Matt and Mark are back to discuss the ending of two Washington sports eras – the Redskins Donovan McNabb Era and the Wizards Gilbert Arenas Era. They also discuss mounting injuries for the Redskins defense, recap the Cowboys game, and preview the Jaguars game.
*Note this episode has some PG language.
Redskins loss to the Cowboys recap
Preview of the Jaguars game
Donovan McNabb benched
Gilbert Arenas trade to the Magic for Rashard Lewis
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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.
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