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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Run 3-4?

Preseason is so close, I can smell it. I thought I would give my fellow Who Dats another does of local flavor. The New Orleans Saints, under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, will be transitioning from a traditional 4-3 scheme, to a 3-4. The 3-4 capitalizes on intensive linebacker blitzing and tackling. Grown up Saints fans may recall that the Saints employed a 3-4 defense under former Head Coach Jim Mora, Sr. during the "Dome Patrol" years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the golden age of Saints football prior to the arrival of current Head Coach Sean Payton.

Whether or not Ryan can duplicate the success enjoyed with the Dome Patrol - Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson, perennial Pro Bowler Pat Swilling, former Pro Bowler Vaughn Johnson, and the late Pro Bowler and former NFL assistant coach Sam Mills - remains to be seen.

Special thanks to Dan Delaney of Saints Stuff for producing this piece. The original piece can be found at

3-4 Scheme is Coming Along.

So far the biggest change is Will Smith moving from Defensive End to Outside Linebacker.
3-4 Defense's new outside linebacker.

 This is what has to say; 

The New Orleans Saints highlighted last week one of the reasons teams often are hesitant to undertake scheme shifts on defense. Saints GM Mickey Loomis said, according to Larry Holder of, that Will Smith will open camp competing for an outside linebacker spot in the team’s new 3-4 defense.
That’s 6-foot-3, 280-pound Will Smith, a player who has spent his entire nine-year NFL career playing as a defensive end in New Orleans’ former 4-3 look. Despite 67.5 career sacks, Smith’s roster spot suddenly looks unsafe, despite him taking a massive pay cut this offseason (from $9 million in 2013 to $3 million) in an effort to stick around.
This is one of the challenges when a coaching staff opts for a new attack — the players on the roster don’t always fit.

Keep reading on

Akiem Hicks will be the starting defensive end. Here is what has to say;

3-4 Defense has Akiem Hicks as defensive end.

With new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan taking control of the New Orleans Saints defense, there were bound to be some changes to scheme and personnel as the Saints attempt to overhaul a defense that ranked dead last in the league last season.
One of those moves will be shifting a player to a new spot on the defensive line.

Keep reading on

Cam  Jordan is moving back to the position he thrived in back in college. Here is what has to say;

The Saints’ Cam Jordan may be one of a select few defenders from 2012 who can say he improved last season. Now Jordan is moving back to a 3-4 defense, a scheme he played in college at California.

Keep reading on

3-4 should facilitate improved play from Cam Jordan.

The last change has more to do with Rob Ryan then the scheme itself. Here is what Sports Illustrated had to say;

The 3-4 captain.
Rob Ryan figures his firing in Dallas will only help him relate to a Saints defense humbled by a historically bad season.
“I don’t like getting fired,” Ryan said Thursday during his first meeting with reporters since Sean Payton hired him in February to revamp New Orleans’ last-ranked defense. “I know I got my feelings hurt and so did our players. We’re looking to do something about it.”
The Saints gave up 7,042 yards in 2012, the most ever in a single season in the NFL. Payton has said that performance forced him to make a change at defensive coordinator, even though he felt bad letting Steve Spagnuolo go after only one highly unusual season.
Spagnuolo never got to coach with Payton, who was suspended all of last season in connection with the NFL’s bounty probe. Yet shortly after Payton was reinstated, the relatively calm, analytical Spagnuolo, who favored a read-and-react 4-3 defense, was replaced by Ryan, who runs a pressure-heavy 3-4 scheme (three down linemen, four linebackers).
Ryan also has been known to exhibit a brash demeanor more akin to that of Gregg Williams, the Saints’ defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2011

Keep reading at

What this all says to me is we will go from having a dead last defense to a top 10 defense. When you combine that with our offense that easily make us Superbowl contenders.

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