The 3-4 look is something I have been thinking about for quite a while now. Even last year, there was a part of me that wanted to see the Lions defense switch it up into a 3-4 to confuse their opponent every now and again. To be honest, I only really want it because it sounds cool and could be extremely entertaining to watch. Hell if I know how successful it might actually be, but we do seem to have the personnel on our defensive front to pull this off. Now after this last draft, I find myself growing more and more excited to see if this desire actually becomes a reality.
First off, I know the lions experimented a little with some wrinkles and whatnot, but played the vast majority of their snaps out of their standard 4-3. They didn't show much of a desire to be creative in their play-calling. But hey, a man can still dream, can't he? Maybe with the same group returning, the players will finally be comfortable enough with the base defense to then start working on some of the fun stuff.
But maybe the most important thing is the amount of tweener LB/DE's we have now acquired on our team. It's almost as if our coaches are trying to build a 3-4 instead of a 4-3. Let's quick go through the players who we could possibly use in a 3-4 look. I'm curious to see what you guys think about who we could use and how to do something like this.
Cliff Avril: Played linebacker at Purdue, but has bulked up and molded himself into a DE since then. Most likely would have to be mainly a pass-rushing LB. Maybe like a Demarcus Ware? We could move him around and let him attack from wherever the heck he wants.
Willie Young: We all know he is a little smaller than a typical DE and seems to only have a speed move, but we love him for being a badass, don't we? I could easily see him playing standing up.
We also drafted two new guys who might fit this mold as well.
Ronnell Lewis: First a LB, then a DE as a Sooner. Definite tweener status here. It's probably too early to think about him, as he hasn't proven anything at the professional level yet, but at least he fits the description.
Last year, Whitehead led an Owls defense that finished third in the country in points against (behind Alabama and LSU) with four forced fumbles, finished second on the team with five sacks -- rushing from a variety of positions, both standing up and with his hand in the dirt -- and showed some of the coverage skills that are required of linebackers in today’s NFL.
I'm not predicting anything about Whitehead here, it's just another instance of our coaching staff going for a player who is multi-dimensional. What's the point of having multi-dimensional players if you don't utilize them?
I'm not sure about LoJack or KVB. Maybe someone who understands exactly how a 3-4 operates better than I do could share some insight here.
Ndamukong Suh: We could move Suh over and play him as a 3-4 DE. Beastly.
Nick Fairley: Same thing as Suh. What an epic DE combo these two could be.
Corey Williams: Let this big boy play a two-gap style, nose tackle position, like he did in Cleveland. We all know he's better suited for a 4-3, that's how Mayhew managed to snag him. But that doesn't mean he can't be a NT for a play or two now and then.
Sammie Hill: Another big body, run stuffing player who could probably do alright as a NT on the occasional time we pull out the 3-4 look.
So yeah, what do you guys think? How cool would it be to see our players used in creative ways on the defensive side of the ball? I know I'm longing for our coaches to move our players around and use them in new, exciting ways.