The Green Bay Packers switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 when they hired defensive coordinator Dom Capers in 2009. With the exception of last season, when the Packers finished last in the league in total defense, the 3-4 has worked pretty well.
With the additions the team made along the defensive line in the offseason — largely aimed at improving their pass rush — it looks like the Packers could employ a 4-3 look from time to time.
Tom Silverstein explains how it might work.
The addition of a half dozen new defensive linemen will keep line coach Mike Trgovac busy trying to figure out who fits where. Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji return, but [Jerel] Worthy and [Mike] Daniels are going to get an opportunity to rush the passer from an inside position in the nickel.
In fact, if Worthy, Daniels, [Daniel] Muir and [Anthony] Hargrove perform well enough, Capers may have to consider going to more of a 4-3 look. None of the above is really capable of playing the traditional end position in a 3-4 and so Capers could play some 4-3 or go to a hybrid system where he plays LB Clay Matthews or the 270-pound [Nick] Perry at an “elephant end” position. It’s a way to keep pass rushers on the field and still be able to play the run.
The Packers appear to be stocked along the defensive line with all the new additions, but they have about as many questions as they have bodies.
Hargrove and former second-round pick Mike Neal will serve suspensions to start the season and can’t be around the team. Will they be ready to contribute when they return, if they make the team?
Other teams gave up on Muir and another former second-round pick Phillip Merling. Do they even have what it takes?
Perry, Worthy and Daniels are all rookies. Will they live up to their billing and if they do, will they contribute from day one?
Before anyone can say the Packers have one of those good problems with too much talent at one position, they’re going to have to figure out the answers to these questions.