clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alright runner of beer, 3-4?

For years, an old Bengals friend sat upon the mountain with a stick, a sword and a shield that had "3-4" ingrained like Leonidas in "300". No, he wasn't defending 3-4; he was repelling the aggressive campaign to defend the freedom of the 4-3 against the oppression of the 3-4.

I supported the 3-4 since Lewis came to Cincinnati. Why? It wasn't like the mid-20th ranked defense was making one wary of changing perfection. Converting to a new foundation doesn't mean bad can get worse when you're known to be really, really bad. Personnel was always an issue. The team didn't have a nose tackle that generalized a fatty 3-4 bulk of a wall. In reality, I still don't think they have that right now. Draft? Perhaps.

Linebackers, other than health, hasn't been a problem. With the likes of Landon Johnson being the Bengals first and foremost to sign of the available free agents, the team has potentially two major defensive players coming back (David Pollack and Odell Thurman). The team also has Eric Henderson being groomed as an athletic do-it-all outside backer. A realistic scenario also has Robert Geathers being an outside linebacker used primarily as an edge pass rushing monster. One can only hope that he's not given the responsibility of covering a hall of fame tight end.

Is it really that important to label the defense anyway? Several times this season the Bengals lined up 4-3 but played 3-4 with Justin Smith or Robert Geathers dropping back while Dexter Jackson and another linebacker (Ahmad Brooks, Lemar Marshall and/or Caleb Miller) blitzed.

In fear of supporting one or another, and Leonidas' shuffling support throwing me completely off-guard, I'll reserve judgment for supporting one or the other. However, while the team has the talent at linebacker, I still don't think they have the talent on the line.