Organized Team Activities are a time for experimentation. The Saints are capitalizing by installing a 3-4 defense during the two-a-day workouts.
According to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune
, usual defensive end Bobby McCray is lining up at outside linebacker in the new look. Sedrick Ellis and Remi Ayodele are working at nose tackle
. Ellis, normally an interior lineman, also took reps at defensive end
along with Anthony Hargrove.
If the new alignment becomes a staple in the Saints’ playbook, end Will Smith would presumably line up across from McCray at outside ‘backer. Jonathan Vilma, who has experience in the 3-4, would stay at inside ‘backer next to Scott Shanle or JoLonn Dunbar. Clint Ingram would probably back up Smith and McCray.
The 3-4 seems unlikely to become New Orleans’ base defense, but it gives aggressive coordinator Gregg Williams options. The Saints do not lack the personnel to pull it off on a situational basis.
According to NFL.com’s gamebook from Week Three
of last season,
the Saints lined up in the 3-4 on the first snap of the game. So this is not an entirely new look for the defending Super Bowl champs. Gregg Williams appears to be using OTA practices to polish up the scheme, and perhaps use it more often this year.