Would Giants Benefit from a 3-4 Defensive Scheme?
Jim Mancari , Contributor
The Giants have had the benefit in their recent history of developing extremely talented defensive ends. Even when it seemed the team had a surplus along the D-line, General Manager Jerry Reese continued to strengthen the team’s main strength.
Reese drafted Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Matthias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul, all of whom have been productive NFL players.
But it seems that to start this season, the Giants defensive front just can’t muster a consistent attack against opposing quarterbacks.
If the Giants couldn’t pressure rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden last week, how will they be able to get past the 49ers strong offensive line to pressure Alex Smith?
Something to maybe think about is switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme rather than the Giants patented 4-3 scheme.
Of course, this wouldn’t be something that happens overnight or maybe even this season. But haven’t you noticed that the Giants give up a ton of big plays down the middle of the field? Even when the Giants do put together a potent rush, opposing quarterbacks are getting the ball out so quick that the middle of the field is wide open.
Here’s something to consider. A player like JPP is so athletic that he could probably drop back into coverage in the flats in a 3-4 scheme, which may close up the middle of the field. Think of the Dallas Cowboys’ defense. DeMarcus Ware is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker who is talented enough to rush the quarterback and drop back into coverage. The Cowboys have the luxury of having nose tackle Jay Ratliff and his 303-pound frame clogging up the entire line against the run.
When the Giants signed Shaun Rogers, a 3-4 scheme could have been a possibility since at 350 pounds, Rogers would have been able to singlehandedly plug up running lanes. However, he was ruled out for the season with a blood clot in his left calf.
Even without Rogers, a 3-4 scheme could still work out. The Giants could have Rocky Bernard, Linval Joseph or soon-to-return Chris Canty in the middle, flanked by Umenyiora and Tuck. Then JPP would drop back with Kiwanuka on the wings, and Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley would control the middle of the field.
If the Giants aren’t going to get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks using a 4-3 scheme, at least a 3-4 scheme would eliminate some of the big plays in the middle.
Again, this is just a hypothesis but one that might gain traction if the defensive front can’t sort out its problems.