A Look at the 3-4 Defense Moving Forward
March 18, 2014 in Redskins Personnel
By: Justin Partlow
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the Redskins prioritize the defense and how it needed to be fixed after last year. So far we’ve seen the Redskins franchise Brian Orakpo, re-sign Perry Riley, Chris Baker and DeAngelo Hall and add veterans such as Daryl Sharpton, Adam Hayward, Tracy Porter, and Jason Hatcher. With all of that being said what could we expect for the 3-4 defense to look like moving forward? Well let’s take a look at what can happen.
The natural logic shows from the signings that Redskins are going to looking to get away from the natural Pittsburgh 3-4 model defense and move more to a 1-gap system that will allow for the defense to pin their ears back and be more aggressive. With this philosophy shift, we can expect for the Redskins to take more chances up front with that 1 gap scheme, but also give up those big plays as well. The 1 gap system can lead to a feast/famine style, but with adding Hatcher next to Cofield, and having guys like Kerrigan and Orakpo coming off of the edge, the 3-4 defense should be able to generate more pressure and be able to get after the quarterback more than they did last year.
The under the radar signing of the offseason though, was the signing of Tracy Porter to be the #3 slot CB for the Redskins. Porter is a playmaker, and a bit of a gambler but also has the ability to play well in the slot. With Porter moving to the slot CB position, that will allow for David Amerson to be the starting CB for the Redskins alongside of DeAngelo Hall. The trio of Amerson, Hall, and Porter will allow for negative big plays to be given up, but also will allow for the fair share of INT’s and game changing plays as well.
Daryl Sharpton’s signing also signified the lessening of the need of an ILB in the draft compared to the few days before free agency started. Having Riley back on a good deal and having Sharpton on the inside as well will allow for a solid tandem. Sharpton though struggles in coverage, so look for the Redskins to still look for an ILB who can provide good coverage abilities. A dark horse player who could make the 3-4 transition and would provide very good coverage abilities would be Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State. Shazier isn’t the biggest LB coming out, but what he provides is someone who will be able to play in space, make plays on passing downs. Shazier next to someone like Riley would be a very good tandem and allow for a complete LB group moving forward.
With all of that being said, it’s easy to see so far the Redskins have made some moves to attack and fix the defense. The biggest upgrade that still needs to happen is an upgrade to the safety position. If the Redskins can add a veteran such as Ryan Clark and develop the players they have in the secondary then there could be a noticeable improvement. Look for Allen and company to attack the Safety market the next week or so and then identify if there is a need to go for a safety in the draft. Washington has done a very good job so far with attacking FA and handing out smart and team friendly contracts, now comes the finishing of FA and then adding more talented players on both sides of the ball in the draft.