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Bill Belichick has returned to his favored teaching defense, the 3-4, in OTAs.
In 2011, with the lockout shortened offseason, Belichick shifted to a 4-3 base defense because it was easier to install than the 3-4. He stayed with the 4-3 in 2012, though he kept elements of the 3-4—namely with Rob Ninkovich shifting a sometimes-standing defensive end.
Now that Belichick has gone back to his bread and butter, does that mean the Patriots will return to the 3-4 as their primary early-down, run-stopping defense?
There's a chance, but it's doubtful that Chandler Jones is going to spend as much time two-gaping as Richard Seymour did last decade.
Ultimately it comes back to the versatility of the defense. There are a number of athletes who can play in space, of different shapes, sizes and strengths. It gives Belichick the ability to shift each around the field, to take away whatever the offense does best.
Whether three or four players have their hands in the dirt doesn't make much difference.