3-4 or 4-3? With our current personnel, it does not matter. At this stage, we aren't built for a 3-4. As we saw in '08, we aren't built for a 4-3 either. Either way, we need a massive upgrade of infrastructure.
Regardless of the business, a company is only as good as its people. You can have a masterful strategy, but without the people to implement that strategy, more often than not the organization will fail. Management requires subordinates to perform in order to be successful. At this stage, not only do we need a coordinator, but we need players.
I look at the NFL Playoffs and I see 8 teams that play defense with an aggressive mentality. They are looking to get to the QB. 6 of the teams are absolutely looking to punish people. The Chargers and Cardinals pressure the QB. They've also invested in defense through the draft and they drafted well. It should be noted that there is a healthy mix of 3-4 & 4-3 defenses. You can win with both. But, you need an aggressive, physical mentality. A passive nature does not win.
I feel that it would be easier to improve via the 3-4. The college game has moved to a format that allows smaller, quicker defensive ends to perform. Occasionally, these ends get eaten up in the NFL. See: Jamal Reynolds. Reynolds was a speed end who excelled in the college game. He was 6-3, 260. Brian Orakpo dominates the college game. He stands 6-4, 260. With Orakpo, there was almost no middle ground. He either pressured the QB or he was eaten up. 4 times, he impacted the game. Nearly every other play, he was going backwards. He was swallowed. Don't get me wrong, he could develop into the next Dwight Freeney. I did not see enough of him to judge. But, to me, in one game watching him, he looked fragile. He looked like a guy that might sustain injury at the next level. But, boy, he is quick around the corner. A couple of times, he looked unstoppable.
I want to be mean. I want to have speed. I want to pursue.
What's more important to me is to watch how Thompson and McCarthy work together this offseason. It's a vital offseason for the future of this franchise. When Holmgren & Wolf joined forces, Holmgren brought the West Coast offense. In return, Wolf got him Favre to lead the charge. Favre became Holmgren's Montana. Wolf drafted RB's that could effectively run the screen in Bennett & Levens. They became Holmgren's Roger Craig. Wolf drafted him a blocking FB that could also catch the ball out of the backfield in William Henderson. Henderson became Tom Rathman. Wolf drafted Chmura who became Russ Francis/Brent Jones. Physical over the middle of the field. Tough blocker. Soft hands. Reliable. Good runner after the catch. Holmgren needed WR's that could run the slant, the down and out, and the deep post. Brooks, Freeman, and Rison soon followed.
But, a telling point of the Holmgren & Wolf relationship came when Holmgren lost Ray Rhodes to the Philadelphia Eagles. Holmgren chose Fritz Shurmur. Shurmur demanded a big front 4. A physical front 4. In came Sean Jones and Santana Dotson. Shurmur needed a playmaking Safety to play next to LeRoy Butler. In came George Teague and then Eugene Robinson. Shurmur needed aggressive LB's. He drafted Brian Williams and paired him with Wayne Simmons on the outside. Shurmur needed physical, in-your-face CB's. Wolf drafted Craig Newsome in the 1st round to play across Doug Evans.
Holmgren had requirements. Wolf delivered results. Together, they won a Championship.
McCarthy and Thompson are at this crossroad. McCarthy is faced with a big decision. It'll arguably be a choice that defines his legacy. Soon after, Thompson will be faced with his biggest offseason as a GM in Titletown, USA. Thompson needs to bring defenders to our defense. We need maniacs. We need attitude. Thompson has given McCarthy the tools to produce results on offense.
Last offseason, Thompson his time in defense. Defending his decision not to bring back Brett Favre. This offseason, Thompson must spend his time on defense. We need major alterations.
All Good to You,
****Quick side note from the OSU-Texas game. Anyone catch Steve Rehring? Guy is huge! 6-7, 335. And he plays RG. Seemed to be able to move. He was the guy pulling in front of Beanie Wells in the first half. Opening huge holes. He was also the pulling guard on the TD that gave OSU the lead. Draftcoundown has him listed as the 26th best Guard in the draft. I'd take a shot on him. Plus, you had to love his desire. In the 1st half, when OSU was driving and the RT was called for a false start, Rehring grabbed his face mask. Looked him in the eye. Gave him a word. And then gave him a 335 lb. love tap of encouragement on the back of the head. I liked what I saw.
Marcus Freeman will not be a better player than Nail Diggs was as a Packer. Limited ability. Average in coverage. Average against the run. Average on the blitz. Above average effort.
While watching James Laurinaitis, I kept seeing AJ Hawk wearing #47. Making those same plays. Pursuing the QB. Stopping the run. Getting beat in coverage, but still making the tackle. Playing with a fierce nature. And then, I wondered what happened to AJ Hawk? You know, the guy that, in his rookies season, led the Packers' defense with 119 total tackles, 82 of them solo. Additionally, he had 2 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 6 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. AJ, where did you go?
Finally, that was not the way Malcolm Jenkins expected his college career to end. He deserved better than that. In my mind, he's a better player than what we saw last night.