For the Defense, Flexibility is Key

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So does the addition of Quinton Coples signify a changing of guard from the 3-4 to the 4-3? Well not entirely. While the addition of Coples may strengthen the defensive front, the rest of the Jet’s roster doesn’t exactly match up with the 4-3 philosophy. Pouha and Devito can definitely play the two inside tackle positions in the 4-3, but the much important over the guard 3 technique position also suits Muhammad Wilkerson very nicely, leaving Devito on the bench.

So with Wilkerson playing inside options for the opposite defensive end are 3-4 linebackers Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace and Aaron Maybin.  None of these options look particularly great with them playing  as hand in the ground defensive ends that must also play the run consistently. While Thomas and Pace have the size to play this position, their inexperience playing as a down lineman rushing one on one with offensive tackles is fairly limited. Maybin has elite speed, but his size at around 240lbs could become a serious liability if he was tasked with being a three down defensive end.  It would likely take a committee effort of these three players to make this defensive front work on a consistent basis.

The linebacking core is also more suited to playing the 3-4, with players accustomed to operating out of stand up rushing positions and queuing off of confusion. While the 4-3 alignment could help an aging Bart Scott operate in less traffic, and free up David Harris to make more plays, there doesn’t seem to be another linebacker on the roster very well suited to playing the 4-3. With less rushing opportunities from the second level of the defense, linebackers will be asked to play in coverage more often, possibly creating mismatches with linebackers not often asked to consistently play every down pass coverage.

 

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Tags: 3-4 4-3 Bob Montgomery Defense Draft Mike Devito Mike Pettine Muhammad Wilkerson Quinton Coples Rex Ryan