Friday, February 1, 2013
3-4 looks for Carolina?
By Tim Kavanagh
If everyone's healthy, the Carolina Panthers have an impressive corps of linebackers; some would argue that they've got four of starting caliber in James Anderson, Luke Kuechly, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis. A natural offshoot of this is the debate over whether they should work in some 3-4 looks to their current defensive scheme.
As Panthers DC Sean McDermott indicated on Panthers Pulse this week (via Panthers.com), we may see some of that in 2013.
"When those four are healthy, there's a chance we'll experiment more with that," McDermott hinted. "We've thrown a little bit of it out there, particularly on third down. Would we like to do more? Absolutely. How much of it? We'll see."
The DC explained why the 3-4 can be a more difficult defense to face for an offensive line. "Let's face it, we're all creatures of habit, and offensive linemen are used to looking for jerseys with 90 on them," he said. "When you can hide that fourth and fifth rusher, and those rushers come with a 50 number on, or a 40 number or 20 number at times with our pressure packages, that's where you create problems and confusion."
To be clear, the Panthers aren't going to switch to a full-time 3-4; they signed DE Charles Johnson to a contract that makes him one of the NFL's highest paid players overall, and diminishing his impact in any way is foolish. Nevertheless, it appears that there could be some extra wrinkles to the club's scheme in 2013.