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cribbs is the man

Switch To 3-4

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I'm so sick of starting over with new systems. When we had a 3-4 defense, we didn't have any above average LBs. We have run a 4-3 with no above average LBs.


I've been crying for LBs here since Clay Matthews & Mike Johnson.


Chud, good luck with whatever system you want to employ- just knock the opposing QB on his ass & we will win. Attack attack attack.

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When I first heard the Browns were considering going back to the 34, I cringed. It got a little better when I heard Chud say "hybrid". When you think about it, how many teams are running a true 34? Not many. Even NE isn't running the true 34 anymore. In today's NFL, a majority of defenses are in some form of nickel most of the time and are running out of an even front. I don't think they will be transitioning to a true 34 any time soon, if ever. If aggressive, it will take at least 2 drafts and a couple FA periods and >$40M. That's assuming there are 3 of the front 7 already on the team, which I don't think is the case. In a hybrid however, you could get some pieces in place over the next few years and be able to run any defense you want. To be thorough, it's probably important to understand the roles and prototypical player attributes to fit the 34. You can decide for yourself if the Browns have any of the personel on their roster. I got some of this from "Take Your Eye Off the Ball" by Pat Kirwan, a must read for football fans.


The 3-4 is based on the DL taking up 2 gaps each. It starts with the NT. he should be 6'2"-6'4', 350+lbs and long arms (Shaun Rogers). He needs to occupy th A gaps on either side of the center and should demand a double team on every play. The DE should be taller , but doesn't need to be as thick (Richard Seymour). Their job is to take care of the B and C gaps between the T and G on each side. The DL's responsibility is primarily to occupy as much of the OL as possible and keep blockers off the LBs. The ends are not pass rushers like in the 43. That's the job of the OLB. A solid mix of speed, power, and agility is the name of the game for the OLB (James Harrison, LT, etc). He needs to be able to rush the passer, cover the flat or hook zone, and seal the edge or persue in the run game. Undersized 43 DEs usually make the transition pretty easily to the 34. The ILBs should consist of two different types of LB. The strong ILB is a 6'3"-250lb thumper that can take on the guard with power (NYJ's Davis Harris). The weak side ILB doesn't need to be as big, because the weak side G will rarely get out on him. He'll be free to roam the line of scrimmage and make place in space (Ray Lewis).


The DBs role in the 34 vs the 43 isn't as defined, but from what I see, corners in the 34 are usually asked to play man and need to have solid cover skills. It's nice having a ball hawking FS roaming the middle of the field. Of course this is all in base defense, which as I stated off the top, teams aren't in nearly as much.


The other benefit that most don't think about, is the improvement you have on STs. Instead of having a plethora of DL, you have a stock-pile at LB that fill the coverage teams with speed and improved tackling ability.


I hope this helps.

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Here's my bottom line...


Two years ago we ran Rob Ryan's 3-4 and our strength was at LB where it has to be in the 3-4. So what did we do? Hired Patsy and Jauron and scrapped the 3-4 for a 4-3 that we did not have the personnel to man. But....


Through two drafts and a couple of FA signings we improved our D-line to where it is the strength of the D as it should be in a 4-3. Simultaneously, although I like our young LB's, we've scrimped on the LB corps.


So naturally it's time to revert to the 3-4... :blink:


We need to look OLB first and foremost. The only person on the roster who might be able to play OLB in a 3-4 is Sheard and that is a very solid maybe. He would have to lose a bit of weight. We would be set on NT and DE. You take the quicker of Rubin and Taylor and put them into a DE spot and then start Billy Winn at the other open spot. We got Jackson, JMJ, Gocong, and Miavia in the middle. Just no depth for OLB.

No way Taylor is suited to DE in the 3-4.... he has the quicks, but not the speed. He is the prototypical NFL NT. Hughes or Rubin will be more than adequate in spelling him. Big question will be how they feel about accepting the NT role. Especially Hughes who had a bit of a malcontent rap coming out of college... although thank goodness it did not rear it's head in 2012.


Winn looks like a swing-man to me.... some NT some DE. Rucker works as a DE. Nothing says you cannot put Sheard down in a 3-point in passing situations no matter where you stand him up. Utilizing Parker is problematic in a 3-4.


LB's are problematic to say the least. I actually like DQ's speed for OLB (yes, the dead horse will be beaten.... again) and think Sheard's size might allow him to make it as a run-stuffing ILB ala Mike Vrabel, but his best use might be as trade material.


What I do not like is the size and/or speed of our other LB's for the 3-4. AS much as I like Robertson and to a lesser extent Fort, JMJ and the return of a healthy Acho might be our best bet from existing roster.


At best it'd be another two-years to put a respectable 3-4 on the field... but I believe Rob Ryan is available... ;)


Hybrid sounds good to me.

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Sheard actually tested comparable (often better) than both Ryan Kerrigan and Aldon Smith at the 2011 combine. All three are within one inch and five lbs of each other. With Kerrigan and Smith having success in a 3-4, why not give Sheard a try for at least a year.

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