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View Full Version : Could the Casey Hampton Injury Push Steelers Towards A 4-3 Defense?


pete74
01-27-2012, 03:04 PM
Now that Casey Hampton is down with the ACL Injury and most likely will not be on the team next year because of it what should the Steelers do? They have been rumored to be looking at Ziggy Hood at Nose Tackle. They could draft someone in the first or second round like Dontari Poe. There is another option though. They could switch to a 4-3 defense.

This would be a huge change for the Steelers. They have been running a a 3-4 for so long that they would have to really adjust. Dick Lebeau is not a 4-3 guy. He is a zone blitz guy. Mike Tomlin is though. He is a Tampa 2 defensive guy. He could make this switch work. This would play to the defense that Tomlin likes to run. He already has his playbook and could implement this over the summer.

We do have the ability to do this. We have the personnel to get the job done. In the last few drafts we have taken guys that can play both the 4-3 and the 3-4 schemes. Ziggy Hood, Jason Worilds, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons and Cameron Heyward are all guys that could easily make the switch They are scheme diverse. It would not be that big of a difference to who is already on the field. It may actually make the pass rush more effective.

This is what the front seven could look like if we were to switch to a 4-3.
•DE- Brett Keisel or Jason Worilds
•DT- Ziggy Hood
•DT- Cameron Heyward
•DE- LaMarr Woodley or Jason Worilds
•OLB- James Harrison
•MLB- Lawrence Timmons or a Draft Pick
•OLB- LaMarr Woodley or Lawrence Timmons

It could also help with our cap situation. If we made this adjustment we could release James Farrior and Larry Foote saving us $5.82 million. We would not have to rush to replace them either. We would have the guys on the roster to fill the positions. We could spend picks where we need them. Add this to the $4.89 million that could come off for Hampton and the Steelers have already gotten back over $10.5 million of the around $25 million we are over the cap. Straight releasing these guys would be easier then trying to get all these restructures done and them not really contributing.

It may make the Steelers look at a true 4-3 rush end. Though I think LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds could easily make the switch back and dominate. They would even still be able to stay stood up if they need to. The Steelers already basically run a 4-3 in their Nickel Defense. They run a 2-4 which is 2 defensive lineman and 4 linebackers. Woodley and Harrison are Defensive ends in that sense of the scheme. Teams are passing all the time. The base defense is not run as much as it used to be. When a team goes 3 wide the defense heads to this nickel defense. We already do it. Could we do it all the time though is the question.

The pass rush could be dominating this way as well. Could you imagine Woodley and Harrison coming off the same side on every play. How do you block that? Even Lawrence Timmons with no one to block him because teams are already blocking the front 4. We would have 6 pass rushers on the field on every play. The things you could do with that are out of control. We could still do the zone blitz out of this on passing downs. Adding Worilds as a pass rusher instead of Farrior on each play because he does not need to do anything but rush is fun to think about. Our pressure could increase drastically.

We would also get younger by doing this. The only over 30 guys left in the front seven would be Harrison and Keisel. After that the oldest guy would be LaMarr Woodley who is only 27 years old. You would be replacing an aging Hampton, Smith, Farrior, and Foote with the guys on your team and not having to rebuild. The Steelers would not have to go throw money at guys to fill these spots. Instead of replacing 2 positions you would be replacing 0. That gives the Steelers so much more flexibility.

This would have to be a change that is made now though. If they wait it will not work. This is something that needs to be worked on now and through the entire summer. We need to be doing this at the first mini camp. It will take that much work to learn a new defense.

Just a thought.




.
, Ziggy Hood |

OX1947
01-27-2012, 03:22 PM
If there was a time to do it, it would be now actually. timmons in the middle, harrision and wood on the sides. cameron, ziggy and keisel and get a DT in the draft.

StainlessStill
01-27-2012, 03:23 PM
I don't see us moving to a 4-3 under LeBeau for next season. It's literally too spectacular of a change to scrap the playbook and plug in personal to fit that identity and criteria. I can see us adding sub-packages that results in that matter as far as distinguishing a disguise but we simply don't have the personal to go straight 4-3. Maybe the era after LeBeau, then Tomlin may feel the need to switch things up and go more of a Tampa 2 defense he ran in Tampa Bay but I don't really see it happening.

This is Tomlin' s 5th season as head coach with little to no signs of switching anything up on the defensive side of the ball. This years draft will be telling but considering that maybe it is Keith Butler's defense once LeBeau hangs them up (he turned down several offers to stay since he's the next man in line for D-Coordinator) then I think the Steelers stay within their 3-4 comfort zone, especially drafting the likes of guys like Chris Carter and Jason Worlids to take over the outside linebacking duties for depth purpose's.

pete74
01-27-2012, 03:25 PM
Hayward and Hood would be our Dt's. That looks like a scary line to me. I like it

pete74
01-27-2012, 03:28 PM
I don't see us moving to a 4-3 under LeBeau for next season. It's literally too spectacular of a change to scrap the playbook and plug in personal to fit that identity and criteria. I can see us adding sub-packages that results in that matter as far as distinguishing a disguise but we simply don't have the personal to go straight 4-3. Maybe the era after LeBeau, then Tomlin may feel the need to switch things up and go more of a Tampa 2 defense he ran in Tampa Bay but I don't really see it happening.

This is Tomlin' s 5th season as head coach with little to no signs of switching anything up on the defensive side of the ball. This years draft will be telling but considering that maybe it is Keith Butler's defense once LeBeau hangs them up (he turned down several offers to stay since he's the next man in line for D-Coordinator) then I think the Steelers stay within their 3-4 comfort zone, especially drafting the likes of guys like Chris Carter and Jason Worlids to take over the outside linebacking duties for depth purpose's.

Actually we do have the personal to switch.

Fire Arians
01-27-2012, 03:49 PM
sounds interesting but are we gonna have enough depth for a healthy rotation without having to draft more d-linemen?

StainlessStill
01-27-2012, 03:59 PM
Actually we do have the personal to switch.

It would take atleast a couple years for the coaching staff to change the ability and habits within our forefront. That would be a huge change that would effect the whole landscape of the defense. As you said, LeBeau isn't a 4-3 kind of guy and Tomlin doesn't have the strangle-hold on any of his coordinators to take over what needs to be done by switching from a 3-4, to a 4-3. Guys like Woodley and Harrison would have a difficult time going up against more of the interior lineman playing close to the line of scrummage and it would take a more athletic move to gain depth in their pass rushing abilities and Timmons hasn't shown he can be the big man in the middle if need-be, always playing out of position and a more 4-3 approach would ask Timmon's to take a bigger responsibility in the middle. Not sure if he's built for that.

As you said, it's becoming more and more of a passing league and the 4-3 defense's strength's is set up more-so against the run and the 3-4 is obviously geared better against the pass since you can bring a tormenting pass-rush and better matchup's against the edge with your best pass-rushers. We drafted guys like Woodley, Worlids and Timmons because of their ability to mold themselves in a scheme of pressure and the ability to move around in that 4th/5th blitzer package, not to be a stagnant, stay at home type player. We won't see the 4-3 under LeBeau or Butler IMHO.

skinart82
01-27-2012, 04:17 PM
I like the idea!

pete74
01-27-2012, 04:29 PM
It would take atleast a couple years for the coaching staff to change the ability and habits within our forefront. That would be a huge change that would effect the whole landscape of the defense. As you said, LeBeau isn't a 4-3 kind of guy and Tomlin doesn't have the strangle-hold on any of his coordinators to take over what needs to be done by switching from a 3-4, to a 4-3. Guys like Woodley and Harrison would have a difficult time going up against more of the interior lineman playing close to the line of scrummage and it would take a more athletic move to gain depth in their pass rushing abilities and Timmons hasn't shown he can be the big man in the middle if need-be, always playing out of position and a more 4-3 approach would ask Timmon's to take a bigger responsibility in the middle. Not sure if he's built for that.

As you said, it's becoming more and more of a passing league and the 4-3 defense's strength's is set up more-so against the run and the 3-4 is obviously geared better against the pass since you can bring a tormenting pass-rush and better matchup's against the edge with your best pass-rushers. We drafted guys like Woodley, Worlids and Timmons because of their ability to mold themselves in a scheme of pressure and the ability to move around in that 4th/5th blitzer package, not to be a stagnant, stay at home type player. We won't see the 4-3 under LeBeau or Butler IMHO.teams chang all the time and are fine. Houston just changed and instantly became a top defense

jiminpa
01-27-2012, 06:46 PM
I really don't understand why so many people are so Hell-bent on ruining the best defense in the league.

55BaileyFan
01-27-2012, 08:04 PM
I really don't understand why so many people are so Hell-bent on ruining the best defense in the league.

I agree. People want change so much and I don't understand it. Obviously the front office isn't interested in change because they just "forced" Arians out according to him. The front office runs what the people in the Burgh want and that is that.

It wouldn't make sense if it didn't work but run heavy and strong D has won us championships. Now, I know we were a 4-3 in the 1970's but we don't have that personel anymore and a 4-3 takes away Polamalu's ability to roam around.

It changes more than just the front, it totally re-works how the secondary work and how the linebackers work with them. People switch to the 3-4 and become really successful not the other way around. Remember it was Baltimore that switched years ago, Houston did it last year.

Not in a hurry to change yet. Our personnel is still built for the 3-4 and we don't need to change what works.

Bayz101
01-27-2012, 08:25 PM
Regardless of how "nasty" are defense was last year, it was still the #1 overall defense in the NFL. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Bayz101
01-27-2012, 08:27 PM
Also. Hampton hasn't been nearly as aggressive and effective in the past few years compared to his early days. Losing him isn't going to hurt us as much as some people seem to think. We've had Ziggy Hood and Heyward (to name just a couple) sitting on the bench long enough, it's time to get them in there.

ricardisimo
01-27-2012, 09:08 PM
My understanding is that the 4-3 is more expensive, just because quality DTs are more expensive than ILBs. That would hurt our cap situation. Not this year, if indeed we were to use the personnel you discussed, who are already under contract, but long-term is another matter.

For what it's worth, I'm against switching. No one has ever made any compelling case to me that there is any benefit to altering a scheme which puts the Steelers perennially in the top-5 defenses.
teams chang all the time and are fine. Houston just changed and instantly became a top defense
Yes, and they changed, specifically, to which alignment? :tap:

Bayz101
01-27-2012, 09:24 PM
My understanding is that the 4-3 is more expensive, just because quality DTs are more expensive than ILBs. That would hurt our cap situation. Not this year, if indeed we were to use the personnel you discussed, who are already under contract, but long-term is another matter.

For what it's worth, I'm against switching. No one has ever made any compelling case to me that there is any benefit to altering a scheme which puts the Steelers perennially in the top-5 defenses.

Yes, and they changed, specifically, to which alignment? :tap:

This.

Rick5895
01-27-2012, 09:41 PM
We really don't have the personell to run the 4-3. We don't really have 4-3 OLB. Woodley and Worilds are DE in that scheme. Same for Carter and probably Harrison as well although James would make the adjustment to. Sam or Will backer. We have been drafting 4-3 ends to play 3-4 OLB. We have a quality group for the DL but would need ro draft OLB and have otherneeds like OL. Down the road maybe but for the immediate future we should sray with the 3-4.

tanda10506
01-28-2012, 03:00 AM
We are a 3-4 team and will be, likely forever.

DanRooney
01-28-2012, 04:20 AM
I can see Ziggy making the transition to DT and Woodley to 4-3 DE easy, but Keisel and Heyward are protoypical 3-4 DEs. I don't think it would work.

I'd rather have Ziggy move to NT and have Heyward and Keisel on the outside. That's a scary front 3. If we drafted Hightower or Burflict and put them next to Timmons with Harrison and Woodley on the outside, that's easily the best front 7 in football.

Bayz101
01-28-2012, 04:35 AM
I can see Ziggy making the transition to DT and Woodley to 4-3 DE easy, but Keisel and Heyward are protoypical 3-4 DEs. I don't think it would work.

I'd rather have Ziggy move to NT and have Heyward and Keisel on the outside. That's a scary front 3. If we drafted Hightower or Burflict and put them next to Timmons with Harrison and Woodley on the outside, that's easily the best front 7 in football.

I think the transition would certainly be possible, but i'm not sure it'd be an improvement. Now, if we drafted Burfict, that may be a different story :chuckle: Dude's a monster!

I think the 4-3 is definitely something we could do, but probably not something we should do. We've been the best defense in football for a while with what we got. Hell, the Texans moved to the 3-4 this year and look we're there at. I think we're fine.

Bayz101
01-28-2012, 04:41 AM
Well, Harrison's getting old, and V.B. hasn't played a snap in the NFL yet. But if Vontaze is as good in the NFL as he was in college, and Woodley continues to do what he does, it'll definitely be one of the best, and most promising defenses in football.

pete74
01-28-2012, 04:49 AM
i personally like our defense and dont care either ways if we stick with the 3-4 or go 4-3. we have players that can play both types and will basically have the same players on the field. we were unstoppable as a 4-3 in the 70's and we were great with the 4-3 more recently.

im not going to complain or say its not possible like some of you if Tomlin decides to change and im certainly not going to complain if we stay the same. either way we have the players to be dominant.

odds are we will remain a 3-4 and draft a NT in the 1st round of the draft

MasterOfPuppets
01-28-2012, 05:24 AM
We really don't have the personell to run the 4-3. We don't really have 4-3 OLB. Woodley and Worilds are DE in that scheme. Same for Carter and probably Harrison as well although James would make the adjustment to. Sam or Will backer. We have been drafting 4-3 ends to play 3-4 OLB. We have a quality group for the DL but would need ro draft OLB and have otherneeds like OL. Down the road maybe but for the immediate future we should sray with the 3-4.
exactly. i couldn't help but chuckle at the post suggesting woodley or worilds as 4-3 OLBer.
they'd get torched all day long trying to cover TE's and RB's.
timmons could play the middle , harrison could maybe be the sam , and the closest thing to a will backer on the team would be troy.

ricardisimo
01-28-2012, 05:41 AM
i personally like our defense and dont care either ways if we stick with the 3-4 or go 4-3. we have players that can play both types and will basically have the same players on the field. we were unstoppable as a 4-3 in the 70's and we were great with the 4-3 more recently.

im not going to complain or say its not possible like some of you if Tomlin decides to change and im certainly not going to complain if we stay the same. either way we have the players to be dominant.

odds are we will remain a 3-4 and draft a NT in the 1st round of the draft
According to Lebeau, they play the 4-3 all the time, just mixing it up. I think "all the time" is a bit of a stretch, but obviously we've got talented guys who can follow instructions. Still, so much of our personnel and scheme is expressly devoted to implementing a highly successful 3-4, I just don't see a change in the next decade. Especially if, as I've read, it's actually cheaper.

kan_t
01-28-2012, 06:06 AM
In LeBeau I trust. If he thinks that a change is needed, I will fully support it. If he stays with 3-4, I'm not going to complain.

Bayz101
01-28-2012, 06:07 AM
In LeBeau I trust. If he thinks that a change is needed, I will fully support it. If he stays with 3-4, I'm not going to complain.

:thumbsup: