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Are we really equipped to run a dominant 3-4?

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Southpaw, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Southpaw
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    Southpaw Endorphin Junkie

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    I was just thinking about this after watching some of our games from this season I have DVR'd and I have to say our defensive issues go beyond just our lack of pass rush at OLB and in our front 3, but I think our Inside Backers are just as responsible.

    Not just for our lack of pass rush because Capers likes to Blitz our inside linebackers with frequency, but it seems that a large portion of the big plays that we've given up were right down the middle of the field. Not only do our Inside Backers have issues getting off blocks on blitzes, but they have a issues in coverage and they are not good tacklers which have repeatedly resulted in 6 yard runs or receptions turning into 15-20 yard plays.


    The strength of a good 3-4 defense after the obvious Nose Tackle is the linebackers. Not just the outside linebackers but the Inside Linebackers as well. You look at undoubtely the most successful 3-4 defense this season and probably in recent memory, the Niners.

    They were obviously dominant up front but at linebacker they were the gold standard for what you want in a 3-4 scheme. They have speed, they can pass rush, they can cover and most importantly they can wrap up tackle.

    I'm seriously questioning now whether a 3-4 scheme is right for us. Because, screw our issues at defensive end, we are trying to play a scheme of defense that demands that we have 4 good linebackers and right now I'm only seeing one. And that's Matthews. The only other guy you could make a case for is Bishop.

    Now obviously we will have an opportunity to address this in the offseason and in the draft, but will they. Will it even yield any results?

    Do you think they will even make an attempt? Because even if we acquire another Pass Rusher at OLB, we still have Bishop who is still a young player and AJ Hawk who has just proven to be awful and clearly not worth what he's being paid.
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  2. tstej
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    tstej Cheesehead

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    Well we don't have perfect personnell for the 3-4 but we also have sold out on it. You say we don't fit the 3-4 so who plays defensive end in a 4-3. Matthews would be our Von Miller, but who would be Dumerville and Ayers. We would be even worse off switching back to a 4-3.
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  3. Southpaw
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    Southpaw Endorphin Junkie

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    I know maybe I should have worded it differently. I'm just pointing out or defensive woes are clearly more than just defensive end and OLB, at ILB we are just as bad as the other two areas we claim need work. And you can't play really any scheme of defense, especially a 3-4 with 1 good linebacker.
  4. 7thFloorRA
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    7thFloorRA Cheesehead

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    I too have wondered if they basically have all guys more suited for the 4-3 aside from Matthews. They aren't changing anything so they better start getting the right personnel and not extending guys like Hawk who absolutely do not fit.
  5. okcpackerfan
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    okcpackerfan Cheesehead

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    Just to snowball off what you are saying, I think the steelers have the best 3-4 in recent memory, the niners were very good this year but the steelers did it for many years (save this year). I think we have the pieces, with tweaks and an addition of an OLB and another d-lineman to, to be a top 5 defense. When the steelers defense was at their best they went front to back. They had lineman that provided a good push and could stop the run better than anyone in recent memory. Their linebackers were "ok" in coverage but were very intelligent and very good at rushing the QB. Their secondary was horrible except for troy who played as a rover backer.

    Now we look at the packers and I think we can be successful working back to front. We have a good secondary, one of the best in league. They will make strides and adjustments in the off-season but I am very happy having woodson, williams, and shields as our 3 CB's. If we get Nick Collins back that is HUGE. The big difference, and what seriously needs to be worked on is our linebackers intelligence. They repeatedly look lost and make lazy penalties and plays. Ask any coach and they will tell you the number 1 thing you can teach is hustle.

    We have skill, we just need to re-light the fire under our linebackers. I actually think our defensive line does their job relatively well. The concept of a 3-4 is for the defensive line to hold the line of scrimmage, draw double teams, and allow the linebackers to get to the QB. Clay has to start taking advantage of his 1 on 1 matchups which he struggled with last year.

    I will bump this thread in a year when our defense is playing outstanding.
  6. bozz_2006
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    bozz_2006 Cheesehead

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    I know people have roundly dismissed McCarthy's explanation that fundamentals are the key to fixing what was broken this year. I think personnel is a big part of it. I think Collins' ability to always arrive at the point of attack on time is huge. But other than Collins and Jenkins, this defense is made up of the same guys who locked it up in 2010.
  7. Helmets
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    Helmets Cheesehead

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    Perhaps I will bump it in a year when we see the same thing next season that we saw this season. I hope you are right OKC, but I don't have a lot of faith that it will turn around from horrible to outstanding in one season. Where will it come from? Collins may not be back, Hawk is still Hawk, Neal is a bust, Woodson is a year older - as is Pickett, the OLB opposite Matthews is below average - no matter who starts, and the GM basically refuses to dabble in free agency. You say a fire needs to be lit under our linebackers. If Kevin Greene cannot light that fire, then the wood is wet and can't be lit. Southpaw hit the nail in discussing the middle of the field. Opposing teams have exposed how to attack the defense, and it is the middle of the field. Without ANY passrush, our linebackers cannot cover and opposing teams beat us in attacking that weekness.

    This next season, we will again have to rely on our offense to outscore opposing teams in shootouts. I hope I am wrong.
  8. Croak
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    The OP hit the nail on the head with the linebackers. To have a dominant 3-4 you have to have several exceptional linebackers because they become the "all purpose" guys on the defense. They have to be able to stuff a run on a goal line stand. They have to cover receivers well, rush the QB with ferocity, keep contain on outside plays, call out defensive schemes to the other players and make bone jarring tackles that pop the ball loose. The Packers have one right now that is capable of filling that role. They need several more. I honestly think this defense's biggest weakness this year was at linebacker. Yes the secondary needed some help, yes the d line was "fair". But the linebacker play was definitely sub-standard.
  9. 13 Times Champs
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    Outside of Pickett and Raji there is no one else you can say is decent on the DL. And the Linebacker position opposite Matthews is a disaster. Both positions cry for a solution more than the secondary.
  10. AmishMafia
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    AmishMafia There's cheese under that hat

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    Remember this was a top 5 defense in 2010 with the same LBs. I think you will be surprised to see the difference that a good DE will make in taking blockers away from the play, freeing up those LBs.
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  11. Croak
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    Didn't we have Chillar, Barnettand Poppinga in 2010? I know they only played in 8, 4 and 6 games respectively, but did their presence make a diff with the linebacking corps? Maybe not. Losing a DE hurt. But there has to be more to it than that, because he wasn't the best fit for a 3-4 and the DE in a 3-4 isn't really a central cog.
  12. 7thFloorRA
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    Chillar could cover and he never got credit for that. It made a difference IMO.

    I really like Bishop but he he should be traded to a 4-3 team for a player of equal value that will fit better with a 3-4 team.
  13. greenandgold
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    greenandgold I'm Dirty Hairy Callahan

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    About the only difference in the line was Cullen Jenkins being gone. But since he did not seem to do real well in Philly I still am at a loss to explain no pass rush.
  14. El Guapo
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    The difference in personnel was losing Jenkins and Collins, two of our veterans that played with the most heart. The difference in play with the other guys was quite big and I'm not sure why. You didn't see Howie Green do a thing this season and Raji was playing out of position. Most of our defenders if you break down the tape didn't play up to last year's level. I'm not sure that changing scheme will help that.

    However, I'm with AmishMafia 100%. We went from being tied for the best defense in 2010 to the worst in 2011. I don't know how you can even half blame that on personnel, since we only lost two players.

    One factor not yet discussed is the expansion of the 3-4 scheme. When it was just Pittsburgh and a few others running the 3-4, they were able to find the right players for the scheme. Now that more and more teams like Green Bay have hopped onto the 3-4 bandwagon, it's gotten harder to find the premier 3-4 players through the draft or free agency. The talent pool is diluted until even more colleges run 3-4 defenses. Otherwise you're just grabbing at players that look like they could succeed in a 3-4.
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  15. realcaliforniacheese
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    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Lets not forget we lost Collins. Neal and Zombo, who were supposed to make the jump in thier second year were injured most of the year and never really got to thier potential at End and OLB. If Collins comes back healthy and Neal and Zombo reach thier potential this D makes a Big jump up the ladder. All our coverage issues including linebacker come down to one thing. We don't get to the QB, we pressure but we don't get home and you just can't cover over the middle for more than a few seconds under the new rules and with the move of the Umpire to behind the QB it is tough for LB's to maintain that coverage especially against these new age recivers and TE's. Oh yeah and we need to TACKLE!.

    We get that pass rush going again and get these blitzs home and we will be right back where we were in 2010. With our O even if our D is a top 15 D that should be good enough but top 5 would be grand.
  16. 13 Times Champs
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    I think what we have seen from Zombo is what we are going to get. He is just too limited athletically. I don't see him ever being more than a back-up. Neal has a lot to prove both from an ability and health standpoint. Regardless of whether he suddenly becomes a factor on the DL it will still be a very high priority this off season. Thompson won't go into the 2012 season with Neal being his only option.
  17. Brandon
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    I honestly think we are a superior defense with the 3-4 over a 4-3, except for the first transition period when we had Aaron Campman and he was our sack leader in the 4-3, then when we went 3-4 you take that away from him. Since then though, the 3-4 has done us great justice. We were an outstanding defense in our SB run, and we led the league in turnovers this year. Losing Nick Collins and having a porous pass rush was the sole reason we were not good on defense, this will be addressed and our defense will get back into form next year in the 3-4 guaranteed.
  18. ThxJackVainisi
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    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    IMO it would be a mistake to switch back to a 4-3. The talent acquisition since '09 has been geared for the 3-4 which requires different kinds of athletes at DL and LB than a 4-3. Capers' D is the 3-4 (or the 2-4-5). A switch would mean a serious rebuilding project starting with a new DC and staff. There's nothing wrong with the scheme IMO, only the personnel needs to be upgraded.

    One of the reasons Capers went to the 2 man DL was a lack of options there. Switching to a 4 man line would mean an even greater need for additional DL. I disagree about ILBs too. IMO Bishop is good enough at one spot and the options to replace Hawk are already on the roster. One capable OLB opposite Matthews would make a world of difference IMO.

    No matter the scheme the Packers need another CB too. If Collins can't return, Woodson could switch to safety and even if Collins is back IMO they need another CB. Perhaps House can emerge but he shouldn't be counted upon. No matter the scheme, IMO players like Williams and Shields have to return to their play of 2010. And Peprah has to return to a reserve role.

    Are we equipped to run a dominant 3-4? Not now but it'll be much easier to accomplish that than to "start over" with a 4-3. IMO better play by current starters, improvement of some of the second teamers and an infusion of talent, particularly in the front 6 or 7 will improve the D enough to compete for another title.
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  19. ExpatPacker
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    I think JackVan hit the nail on the head. Assuming we get Nick Collins back, our biggest needs are at OLB and CB. Next in line is DE or DT. We need a second pass rusher period.

    There are a bunch of top OLBs in the draft and I think we should be able to get one of them.

    CB is really a concern. Woodson is 35 years old and Williams got torched the whole season.

    It's too early to really say, have to wait for the Combines and individual workouts for the team, but right now it looks like the best at these two positions are:

    Morris Claiborne (everybody's top CB), Dre Kirkpatrick (drug arrest didn't help), Janoris Jenkins. Also in the mix are Stephon Gilmore and Alfonzo Dennard.

    Courtney Upshaw, Nick Perry, Melvin Ingram, Whitney Mercilus. Also in the mix are Andre Branch, and now Zach Brown seems to have crept up in to the 1st round.

    If we could get 1 of each of those in rounds 1 and 2, that'd be a darn good draft for us.

    Not getting Collins back will really hurt us a lot, so I'm thinking positive.
  20. realcaliforniacheese
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    3-4 is a much more flexible defense than the 4-3. with the 3-4 you never know where the pass rush is coming from. We had a bad season defensively, 2010 was a great one, 2011 not great. Look at it this way, there is no where to go but up. It will be fixed and we will be champs again. If NE wins with the 31st D what will be the topic next week?
  21. Southpaw
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    Southpaw Endorphin Junkie

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    Okay guys I get it. I worded it wrong. Switching to a 4-3 would create more issues. But IMO, I think ILB should be addressed as well in this draft
  22. realcaliforniacheese
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    BAP
  23. El Guapo
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    I don't think that ILB will be addressed, namely because we just gave big contracts to both players. If you draft a stud high in the draft, you are (in NFL speak) telling your current linebackers that they are on they are done. I think that you'll see more of a DJ Smith draft at linebacker - someone in the mid-to-late rounds that intrigues TT.
  24. NelsonsLongCatch
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    There is almost no way the Packers can go back to a 4-3 defense right now. Hawk and Bishop are inside linebackers... the 4-3 only requires one inside linebacker. Matthews is a 3-4 OLB. I can't see Matthews playing DE with his hand on the ground or dropping into coverage every play as a linebacker. Pickett and Raji could pay DT in the 4-3, but the Packers would be short two defensive ends and a second OLB.

    I would like to see the Packers go back to man coverage. Let Williams and Shields play bump coverage at the line.
  25. Southpaw
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    Southpaw Endorphin Junkie

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    AJ Hawk should be done. He's being paid like he's a top LB, but he sucks.

    He's always late on the calls
    He can't tackle
    He can't get off a block to save his life
    He's mediocre in coverage

    He sucks. Hate all you want. Disagree if you want. But if I'm GM, I'll take chance on a rookie first rounder before I anoint him the starter for the 2012 season.

    I say cut Hawk, give Bishop the Green Dot, draft an ILB and have him and DJ Smith compete in training camp for the starting job
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