An interesting twist in Green Bay

January 20th, 2009 – 11:29 AM by Judd Zulgad

Green Bay’s decision to hire Dom Capers as its defensive coordinator means the Packers will become the only team in the NFC North to run a defensive scheme that utilizes three down linemen and four linebackers. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that the Packers will run variations of both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses but the former will be the base scheme that Capers once used in Pittsburgh in the early 1990s.

The Vikings did not face a team during the regular season that utilized the 3-4 defense. Houston had employed it but went away from that scheme before the teams’ met on Nov. 2. The Vikings faced three 3-4 defenses (Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Dallas) in the preseason.

“From an offensive standpoint, it creates targeting problems,” McCarthy said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t line up in a four-man front [at times]. We’ll move in and out of both four-man and three-man fronts. But it’s an excellent run defense [and it] creates pass rush on the quarterback. From an offensive standpoint … it really cuts the menu of the offense probably in half of what you would normally do [against] a four-man front.”  

The Vikings employed the 3-4 defense for a three-game span in 2005 when Ted Cottrell was coordinator but that was done because of injuries.

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