Since the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl season of 2010, there have been an increasing amount of questions about the 3-4 defensive scheme.
The defense has seen its share of breakdowns, particularly in the playoffs. In 2010, the Packers’ defense ranked fifth overall in total defense, according to NFL statistics, giving up an average of 309.1 yards per game. In 2012, the defense dropped to last in total defense, surrendering an average of 411.6 yards per contest and last season, the defense moved up to twenty-second. After being last, where else could the defense go but up?
Many attributed the decline of defensive production to the loss of DE Cullen Jenkins to free agency, or Johnny Jolly to his personal problems, or to injury or decline of players (see LB Desmond Bishop and CB Charles Woodson, respectively).
Maybe it is time for the Packers to consider a return to a 4-3 defensive alignment. It may help the pass rush and address some of the issues that the team has had up the middle with the inside linebackers over the years. Certainly, a more robust pass rush could also help the secondary. It seems the 3-4 has had its day and it may be time to move away from the gimmicks and play smashmouth defense.
One thing is for sure, if Green Bay does not make the playoffs this season or flounders in the playoffs as it has in the past two seasons, it would be a good bet that Dom Capers and the 3-4 defense will be a thing of the past in 2014.