Cardinals aren’t fretting their defensive scheme

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Cardinals fans are debating what scheme the team will use on defense next season.

Steve Wilks ran a 4-3 last season in Carolina, with the Panthers finishing seventh in total defense. The Cardinals have used a 3-4 for more than a decade and have finished in the top six in total defense the past three seasons and four of the past five seasons. They ranked sixth in 2017.

Wilks said he doesn’t have a scheme but a “system.”

“We’re not going to change too much,” Wilks said, via Kyle Odegard of the team website. “If it’s not broke, don’t worry about trying to fix it.”

Chandler Jones led the NFL with 17 sacks last season, making him a candidate for defensive player of the year. He would move from outside linebacker to defensive end in the 4-3.

“I don’t prefer either/or,” said Jones, who began his NFL career as a defensive end with the Patriots. “As long as I can get after the quarterback, that’s what I’m excited about.”

General Manager Steve Keim echoed Jones, saying the front doesn’t matter. The Cardinals used their nickel package more than their base defense last season and have used four down linemen at times.

“[Wilks] knows defensive football,” Keim said. “. . . When you talk about a 4-3, a 3-4, he’s going to put guys in position to succeed.”

6 responses to “Cardinals aren’t fretting their defensive scheme

  1. The bigger thing is 1 gap v 2 gap, if you’re going from a 1 gap to a 2 gap then you need different players to do different things and it’s a big deal. But if it’s remaining consistent as a 1 gap (or a 2 gap) then the 3-4 v 4-3 debate really doesn’t mean much. Add to that most of the games now are spent in nickel and dime defenses, and those defenses are almost always with 4 guys upfront.

  2. Cardinals have some guys who can play on defense. Regardless of the scheme, that defense has a chance to be really good with Golden and Bethea back from injuries, and if young guys Baker and Reddick continue to develop and Nkemdiche stays healthy.

  3. The offense is the main question. The defense has been good and will continue to be good but to get back on top of what is turning into a very tough division Wilks will need hit a home run with his OC choice and QB.

  4. Southpaw, I was thinking similarly in some ways, but when thinking homerun, McCoy sure would not have come to mind. Maybe he’ll do better here than he has elsewhere I suppose.

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