Why the Bengals Should Switch to a 3-4 Defense

Kyle Strittholt@Man0fSteel94Correspondent IApril 24, 2009

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 28:  Keith Rivers #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on during the game against the Cleveland Browns on September 28, 2008 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Since Marvin Lewis has been in Cincinnati the strong points of the team have been the offense. This was a great surprise judging the fact that he was the defensive coordinator for the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl in 2001.

So the question that everyone asks is how can a coordinator for a great defense become a head coach and have a struggling one?

When you look at all the great defenses in the NFL you think of Pittsburgh and Baltimore as being the top ones the most consistently.

The main thing these two teams have in common is not only are all their defensive players fast and hard hitting, but they run in a 3-4 instead of a 4-3 like the Bengals do.

The philosophy of a 4-3 is to have more defensive linemen than linebackers in the box to prevent the run and rush the passer with all four of your big men, but the Bengals have yet to be in the top ten of either column.

With the 3-4 you have three down lineman that the offense knows are coming, but to have a successful pass rush or run stop you have to rush one of your backers. This gives you the element of surprise because unless you show blitz, the other team doesn’t know where that fourth rusher will come from.

That’s why you see so many sacks and so much run stopping by the Ravens and Steelers.

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I’m confident in saying, if the Bengals switched to a 3-4 defense they would be a lot better on the defensive side of the ball.

The only thing the Bengals have done pretty consecutively on defense is forcing turnovers.

The only blitz scheme they have is for the safeties, which works, but if the opponents offensive line get their hands on them they are out of the play and ineffective.

The Bengals should try and get a fast linebacker like a Marcus Freeman out of Ohio State from the draft, and set up for a big change defensively. 

A lot of people have been saying their team needs to work on their defensive line, but I say they need to work on establishing a 3-4 defense and giving their team a better chance to win.

I highly doubt this will actually happen, but it wouldhelp their chances of being a better team all together.