The 4-3 defense, once headed to its NFL deathbed, is making its way back
ELVIS DUMERVIL DOESN'T have to say he's excited that the Broncos are using the 4-3 defense this year. His smile says it for him.
"I remember what it was like when we switched to the 3-4 in 2009," says Dumervil, a sixth-year defensive end with 43 career sacks. "They basically said, 'We're changing defenses. Good luck.'"
After the Broncos allowed a league-worst 29.4 PPG last season, it's not hard to understand why they're ditching the 3-4. But they aren't the only ones.
The Browns and Patriots have also dropped the scheme as their base defense. Make no mistake: Three-man fronts are not going away. The Packers, Steelers and 12 other teams still use them, but just a few years after the 3-4 seemed to be taking over the NFL, the pendulum is swinging back to the 4-3. Why?
Sign up for ESPN Insider and see how Bill Belichick helped spread the 3-4 defense and why he has decided to abandon it.
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ESPN The Magazine: September 19, 2011