Revisiting a column written a couple weeks ago, one could make the argument that the Packers’ selection of Nick Perry in the first round of the NFL Draft only lends more credence to the notion that the Packers will play some sort of hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense starting in 2012.
The idea was influenced by the New England Patriots defense last season when they, in essence, played a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense all at the same time, a 3-4 to one side of the field and a 4-3 to the other.
It’s not an easy scheme to comprehend, and I highly suggest reading the original column for more on the Xs and Os.
The thought the Packers could be playing some sort of hybrid defense was influenced by several of their personnel moves, including the signing of Tony Hargrove and Daniel Muir on the defensive line, and their interest in Dave Tollefson, perhaps all unconventional fits in Dom Capers’ defense.
And when looking at Perry, a college defensive end being asked to transition to outside linebacker at the professional level, it would appear he’d fit the prototype of what the Packers are looking for in a hybrid defender.
“This kind of thing is becoming very prevalent in college and more and more common in the NFL,” said Chris Brown of Smart Football several weeks ago. “The advantage it (can) give you is that you can have a four-down front for purposes of stopping the run but your defensive end to the weak side is athletic enough to drop into coverage in man or zone blitzes and so on. In fact, he might be less of a defensive end than just a big linebacker.”
I even speculated at the time that the Packers would draft one of the highly rated defensive end/outside linebackers that seem to fit a hybrid defensive system.
“The odds that the Packers select Ingram, Upshaw, Perry or Mercilus––or trade up to grab one of them––aren’t exactly far fetched,” I wrote back on Mar. 30.
In reality who knows what the Packers will do. Head coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL’s owners meetings that he’d like to get back to playing more 3-4 base defense.
But maybe he’s just not trying to tip his hat. More 3-4 defense would mean more of Charles Woodson on the perimeter, a place where he’s no longer suited.
And perhaps that could mean a switch for Charles Woodson to safety, but that’s a whole other topic of debate for another day.
For the time being, it’s fun to speculate what Perry could mean to the Packers defense in 2012. They need the help, no doubt about that.