One of the major blows so far in the offseason for the Carolina Panthers fanbase is the fact that Thomas Davis is not going to be on the Panthers bench next year.
This started rumors that they are going to switch defenses and that Davis was not going to do well in the new scheme, despite what was seen during games of the Panthers switching up players when calling different type of plays.
Davis’s age may play into why the Panthers’ are choosing to not keep him, but the public may never know.
However, despite the loss of Davis and Peppers retiring, Panther fans should look forward to watching the defense next season. There is a boatload of potential in the draft and free agency for pass rusher and outside linebacker that these concerns should not be major concerns; it’s just a matter of finding the right player.
Now, to the real question.
Are the Panthers’ switching defensive schemes?
In a recent article in the Charlotte Observer, the answer appears to be ‘yes.’ Well, kind of.
According to Ron Rivera, incorporating the two schemes will confuse the offense and keep them off guard as they will not truly know until the snap which play is being called.
A 3-4 defense leans on each player covering their gaps and may be exploited by a good quarterback because the defense was too aggressive on their blitz, leaving the gaps exposed. A 3-4 defense is great for disguising blitzes and coverages.
Meanwhile, a 4-3 defense relies upon the defense’s strength lining up against what is perceived to be the offensive’s weakness and has each player covering just one gap, depending on if they line up in front or in back. This defense is more utilized by having all seven players in coverage to pass rush at the same time. The issue with this defensive scheme is the overcommitment of that gap that allows the offense to use misdirection and then running to the defense’s empty gaps.
Changing the schemes between plays during a game and having the offseason to practice on going from one to another will be very advantageous to the Panthers defense along with having this hybrid defense; it will keep the offenses guessing.
This team does not seem to be going stagnant or refusing to change.
It seems a monster is brewing down there in the defense and everyone is in for a surprise in August.