Redskins Defense? Whoever the new Washington Redskins new head is will determine what scheme the team will run on defense. When Mike Shanahan was hired, I liked the fact that he chose to convert from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense. A properly run 3-4 defense can bring a good amount of versatility in defending not only the run, but especially against the pass.
But the Redskins never seemed to be able to quite get the personnel needed to the run the 3-4. For one, they never had a true nose tackle, as Barry Cofield is a good player, but you want a bigger space eating nose tackle. Cofield should have been at defensive end the whole time, but for some reason the Redskins chose to play him out of position.
And defensive coordinator Jim Haslett never seemed to get a firm grasp on calling plays in the defense, especially against teams that like to spread things out on offense like the Philadelphia Eagles. Running a base 3-4 defense against that type of spread offense is a recipe for disaster. Haslett ran the defense with little imagination or creativity and the results proved that.
So if the next head coach chose to keep the 3-4, how would it be different that the version under Shanahan and Haslett? Or should the new coach scrap the 3-4 and go with a 4-3. Honestly, Shanahan and Haslett were running a 3-4 with 4-3 personnel. so it would probably be easier for the new coach just to go to a 4-3 defense.
Barry Cofield, who was small for a nose tackle in a 3-4, becomes a big defensive tackle in a 4-3. You could also plug-in Jarvis Jenkins or Chris Baker at the other defensive tackle spot, and you have three massive but athletic defensive tackles to rotate. At defensive end, you just convert your outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to defensive ends.
But the one area in 4-3 where the Redskins are lacking is at linebacker. Perry Riley could probably become a weak side linebacker, but that would leave the strong side and middle linebacker spots open. You could keep Brian Orakpo at the strong side linebacker though linebacker, and just draft another defensive end or sign one in free agency.
Whichever way the Redskins choose to go will determine how they draft for defense in the upcoming draft, and which free agents they go after. So it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. But which defense would you prefer the Redskins run, a 3-4 or a 4-3?