There seems to be a popular opinion among Atlanta Falcons columnists that head coach Dan Quinn and the defense could be switching to the 3-4 scheme during 2019. Cam Marino of Falcon Wire and Da'Vonte Hughes of SportsTalkATL both wrote about the reasons why a switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 could be coming.
Those articles are certainly worth checking out. They were well argued and written. But I disagree with the ultimate conclusion of each.
As I explain in the video, this discussion probably isn't worth too much time and blog space because defenses spend less and less time in their base scheme each year because the league sees passing numbers go up every single season. That brings a need for packages with five, six and seven defensive backs.
But even in their base defense, it seems unlikely the Falcons switch to a 3-4 scheme permanently. That's a massive change in philosophy that probably won't be fully complete until it's second full season. The Falcons don't have the luxury of looking at the 2019 season as a "retooling" year for the defense. They want to win right now with quarterback Matt Ryan.
Quinn's statement to The Athletic, though, is probably most telling:
“I thought now is the time to do some tweaking,” Quinn said according to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. “I wasn’t happy with the pressure package that we’ve had the last couple of years, due to some of the things that offenses were doing. That’s why I decided to make the changes I did. Let’s call them wrinkles — some tweaking to some concepts.”
Quinn is talking about "wrinkles" and "tweaks" here. Not full-blown changes to his defensive philosophy. Sure, he wouldn't want to make a significant change public until the regular season, but still, a full switch is improbable.
Maybe Quinn will mix in a defensive play in the 3-4 system occasionally, but it seems unlikely an entire switch to that scheme is coming.