Posted: 9:13 am Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Falcons are not ‘switching’ to the 3-4 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Here are the Falcons in the 3-4 in the NFC championship game against the San Francisco on Jan. 20, 2013.

Here are the Falcons in the 3-4 in the NFC championship game against the San Francisco on Jan. 20, 2013.

We just had to get this blog out there as a public service. Psst, the Falcons have been running the 3-4 for two seasons!!!

We understand the confusion because every time the media brought the subject up, Falcons coach Mike Smith, a staunch 4-3 man, wouldn’t own up to the shift or I think he felt that telling the opposition that they were using a 3-4 is strategy. He may have been counting on us not being able to count the linemen and the linebackers.

So, basically the Falcons are not “switching” to the 3-4 defense this offseason, because they’ve been running it for the last two years in obvious run situations.

During coach Mike Nolan’s first season, the Falcons moved Corey Peters over to nose tackle and had Peria Jerry and Jonathan Babineaux at the ends.

The 3-4 defense did a great job stopping Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, who was held to 45 yards on 16 carries in the 30-17 victory at Lincoln Financial.

To counter the run, the Falcons used three defensive tackles on some downs, with Jonathan Babineaux shifting to defensive end.

“It’s just something that we’ve been working on,” said defensive tackle Corey Peters, who saw his first action of the season. “Maybe we’ll see more of it in the future. It just depends on what the offense is trying to do to us.”

With the defense tackling better, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was held to 45 yards rushing on 16 carries.

“We tackled them when we had a chance to tackle them,” defensive end John Abraham said. “There weren’t many missed tackles. A lot of the big runs in weeks prior came from missed tackles. We did a good job of wrapping up.”

Here’s Mike Nolan talking about the hybrid 4-3/3-4 attack from June of 2012.

The Falcons opened the exhibition game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the 3-4 last season. They would have used more of it last season, but Kroy Biermann’s injury hindered those plans.

He spent a great deal of his practice time working with the outside linebackers.

Now, with Peters coming back from Achilles surgery, the Falcons don’t have an anchor for that 3-4. That’s way Miami’s Paul Soliai is a possible target in free agency. Without the nose guard gobbling up two blockers, the 3-4 doesn’t work and will get shredded.

43 comments
AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@JSSN

Co-sign! The deal is like you have already said about Babs! We have to get a D Tackle in the third round I hope and groom him to be ready to play this year! He has to come in and spell Babs and cause some confusion! Spell as in play some BIG time minutes in all these schemes that they want to do. If we dont get any depth on the DLine then we no better off than last year! Not only that, I heard rumors they wanted to move Moore to FS and sign Whitner. I almost passed out when I heard that! just cause WillieMo played FS in college does not mean it translates to the pros and we all see that he has issues when it comes to covering!

JSSN
JSSN

What games are you people watching? The Falcons have been playing those zone drop schemes with the edge linebackers! Moreover, thy show 4-3 base and if a team show any inclination to run sprint draw or gap power slam, they are going to shift the line and go 5 linemen! Go look at the video, Abraham was in deep coverage countless times!

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Here's an interesting thought:

What if the Falcons do a good job of filling holes through free agency and then the top tackles and DEs are taken #1-5?


If Sammy Watkins is sitting there as the best player available, should the Falcons take him or trade down?


Before I'm attacked, realize I don't WANT this to happen...just a scenario.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

............ just get Jadeveon Clowney.

dawgs01
dawgs01

the falcons need two great drafts to even come close to fixing this mess in Atlanta by then we will need more receivers.  Roddy will be gone and Julio jones has an injury that will come back.  A great draft and by that I mean we get 3 above average starters and we might get to .500.  this team has so many holes it is ridiculous.  no way they fix this in one draft but it starts today with free agency but no matte who they get today or in the draft I am not gonna let my self think we have a shot at the playoffs bc I will get let down

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

Denver , Atlanta , saints , just said are interested in JARED  ALLEN .

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

THE FALCONS NEED 3 OR 4 GOOD VETERANS TO GET THIS ROSTER BACK TO 500 AND THE DRAFT OT GET MAYBE 1 OR 2 PLAYERS , AND WITH 11 PICKS WE SHOULD GET BETTER.

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

3-4 or 4-3. Which formation allows greater penetration w/o leaving the middle of the field open?

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

jaret allen falcons  call him when vickings, let him go today , how much do we have under the cap is it 25 million ?

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

the falcons need 3 offensive line man , sign micheal oher , if Baltimore lets him go, and sent sam baker on his way, Brandon albert will go to Miami, byrd will go back to buffalo, B.J. RAJI  IS AVAILABLE FALCONS GET HIM,  NOW BY 4.00 PM , do something right

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

B.J.RAJI  if you want a 3-4 get him, tony g , is gone so you need a te , a linebacker , and  steve smith , Darrell revis, Antonio cromartie is available so falcons need a lot so we fans waiting 48 yrs for asuper bowl, do something right I mean damn how much can we take as fans ,.

welikebaseball2
welikebaseball2

DOL, thanks for attempting to educate us but I think we're talking semantics here. It cannot be denied that the Falcons' BASE defense has been the 4-3. It also cannot be denied that, for the most part, our current defensive personnel is that of a 4-3 alignment. What we're gathering now, & are excited about, is the possibility of a BASE 3-4 & the signing/drafting of such personnel to match THAT alignment.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

are you kidding me mike Nolan sux, the falcons sux, they will never win a super bowl because they are stupid , Thomas dimitroff is stupid , he is pulling the woll over Arthur blanks eyes , the falcons with the 11th toughest schedule 3-4 , 4-3  will not matter they will have a top 5 pick next year if they don't give it up to get the clown from south Carolina .

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

This is such BS. You don't hire an "outside linebackers coach" if you have no plans on being more of a 3-4 team. Of course being 3-4 you are always multiple. You'll line up in different formations but if Paul Soliai is being pursued then that informs me that the 3-4 will be more of the Falcons thing this year as he can play nose tackle at 6'4, 340 lbs. Mike Nolan is a 3-4 guy. Everywhere he's been he's implemented the 3-4 defense. Paul Soliai played under Mike Nolan in Miami when they had a top 10 defense. 


On ESPN.com I read multiple articles stating that the players have been preparing for the 3-4 defense. There won't be "switching" because there's nothing to "switch". Since Mike Nolan has been here he's infused the 3-4 on some occasions but never truly had the players he wanted in the 3-4 system. I'm paraphrasing here but he said he wanted to build the scheme around his players and not the other way around. Meaning he didn't want to force the players that the Falcons had already drafted for the 4-3 trying to learn his 3-4 system. But now that he's been with us going on year 3, he's starting to implement more of his style which is 3-4.


Would we really be pursuing a 6'4, 340 pound defensive lineman if we were still running the 4-3? Hardly do you see guys that big playing a 3-technique. He's a nose tackle. This is 3-4 all the way. And I like it.

ctfalconsfan
ctfalconsfan

We would have a lot of work to do in switching to a 3-4. Not that we have a solid DL but we only have 1 LB that could actually start for other teams.

Kane337
Kane337

I call BS. They are switching to the 3-4 but will still call it a hybrid. 

RX
RX

So...our 3-4 transition from a 4-3 was stymied by Kroy getting hurt. 

So he was supposed to be the NT (which we never had), a run-stuffing DE, a coverage OLB and a pass rushing OLB. Got it.


No wonder we sucked after Kroy got hurt.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@JSSN  

But again, just because you line up in a 3-4 is not the same thing as being a 3-4 team.


Even in this very article, it references the fact that when we lined up in a 3-4 we had 3 DTs on the field.


A team that truly runs a base 3-4 has different personnel.  We have been running a multiple defense, as most other teams do.

LorenzoCarter
LorenzoCarter

Man who are you the jesus of football? Nope not even that. We suffered for injuries last year and the year before that we played for the NFC championship with the same guys only losing the guys who didn't have an impact on the game anyway. Get off this blog with your half wit opinions. Oh yeah when you see all that you are talking dont come to pass come back and apologise . Man it official when you dont know what the he'll you are talking about.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@dawgs01

Not sure about that. I hear your rationalization but I think if TD hits these draft picks and somehow gets it right in FA, the Falcons are right back in the playoffs next year. The key to all of this is and remains to me is fixing the OLine and having a running game. They schemed for two years on defense with subpar talent and made the playoffs. When that D is off the field and they have more time to sit and watch the O, then it makes the D that much better. Dont get me wrong, we have to get better on the D side of the ball again. How does the old saying go? A good defense starts with a good offense. And I guess you can turn that around and say the same thing about the offense, but I think it is fixable and remember this is the NFL, every team and I mean EVERY team is 3 to 5 plays from winning every game. We got some fixing to do but I do believe that it can be done...............but TD and this staff has to prove it!

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@dawgs01  

You're being way overdramatic here.  Are we really worse off than we were during the offseason of 2008?


We have a good core, and NO ONE doesn't have holes.  The only teams that are really complete don't stay that way for long due to the salary cap (see the Seahawks).


Yes, the Falcons obviously need to draft better.  But barring major catastrophe, the Falcons are certainly capable of making the playoffs in 2014 with a good offseason.

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@reallygroovy

Finally! I asked about this yesterday and really wanted to know why no one was asking about him? Where did you get this info?

TheRealJay
TheRealJay

@reallygroovy no way we want Allen. Let's stay away from the old end of their career guys please.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@DawgGoneIt  

Exactly.  It's a matter of semantics here, but like you said, ALL defenses are multiple to a certain degree.


But there is a big difference in personnel when you are working with a 4-3 vs 3-4 philosophy.  Our personnel has matched a 4-3 philosophy since Mike Smith has been here.  To truly run a base 3-4 we need different types of players.

PhilipHarden
PhilipHarden

@Kane337 DOL is saying they already switched, so they can't "switch" an already switched switch.

JSSN
JSSN

@RX  

Where were you at the end of last preseason when Big Crimson 75 and I were howling to the top top of our lungs that their gloried "Big Nickel" wasn't nothing but a stunted version of the 3-4!

Ha ha, the personnel (in that scheme) that one which when Abraham went down everyone went buck wild on them. When Abraham or Biermann could not efficiently run those stupid zone drop schemes and Zach Miller & Vernon Davis ran wild through the gaps and the inability of Thomas DeCoud to recognize formations (and intentions) despite the knowing the LBs couldn't run with mobile tight ends,; it should have been a revelation!. Hybrid my butt, Nolan has been trying to scheme around the talent for 2 years, Phwet!!!! The playoffs was the recognition (by the rest of the League) and 2013 was the chicken coming home to roost!!!

JSSN
JSSN

@RambleOn84

What in a "Stunted (version) of the 3-4 don't you get? You're the folks who are so worried about what they are doing. Pittsburgh runs 5 versions of the 3-4, the variable has been since Polamalu got there is where LeBeau commits him pre read. They have 4-3 (yeah even Pittsburgh would drop Harrison and now Jones to hands down., SMDH. It's a stunted (talent-wise) 3-4 masquerading as a Big Nickel. A team has to be run inept not to pound the Falcons on the ground!

JSSN
JSSN

@RambleOn84

Your personnel excluding the QB was not the issue in 2008. You weren't going to win with Harrington or Redmond. Turner was a good acquisition. Ovie and Dahl (just elevated to a starter)were already here as well as Clabo. The issue was the head coach! You're telling me Peele was better than Crumpler? The much ballyhooed turnover in roster was almost all backup depth and jettisoning of Hall and Jimmy Williams and the addition of Lofton.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

@RambleOn84 @reallygroovy I will , Ramleon84 , this crap pisses me off, for dimitoff to let Abraham go last year was beyond idiotic , and Michel vick visiting jets today , oh boy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@JSSN @RX

I do remember you saying that the "scheme" eventually catches up to you and you cant keep running it if you cant play it or have the right personnel to play it ( something like that). However, with these young guys they have now ( @ LB) and the draft in front of us, and hopefully with Debooboo being given his walking papers, I see them going back to trying to trying to run these "schemes" again. I dont know if they will be successful at it, but I do see them trying to do it again.

JSSN
JSSN

@DawgGoneIt

You're assuming. I don't like the Falcons as they are currently constructed. I'm no longer a "fan" of the franchise (since Jan. 2007). I don't like the Cleveland Browns but I can go on their portals with no problems. Worry about your posts and stop worrying about mine.

I like many Atlanta sports franchises. Nevertheless, the Braves have made it easy for me to forget about them.

JSSN
JSSN

@RambleOn84

Go watch Arthur Blanks' "State of the Falcons" address. He said that the Falcons would under no circumstance be drafting "skill players!"

ChuckClausen
ChuckClausen

I coached both the 3-4 & the 4-3 at college and NFL, you can win with both. I liked the 3-4 better, on most down you are going to rush 4 players, but the offense never know for sure where the rusher is coming from + some of your eligible receiver may have a blocking assignment, allowing a more players to play pass defense

JSSN
JSSN

@AnsweredTHIS @RX  

As long as an opposing team's OC can see Moore (in coverage) and you can isolate him long enough in a pattern you're not of the woods. As many have said, until your defensive tackle situation is solved (I mean 3 deep in quality and performance) and you must have two more LB who understand that scheme, you not out of the woods (DeCoud or not)

Trackbacks

  1. […] –Blog: Falcons are not switching to a 3-4 defense front, they’ve been using it for past 2 seasons […]

  2. […] Falcons: Whether you want to classify their scheme as a 4-3 or a 3-4, the Falcons need a pass rusher for it. If they stay at No. 6, outside linebacker Khalil Mack makes […]