The 3/4 vs the 4/3, a Recipe for Defense


With the search for Tampa Bay’s 12th head coach continuing, it seems a fair time to speculate about all things “Buccaneers.” Will Jason Licht decide to grab a sapling off of a storied NFL coaching tree or attempt to transplant the tree itself? Should the reputation of the next coach be as a quarterback whisperer or a defensive mastermind? Is it more important that the beer I drink taste great or be less filling? Two of these questions might be answered as early as this weekend once the wildcard games are in the books. All three, if I remember how badly I felt New Years Day and stay away from the hard stuff.

Here comes the transition. Instead of speculating about the new head coach or possible coordinators, I chose to speculate if the base formation of the Buccaneer defense in 2019 will be of a 4/3 or of a 3/4 alignment.

The 4/3 defensive alignment depends on the defensive line to produce all the pressure. One defensive tackle occupies two of the opposing teams’ offensive linemen, and the rest should get one-on-one matchups. Although linebackers will still utilize the blitz, their main responsibility is stopping the run and covering passes.

The 3/4 scheme uses pressure produced mainly by the linebackers. With the defensive linemen occupying gaps and tying up the offensive linemen, the linebackers are used to strategically attack the line. With two middle linebackers to cover the middle, the blitz packages can be quite creative.

Which alignment could the Buccaneers employ in 2019? These days the specialty players needed to play an exclusive alignment have morphed together. Linebackers play defensive back, and defensive linemen play linebacker. Although the league is split as to the number of teams that identify themselves as being an exclusively 4/3 or 3/4, at any time you may see a team switch to the other. The primary defensive front we employ will be reflected by the philosophy of the next coach selected to steer the ship. The 12th man to lead our Buccaneers will decide the defensive scheme of the 11 guys on the field.