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Eagles don’t want to label themselves 3-4 or 4-3

Bill Davis AP

It might walk like a duck and talk like a duck, but the Eagles new head coach refuses to call it a duck.

When Chip Kelly introduced his coaching staff yesterday, the biggest crowd flocked to defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who was asked the fairly basic question of whether he’d run a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense.

I’m not caught up with labels,” Kelly said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Because I don’t think it’s going to be a ladies-and-gentlemen defense. I think it’s hopefully going to be a defense that creates a lot of turnovers and gets the ball back to our offense.”

And while it certainly appears to be leaning toward a three-man front, no one will say so.

Davis said he’s coached 3-4 defenses in 15 of his 21 NFL seasons, and Kelly hired a pair of linebackers coaches (inside and outside), which points it in a certain direction.

“I know it’s a vague answer,” Davis said. “Everybody wants to know: Is it 3-4 or is it 4-3? I wouldn’t be a very good coach if I just said it was 3-4. It’s who we have and what we can do with that.”

The more pressing question will be how the pieces fit.

The Eagles have some intriguing pass-rushers, but middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans was traded once by a team switching fronts, and how he handles the conversion will be an important part of what Davis hopes to do.

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17 Responses to “Eagles don’t want to label themselves 3-4 or 4-3”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Feb 12, 2013 8:01 AM

    Holler and scream … change all around.

  2. mike62679 says: Feb 12, 2013 8:03 AM

    It’s not going to matter what they label themselves or do if they go with Vick. It will be interception and fumble city with a lousy QB rating for whatever part of the season he can manage to stay healthy enough to attempt to play. Andy learned the hard way, lie down with dogkillers you wake up with fleas!

  3. pigbenis69 says: Feb 12, 2013 8:03 AM

    They hired an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach – what does that tell you? (Hint: 4-3 teams only hire one linebacker coach).

  4. joetoronto says: Feb 12, 2013 8:05 AM

    “Eagles don’t want to label themselves 3-4 or 4-3, just Dream Team”

  5. oldbyrd says: Feb 12, 2013 8:18 AM

    4-3 3-4 8-2, just win for a change. Billy Davis has never had a winning def. Oh Boy! Writers say its what he had to work with. Isn’t that what coaching is about? Niners coach didn’t have much to work with either.

  6. eagleswin says: Feb 12, 2013 8:24 AM

    Just say “no comment” if you aren’t going to answer a simple question. That answer sounds like he doesn’t have a bloody clue. Even if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t tell the world you don’t know what you are doing.

  7. landof10000lakes says: Feb 12, 2013 8:25 AM

    Best response I’ve ever heard to that question. The best coaches mix it up depending on personnel and opponent. Maybe this guy will be around longer than I think

  8. untamedride says: Feb 12, 2013 8:28 AM

    At this point, doesn’t just about every team have a bit of a “hybrid” front? that changes to the situation?

  9. mustbechris says: Feb 12, 2013 8:33 AM

    DeMeco Ryan’s actually led the Texans in tackles in his last year there, their first year in a 3-4. The idea that he can’t play in a 3-4 is sort of a misnomer. They moved him because he was a large salary coming off a serious injury, not because they didn’t think he could play in their scheme.

  10. eatitfanboy says: Feb 12, 2013 9:06 AM

    I have a feeling the straight answer police are not going to particularly enjoy the Chip Kelly era.

  11. balzer41 says: Feb 12, 2013 9:22 AM

    I feel as if this whole Chip Kelly experiment is going to be a disaster. Im not sure they even know what they are going to be running.

  12. texaned80 says: Feb 12, 2013 9:48 AM

    Dont worry eagles fans. Demecco Ryans fits just fine in either defense 3-4 or 4-3. He was traded to philly not because he was a bad fit but more because he couldnt beat out Brian Cushing (then again who could) and the Texans pressing their spending limit couldnt afford to pay him #1 linebacker money for the #2 LB % of snaps he played. As for the rest of Eagles defensive personnel… Im not so sure

  13. dfwprosports says: Feb 12, 2013 10:57 AM

    DeMeco Ryans already was dropped by a team due to his poor fit in a 3-4, Fletcher Cox their 1st round pick last year is an undersized penetrating type DT who doesn’t fit a 3-4 that well, neither does Mike Patterson an even smaller DT, nor does Trent Cole who spent his entire career not just in a 4-3 but as a wide 9 type DE in a 4-3. The only good fits I see for a 3-4 are Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry yet when you change a D and 80% of the guys are a poor fit then it’s probably a dumb move to switch to that system. The Eagles would be better served as a 4-3 attacking D. Fix the secondary and the offensive line. The front seven wasn’t the reason they underachieved last year.

  14. PFT=crap says: Feb 12, 2013 2:19 PM

    More important than going base 4-3 or 3-4 in the current NFL is shoring up your nickel defense.

  15. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 13, 2013 4:56 PM

    Ok Davis the media will quit asking you complex questions like how you are going to line up. Just let us know what it is later when it doesn’t work. Chip Kelly era has begun.

  16. patssteelersorgiants says: Feb 14, 2013 2:17 AM

    It’s not 3-4 or 4-3, he’s keeping the Wide 9!

  17. PFT=crap says: Feb 14, 2013 11:50 AM

    Wide 9 is still 4 down linemen and 3 backers in base defense…

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