As expected, the Denver Broncos are officially moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme.
New Denver coach John Fox told the Denver Post the Broncos will use the 4-3 as their base defense. This has been expected because both Fox (a defensive specialist) and new defensive coordinator Dennis Allen have been 4-3 coaches. Denver used the 3-4 defense the past two seasons under former coach Josh McDaniels.
The switch means Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers will move to defensive end from linebacker. Dumervil, who missed all of last season with a pectoral injury, led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009 as a 3-4 player. But he has also had success as a 4-3 player. The Denver Posts reports that Justin Bannan will likely move from end to tackle as part of the switch.
Earlier this offseason, I talked about the situation with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. He didn’t think the switch in Denver would be overly difficult because the team was so bad on defense last year and wholesale changes were likely coming anyway. Denver was last in the NFL in total defense and points allowed in 2010.
The Broncos are expected to concentrate on defense in both the draft and free agency. Denver has the No. 2 pick in the draft and will likely focus on Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. All three of these players would fit in the new system.