Does a Possible 3-4 Spell Doom for Some Titans?
By Mike Edler
Ray Horton has signed on to be the Titans new defensive coordinator, but does that mean he brings the 3-4 with him? The scheme change could be just what the doctor ordered for a Titans team that continues to give it's image a facelift. But the Titans have run the 4-3 for as long as anyone can remember and could have some growing pains. If Horton calls for the 3-4, who is suddenly on the cutting block and who looks to have a bigger role?
Wimbley does fit the 3-4 as an OLB and played that position before coming to Tennessee, but this move should be made for financial reasons. Wimbley will make $7 million this coming season which could be used elsewhere to get multiple pieces on both offense and defense. Wimbley commands too much money for too little production and limited playing time. He would be a fit for the scheme, but it’s time to cut ties.
Derrick Morgan has shown progress from his rookie season and has been a contributor for the Titans, but he doesn’t fit the 3-4. The former first round pick is a larger-style pass rusher who uses his big body to get into the backfield. The 3-4 calls for the majority of the outside pass rushing to come from the OLB core. Morgan could put more weight on and play alongside Jurrell Casey as an interior DE, but it would be a work in progress
Ayers played in the 3-4 at UCLA and that's where he made a name for himself. He has been a good addition to the Titans and has shown flashes alongside Zach Brown, but Ayers would excel in the 3-4. If the Titans choose to take a chance on another UCLA product in Anthony Barr in the draft, it would open up Zach Brown to possibly move inside. A combination of Barr and Ayers would be a force for the foreseeable future.
Sammie Lee Hill:
Hill was one of the bang/bust free agents the Titans gambled on in 2013 and for the most part he was a bust. He was sidelined with injuries for parts of the season and never really got going. In the 3-4, Hill would become a cornerstone as the NT. Hill is a huge force that would eat up the interior line and create plays for Morgan and Casey as well as whoever is playing MLB in 2014. Hill has the most to gain from a 3-4 switch.
Now Whisenhunt has said he will not run a pure 3-4, but left open the idea to having packages with the set. The Titans could look to be a jack-of-all-trades defense in 2014, but after the draft we should have a better idea of where they stand.