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    3-4 and 4-3 defense

    I am not sure where this post goes....

    I know the Rams run a 4-3 defense, but when watching other teams play, they have different defenses.

    The Colts have a cover 2 I believe.
    The Steelers have a 3-4
    along with the chargers, cowboys and patriots. there are others, but I'm not going to list all the teams.

    I am wondering what are the advantages and disadvantages of of 3-4 and a 4-3. I remember reading posts in the past stating the rams should convert to a 3-4 defense. some players play better in a 3-4 than a 4-3.

    Now I'm not saying we should convert, i am just trying to see what are the differences between the two. Thank You


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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    I am not 100% great at schemes but I guess I will give it a try. A 3-4 is the defense the Ravens and Steelers run, some of the best run stopping teams in the league. Also they have converted DE's to OLB's. Therefore, Chris Long would be an OLB. All of the 3 lineman are there to eat up space... 280+ lbs. There all DT's down there. Also the 3-4, are really good at creating pressure on the QB. The 4-3 im not sure what the advantages are but there has got to be something.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    I am not 100% great at schemes but I guess I will give it a try. A 3-4 is the defense the Ravens and Steelers run, some of the best run stopping teams in the league. Also they have converted DE's to OLB's. Therefore, Chris Long would be an OLB. All of the 3 lineman are there to eat up space... 280+ lbs. There all DT's down there. Also the 3-4, are really good at creating pressure on the QB. The 4-3 im not sure what the advantages are but there has got to be something.
    but i don't understand is how if there are 4 linebackers, how do they get more pressure than a 4-3. four down lineman. Since we have four lineman rushing (almost) all the time, shouldn't we get more pressure? like with dwight freeny and robet mathis in Indy.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Quote Originally Posted by hill_Bartell=Probowl View Post
    but i don't understand is how if there are 4 linebackers, how do they get more pressure than a 4-3. four down lineman. Since we have four lineman rushing (almost) all the time, shouldn't we get more pressure? like with dwight freeny and robet mathis in Indy.
    They have 3 DT's on the line. Remember all of them weigh about 300 a piece(Ngata from the Ravens 350lbs)...They get double/triple teamed to create room for the linebackers to shoot the gaps. A lot of the time a 3-4 defense has there OLB's blitzing. Look at last years sack leader Elvis Dumervil. Hes an OLB for the 3-4 D of the Broncos.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    The pressure comes from the fact that in 3-4 they always rush four but the offense is not sure where the pressure is coming from. For example one play they can run the 3 linemen and the left OLB and the other blitz the right ILB.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    The 3-4 can be a very effective scheme, but one of its disadvantages is that it is a lot harder to find the right players to work in a 3-4 defense than it is a 4-3. For every Baltimore and Pittsburgh there is a Cleveland or Buffalo. Houston tried running a 3-4 for years and didn't have much success. New England used to be up there with Baltimore and Pittsburgh but they have lost a few key players and now their defense is becoming a liability. Its tough to find players for that scheme. How long did we struggle to find a decent nose tackle to handle double teams? Well, in a 3-4 you need 3 guys who can do that, as well as linebackers who can drop into coverage just as well as they rush the passer. These can be tough to find especially since most college teams run a 4-3 scheme.

    I hope this doesn't turn into a thread about how we ought to switch to a 3-4 because our defense is looking very promising right now. There have been plenty of 4-3 defenses that have been outstanding, for example the Spags-led Giants defense that helped them upset the Patriots in the super bowl a couple years ago.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Quote Originally Posted by cfh128 View Post
    Spags-led Giants defense that helped them upset the Patriots in the super bowl a couple years ago.
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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    If you watch a typical 3-4 defense, frequently you'll see two linebackers, one lined up on each edge of the defensive ends ...

    With this, you essentially have five defensive lineman, but the two linebackers are usually standing up ....

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Therefore, Chris Long would be an OLB.
    Didn't Long play as a DE in a 3-4 scheme at Va.... But then again, so did Carriker before he was a bust.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    The DE's in a 3-4 scheme are usually around 285-305lbs and more powerful, while the DE's in a 4-3 scheme are lighter and more agile at around 260-285lbs.


    The NT in a 3-4 scheme has to be a massive guy who makes teams commit at least 2-3 blockers on him, freeing some gaps for rushing linebackers to shoot through.




    If a 3-4 scheme has the right personnel and is used correctly, it's a dominant scheme. However, the more traditional 4-3 is also a solid scheme, and I think it has the advantage in pass coverage.

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Thank you everyone for your help

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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    As others have said, a 4-3 defense fields four down defensive linemen and three linebackers, while a 3-4 defense fields three down defensive linemen and four linebackers. The choice needs to be based on the personnel you have, but so many times coaches come to a new team and try to switch immediately based on the scheme they're most familiar with, regardless of whether or not that's a good fit for the people they have.

    The 4-3 defense is, in theory, said to be a better run stopping defense because you have the fourth defensive lineman on the line of scrimmage and ready to fill a gap or take on a blocker. Teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh might take exception to that, though. 4-3 defensive lineman more frequently play a one-gap style of play, where they shoot a gap between offensive lineman to try and make a play. They generally have to be more quick and better able to penetrate than 3-4 defensive linemen. Not only do you want quick ends who can challenge the edge of the line, but even your defensive tackles have to be able to explode off the line and penetrating in the middle of the pocket.

    In a 3-4 defense, your defensive personnel on the line looks very different. Often times, a 3-4 defensive line will feature two ends that could be defensive tackles in a 4-3 scheme. As others have said, they're bigger 280+ pound guys who will be required to two-gap, which means they occupy the blocker in front of them and guards the gap to either side of that blocker. The central and perhaps most important player in the 3-4 defense, the nose tackle, is usually a massive man, in the 325-330+ range. He's a big mammoth that is simply tough to move off the line of scrimmage and requires at least two blockers to occupy. He's also generally two-gapping but his main goal is to occupy blockers so his linebackers can make plays around him.

    Generally, defensive linemen in the 3-4 aren't expected to be as active on the stat sheet as 4-3 defensive linemen because their main responsibility is essentially to tie up the opposing blockers. That means the linebackers make most of the plays, and when you disguise where the pressure is coming from with different alignments, it can make it very difficult for offensive linemen and pass protectors to figure out who is going to rush. The outside linebackers in the 3-4 are big but athletic; they have the speed to challenge the edge or disengage from a tackle as a pass rusher, but they can also drop into coverage and play the pass.

    The biggest advantage of running the 3-4 defense is that you make it more difficult for the offensive protection to determine where pressure is coming from. You can do this in a 4-3 as well with defensive line stunts and zone blitzes, but some would argue that with a 4-3, it's easier to figure out who is coming. Ultimately, it depends on your personnel and what you as a coach have had success with. Both schemes can be effective if run properly and properly manned.
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    Re: 3-4 and 4-3 defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Generally, defensive linemen in the 3-4 aren't expected to be as active on the stat sheet as 4-3 defensive linemen because their main responsibility is essentially to tie up the opposing blockers. That means the linebackers make most of the plays, and when you disguise where the pressure is coming from with different alignments, it can make it very difficult for offensive linemen and pass protectors to figure out who is going to rush.
    This is a major reason why Albert Haynesworth doesn't want to play NT in Washington in their new 3-4 defense.

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