Monday, December 21, 2009
Will Holmgren switch Browns' D to a 4-3?
By James Walker
With the news of Mike Holmgren agreeing to become the Cleveland Browns’ president Monday, it's time to begin piecing together what the team will look like in 2010.
Besides determining a coaching staff and front office, one of the first questions is if Cleveland will keep its 3-4 defense.
The Browns have been a 3-4 team since Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel took over in 2005. The trend continued as current Browns coach Eric Mangini was hired this year. That's five consecutive drafts and free-agency periods dedicated to adding 3-4 personnel.
But looking back at Holmgren-coached teams with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, those clubs ran a 4-3 scheme and had a lot of team success.
So what happens to a player like Kamerion Wimbley, for instance? Can Wimbley put his hand down in the pros and be a full-time defense end, similar to what he did at Florida State? Or is he a 4-3 linebacker in the NFL?
But other key players like Shaun Rogers would not face nearly as many double teams going from nose tackle to one of two defensive tackles. "Big Baby" and other defensive linemen, such as Corey Williams, would probably welcome the move.
This will be something to closely monitor as it will impact Cleveland's draft plans and free agency.
An educated guess is Holmgren, who has complete control of the team, will move Cleveland to a 4-3 defense in 2010. His previous teams didn't run a 3-4 defense. So how could Holmgren feel comfortable picking the right players for that scheme?