Why the Skins Should Switch Back to the 4-3

As the season starts to slip away many are wondering if the Redskins should have stayed in their 4-3 defense.  If they need to make major roster moves to make the 3-4 work. If they should switch back to the 4-3 this offseason. The answer to all these questions is yes they should and here’s why.

The 3-4 scheme is not necessary to suceed in this league or to fit Haslett’s playbook.
There are a few out there who think that 3-4 is the way of the future. This is not necessarily true. Of the top 10 NFL defenses in points allowed five are 3-4 and five are 4-3 schemes. You can be sucessful in this league with either scheme.

There are others who have the misception that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is a 3-4 coach. This is not true.  In his stints as defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and St. Louis he has run both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. In fact, he ran a 4-3 at his last stop at St. Louis.

The 3-4 is failing
The Redskins are curently 23rd in points allowed and last in yards allowed. Injuries or not that is unacceptable. It is true that the defense as already caused more than twice as many turnovers this than last year. However if offenses can move the ball at will improved turnover differential means nothing unless you force a to every other possession.

There are those that say it will take a few years to get the players for the 3-4 scheme and for the unit to get comfortable in it. Why bother? The pieces were already in place for a 4-3 defense to be a top ten unit last year. Which brings me to my next point…

There are more holes to fill in a 3-4 scheme

There are plenty of personnel needs on this team already. The offense obviously needs a lot of help. Regardless of scheme a starting second corner and a starting free safety have to be found for this secondary to be effective against all an opponents receivers. The problem is in 3-4 scheme the Skins need a nose tackle, a 3-4 end to play opposite of Adam Carriker, and a starting linebacker who can shut down the opposing team TEs. In a 4-3 the skins already have three solid starting linebackers in Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, and RockyMcIntosh. Nose Tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu becomes a DT with less responsibilty. Carriker moves inside to the other DT position. Andre Carter moves back to DE and becomes a force again. Now all the Skins need to find is an end to play opposite Carter. And they already have a few options – Philip Daniels if he returns for another year, Chris Wilson has shown some promise at end as well. They would also have much better depth at 4-3 defensive tackle than they have at 3-4 nose tackle. Kedrick Golston is a competent backup who could even compete for a starting job. Vonnie Holliday is a decent backup as well. Right now the Skins have no good option if Kemoeatu gets injured.

If the Redskins stay in the 3-4 defense they are going to be at least two seasons away from being a dominating defense. If they switch back to 4-3 they are just one good offseason away. Let’s hope that Shanahan can swallow his pride and make the right call when this season is done.

2 Comments to “Why the Skins Should Switch Back to the 4-3”

  • Charlie F. Owen February 6, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    That said what the Chargers remember is how they lost nose tackle Jamal Williams for the year center Nick Hardwick for half the season Johnson for three games and running back LaDainian Tomlinson and right guard Louis Vasquez for two games because of injuries suffered in a physical game that opened this season last month.. Turner declared this to be the healthiest the Chargers have emerged from a game by far. The only injury severe enough to report was Ogemdi Nwagbuo who sprained his ankle and was walking with a protective boot.

  • Wade Davidson December 22, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    ……If not for the Brett Favre drama no player in the NFL would have gotten as much attention this offseason as Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth…….He cashed Washington owner Daniel Snyder s 21 million roster bonus check in the spring and then held out seeking a trade. Igor Olshansky is an inch shorter and 20 pounds lighter and Haynesworth is significantly quicker which is part of the reason he envisions himself as a defensive end and pouted over the idea of moving inside to nose tackle…..Despite recent rumors that the Redskins are in discussions to trade Haynesworth back to the team from which he came the Tennessee Titans Shanahan said this week that Haynesworth will be with the team Sunday night when the Cowboys come calling.

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