care as long as they find some DEs, OLBs, S, and CBs who can help our D get better.

    The sad part is that the Patriots have been trying to revamp the D since 2005/2006. That's 5-6 years of drafting or trying out players on D. Have the Patriots made any difference?
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    Wozzy's probably been on a 7 day binge since we lost the SB as have I. It hurts watching us lose with the same offensive plan over and over.

    Anyway to the topic, it looks like we might need a re-haul on personnel on the D-line. I am thinking Ellis,Warren G, Carter and possibly Anderson(1 year deal no) could be gone. I like Love and Deadrick next to VW but Deadrick is depth. I really hope we draft big DT in the 1st this year, or make a move in FA.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    [QUOTE]Wozzy's probably been on a 7 day binge since we lost the SB as have I. It hurts watching us lose with the same offensive plan over and over. Anyway to the topic, it looks like we might need a re-haul on personnel on the D-line. I am thinking Ellis,Warren G, Carter and possibly Anderson(1 year deal no) could be gone. I like Love and Deadrick next to VW but Deadrick is depth. I really hope we draft big DT in the 1st this year, or make a move in FA.
    Posted by TrueChamp[/QUOTE]
    I've noticed more than a few of our regular posters have been left with a bitter taste by the super bowl defeat. It's ok and will pass over time.

    The defense is still a work in progress as I'm sure there will be many changes like there were from last year to now. Meriweather, Sanders, Banta-Cain, Butler, Page, Ty Warren, Wilhite and Woods were just some of the changes and I bet there will be just as many gone next year.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    In Response to Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?:
    [QUOTE]I've noticed more than a few of our regular posters have been left with a bitter taste by the super bowl defeat. It's ok and will pass over time. The defense is still a work in progress as I'm sure there will be many changes like there were from last year to now. Meriweather, Sanders, Banta-Cain, Butler, Page, Ty Warren, Wilhite and Woods were just some of the changes and I bet there will be just as many gone next year.
    Posted by digger0862[/QUOTE]

    I agree, I would prefer to get a veteran in the secondary as I think a disciplined p[layer is what we nee back there....or 2 or 3 players actually.

    It is comforting to know our defense can play as well as it did the last quarter of the year with limited talent in the secondary. Hopefully we get 1 or 2 impact players this off season.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    [QUOTE]I agree, I would prefer to get a veteran in the secondary as I think a disciplined p[layer is what we nee back there....or 2 or 3 players actually. It is comforting to know our defense can play as well as it did the last quarter of the year with limited talent in the secondary. Hopefully we get 1 or 2 impact players this off season.
    Posted by TrueChamp[/QUOTE]
    The Texans proved that you can drastically improve a defense by good drafting (DE J.J. Watt and OLB Brooks Reed) and adding a few quality free agents (CB Johnathan Joseph and S Danieal Manning). I think we'll be fine.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    Regrettably, the Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth the same day the Texans signed Joseph and Manning.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    ^ oops.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from Quahogger. Show Quahogger's posts

    Re: Front seven next year: 3-4 or 4-3?

    Good post, Prolate. 

    Bellichick stated that he used the 4-3 this year "because it was easier to teach". Two years ago BB said that it was getting harder to find college DE's to play a 3-4 OLB because nearly half the NFL teams are now employing the 3-4. Three years ago he said it was hard to project which college DE's would project into good OLB's in a 3-4 because there is no film on them playing that role.

    The common thread of all his comments is that his decision is totally personnel related. Who are the best available players to add for the next season between the draft and free agencies? If BB can find some impact players available this year that will improve the team, he will trade, sign or draft them. That was his strategy with adding Haynesworth, Carter, Anderson and Ellis.  He picked up talented players that he thought could soldify the front 7 and schemed around the players.  As the season progresses you can coach them up into more complicated schemes and game plan accordingly to specific opponents.

    Since there's now a lot of competition in the draft for the college DE's who project into 3-4 OLB's AND they are a risky pick, he may not go that way in this year's draft. Then again he might. BB loves smart veterans who can adapt quickly to new schemes. It will be interesting to see who he signs and drafts.


     

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