The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season. As such, the Eagles are starting completely over with new defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who is expected to implement a 3-4 system. However, Philadelphia isn’t the only team set to try this new approach.
As bad as the Eagles were at defending the ball in 2012, the New Orleans Saints were even worse. To that the end, the Saints hired former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to the same position on Feb. 9, according to NOLA.com. In addition, he will put in a new 3-4 scheme for New Orleans, just like Davis will do for Philadelphia.
The Saints had some of the worst defensive stats in NFL history last season, so they have nowhere to go but up. If New Orleans can stop the opposition with a 3-4 attack, then there is no excuse for Philadelphia not to do the same as well. However, both franchises made somewhat questionable choices on who to run their new schemes.
In choosing Davis, the Eagles picked someone who struggled in two previous defensive coordinator jobs with the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, and who is coming over now from the Cleveland Browns. As for the Saints, they got a more high profile hire in Ryan, yet his time with the Cowboys was severely disappointing.
Both Davis and Ryan have a lot to prove in order to make up for past failures, just like the Saints and Eagles at large. The 3-4 approach won’t be enough to fix these teams, as they need the right personnel to pull it off.
However, the Eagles do have a new coach in Chip Kelly and should be a lot healthier than they were in 2012, so perhaps they can rebuild quickly. The Saints’ defense is a lot more questionable, but with Sean Payton back and ‘Bountygate’ no longer hanging over New Orleans, the team’s luck could change. In addition, the Saints still have Drew Brees throwing the ball and are more than capable of winning shootouts, whereas the Eagles have no idea who their quarterback will be.
New Orleans and Philadelphia were perennial contenders until they bottomed out in 2012. Their terrible defenses played a big part in their downfall, but now Davis, Ryan and the 3-4 will have to be every bit the saviors they were hired to be.