Mike Nolan is famous for his hybrid 3-4/4-3. He uses different personnel groupings to wreck havoc on the offense.
But hypothetically, what if he ran a pure 4-3 Defense with our current personnel?
My point is that if he keeps certain players on the 53-man roster who are ideal at a pure 4-3 Defense and who can ALSO run the 3-4 defense, then he could shift easily back and forth from 3-4 to 4-3 by just moving one of the OLBs onto the line and shifting his D-line over at the last second...
IF Mike Nolan ran a pure 4-3 Defense, here's how I would allocate the current front 7 personnel...
LDE Langford, Alama-Francis,
LDT Starks, Baker, McDaniel
RDT Odrick, Merling
RDE Wake, McCoy
LLB Misi, Anderson
MLB Dobbins, Edds, Spitler
RLB Dansby, Folsom
Note that Wake could excel with his hand on the ground and McCoy would have a smaller learning curve.
Starks already has experience as a DT in a 4-3 defense and Odrick's learning curve would be smaller and more instinctive.
Misi is flexible to play either 3-4 or 4-3 LB and Dansby would excel as a WLB in a pure 4-3 Defense. Dobbins would have a little bit of a learning curve as a MLB since he has no experience at it at the NFL level. Edds might be better as a 4-3 MLB than a 3-4 LILB. It's nice to have a MLB who can actually cover (why Crowder is missing from this roster projection). Folsom would actually be pretty decent as a WLB and could use his smaller size to pursue sideline to sideline. Charlie Anderson would actually be pretty dangerous as a SLB in a pure 4-3 since he has experience as a Houston Texan.
McDaniel would be able to back up LDT and RDT and LDE in a pinch.
NOW HERE'S THE POINT OF THIS POST.
Make the RDE in the above roster the ROLB and change the NAMES of the positions to fit a 3-4 and you have...
LDE Langford, Alama-Francis,
NT Starks, Baker, McDaniel
RDE Odrick, Merling
LOLB Misi, Anderson
LILB Dobbins, Edds, Spitler
RILB Dansby, Folsom
ROLB Wake, McCoy
MY POINT is that you have the SAME personnel on the field and yet they can MORPH into a 3-4 defense (maybe shifting at the last moment or maybe they fake like they are going to shift to 3-4 and stay 4-3 and vice versa). This should wreck havoc with the blocking schemes of the offensive line and leave pass rushers free even without a blitz.
There are two weaknesses (at least) in this allocation. Folsom is a bit light to be a RILB, but he's not the smallest RILB ever. Chris McCoy would have a big learning curve to transform into a 3-4 ROLB. However, Charlie Anderson could back up both LOLB and ROLB until McCoy was up to speed. McCoy would be inactive until then.
To pull this off, the above players would have to learn both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses and their nuances, but the payback is a very confused opponent's O-line and lots of tackles for losses and sacks.
I'm sure Mike Nolan has his own system and it will work fine, but I am curious as to whether you think such aN approach would work for the FINS and would ever work in the NFL...
The FINS have an unusual number of players who have great position flexibility and who can excel more in a 3-4 versus a 4-3 and vice-versa. This would just make use of the unique skills of the players currently on the roster.