New York Giants: Could Giants Use Hybrid Defense?


The New York Giants run a 4-3 defense and that is not changing. However the Giants could add another element to their defensive attack by implementing a 4-3/3-4 hybrid look. They could do a lot of creative things with their defensive personnel to make the defense unpredictable.

Last season, Steve Spagnuolo was the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens. He got to see one of the best 3-4 defensive units up close and personal every day at work. While the Giants base defense will not be changed, it is possible that the Giants would add elements to their game from his experience.

So how would a hybrid defense work? Well there are a couple answers to that question. Let’s just focus on the simplest method. One way to do it, is to shift your defensive line to the right and your linebackers over to the left. Now your defensive end on the right is standing up as the fourth linebacker on the outside.

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With the same personnel, you have turned a 4-3 even front into a traditional 3-4 odd front (An odd front means that the center is covered by a defensive lineman). The offense now has to adjust to the new look.

In a 3-4 defense the offensive line does not automatically know who is coming at them. It’s a pretty good bet that in the 4-3 front more often than not, they just have to worry about the four defensive linemen as pass rushers.

More often than not in a 3-4 front, defensive linemen play a two-gapping technique. This means they are responsible for filling two gaps as space eaters, rather than simply penetrating through one gap. The goal is to occupy the 5 offensive linemen with the three defensive linemen which frees the linebackers to make plays.

Jonathan Hankins and Kenrick Ellis are both capable of playing this style of defensive football. And I don’t know about you but I think the idea of Jason Pierre-Paul or Damontre Moore as an outside linebacker is pretty intimidating to quarterbacks.

The Giants could use a new 3-4 twist to their base 4-3 defense. It would give them an added dimension to their defense. They could also use 3-4 concepts in their 4-3 defensive front, like having linemen two gapping or dropping into a fire zone (that’s a lesson for another day).

The point is that just because the Giants run a 4-3 defense, it doesn’t mean they can’t add another dimension to it.

Next: 2015 New York Giants Matchups: AFC East Opponents