DEFENSIVE Coordinator Jonathan Gannon came to Philadelphia saying that his defensive system wasn’t a system. He said that he wanted to “be multiple”. As in: Use multiple defensive fronts (4 – 3 , 3 – 4, 5 – 2, 4 – 2, etc.) He did much of that last year, primarily playing out of a 4 – 3 base. This year however, we’re hearing rumblings of using more 3 – 4.
I will never say that the Eagles shouldn’t strive for versatility, but we can’t allow ourselves to fall in love with the 3 – 4 this year. By “fall in love with”, I mean starting more than one game in it. By “fall in love with”, I mean more than 15 snaps per game in it, or using it EVERY single week. The 3 – 4 can be a weapon. It just needs to be concealed carry. Not hanging off the brim of our baseball cap.
Understand, most of the players we have on Defense, were plucked from 4 – 3 systems in college, and have played 4 – 3 as pros. That means 4 – 3 is what they are good at. They have become experts in 4 – 3. So why strand them in something they aren’t proficient in? The idea is to spend as much time as we can, getting the most out of our players.
We do have players here, who have played in a 3 – 4. DE Brandon Graham played OLB, and DT Fletcher Cox played DE, in a 3 – 4 Wide Nine, back when Bill Davis was here. You remember him? Chip Kelly brought him here, and he ran our Defense into the ground. You may remember that I wrote an article called “WANT A SUPER BOWL? THEN FIRE BILL DAVIS”. Then we fired Bill Davis and won a Super Bowl. Yeah, that Bill Davis.
My point is that switching 4 – 3 players, to 3 – 4 players didn’t work well for us. So again, why strand them? Look, sprinkling in a little 3 – 4 could be a major weapon for us. A major one if used just 5 to 8 downs per game (out of an average of 60). An opponent isn’t going to devote much time to stopping something we run only about 10 percent of the time. The time isn’t there. Not with less than a week of prep time. That alone makes it scary.
Also, with DT’s Cox, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Milton Williams playing in the ‘A’ gaps, it’ll be much easier to keep our LB’s clean. Compare that to using a NT with open spacing, which allows opposing G’s to get up on our ILB’s. It’s no contest. The 4 – 3 should be the base, and we shouldn’t do to much with the 3 – 4.