It's great hot-stove material for discussion— what will the Eagles' new defensive system look like under new coordinator Billy Davis?
It's widely assumed it will be a 3-4 base…which means an extra guy standing up in the front seven and allegedly setting up opportunity for more "big plays".
Say goodbye to the old 4-3 Eagles base? Not so fast, says new inside LB coach Rick Minter.
As fans we like things to be cut and dry. Are we a 4-3 or a 3-4 team? Are we a press or zone coverage? Simplicity of choice makes arguments at the water cooler or the bar easier to win.
But the reality is, the Eagles will be showing a bunch of different looks. New ILB coach Rick Minter summed up the new reality with this comment he made to Blogging the bEast reporter Jimmy Kempski:
"As long as we’re technique sound, we’re fundamentally sound, we don’t have any missed assignments, we don’t give up X plays, we’ll have a chance to be a good football team regardless of how many guys have their hand in the dirt and how many guys are standing up. People overrate that more than it really is. 5-2, 3-4, 4-3, 4-2-5, it all equals 11, with usually 4 guys on the back end. It really doesn’t matter so much. Every 4-3 team is a 3-4 team in certain situations. Every 3-4 team is a 4-3 team in situations. So it gets overrated. We are taking over a 4-3 structured team, so we have to look at that. If it has to stay that way, it’ll stay that way. We’ll do whatever it takes to allow our players to be more successful."
Boom (as Madden would say)….We're gonna give you a bunch of different looks.
In fact, looking back at last year's Eagles defense, several variations of the 4-3 at times resembled hybrid versions of the 3-4…with an occasional 4-2-5 thrown in, too.
Kempski got a revealing quote from new outside LB coach Bill McGovern, too. This comment from McGovern hints at some of the new wrinkles we probably will be seeing:
"The more that guys can do, the more valuable they are. As coaches we have to find out what they can and can’t do. (The media guys) all want to know ‘What did you see off the tape from last year?’ I saw a bunch of guys that played hard, that have some real ability. But they were playing in that scheme though. You can critique them in that scheme, but you can’t critique them in a scheme you didn’t see them in. So you don’t know exactly what they’re going to be like just yet. Until you get with them on the field, that’s the fun part about it. The OTAs, the minicamps… Then you get the chance to see, ‘OK, wow, he can do some things. He can be pretty dynamic.’”
I don't know yet how you would interpret it, but what I read into McGovern's statement is this: If personnel who struggled in the 4-3 base can somehow prove they play better in a 3-4, then those guys will still be around in September and hopefully thriving in a new-look system.
I feel the finger of fate directly pointing at guys like Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, Casey Matthews, and even Trent Cole in the context of McGovern's statement.
It's going to be a fun offseason. And we haven't even started with the safeties yet!