When asked what defense he would use as the Washington Redskins head coach, Jay Gruden stated that he loved the 3-4, but he hated coaching against it. The question of whether or not the Redskins new head coach would stay with the 3-4 or switch to a 4-3, defense is one of the biggest that fans have going into the offseason.
Gruden stated that given the fact that the Redskins are built for the 3-4 already, then it would make sense for the team to stay with that defense. He recalled times when he was with the Bengals and the played the Redskins, that it was tough to run on their 3-4 defense. And he thought the 3-4 was so versatile that it presented a huge challenge coaching against it.
And while it’s true that the Redskins have already been built for the 3-4, I never really felt they completely had all the necessary personnel to run it properly. Especially on the defensive line at nose tackle and defensive end. Where I think Barry Cofield was playing out of position at nose tackle, and is better suited to defensive end.
The Redskins haven’t really had a playmaker at defensive end ala Justin Smith, or J.J. Watt. Someone capable of making disruptive plays and getting penetration into the backfield. And while Cofield has performed well at nose tackle, I think you want a bigger player there. More of a space eater, that commands double teams, and keeps offensive linemen off the inside linebackers.
However, Gruden did say that although he was leaning towards staying with the 3-4, he would take a look at the possibility of going to a 4-3 before making a definitive decision. Having outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan on hand may make that decision a little easier. But we’ll see what Jay Gruden decides to do in the coming weeks.