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Transition to 3-4 defense would be tough for Bills

Bills head coach Chan Gailey has traditionally used a 4-3 defense as a head coach.  Bills G.M. Buddy Nix comes from San Diego, where the 3-4 is used with success.  Gailey is open to trying something different.

“I don’t want to sit here and say that we’re going to do this and that,” Gailey said Tuesday. “But I know one thing, I’m much more open
to the 3-4 than I used to be because I know what a pain it is to go
against it every week.”

We can’t think of a roster less suited to play a 3-4 defense in the league.  Buffalo’s group is full of fast, undersized defenders.  The team’s defensive line would especially be out of position.

Buffalo’s defense is far ahead of the the team’s offense, and held up well considering all the injuries it had last year. 

Changing the scheme could make a difficult transition for Gailey even more painful.

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35 Responses to “Transition to 3-4 defense would be tough for Bills”
  1. birdmancometh says: Jan 20, 2010 10:52 AM

    I think Maybin would fair well as one of the OLB

  2. hizzle1281 says: Jan 20, 2010 10:52 AM

    the 3-4 actually isnt that hard.
    get 2 speed rushers for OLB(Maybin).
    2 pass rushing DT’s(for DE).
    then just find a guy who weighs 320 lbs(NT).
    they have a good ILB in Polzolsky

  3. Big Stretch says: Jan 20, 2010 10:55 AM

    Already talking about changing the Defense in Buffalo. Gailey must be trying to alienate the last 50 people who think his hiring was a good idea.

  4. Beastie Bills says: Jan 20, 2010 11:00 AM

    They would definitely need a Nose Tackle, but otherwise, I think they’d be ok with a lot of their current players (especially Maybin, their first round pick in ’09, who is much better suited as a 3-4 OLB, than as a 4-3 DE).
    DE – Stroud
    NT – ?
    DE – Kyle Williams
    OLB – Maybin
    ILB – Poslusney
    ILB – Kawika Mitchell
    OLB – Schobel / Keith Ellison
    What’s the problem?

  5. chief says: Jan 20, 2010 11:02 AM

    The Chiefs defense in 08 was a Cover 2 defense and they transitioned. Every single position was undersized for what they did this year. Dorsey, McBride, Hali, Gilberry/Studebaker on the line. Donnie Edwards, Derrick Johnson, DeMorrio Williams as the backers. Pollard, Page, Flowers, and Carr as the DB’s. Probably farther away from a 3-4 than the Bills are.
    Carr and Pollard might be the only two that could transition to a spot in a traditional 3-4. Hali made a great transition to OLB and Derrick Johnson should have been playing ILB, but wasn’t used all season.

  6. MNRunLeft says: Jan 20, 2010 11:02 AM

    There are a couple of nice NT prospects in this years draft in Terrence Cody and Dan Williams only problem is neither would be a great value where the Bills pick in round 1 and its unlikely either will fall to them in round 2.

  7. FireJerryJones says: Jan 20, 2010 11:04 AM

    Cause you know…. Nix is set in his ways… he’s always had fruit and bran flakes for breakfast…
    He gets up every night at 2:30 to take a leak…
    Every night. Whether he needs to or not…
    Gets laid third Thursday of the month… (or at least he thinks so…)
    And he can’t see any reason to change these things.
    So… it’;s a 3 – 4 then.

  8. Big Stretch says: Jan 20, 2010 11:07 AM

    @hizzle1281 –
    Yeah cause its so easy to find a 3-4 nosetackle.
    their D-line minus the retiring Schoebel is not capable of making the switch and after ranking last against the run would be in even worse shape in 2010 trying to stop the #1 (jets) #4 (dolphins) and #12 (partiots) running games within their division.
    So yeah switching to the 3-4 wouldn’t be that hard after all guys like Vince Wilfork grow on trees right?

  9. Silver Back says: Jan 20, 2010 11:09 AM

    Don’t they still have stroud? Isn’t he a good 3-4 NT?

  10. ducej11 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:09 AM

    actually it should not be that difficult
    Aaron Maybin to OLB
    Paul Poz and Kavika Mitchell at MLB
    OLB- need to find one
    DE-Marcus Stroud
    DE-Kyle Williams
    DT-Need one

  11. wwwmattcom says: Jan 20, 2010 11:09 AM

    I am all for using a 3-4 and a 4-3 together. a nose tackle has been on my wish list for a few years now.
    get a NT a new DE (replace Schobel, it is inevatable)
    obviously though they brought in Chan for the offensive side of the ball so expect them to address their needs on offense FIRST.
    swap out QB for anywhere in top three rounds if you think Brohm is the answer or if you think QB’s in the draft are second rate at best.

  12. nagurskiTform says: Jan 20, 2010 11:10 AM

    Lonnie Harvey as NT
    Stroud and K. Williams as DE
    Schobel and Maybin as OLB
    Poz and K. Mitchell as ILB
    Backups would be Spencer Johnson at DE and C. Kelsay/Nic Harris at OLB
    That’s a physical and pretty fast front 7…they could do damage.
    But I have a feeling we’ll never see it.

  13. Robert P. says: Jan 20, 2010 11:11 AM

    I think Maybin can fair well on the unemployment line, where he can then make his absurd Twitter posts like “I HAVE THE SOUL OF A WARRIOR!!!” referring to the breakfast shift at McDonald’s.

  14. chris says: Jan 20, 2010 11:17 AM

    Actually it would make sense for them to do especially if Schobel retires. Stroud at LDE, NT(draft or Free agent) Williams at RDE, Maybin moved to LOLB, Poz to LILB, RILB (Draft or FA) Mitchell to ROLB then you have your dbs….not that bad i as a bills fan would prefer that over the cover 2

  15. Mike says: Jan 20, 2010 11:18 AM

    The Bills have pretty much everything except a NT, maybe one more LB. Kyle Williams and Marcus Stroud can play end in a 3-4. The Packers didn’t have a ideal roster to make the switch, and they ended up with a top 5 defense in Total Yards, Passing & Rushing.

  16. darrius_heyward-bey-butterfingers says: Jan 20, 2010 11:21 AM


  17. TheVillain112 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:22 AM

    I can see them playing a hybrid system. Ravens fans can correct me if I’m wrong but don’t the Ravens play 3-4 but a lot of times they just line up and play a 4-3?
    If the Bills can find a fatboy to play the middle I could see them transitioning to a 3-4. If not they can just stick with the 4-3.

  18. ZombieRevolution says: Jan 20, 2010 11:23 AM

    PFT- raising issues where none exist.
    You don’t suppose that the Bills could stay with a base 4-3 and switch to a 3-4 on occassion to generate a little more pass rush or confuse a QB?

  19. bobinpuertorico says: Jan 20, 2010 11:23 AM

    To implement the 3/4, Buffalo would:
    Fill the NT position from the draft, trade or FA
    For DEs they have Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams,
    Spencer Johnson and John McCargo
    For OLBs they have Schobel and Maybin, if they
    lose Schobel to retirement, then they might
    be able to use Chris Kelsay or Chris Ellis, but
    they could need to pick up an OLB through
    the draft, trade of FA
    For ILB they have Posluszney and K. Mitchell
    So they might only need address NT, and worst case NT and one OLB.

  20. Beastie Bills says: Jan 20, 2010 11:28 AM

    Actually, I heard they are going to be running a 1-1-5.

  21. BENITO says: Jan 20, 2010 11:30 AM

    kawika mitchell as an unprotected ILB in a 34 scheme will definately probelm!

  22. hizzle1281 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:30 AM

    Big Stretch says:
    January 20, 2010 11:07 AM
    @hizzle1281 –
    Yeah cause its so easy to find a 3-4 nosetackle.
    their D-line minus the retiring Schoebel is not capable of making the switch and after ranking last against the run would be in even worse shape in 2010 trying to stop the #1 (jets) #4 (dolphins) and #12 (partiots) running games within their division.
    So yeah switching to the 3-4 wouldn’t be that hard after all guys like Vince Wilfork grow on trees right?
    look at the 49ers, their NT i have never heard of and yet they are pretty good against the run.
    IMO NT’s are overrated, look at the Pats, they had Wilfork and Ray Rice torched them. To me the DE’s are the most important position(see Richard Seymour)

  23. ducej11 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:31 AM

    People! Aaron Schobel is not going to be converting to an OLB.
    A. He is a little old to be changing positions
    B. He is not quick enough
    If the Bills go to a 3-4, it will somehow be without Schobel. See Aaron Kampman in GB. It will not work out right.

  24. ch19079 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:32 AM

    I dont think they will transition to it. Though I would like to see a 3-4 defense used 10-20% of the time with the 4-3 as the base D.
    The only way I see it possibly happening is:
    Williams = NT
    Stroud = DE
    Free Agent/Draft pick = DE
    Schobel = OLB
    Maybin = OLB
    Poz = MLB
    Mitchell = MLB
    The problem is that Stroud and Williams are very good 4-3 DTs (best D-players on the team IMO), and switching to 3-4 may not be playing to their strengths. in a 3-4 the nose tackle is the most important position on the field. Without a proven guy, its a big risk.
    Also, Maybin hasnt done much at all so who knows if he can even play OLB. Schobel may retire. And you would need a FA/draft pick to play the other DE spot since i dont think the remaining Bills DEs could do it.
    if they are going to switch, they need to transition slowly. 10-20% next year.

  25. stiller43 says: Jan 20, 2010 11:35 AM

    How many teams are going to convert to the 3-4 before the talent pool runs dry and everyone is playing with marginal talent at OLB, NT, and DE, where they need to be completely different animals than normal.

  26. Marv_Sleezy says: Jan 20, 2010 11:38 AM

    They should run a 3-4 with 2 nose tackels and 2 defensive ends. Or a 4-3 with an extra linebacker.
    A 4-4-3
    or a 2-5-4 with no defensive ends and 2 nose tackles.
    Sugar huddle on offense mush rush on d, no hands on the ground.
    Tackles eligible on every play, keep in 2 TE for extra blocking.

  27. BenRapistberger says: Jan 20, 2010 11:57 AM

    Everyone seems to think that because Maybin has shown every indication he’ll be a bust means he must be better suited as OLB in a 3-4. Maybe he would if he were rushing the QB every down (which takes away the point of a 3-4) but I think seeing him have to drop back into coverage would be a nightmare.

  28. BradyGazelle says: Jan 20, 2010 12:01 PM

    The Bills offense will score so many points it doesn’t matter what the defense does.

  29. 123456 says: Jan 20, 2010 12:03 PM

    Bills couldnt play a 3-4 with the personel they have now.
    No true NT. Johnsons 280 and Williams is 300. Neither guy is big enough or strong enough to be a NT.
    They could mix and match the ends but their MLB would be eaten whole.
    Posluzny is way to small to be an ILB in the 3-4. Maybe move him outside and let him rush the QB or cover a TE but otherwise he would dissappear.

  30. Glenn says: Jan 20, 2010 12:54 PM

    why not sign Ryan Pickett for NT and draft Rolanda McClain and have a line up of
    DE Stroud
    NT Pickett
    DE Williams
    OLB McClain
    ILB Mitchell
    ILB Posluszney
    OLB Maybin
    CB McGee
    CB Florence
    SS Whitner
    FS Byrd
    sounds like a good defense to me maybe even a top 5 defense

  31. Big M says: Jan 20, 2010 1:30 PM

    hizzle1281 says:
    look at the 49ers, their NT i have never heard of and yet they are pretty good against the run.
    IMO NT’s are overrated, look at the Pats, they had Wilfork and Ray Rice torched them. To me the DE’s are the most important position(see Richard Seymour)
    Don’t be such a tool. Just because you’ve never heard of Aubrayo Franklin doesn’t mean he’s not a good NT. In fact, most of the players on the 9ers D couldn’t stop raving about Franklin, most of them even saying that he’s the best NT in the league. Patrick Willis has been adamant that the team needs to lock him up because it makes his job much easier.
    The only reason nobody’s heard of him is because he wasn’t a high draft pick. He was a back-up in Baltimore who SF picked up for cheap in FA. He’s busted his ass and really developed in SF.

  32. slipkid says: Jan 20, 2010 1:46 PM

    teams play a 3-4 situational defense all the time… but in those situations a 350# NT isnt needed.
    wilfork etc was probly hurting. NT have contact all the time and have issues staying healthy.

  33. pray4thebills says: Jan 20, 2010 1:57 PM

    you’re completely right. eventhough the rush defense was terrible this year, everybody seems to refuse to see poz as the mediocre-at-best MLB that he is. in a 3-4 with an average NT he would get absolutely destroyed, and most likely injured during the first game. Mitchell is no better.
    and stroud playing olb is laughable, especially without a really good olb to back him up. there is no way at his age that he could transition to DE and hold his ground play after play.
    the only thing about the 3-4 that might work is switching maybin to olb, he’s still young and has the right size so if he really set his mind to it he could become really good at it… but judging by what he has showed so far (ie offsides on a pivotal kickoff), he doesnt have enough mindpower to do so.

  34. Big Stretch says: Jan 20, 2010 2:48 PM

    hizzle1281 –
    49ers also have ALL WORLD LB Patrick Willis.
    Also considering the Bills were ranked 30th against the run with their current players.
    Poz is not big enough to play inside. Stroud is gonna be 32 next season. Maybin spends too much time with Lavar and on twitter to be any more than a situational pass rusher who the Bills way overdrafted based on hype….they could have had Orakpo.
    It is crazy to think that guys who have played in a certain system for years would be able to just switch to a new system and somehow be more effective. Ask Aaron Kampman how it worked out for him this year.

  35. hizzle1281 says: Jan 20, 2010 7:24 PM

    Big Stretch you have a point
    Big M shut up

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