Inside The Bills

Challenges of 3-4 transition

Posted by Chris Brown on September 17, 2010 – 8:51 am

A year ago the Green Bay Packers defense was in the same boat as the Bills are now. Making the transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, the Packers made the change work come the middle of the season, but early in the year there were challenges in making the switch.

“Well first it’s the personnel and second it’s the ability to grow with it week in and week out because there is volume that might be higher than what you had in the past with the 4-3 scheme,” said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. “Just having the ability to get the volume and the communication in and grow week to week especially early in the season we felt was our biggest challenge.”

Green Bay used both of their first-round draft picks in 2009 to address the scheme change defensively drafting B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews to get a 3-4 nose tackle and a pass rusher at OLB. Most of the other pieces were capable of making the switch.

McCarthy also speaks of volume in terms of defensive packages and personnel groupings. Donte Whitner has often talked about how they have several dozen packages that they have in their arsenal, which is considerably larger than the playbook from which they drew in the past. They also have more pre-snap disguises, so mastering all of that takes time.

That being said, their Week 1 performance was pretty solid.


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