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Can The Giants Change to a 3-4?

I’ve gotten lots of emails and comments about the Giants defense. Of course, everyone and their mother wants Bill Sheridan fired. I think he will be tomorrow. The common theme I see is fans wanting to see a change to a 3-4 defense. For those unfamiliar, a 3-4 defense has 3 down lineman, and 4 linebackers, instead of the traditional 4-3. I’m a fan of 3-4. If I was starting a team from scratch, that’s what I would employ. But, looking at this roster, can the Giants do it? Let’s explore.

I’ll start with the defensive line. The most important position in a 3-4 is the nose tackle. Chris Canty played some NT in Dallas, but he was more of an end. The Giants need a big body, someone like Shaun Rogers, or Haloti Ngata out there. Canty is a perfect 3-4 end.  I’m more worried about the defensive ends. Defensive ends in a 3-4 don’t rush the passer as much. They hold up offensive lineman. These are usually “two-gap” defensive ends. Two-gap defenders take up two gaps on the offensive line. These are usually reserved for the big boys. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are not two-gap defenders. Neither is suited for two gap roles. Canty is, so that’s one end taken up. Who’s the other? And is that player in the draft or free agency? Not sure.

We talk a lot about the pass rushing ends in a 3-4. LT. DeMarcus Ware. I think Osi can do it. Kiwanuka can. Tuck probably not. In a 3-4, Tuck may the odd man out. The middle linebackers are taken care of. If Pierce comes back, his lack of athleticism could be hidden in a 3-4. I think Goff and Blackburn would be adequate.

So, in order to change to a 3-4, you’d need a nose tackle and one more defensive end. You wouldn’t really have a place for Justin Tuck. For nose tackles, there is Terrence Cody from Alabama entering the draft. Dude is big–6-5, 365. Will he be available at 17? Don’t know. There are some 3-4 linebackers. Johnny Jolly of Green Bay would fit as a 3-4 end. He’s a free agent, but who knows with the CBA talks. The point is this. Transitioning to a 3-4 defense will be tough. There are missing pieces, and with the uncertainty of the CBA, getting those pieces in free agency may be difficult. Should they try it? Maybe. I wouldn’t be opposed. But, it’s not a cinch. Oh, and Romeo Crennel is not available.


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14 Responses to “Can The Giants Change to a 3-4?”

  1. andrew ilnicki says:

    you’re fighting history here moving away from a 3-4… vince lombardi type history.

    Even though your players might get more sacks on average, how does it benefit the Giants? Look at what Minnesota just did with a 4-3… they got pressure all day, stopped the run, and took away the short pass opportunities when it mattered.

    its about playing hard, smash you in the mouth, i want to win this EFFING game no matter what… football.

    the 4-3 scheme, why should that be under attack given all the other problems at the corners and safety? just 2 years ago the 4-3 won a Superbowl for this ball club.

    I guess what I’m saying is, give me some better reasons for why the Giants need to change their bread and butter defensive scheme that would marginalize some of their best players.

    • andrew ilnicki says:

      i meant moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4

    • CES says:

      IIIIGHT! CHECK ME OUT.
      NOSE=ROCKY BENARD {HAS THE BODY}
      LE= J TUCK{PLAYED EVERY POS. ON THE LINE}
      RE= KIWI {PLAYED EVERY POS.INCL. LINEBACKER}
      CANTY/TOLLESON BACK UP ENDS
      ROLB= OSI {HAS THE SPEED, NEEDS MINOR TWEEK}
      LOLB= SINTIM {HAS SPEED,& ATHLETISM}CAN RUSH
      ILB’S= BOLEY & AP
      BLACKBURN/GOFF/WILKERSON/KEHL/CLARK-BACKUPS
      CORNERS= WEB & ROSS
      NICKEL= THOMAS
      JOHNSON/DOCKERY BACK UPS
      FS/SS=K PHILLIPS {ACTUALLY EVERYWHERE!LB ALSO
      FS MICHAEL JOHNSON
      THIS COULD WORK

  2. Michael S says:

    3-4 is the d-fense of the FUTURE. All the top defenses run a 3-4 like the ravens, jets, dolphins, packers, cowboys etc. People say we don’t have the personnel to run but greenbay did it and they have one of the top defenses now. All they did was draft a NT(bj raji) and an OLB(clay Matthews) and convert Aaron kampman from a 4-3 end to a 3-4 OLB. I believe all we need to do is convert osi and kiwi to OLB’s, and either draft or trade for a monster NT. Whatever we do, we need another safety to play next to Kenny Phillips hoping he returns. A monster MLB would help and a new defensive coordinator is a MUST. It wasn’t that Sheridan was bad, his defense just didn’t like his system. He didn’t show passion like Spagzz did. One last thing. Someone on the defense HAS to step up and become a leader for the team like Strahan was.

  3. Michael S says:

    He advantage with the 3-4 is that you don’t know where pressure is coming from. That’s what makes it effective

  4. Jeremy Fuchs says:

    Well, Andrew, I was more responding to the concerns from fans. I do think it has an adverse affect on some of the best players. Like I said, Tuck doesn’t fit. Barry Cofield doesn’t fit. Fred Robbins doesn’t fit. There are guys, good guys, who don’t fit.

    The thing is, though, Osi has the chance to be a dominant as a 3-4 linebacker. And that’s when a 3-4 is so successful. And, yeah we won in 07, but 86 and 90 were 3-4 defenses.

    You’re right about the secondary. But, some of that has to do with pressure up front. There was no pressure today. Because we have someone who could be a great 3-4 linebacker, that would help to create pressure. Michael S. is right. Look at the Packers. They change to a 3-4 and are in the playoffs.

    It will be hard, and it will depend on the defensive coordinator. But the defense was so bad this year .Changing things up may be the best thing.

    • andrew ilnicki says:

      youre right about big blue back in 86 and 90.

      im just thinking now though that was 20 years ago… and with the current studs we have can’t we just find a way to create confusion from within the 4-3 scheme the team is currently built on?

      spags did it.

  5. Michael S says:

    Why can’t we make tuck fit into our defense if it switches to a 3-4? He could gain weight and play end or I think he’s athletic enough to play rush OLB. He’s abit bigger than Demarcus ware. Our OLB’s would be tuck, osi, kiwi and sintim. That’s a nice rotation.

  6. Cactus Jack says:

    Once our new coaching staff is in place, we will turn our attention to the free agent market. Our very highest priority must be a veteran, inspirational leader, regardless of position. If he plays a position of need, so much the better, but the Giants absolutely need an every down, on-field leader on both defense and offense. Skilled players are necessary, of course, but without team chemistry, there is no team. Without a team, you cannot win. If you cannot win, there is nothing to be proud of and that’s why our team is playing without pride.
    Too much emphasis is placed upon acquiring a collection of skilled players and not enough upon acquiring a skilled team. It starts and ends with the coaches and the front office.
    Cactus Jack

    • andrew ilnicki says:

      so often these leaders are veterans that still have the uncanny ability to have endless amounts of energy at the end of 60 minutes to exert their will on the game.

      Michael Strahan fit that mold, of course LT was one of the originals.

      Brandon Jacobs vanished early this year, but he stood in for Strahan well last year. We’ll see what happens next year.

      Philly for example had Dawkins, their showing Sunday should remind us all that no matter how good you look on paper — its sometimes these intangibles like getting your team up for a game that matter most.. and if youre in a funk to say and do the right things that pull you and your team out of it and get you in a position to win mentally and physically. Dawkins will be sorely missed as Philly heads into the playoffs without a veteran fire starter like BD.

      Ray Lewis is another example. Troy Polamalu is another, these guys dont just play great — they make everyone else around them that much better too.

      Can you draft a guy like that? Sure, but it might take 8 years before these intangibles kick in.

      This team had firestarters at every level in 2007 — now the flame has dwindled to a smoking pile of rubble.

      Can it be rebuilt for next season? Gulp….

  7. […] Brigid wrote a very interesting post today.   Here’s a quick excerpt:I’ve gotten lots of emails and comments about the Giants defense. Of course, everyone and their mother wants Bill Sheridan fired. I think he will be tomorrow. The common theme I see is fans wanting to see a change to a 3-4 defense. […]

  8. BlueManFla says:

    Cactus Jack

    Is Tony Robbins available???

    LOL….Just joking

  9. CES says:

    IIIIGHT! CHECK ME OUT.
    NOSE=ROCKY BENARD {HAS THE BODY}
    LE= J TUCK{PLAYED EVERY POS. ON THE LINE}
    RE= KIWI {PLAYED EVERY POS.INCL. LINEBACKER}
    CANTY/TOLLESON BACK UP ENDS
    ROLB= OSI {HAS THE SPEED, NEEDS MINOR TWEEK}
    LOLB= SINTIM {HAS SPEED,& ATHLETISM}CAN RUSH
    ILB’S= BOLEY & AP
    BLACKBURN/GOFF/WILKERSON/KEHL/CLARK-BACKUPS
    CORNERS= WEB & ROSS
    NICKEL= THOMAS
    JOHNSON/DOCKERY BACK UPS
    FS/SS=K PHILLIPS {ACTUALLY EVERYWHERE!LB ALSO
    FS MICHAEL JOHNSON
    THIS COULD WORK!!!!

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