Change is here.
After running a 3-4 base defense for nearly a decade, things will look different in Foxboro this year.
And why would this be a surprise?
Despite 25 interceptions, New England’s defense surrendered 258.5 passing yards per game, good for third-worst in the league.
When it came to third-down defense, none performed worse than the Patriots who allowed a league-high 47.1 percent completion percentage.
The root of the problem lies in the pass rush, or lack thereof.
The team lacked the top-tier pass rushers off the edge, especially at the outside linebacker position.
Now, the scheme has been adapted to fit the personnel.
Bill Belichick has masterfully bought low on several key veterans, none bigger in personality or stature than former Pro Bowler and Washington Redskins bust Albert Haynesworth.
The mammoth free agent bust was picked up for a 2013 fifth-rounder and early reports state he is dominating in practice.
After refusing to play nose tackle in Washington’s new 3-4 defense, Big Al should thrive next to Vince Wilfork in the middle of a four-man line.
With Haynesworth playing the three-technique, Wilfork should play a similar role in the 4-3 as he did in the old scheme. His primary role will most likely be to draw double teams, which should allow the linebackers to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
One of the big problems with converting to a 4-3 is the lack of edge rushers. According to reports, Jermaine Cunningham and Eric Moore have been underwhelming in practice in getting to the quarterback. no comments