Prior to the 2013 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive scheme. Billy Davis, the newly hired defensive coordinator, knew he had his work cut out for him. The vast majority of his players had little -to-no experience in a 3-4 alignment and the defensive linemen were prototypical 4-3 players.
Even though the defensive personnel was far from ideal, the transition was smoother than expected. Many key players adjusted fast to their new roles (Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans), while others improved as the season progressed (Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry).
In fact, what was supposed to be a patchwork defense became a solid unit that for 11 straight games kept opponents from scoring more than 21 points. This success was largely due to the effectiveness of the new defensive front. The team’s record during that span was 8-3 and lifted the Eagles up to the top of the NFC East.
The Eagles now enter their second season under head coach Chip Kelly. The success they enjoyed both offensively and defensively indicates that no major changes will be attempted this off-season. With the 3-4 seemingly here to stay, the Eagles will look to upgrade their roster and bring in players that fit better their scheme.
The outside linebacker is one of the spots that the Birds will look to upgrade. Here is why: