Reports: Redskins could switch to 4-3 base defense in 2020

The Washington Redskins may usher in a new defense with the new decade.

Over the course of the past 24 hours, the Redskins have made some sweeping changes to their organization. First and foremost, Bruce Allen is out as the team’s president after 10 years in the role. He leaves the team with a 61-100-1 record (postseason included) and it’s safe to say that Redskins fans are happy to see changes in the front office.

Beyond that move, the Redskins are also expected to hire a new coach. And it seems likely to happen on Monday. The team is meeting with Ron Rivera and it seems highly likely that he’ll be the next head coach of the ‘Skins. And with him, more changes will come, especially to the personnel on the defensive side of the ball.

Rivera is rumored to have interest in bringing Steve Wilks onboard as his defensive coordinator. The two worked together for a decade before Wilks took a head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals. And if the two do team up again, the Redskins defense might really have a different look.

According to ESPN’s John Keim and 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen, the Redskins may switch to a 4-3 base defense after utilizing a 3-4 base for the better part of the last decade.

This move definitely matters. While NFL teams are increasingly using more nickel and dime looks that function with 4-3 principles, utilizing a 4-3 look may better suit the Redskins personnel, as Keim suggested.

In a 4-3 look, the Redskins edge rushers wouldn’t be forced to drop into coverage anymore. That was part of the problem with the 3-4, as Greg Manusky‘s scheme would drop Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat into coverage too frequently, and neither player is particularly strong in that regard. So right away, that would benefit the team.

As for how the team would line up in the 4-3, Kerrigan and Sweat would play the defensive end positions in pass rushing situations with Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen likely playing inside in the four-man front. And in obvious running situations, Daron Payne would be in with Allen kicking outside and either Sweat or Kerrigan exiting the game.

And if the team drafts Chase Young, it’s possible that he could factor into the starting rotation but at the very least, he’d factor in heavily in pass rushing situations. The team would then rotate their down linemen throughout the game to keep them fresh. Having a strong rotation is always a good thing at the NFL level, especially on the defensive line. So if the team keeps their talent fresh, they will find success.

As for the linebacker, Cole Holcomb and Reuben Foster would be two of the starters with Foster likely playing the middle. Shaun Dion Hamilton may take the third spot or Jon Bostic could if he’s re-signed. The team could opt to draft a mid-round linebacker to add some depth here as well.

The one player without an obvious position in this front would be Ryan Anderson. His best fit is as a 3-4 rush linebacker and is more of a tweener in a 4-3 alignment. That said, the team would still work to find his best fit, especially after he totaled 4.0 sacks and five forced fumbles this past season.

We’ll see if the Redskins make this move and how they look to supplement the personnel they already have. But if they do switch to a 4-3 base, it should work out just fine for the squad considering the amount of talent they have on the defensive line.