FanPost

the value of a 3-4 defense over a 4-3 scheme


Since there been a bit of conjecture this off season about Sean McDermott possibly incorporating a 3-4 look , I decided to do some research and find whether or not a 3-4 is a more effective defense. What I've found so far is actually rather schocking. I took  a look at last seasons sack leaders according to NFL.com heres what i found.

1 Elvis Dumervil DEN OLB 49 42 7 17.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 1 0
2 Jared Allen MIN DE 51 43 8 14.5 1 5 1 0 -4 -4 5 3 1
3 Dwight Freeney IND DE 24 19 5 13.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 1 -- --
3 LaMarr Woodley PIT OLB 62 50 12 13.5 0 -- -- -- -- -- 1 1 1
5 Will Smith NO DE 49 36 13 13.0 -- 4 1 0 0 0 3 -- --
6 Trent Cole PHI DE 57 48 9 12.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 2 -- --
7 Andre Carter WAS DE 62 48 14 11.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 3 -- --
7 Brian Orakpo WAS OLB 50 37 13 11.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 1 -- --
7 DeMarcus Ware DAL OLB 57 45 12 11.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 -- --
10 Julius Peppers CAR DE 42 36 6 10.5 0 7 2 1 13 13T 5 1 0
11 Tully Banta-Cain NE OLB 55 35 20 10.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 2 -- --
11 James Harrison PIT OLB 79 60 19 10.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 2 0
11 Clay Matthews GB OLB 51 37 14 10.0 0 -- -- -- -- -- 1 3 1
11 Aaron Schobel BUF DE 56 34 22 10.0 0 5 1 1 26 26T 3 1 0
15 Robert Mathis IND DE 37 24 13 9.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 -- --
16 Joey Porter MIA OLB 41 34 7 9.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 1 1 0
16 Mario Williams HOU DE 43 38 5 9.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 2 1 0
18 Ray Edwards MIN DE 51 43 8 8.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 1 1 0
18 Tamba Hali KC OLB 62 46 16 8.5 1 -- -- -- -- -- 4 -- --
20 Antwan Odom CIN DE 19 18 1 8.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 0 -- --
 

 

 Now of all the top 10 players only 3 come from teams that run a 3-4 defense and only 8 in the top 20. However it could be said that in 2009 with many players getting injured via concussions , alot of teams slowed down the attack and were more run based as evidenced in the 3 headed attaks of the Jets ,Cowboys, Redskins , and even our dear Iggles ran it a LITTLE more '09. This could lean in favor of a 4-3 defense as there are more down line man and less chances for an OLB Blitz package.

  Now going back one season further I found the exact oppisite to be true.

1 DeMarcus Ware DAL OLB 84 69 15 20.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 6 1 0
2 Joey Porter MIA OLB 47 36 11 17.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 1 0
3 John Abraham ATL DE 38 36 2 16.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 -- --
4 James Harrison PIT OLB 101 67 34 16.0 1 4 1 0 33 33 7 -- --
5 Jared Allen MIN DE 54 41 13 14.5 2 -- -- -- -- -- 3 -- --
5 Julius Peppers CAR DE 51 40 11 14.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 5 -- --
7 Justin Tuck NYG DE 67 52 15 12.0 0 3 1 1 41 41T 3 -- --
7 Mario Williams HOU DE 53 44 9 12.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 -- --
9 Robert Mathis IND DE 48 36 12 11.5 0 -- -- -- -- -- 5 3 1
9 LaMarr Woodley PIT OLB 60 41 19 11.5 0 3 1 0 6 6 2 4 1

Out of the top ten sack leaders in '08 5 came from 3-4 teams and I believe Indy runs a hybrid (however i may be mistaken on that one)  . Of the top 5 sack leaders 4 came from teams using a 3-4 . Going back one last year....

 

1 Jared Allen KC DE 64 55 9 15.5 0 -- -- -- -- -- 3 -- --
2 Patrick Kerney SEA DE 60 49 11 14.5 -- 3 1 0 0 0 5 -- --
3 DeMarcus Ware DAL OLB 84 60 24 14.0 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 -- --
3 Mario Williams HOU DE 59 43 16 14.0 0 -- -- -- -- -- 2 1 1
5 Osi Umenyiora NYG DE 52 40 12 13.0 0 -- -- -- -- -- 5 2 1
6 Trent Cole PHI DE 70 49 21 12.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 4 1 0
6 Elvis Dumervil DEN DE 39 34 5 12.5 -- 5 1 0 27 27 4 3 0
6 Greg Ellis DAL OLB 31 24 7 12.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 3 -- --
6 Shawne Merriman SD OLB 68 54 14 12.5 -- -- -- -- -- -- 2 2 0
6 Mike Vrabel NE OLB 77 55 22 12.5 0 -- -- -- -- -- 5

 

 Now in 07 (the year Tom Brady and Randy Moss broke so many passing/recieving records and the evil Patriots went ALMOST undefeated) 7 out of the top ten sack machines came from 3-4 teams, and 07 was a pass happy year. So my conclusion from all of this would be that a 3-4 defense is DEFINNITLY more effective in passing situations as it allows the OLB to attck while  DE contains the OT. But im not gonna stop there. Below is a list taken from Wikipedia of all the Super bowl winners since 1998.

XXXII 01998-01-25 January 25, 1998 Denver Broncos 05 Denver Broncos† (5)[note 3] 3124 31–24 Green Bay Packers 04 Green Bay Packers* (4) Qualcomm Stadium 02 Qualcomm Stadium (2)[note 4] San Diego, California 02 San Diego, California (2) 068912 68,912 [35]
33 XXXIII 01999-01-31 January 31, 1999 Denver Broncos 06 Denver Broncos† (6) 3419 34–19 Atlanta Falcons 01 Atlanta Falcons* Dolphin Stadium 03 Pro Player Stadium (3)[note 4] Miami, Florida 08 Miami, Florida (8)[note 2] 074803 74,803 [36]
34 XXXIV 02000-01-30 January 30, 2000 St. Louis Rams 02 St. Louis Rams* (2) 2316 23–16 Tennessee Titans 01 Tennessee Titans[note 3] Georgia Dome 02 Georgia Dome (2) Atlanta, Georgia 02 Atlanta, Georgia (2) 072625 72,625 [37]
35 XXXV 02001-01-28 January 28, 2001 Baltimore Ravens 01 Baltimore Ravens[note 3] 3407 34–7  New York Giants 03 New York Giants* (3) Raymond James Stadium 01 Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida 03 Tampa, Florida (3) 071921 71,921 [38]
36 XXXVI 02002-02-03 February 3, 2002 New England Patriots 03 New England Patriots† (3) 2017 20–17 St. Louis Rams 03 St. Louis Rams* (3) Superdome 06 Louisiana Superdome (6) New Orleans, Louisiana 09 New Orleans, Louisiana (9) 072922 72,922 [39]
37 XXXVII 02003-01-26 January 26, 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 01 Tampa Bay Buccaneers* 4821 48–21 Oakland Raiders 05 Oakland Raiders† (5) Qualcomm Stadium 03 Qualcomm Stadium (3)[note 4] San Diego, California 03 San Diego, California (3) 067603 67,603 [40]
38 XXXVIII 02004-02-01 February 1, 2004 New England Patriots 04 New England Patriots† (4) 3229 32–29 Carolina Panthers 01 Carolina Panthers* Reliant Stadium 01 Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas 02 Houston, Texas (2) 071525 71,525 [41]
39 XXXIX 02005-02-06 February 6, 2005 New England Patriots 05 New England Patriots† (5) 2421 24–21 Philadelphia Eagles 02 Philadelphia Eagles* (2) ALLTEL Stadium 01 ALLTEL Stadium Jacksonville, Florida 01 Jacksonville, Florida 078125 78,125 [42]
40 XL 02006-02-05 February 5, 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers 05 Pittsburgh Steelers† (6)[note 3] 2110 21–10 Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks* Ford Field 01 Ford Field Detroit, Michigan 02 Detroit, Michigan (2)[note 1] 068206 68,206 [43]
41 XLI 02007-02-04 February 4, 2007 Indianapolis Colts 03 Indianapolis Colts† (3) 2917 29–17 Chicago Bears 02 Chicago Bears* (2) Dolphin Stadium 04 Dolphin Stadium (4)[note 4] Miami, Florida 09 Miami, Florida (9)[note 2] 074512 74,512 [48]
42 XLII 02008-02-03 February 3, 2008 New York Giants 03 New York Giants* (4)[note 3] 1714 17–14 New England Patriots 06 New England Patriots† (6) University of Phoenix Stadium 01 University of Phoenix Stadium Phoenix, Arizona 02 Glendale, Arizona (2)[note 1] 071101 71,101 [53]
43 XLIII 02009-02-01 February 1, 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers 06 Pittsburgh Steelers† (7) 2723 27–23 Arizona Cardinals 01 Arizona Cardinals* Raymond James Stadium 02 Raymond James Stadium (2) Tampa, Florida 04 Tampa, Florida (4) 070774 70,774 [54]
44 XLIV 02010-02-07 February 7, 2010 New Orleans Saints 01 New Orleans Saints* 3117 31–17 Indianapolis Colts 04 Indianapolis Colts† (4) Dolphin Stadium 05 Sun Life Stadium[45] (5)[note 4] Miami, Florida 10 Miami, Florida (10)[note 2] 074059 74,059

They say defense wins championships ...well the proof is in the proverbial pudding 8 out of the llast 13 Super Bowl champs have run a 3-4 defensive scheme . thats over a  60%  ratio in favor of a 3-4 scheme. Mr. McDermott from this Eagles fans perpspective , If you wanna start running a 3-4 defense...Im OK with it, and  im sure if it helped us bring home the ring, everyone else would be too

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