With the quick acquisitions of Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson in free agency, the Falcons appeared to be declaring a transition to a 3-4 defense in 2014, but that’s not the case — except when they’re not running a 4-3. According to head coach Mike Smith, as told to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, no switch is coming, but more multiple looks of Mike Nolan’s hybrid scheme, a.k.a. the “amoeba defense,” can be anticipated.
For the last two seasons under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the Falcons have fielded a variety of looks, all in an effort to disguise their true intentions after the snap. Smith said that’s how it’s been and the multiple looks between 3-4 and 4-3 will continue.
“We are going to have a lot of multiplicity in our defense,” Smith said. “That’s what Mike and his staff have done for two years.”
Smith also pointed out, as we saw often last year, a large part of the time NFL defenses are in sub-packages, frequently with five defensive backs on the field to better defend the pass.
“You play 65 percent or more in five (defensive back) sets,” Smith said. “So, when you start talking about four linebackers, three linebackers, or two linebackers, there are more times that you’re going to have two linebackers in a ballgame than you’re going to have three or four. You’re going to have five (defensive backs) because that’s just the way offenses present right now.”