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The 3-4 requires commitment

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Chris from Atlanta, GA:
Can you please explain to people that three-man fronts mean more than just a 3-4? The way we have drafted denotes we are sticking to a 4-3 alignment. Switching to a 3-4 takes time and personnel (that we don't have). It just seems to be a recurring thought this summer after the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Vic: Everything you say is correct. Defenses are defined by the technique they play. The 3-4 requires two-gapping defensive linemen. The Steelers draft for their system. Their ends are smallish, tough-guy, 4-3 tackles. Their outside linebackers are smallish ends who can run and are athletic enough to play in space. It's a tweener defense all the way. In many cases, the players they draft wouldn't interest a 4-3 team. LaMarr Woodley and Joey Porter are perfect examples. If you wanna play their style of defense, you have to commit completely to it. You have to draft and stockpile linebackers as a squirrel does nuts. The Steelers have carried as many as 10 linebackers on their roster, not because they intend to use them all now, but because linebacker is the star position of that defense and you can never have enough of them. The Jaguars haven't made that kind of commitment to the 3-4. Their intent is to use the 3-4 as a pass-rush or change-of-pace defense. For the Jaguars, using the 3-4 a little bit here and there gives opponents something else for which they must prepare. As it stands now, I think that's all it is. You'll know if it's something more because a big personnel commitment would have to be made to the 3-4 going forward.

Irving from Las Nevada, NV:
What is your take on Tyron Brackenridge?

Vic: Why did the Chiefs and Jets cut this guy? That's what I wanna know. I'm not saying he's gonna be the next Deion Sanders, but Brackenridge is not a spring-cut kind of guy. In fact, he's a good-looking player at a premium position.

Tim from Jacksonville:
How does the waiver process work with regards to salary?

Vic: When you claim a player, you claim his contract and his liability. If a player clears waivers, then he is free to negotiate a new contract with any team in the league.

Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I just got done reading your article about the evolving Jags defense. One thing you mentioned has me a little worried. Why on earth did we draft Derrick Harvey last year and pay him tons of money for the number eight slot just to line him up and pull him back into coverage?

Vic: That's what linemen do in the "3-4 zone-blitz." If you wanna play those kinds of sexy defenses, you have to accept the roles that go with them. In the Steelers' scheme, it doesn't matter who they drop or who they blitz because they're all the same guy. My advice is to sit back and watch. Let it evolve. Maybe we'll learn something. I think we spend too much time trying to pigeon-hole everybody and everything. Everybody wants the 3-4. All right, here it is. Let's see how it works.

Pete from Gainesville, VA:
Is Derek Landri a good fit for defensive end in the 3-4?

Vic: He's a smallish, tough-guy, 4-3 tackle, which is my description of a 3-4 end, but I don't see Landri as a two-gapper. I see him more as a quick, shoot-the-gap-and-disrupt, 4-3 tackle. In other words, I think quickness is his game, not power, and 3-4 ends are power guys. Jack Del Rio once described Landri as a change-of-pace tackle, and I know that chafes Derek a little because he's a proud player who sees himself as an every-downs guy, but I tend to agree with the coach.

Brandon from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
You have already said the preseason home games will not be available on TV and that away games will depend on the hosting teams. Do we know if the Dolphins are broadcasting the game on Monday and, if so, will we be able to see it here in Jacksonville?

Vic: This is one of those do you walk to school or carry your lunch kinds of questions, isn't it? You've taken several bits of information and intertwined incorrectly to form a nearly unanswerable question. Here's all you need to know: Monday's game will be televised back to Jacksonville by a Jaguars broadcast crew. The following week's game, against visiting Tampa, will not be shown on live local television and the replay of that game, as it's expected to appear on NFL Network, will likely depend on Tampa's telecast of that game to Bucs fans.

Daniel from Ocala, FL:
Since revenues have been such a hot topic lately on "Ask Vic," I thought I would ask another one, just not about TV revenues. I assume the Jaguars receive some compensation for merchandising, but how much is it? Is it a noticeable amount? What is that money used for?

Vic: The NFL receives a royalty for the use of the Jaguars logo by companies such as Reebok. Similar to the network TV revenue the league receives, the royalty "NFLVentures" receives for the use of each team's logo is distributed equally among the league's 32 teams. In other words, the Jaguars receive 1/32nd of all Jaguars merchandise sales and 1/32nd of all Cowboys, Steelers, etc. merchandise sales, too. Team merchandise that is sold directly out of a team store is not shared. The Jaguars view is that all national revenues are used to fund a major portion of the player costs, with local revenues funding the balance of the player costs.

Rob from Liverpool, England:
What's the difference between a read-and-react and an attack-and-react defense?

Vic: Those two terms describe the actions of the front seven players and the simplest way I know how to describe the difference is to say that a read-and-react defense rushes the quarterback while in the process of stopping the run, whereas an attack-and-react defense stops the run as it's rushing the quarterback. Read and react is pure two-gap stuff, which is what the Patriots are, a pure two-gapping front. The Steelers are frenetic and bent on rush and disruption. You never know what you're gonna get from them. They gap, they two-gap, they blitz, they drop, etc. Their one constant is the nose tackle. He is their pure, every-downs two-gapper. He's the guy who makes it all work and he takes a terrible beating.

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