Belichick acknowledges looming scheme changes

Belichick acknowledges looming scheme changes
August 8, 2011, 6:27 pm
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By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
FOXBORO- Last week, Bill Belichick pished-poshedtheflurry of speculation about whether his team will run a 3-4 defense or a 4-3. He did that despite the fact he hired the most devastating 4-3 DT in the league, Albert Haynesworth (when he feels like it), has been running a ton of four-man fronts in practice and that recently released Ty Warren said it's clear the team is changing to a 4-3 set. Belichick's contention is that it really doesn't matter how many guys are in three-point stances at the front of the defense. What matters is their alignment and marching orders.OK. Point taken. But as the pass-rushing 4-3 defensive ends and defensive tackles with pocket-crashing ability stack up like cord wood here at Gillette Stadium, Belichick acknowledged on Monday that, yeah, things may look a little differently. This past weekend the Patriots added Andre Carter, a pass-rushing specialist at defensive end. Asked about Carter's strength Belichick said, "Last year with(when Carter was with Washington)they went to a 3-4 defense and it wasn't a good fit for him in that system.But we feel like with what we'll be asking him to do this year, as opposed to what he was asked to do last year and what we've seen him do in the first nine years of his career that we could use his ability on the edge and (we felt he could ) be effective."Ah-HA! So there you have it. Carter sucked in the 3-4, he's been hired to play here where his skills will be a better fit, hence...no 3-4. I am ... a super sleuth. Here's the thing though - and this is the point Belichick is trying to makeby being persnickety about the front- just because Carter has 4-3 defensive end attributes (the ability to get upfield, beat left tackles 1-on-1 and get to the quarterback), doesn't mean the Patriots are going away totally from their 3-4 roots. They will switch and mix and match. And sometimes Carter will be at the end in a 4-3. And other times, Shaun Ellis will be at the end in a 3-4. Down, distance, matchups, time left in the game, field position, injuries and personnel are going to figure in. Adding Carter, Ellis, Mark Anderson and Haynesworth allows them to be more versatile. That's all. "I don't think the defensive philosophy's gonna change," Belichick added. "How we align and how we handle the responsibilities could definitely change by game plan or by what we feel are our strengths and weaknesses, but I don't think fundamentally our philosophy and techniques will change. I think what we're teaching, we'll continue to teach and use on a very consistent basis. How we want to move guys around or put them in certain formations ...I think there's flexibility there."What this whole conversation comes down to is this: "Will the Patriots become an attacking defense? Will they remain a read and react defense?""We have an assortment of things to choose from from my time here and depending on how our teams shapes up, what some of these players can do (will help decide the scheme). Some of these players I'venever coached before so I'm not sure exactly how they'll fit in or what roles they'll play in this defense. We'll just have to wait and see how that turns out. I think we'll have enough defense where we'll be able to."It certainly seems that way. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran