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Mailbag: Did Read Option Prevalence Cause 4-3 Switch?

Posted Feb 18, 2013

Does the switch to a 4-3 have anything to do with the (re)emergence of the read option in the NFL? Specifically, within our division we have the Redskins and most likely the Eagles under Chip Kelly.

Nick: I really don’t think it has anything to do with it. You can argue that it’s easier to stop with a 3-4 but really, you’ve got five guys up on the line of scrimmage and have a wider approach. Honestly, I think it comes down to the personnel and the Cowboys feel like their players are better fits for the 4-3 now.

Rowan: I don’t think the scheme change was made with the belief that a 4-3 is much better suited to stop the read option. When run well with the right personnel, the 3-4 is just as capable. The Redskins finished with 86 total rushing yards against the Steelers when they played them last year. Also, how Chip Kelly decides to run his offense with the Eagles is still up in the air, depending largely on which quarterback wins out.

Will the ‘Boys look to the draft to acquire someone to help out DeMarco Murray, or do you think they will they look to free agency?

Nick: I think they’ll look at both. New RB coach Gary Brown said last week he sees Murray as more of a power back and could see a smaller, quicker back to complement Murray. I bet they look at free agency but it seems like that guy would be easier (and cheaper) to find in the draft. The problem I have with that is if/when Murray gets hurts, you don’t have a player you feel comfortable with handling the load. My preference would be to find a guy who is very similar to Murray and when he’s called upon to start, he’s done it before and is used to that type of pounding for one game.  

Rowan:I’m leaning more toward the draft, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the
answer comes in free agency, depending on how the more pressing salary situations work out with players like Anthony Spencer. If they get someone via free agency, they’ll have a better idea of what the back can provide at the professional level, and there’s a lot available this summer. If they select someone in the draft, it should be a player who can contribute immediately, and it shouldn’t be a change of pace back.
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