New 4-3 Defense Not Viewed As A Temporary Solution

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IRVING, Texas –Owner/general manager Jerry Jones doesn't see the change to a  4-3 scheme as a temporary solution or experiment.

Jones said during Monday's pre-draft press conference that he anticipates the defense staying in the 4-3 scheme "for quite some time," despite the fact that the Cowboys haven't regularly featured the new alignment since switching from the 3-4.

"It's not dissimilar, as you remember, back before Bill Parcells was here," Jones said. "Bill came in, I think we were the No. 1 defensive team in the NFL the year he got here under the scheme we were operating under, which was a 4-3."

As Jones alluded to, the Cowboys played the 4-3 defense prior to Parcells' arrival in 2003. It took Parcells two years to switch the defense from a 4-3 to the 3-4 that he preferred. The switch was made after going from the No. 1 total defense in 2003 to the No. 16 total defense in 2004.


Jones said it's a positive that many of the scouts and members of the front office, including assistant director of player personnel Tom Ciskowski and executive vice president Stephen Jones, know what 4-3 defensive players look like.

"In general, I'd say that our defensive scheme is influencing to some degree the kind of safeties or the kind of linemen, especially, that we're looking at," Jerry Jones said. "The good news is we really are in good shape over on the defensive side of the ball."

The Cowboys' front office believes most of the current personnel is equipped for a change from a 3-4 to the 4-3 defense, which puts a high premium on linemen that can rush.

"Uniquely, the pressure player's still as big a deal as it was in the 3-4," Jones said. "I'd say the inside guys probably will be a little more quick-twitch and … especially the odd or the three-technique will probably be a more dominant player, which is a (Jay) Ratliff-type player."

[embedded_ad] Jones also stressed that Monte Kiffin's new Tampa 2 defense isn't a traditional Cover 2. He said starting cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr will still be helpful to what Kiffin wants to do.

"We really have felt great, and he does, that our corners are going to really have a big impact on what he does in the secondary," Jones said. "I think that I really wouldn't trade our corner situation, relative to what we're going to be doing defensively, if I could go back and redo it relative to Carr, relative to Claiborne."

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