By Tom E. Curran
FORT WORTH - At the Steelers hotel, the Omni Fort Worth, Steelers outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley said that of all the 3-4 schemes being run around the NFL, the Steelers' is the best. "Our 3-4 defense is by far the hardest defense out of all the 3-4s around the league," said Woodley, one of the league's underrated defenders (35 sacks in his past 47 games). "A lot of people like to compare outside linebackers from different 3-4 schemes but it's totally different in Pittsburgh. Me and James Harrison, we're dropping back in coverage, we're covering receivers, we're covering backs out the backfield. We're doing something different every play. We're doing more than just dropping back in the flats soI think that playing in this defense, you have to do more and know more."The Patriots, of course, also run the 3-4. Their scheme is much more passive than either the Steelers (called by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau) or the Packers (called by Dom Capers). While the Packers and Steelers use blitzes, twists and games in exotic combinations to get pressure on quarterbacks, the Patriots are less prone to blitz ans more prone to conservatively defend, preferring to let opponents have to earn their yards downfield rather than snapping off big chunks. It's risk-reward and the Steelers are willing to take more risks. For a fascinating look at the differences between the Steelers and Packers 3-4 defenses and the men who call them, read this from Tim Layden from Sports Illustrated.