Oakland Raiders Should and Could Move to the 3-4 Defense

rob navarraContributor IDecember 10, 2009

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 04:  Trevor Scott #91 of the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

OK, when you think of good defenses in the NFL, of whom do you usually think? Many lean towards Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Do you know what they have in common? That's right, the 3-4 Defense.

Many teams have switched to the 3-4 Defense over the years, including Denver, Kansas City, and Green Bay to name a few. In all cases, the number of sacks went up.

Look at Elvis Dumervil having a breakout year. Look at Clay Mathews having a good rookie year because of it and look at Kansas City...OK well it can't work out for everyone.

And back to my other point, who is the No. 1 D in the league right now? It's the Green Bay Packers who moved to the 3-4 this year. And I believe we can also make the transition to the 3-4.

OK, let's check out our personnel to make the change. Let's start with the LBs. Kirk Morrison is solid and will be one of our MLBs. Next to him will be Thomas Howard. I think this will be best for Howard and will give him a chance to move side line to side line with his stellar speed and athleticism.

Next, the Outside Backers. With Trevor Scott doing a good job at LB now, especially with rushing the passer, this would be great for him, giving him freedom to rush more often and from different angles. And of course at the other side we would have Greg Ellis, who is experienced at the 3-4 LB position and had success in it at Dallas.

Some may say, "Don't you think Ellis is a little old?" I would say, yes, he is. But do you know who is not old? Matt Shaughnessy, that's who. He is a young pass rusher who I think, by the time Ellis is done, will be ready to go and get after the quarterback. Also, there is potential in the young Jay Richardson. At 6'6", 280 lbs., I think he could also thrive at the position.

And hmm, what am I forgetting? Oh only the most important part of the 3-4 Defense, the "big uglies" also known as the Defensive Linemen. First of all we have big ol' Richard Seymour, who hopefully re-signs in the offseason. He has loads of experience at the 3-4 DE in New England, and would be successful in most Defenses.

Then we have Tommy Kelly who has played DT and DE in the 4-3 scheme which means he would be perfect as a 3-4 DE. With those two as the starters we would have Harvard stand-out Desmond Bryant as the primary back-up. Maybe Jay Richardson can come in on obvious passing downs and Seymour could bump down to nose. But I'm already getting way ahead of myself.

Now here's one of the make-or-break positions of the 3-4 defense, the NT or otherwise the Nose Tackle. Nose Tackles are generally some of the biggest defenders in football.

With our current roster the person best suited for the job is Gerard Warren. Standing at 6'4", 325 lbs., he is a load that can clog the middle and force the double team that will keep our LBs off of the O-Lineman.

One man we could've also used here would be Terdell Sands, who we cut in the preseason. Sands is huge at 6'7", 335 lbs. and would of been nice here. Oh well, that's what the draft is for.

The secondary would stay the same, but would be much improved. You may ask how. And here is how: One component of the 3-4 D is getting after the QB and with the QB being pressured all day by our front seven it will make out Secondary's job much easier.

The only question is, Will old Al Davis break away from tradition of the 4-3 man-to-man defense to turn to this updated, more effective 3-4 blitz happy, every coverage type of Defense? Only time will tell.

And this is Rob Navarra reporting from Audubon, New Jersey. Thanks for reading and feel free to tell me what you think. And to all the Raider fans out there, don't worry, our time will come.