Cowboys could be moving to 4-3 defense

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So with the Cowboys firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and with coach Jason Garrett explaining that the franchise plans to “move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense,” the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the team could be changing its defense from a base 3-4 alignment to a 4-3.

Todd Archer of explores that issue, and he identifies the potential coordinators who could help implement the new approach.

Archer suggests that Dave Wannstedt (who served as defensive coordinator during the 1992 Super Bowl season), Monte Kiffin, and Lovie Smith could serve as the next defensive coordinator, if the move is made to the 4-3.

We love the idea of bringing Lovie Smith to his home state of Texas; last week, we suggested that he’d be a good choice to be the franchise’s next head coach.  Maybe the next best thing would be to put him in charge of the team’s defense.

39 responses to “Cowboys could be moving to 4-3 defense

  1. Lovie Smith and that Dallas Defense would make the Cowboys a serious force to be reckoned with. If it weren’t for Romo.

  2. Soo if this was a swap out for Lovie than ill take it but if not? Than its quite obvious to us Boys fans and all the haters out there, that you Jerrah Jones are in a delusional world…. Sir

  3. Dallas has personnel well-suited to a 4-3 D. Sean Lee at MLB. Ware at end.
    Dallas has fast LB’s with Carter and Lee. 3-4 is designed for bigger, slower LB’s. Hole pluggers. Why waste speedy talent and risk further injuries?

    It would be a wise choice to move to the 4-3.

  4. Just what the Cowboys need, another head coach caliber coordinator, it worked out great with Phillips and Garrett.

  5. so they’d have a monster at DE, budding star (when healthy) in Sean Lee at MLB, and a freak of nature at on of the DT spots with Jay Ratliff. I don’t see how that could be bad. It might even extend DWare’s career if he doesn’t have to chase TEs and RBs around in the middle of the field.

  6. As a Giants fan I don’t want Lovie to be the dc in Dallas. I think he would do a great job there. Jerry pulled the plug to early on rob ryan. A healthy Carter/lee and 1 more year in his system and I think dall would have had a top 10 d. Long live Jerry as NO respectable head coach will take that job with Jerry having final say.

  7. Even if they get Lovie it most likely will be very short term. He will be a head coach again soon. Personal opinion they should make him the HC now and he would bring the great assistants from chicago with him.

  8. I’m quite sure that Rob Ryan ran a 4-3 while with Oakland.

    Also, as another poster mentioned Ware is not a 4-3 player.

    Moving to a 4-3 makes sense when lots of teams are 3-4 because there are a lot of quality 4-3 players available in the draft relatively late.

    I’m not sure with more teams playing 4-3 sets and taking those players, that a team that faces Eli Manning and RG3 twice a year would benefit from the switch.

    Frankly, I thought the Dallas D played well this year and had improved their pass coverage from years past with Claiborne and Carr.

  9. Jerry Jones needs to do two things.

    1 is not to hire Lovie Smith, regardless of how good of a coach he might be. If you want to show a total lack of confidence in your current head coach, you hire a hot coaching candidate to be a coordinator/assistant coach (and thus coach in waiting). If you are hiring a coach in waiting for a young head coach (which Jason Garrett is), then you need to fire the young coach. Plain and simple.

    The second is to hire a VP of football operations and let him run the show for a few years. Most of the mess is caused by Jerry trying to be Jerry Jones, Superstar owner.

  10. Fire Garrett!! Hiring Lovie Smith would be a great move. I think Ware could definitely play end in a 4-3 and if Ratliff comes back healthy, and at a more reasonable price, he would be a better fit as a DT in the 4-3. A line of Ware, Ratliff, Lissemore, Hatcher with LBs of Carter, Lee, Spencer, then the defensive backfield would be very strong. Urlacher is a FA as well, maybe a reunion with Lovie for his final year or two?

  11. If they’re going to get Lovie, they better get a defensive grocery list. Lovie’s guys are undersized speed guys who swarm to the ball to force turnovers.

    One Undersized explosive 3 technique DT.
    Two solid to good DE’s.
    An athletic, fast middle linebacker who can cover the whole middle of the field.

    If you don’t get these things, his defense can look ugly. In 2009 Urlacher was out and he had no pass rush, the defense couldn’t make a stop.

    The Tampa 2 is a prevent base defense. Guys are going to give up fluff yards but the idea is so to make the offense work the entire field for a TD. Lesser QBs can’t do it and end up throwing picks.

  12. As a Redskin fan dont care what they do so long as Romo is the QB. If that doesn’t change they’ll still always lose the big games!!!!!

  13. I think hiring Lovie as the DC would be a very good thing for the Cowboys….I think firing Garrett, getting Norv Turner as the OC and Lovie would be the best for Dallas, though I’m not sure Norv would work for Lovie as Lovie fired Norv’s brother Ron in Chicago. As far as 4-3 personnel..I think Dallas would be close..they would definitely need to add a 3 technique akin to Henry Melton or Tommie Harris… Plus they would need a Will LB and Dallas’s safeties are questionable…but those that play for Lovie play hard and disciplined or they sit so Lovie in either role would be good- just keep him away from hiring an OC as he can’t pick competent ones to save his life.

  14. I’m a die hard fan and yes this would definitely be moving in the right direction, for years Dallas defense has ranked @ the bottom n turnovers and total defense I hope this happens

  15. Dave Wansteadt would be an absolute disaster. His defense was nothing short of pathetic this past season in Buffalo, despite having a talented defensive line, and a relatively talented secondary. Lovie Smith would be okay, but the cold hard truth that everyone but Jerry Jones seems to understand is that Dallas will not ever be an actual super bowl contender so long as Jason Garrett is at the helm and Tony Romo is under center. And for the love of God Jerry, if you insist on keeping Jason Garrett as your head coach, at least get an offensive coordinator. Garrett himself would, and has in the past, make a fine offensive coordinator. Couple him with a good head coach. It’s indescribably frustrating to see Jerry continually make decisions that everyone else knows is hurting his franchise. Jerry, stick with ownership and hire a real GM.

  16. Of course what most people on this board don’t actually realize is that they where running 4-3 for alot of the year. I guess thats what you get when you only get your team info from this place, and Sportcenter.

  17. IF Lovie does not get a Head Coach offer, I think he would be a great coordinator in St. Louis.

  18. Welcome to the club, its what the Giants have been doing for years since the World’s greatest linebacker retired in 93.

    How has that worked out for them? If you pressure the passer you have a chance, especially in this pass happy league.

    Just ask Tom Brady!!!

  19. Ware was a DE in a 4-3 at Troy. So for all the people commenting that he wouldn’t be a good fit there, please do your homework! Atleast as a DE he will rush the passer everytime, reducing his coverage responsibilities. I fail to see how that could be a bad thing.

  20. Smith doesnt need to take a step down. He needs to continue being a head coach. I mean seriously the structure of Garrett over Smith? Really? Garrett is so much better? If your going to think like that dump Garrett.

  21. actually, it would make sense to have Ware/Spencer get to the QB rather than cover. Rushers rush, cover guys cover. This team could even dump salary and transition to 4-3 easier than to add more inside guys and larger ends. Cut Ratliff, Spears and Dan Connor. Roll with Albright at SLB with Lee and Carter. Draft another end or tackle to, not a combo guy like in a 3-4. Fix o-line and backup RB in draft and find a QB to groom. There, done.

    And I’d rather have Wannstedt than Smith. Don’t wanna see “Tampa 2” in Dallas.

  22. Jerry if you don’t fire Garrett the Cowboy nation is going to be raking you over the coals more so than now. If you hire Lovie and pick up a proven OC to better the offense, folks will lay off of you and Romo and feel like we have a chance next year. As it is with Garrett being in charge the fans have no hope and I’m one of them. Please make that move. It will excite the Cowboy nation and put you in the “good” spotlight.

  23. Get a young qb to train under romo and get Alabamas dc work here and get better controlling of the guys get back to basic training we have good guys just do not know what to do with them get back to cowboy football

  24. kick275 January 9, 2013, 2:09 AM EST

    As a Redskin fan dont care what they do so long as Romo is the QB. If that doesn’t change they’ll still always lose the big games!!!!!
    One year with a QB who did well but couldn’t stay healthy and now you’re an expert on QBs? Congrats

  25. burgandy2260 January 9, 2013, 8:39 AM EST

    All this praise for Lovie? I guess 1 mans trash is really another mans treasure! You can have him!
    He took Rex Grossman to a SB and still ended the season with a top ranked defense and a team above .500. I’ll take him for an NFC East team who only needs 9 wins to take the division each year.

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