Sorry Jagsrok9008, but this will be a direct attack on your plans for the Jaguars' 3-4.
Serious question people: What is it with this obsession with the 3-4 defense? After spending money and draft picks on 6 new defensive linemen in the last two years, do we really want to switch to a system that essentially keeps linemen off of the stat sheets? The 4-3 is a system that plays as well as your defensive line plays. The 3-4 is a system that plays as well as your freakishly athletic linebackers play. So who played better last year, the D-line or the linebackers? I think we all know that answer.
What's the appeal anyway? Is a 3-4 actually more effective of a system? Yes it works for some teams, but look at the stats first.
Out of the top 11 teams in total defense this past year (regular season stats from NFL.com): 5 were 3-4's (Chargers, Steelers, Jets, Packers, Dolphins) and 5 were 4-3's (Saints, Giants, Vikings, Bears, Raiders) and the Ravens, the number 10 team, ran a hybrid D. So what's the mad rush to change EVERYTHING to better suit a 3-4? By the way, the bottom three teams in total D are the Broncos, Redskins, and Texans. Notice any common traits there? They are all teams that run a 3-4 system.
During the first year of transitioning to a 3-4, a defense always suffers. This happens because it requires a wholesale swapping of your front seven players. What do I mean? A good 4-3 requires pass rushing DE's. Guys that can turn the corner quickly, but still hold up at the line of scrimmage, usually between 260-280 pounds. One DT has to be big and strong enough to demand a double team, and the other has to be stout at the POA but quick enough to beat a blocker one-on-one. We have these people. We even have guys we can rotate in at all of these spots besides the double-teamed DT.
For a 3-4, Your inside linebackers need to be about 260-280 to hold up in the run game and the outside rushers should be 250-270 with freakish speed. You need 2 DT's who are about 320 or above to clog the middle, and 4 Ends who are basically DT's in disguise, usually 280-300 pounds each. WE DO NOT HAVE THESE PEOPLE.
"Well, we can draft them." you say. Well, we already rebuilt our D-line and who did we get? Yes, Terrance Knighton could hold up as a nose tackle, but there were whispers that he was a pro-bowl caliber player in the Jags 4-3. Why change that? Tyson Alualu was a pretty good 3-4 DE in college, but he and Knighton in the middle are a perfect compliment. Aaron Kampman hated running a 3-4, and the picks we spent on Austen Lane as a run-stuffing end and Larry Hart as a designated pass rusher would be wasted. Yes, Derrick Harvey could hold his own as a 3-4 DE, but who would want Harvey on the field OVER Kampman or Lane? No one. And then, who would play linebacker?
Most importantly, making the change to a 3-4 takes time. 2 drafts is the standard. Del Rio will be fired at the end of the season if the Jags do not make it to the playoffs, so how does it make any sense to start making wholesale changes that will cost the team at least a season and a half right now? If the Jaguars wanted to run a 3-4, they had the chance to make that change two years ago when the team was gutted. And two years ago, during rebuilding, we finessed people with a little bit of 3-4 because we didn't have the guys up front for a 4-3. Now we do have the guys up front, and quite honestly, we're lacking in quality linebackers.
So to sum up: we already have 4-3 players, we want to emphasize our strong D-line not our weak LB's, the switch takes time we don't have, and a 3-4 is not necessarily any better than a 4-3. Deion Sanders said yesterday in his HOF acceptance speech "do what you do with full intensity, and you will be great." I don't understand why we can't just be a great 4-3 and leave the 3-4 idea alone. So please please please please PLEASE, can we just stop talking about going to a 3-4? Pretty please with a cherry on top?