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Stillers to Stick to 3-4 Defense

March 21, 2001 by Steel Phantom

Stillers Will Stick to 3-4 Defense (Mar

Stillers Will Stick to 3-4 Defense (Mar. 21st, 01)

The article, The 3-4 defense is still alive, that appeared yesterday in the Trib Review is just the kind of cruel gibberish that, read twice, could cause a man�s brain to shrivel to something the size of a snow pea.

As was reported here last month, the 2001 Stillers will be the only team in the NFL using the 3-4 as their base defense. The TR interviewed Tim Lewis on this subject.

Reportedly, Mr. Lewis said: "We go to a 4-3 look, in and out, throughout the entire ball game. The guy who is lined up on the open side of the formation, away from the tight end, if he�s a defensive lineman, we call it the 4-3. If he�s Joey Porter, then we call it the 3-4. He�s the only guy who�s any different."

Really? Well, if they�re showing 4-3 and Porter is off the line it follows that Gildon is playing with his hand down. Since Gildon is listed as an OLB, maybe, in the 4-3 look, he�s another guy who�s "different."

Gildon is 6�-3", 255#. The lightest LDE in the NFL are Taylor and Kearse at 260#. They are both about 6�-6" and are possessed of freakish reach and speed. Most LDE are power players going 280# and up. The Stillers can call that "a 4-3 look" but this doesn�t make it so.

Coach Lewis discussed blitz theory saying: " When you are unpredictable with the combinations of players that you can rush on any one down or distance situation, I think you are much more able to be disruptive to offenses."

Indeed, that from a man who devised a blitz scheme where the twin pixies, Townsend and Simmons, lock arms and hurl themselves at the four-hole.

Belatedly recognizing that the 4-3 requires four linemen, not just any four guys along the LOS, the D-head expounded: "Its easier for Joey Porter and Jason Gildon to drop into coverage than it would be for four defensive linemen."

True, but irrelevant. Porter and Gildon are OLB and, as I understand it, 4-3 OLB are permitted to drop into coverage. The comparison is with, say, Boulware and Sharper, not any bunch of DL types. This isn�t the problem anyway; the problem is that the Stillers cling to the delusion that Gildon, or Porter, can effectively masquerade as DE.

That is idiocy. The Stillers play a defense that requires, at least, two two-gap linemen. They don�t have any; both NT are one-gap players and Aaron Smith is lankier than either. The DL is undersized for either scheme; despite that, the TR suggests that Stiller FA efforts are fixated on the MLB position.

Apparently, the screaming FA need is to get some competition for John Fiala. Hoping to draft a player capable of pushing, say, Sullivan or Combs for a starting spot, the Stillers have cast their eye towards a number of out-of-work LB. These include:

Derek Smith 6�-2", 239#, is 26 years old, late of the Skins. A former 3rd rounder, PFW describes this man as "very smart and dedicated. More tough than physical."

Henri Crockett 6�2", 238# also 26 last played for Atlanta. PFW says: " Health and instincts could be concerns but he has size and talent." Great, beat up and dumb as a bag of hammers.

Darrin Smith 6-1", 230# and is 30 years old. PFW reports: "Showed last year that if a team can protect him from big blockers and let him go for the ball, he can still be a productive, instinctive player." It is not obvious that a 3-4 team with no two-gap DL can provide Darrin with the protection that he needs.

Mike Jones is 31 and, formerly, a Super Bowl hero with the Rams. Jones has slowed and has 8 sacks in an 8-year career.

If the Stillers insist on playing the 3-4, Derek Smith could be a good addition. Crockett would be okay at the vet minimum but the Stillers should not be considering the other two. It is hard to understand why the Stillers would insist on the 3-4 scheme when even Coach Lewis could not coherently defend it.

The Steel Phantom

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