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The 3-4 Or The 4-3, That Is The Question

By Joe Grinwis, JetNation Staff Writer
 
When Eric Mangini was hired to be the newest coach of the New York Jets he was asked to bring a lot of knowledge that he learned from his teacher Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.  Mangini has been around Belichick for his entire career and it has been well known that Belichick prefers to run the 3-4 defense as opposed to the 4-3. There’s just one problem. The Jets do not fit into the 3-4 scheme that Mangini wishes to run. The Jets look like they are a triangle being shoved into a circle that isn’t right for them.
 
Who is going to play the Nose in the 3-4? DeWayne Robertson? Robertson is suited for a 4-3 system where he can have a big guy next to him who eats up defenders while Robertson pushes forward to get into the backfield. Sione Pouha has showed nothing of late and Monsanto Pope is more likely to play DE in the 3-4. Shaun Ellis at NT would be a disaster. He’s a 10+ sack a season guy whose talents will really now be shown now that John Abraham is gone. Vol Oelhoffen is a DE as well, not a NT. James Reed who recently signed with Kansas City was the best option to play NT that was on the roster last season / could’ve been on the roster this season.

Now lets get away from the DLine for a little bit and focus on the Linebacker situation. Moving to the 3-4 is going to hurt Jonathan Vilma. It does not fit into his strengths. In the 3-4, there are more coverage and pass-rushing responsibilities then there would ever be for him at MLB in the 4-3. That is not Vilma’s game. Who is the big NT that is going to help free up space for Vilma so that the G’s and C don’t tear him apart? You’re taking away Vilma from his strengths and from all the special things he brings to the defense in a 4-3 system.
 
Staying with the linebackers, where is the 3-4 OLB pass rushing specialist that every good-great 3-4 defensive team has? There are no Shawn Merriman’s, DeMarcus Ware’s or Joey Porter’s on this team. Bryan Thomas is being looked at as the pass rushing OLB specialist? Are you kidding me? The same guy who recently has shown that he is much better against the run then he is rushing the quarterback? Sure he was drafted to rush the QB but that isn’t one of his strengths obviously since he hasn’t shown any ability to do it yet. And oh boy is it going to be fun to watch him drop into coverage. If you do not get any pressure the Jets’ secondary (which just isn’t that good) is going to get killed. Look for many 300-yard games.
 
The 4-3 is what works here. The top defensive players the Jets have drafted recently fit more into the 4-3. Vilma in the 4-3 at MLB is one of the best in the game. DeWayne Robertson could actually be effective once in a while in the 4-3 and Bryan Thomas is in the same boat as Robertson. The two of them are men without positions in the 3-4. Thomas will not succeed as an OLB. He will not. He simply does not have the pass rushing skills nor does he have the ability to drop back into coverage. You’re taking positions away from Robertson and Thomas and taking away your best defensive player strengths. What the hell is the coaching staff thinking?
 
Mangini has seen the 3-4 work in New England.  So has everyone else but the 3-4 is not meant for every team, especially these Jets.

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