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Could a 4-3 front make best use of the Cardinals talent?

 
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khodder


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Could a 4-3 front make best use of the Cardinals talent? Reply with quote

The 3-4 defense has been common place in Arizona since the arrival of Ken Whisenhunt as Head Coach and the team had its best overall defensive performance in the 2012 season when they ranked among the league’s elite in efficiency rating and in per drive numbers. The 2012 offseason has seen a lot of change and upheaval in both the coaching and playing ranks, players in and players out at all three levels of the defense and as I cast my eyes over the talent on the roster I wonder whether the best utilisation of the talent on this defense might be to implement a base 4-3 set.

The Defensive Line

Routinely talked about as the strongest unit on the team is the Cardinals defensive line with an All-Pro in Calais Campbell, a veteran penetrator in Darnell Dockett and a young Nose in Dan Williams this unit would be equally at home in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive orientation, however the depth that has been developed behind these three has a distinct 4-3 flavour. Frostee Rucker and Matt Shaughnessy both arrived on this team having played 4-3 football their entire NFL careers. The two have combined to make 64 starts at DE in the NFL and one of the two could slot into the weakside defensive end spot to start at the position without too much hassle. The current pass rushing crop of Cardinals is nothing to write home about, and it might benefit draftee Alex Okafor to be playing with his hand in the dirt in a more familiar 4-3 defensive front. David Carter and Sam Acho would be valuable backups on the interior and exterior of the line and Schofield could be utilised as a sub-package pass rusher, which might help him to stay on the field.

Suggested Defensive Line;

SDE – Calais Campbell
UT – Darnell Dockett
NT – Dan Williams
WDE – Matt Shaughnessy/Alex Okafor

The Linebackers

A unit that last season was clearly the weakest on the team despite the standout performances of All-Pro Daryl Washington, Paris Lenon has hit the road and the additions at ILB through free agency and the draft are exciting and numerous. The re-addition of Karlos Dansby to the LB unit is a huge boost to what Arizona can do with their line-backers and the drafting of LSU standout Kevin Minter will only help the unit in future. Jasper Brinkley is an experienced linebacker with 19 starts and 48 games at LB for the Vikings over the past four years. With Acho and Schofield being push to the DL or into specialist roles the versatility of Lorenzo Alexander will help to fill the backup spots on the team. The depth here may not be ideal, but the starting group should excel.

Suggested Linebackers;

SAM – Karlos Dansby
MIKE – Kevin Minter
WILL – Daryl Washington

Thoughts

To me this is the best utilisation of talent within the Cardinals front seven. We get the three best linebackers on the team onto the field, we alleviate the issues with poor OLB’s in the 3-4 by transitioning them into backup/situational roles. What the 4-3 allows the Cardinals to do is get their seven best front 7 players onto the field in the base package, something the that 3-4 does not allow with one of Washington/Dansby/Minter playing a backup role and two of Acho/Schofield/Alexander starting at OLB.

It appears to me that a front seven of Campbell/Dockett/Williams/Shaughnessy/Washington/Minter/Dansby is superior to a front seven of Campbell/Dockett/Williams/Acho/Washington/Dansby/Alexander and that a 4-3 would be making better use of the personnel available to the Cardinals defense in 2013.

Thoughts?
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love2theOLINE


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see it, makes a lot of sense when you look at it.
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DJ_Fka


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am all for it

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mtdowner


Joined: 30 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that front 4 would have a pretty hard time generating much of a pass rush.
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shawn


Joined: 02 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtdowner wrote:
I think that front 4 would have a pretty hard time generating much of a pass rush.


Honestly, I have the same concern with our current 3-4 lineup. This team needs an elite pash rusher, pretty badly. Ray Horton was able to put a great defense out there every week despite this weakness, but can Bowels(to be fair, i should give him a chance before these jokes start, but its hard to resist) do the same?

We have a lot of guys with good pash rushing skills, but no real game changers. I guess there is still hope that O'brian Schofield emerges into that guy, but that seems like wishfull thinking.
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khodder


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mtdowner wrote:
I think that front 4 would have a pretty hard time generating much of a pass rush.


That really is the #1 issue with this lineup. You do not have a great pass rusher nor do you have the capacity to manufacture pass rush like you do in a 34 front.

It is really going to depend on what you get from an interior pass rush source such as Dockett, how well Campbell would fare moving from a 5 tech to a 7 tech and how much production you got out of the players playing opposite him.

We could use the 4-3 Under that Seattle has run for the past couple of years, Campbell would maintain his 5 tech role, Dockett could play 3 tech, Williams at the Nose. We still have to worry about where our pass rush is coming from though and you are likely going to be using your SAM (Dansby) as an auxiliary pass rusher, something he has not done for a while.

However Pass Rush is going to be an issue with this team on defense whether we run a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense.
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LuckyNumber11


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a fan, the 34 just makes so much more sense with players like CC and DW to me.
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SuperFlyTNT


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this brings up a good question - Is Calais Campbell an elite player / worth his salary in a 4-3 (5-tech vs. 3-tech as well)?

I think it's hard to peg him - he makes a great 3-4 DE because he's shifty and long with plenty of power and bulk, but I'm not sure about the explosiveness.
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LuckyNumber11


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuperFlyTNT wrote:
I think this brings up a good question - Is Calais Campbell an elite player / worth his salary in a 4-3 (5-tech vs. 3-tech as well)?

I think it's hard to peg him - he makes a great 3-4 DE because he's shifty and long with plenty of power and bulk, but I'm not sure about the explosiveness.


This is really a big reason for me I just cant see CC being very productive in a 43. And I just feel we'd have to get rid of him if we did for someone more favoring and I just don't think that is in the best interest of the team
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khodder


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SuperFlyTNT wrote:
I think this brings up a good question - Is Calais Campbell an elite player / worth his salary in a 4-3 (5-tech vs. 3-tech as well)?

I think it's hard to peg him - he makes a great 3-4 DE because he's shifty and long with plenty of power and bulk, but I'm not sure about the explosiveness.


It would actually be 5 tech vs 7 tech. If we ran a 4-3 Under Calais would be asked to play the exact same role he has been playing for a while here. (5-Tech)
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