Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Our season ended abruptly 27 hours ago. We were 30 feet from a Super Bowl birth. I'm sure much of our readership is knee deep in scotch and twinkies. But alas, we have to move on. At this point, everything is on the table. Personnel changes are certainly coming, as are potential scheme changes.
#Falcons coach Mike Smith said, "I'm not ruling out anything" when asked if he plans to shift to a 3-4. Roster must be evaluated 1st.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) January 21, 2013
I'm not going to read into this tweet too much. I'd imagine this is the standard response from Smitty for now. When the time is right, our coaches and The Comrade will sit down and discuss how we move forward. When that happens, the question will be whether moving to a 3-4 is practical or even possible.
Arguably we don't have the personnel to effectively run the 3-4 as our base defense. It takes time to make that jump, and there's only 6 months until training camp [sobs into pillow]. In other words, it may be a non-option.
I like to play devil's advocate, and that's usually how I approach an argument, but here are my honest thoughts: Nolan wants to run the big nickel. He likes it, like a lot. It's a scheme that embodies his perception of the status quo NFL. He fundamentally believes that using 5 defensive backs in your base defense makes sense, given the pass happiness of most NFL teams.
Brent Grimes' injury derailed that plan to some extent. Grimes contract situation is a huge question mark, but it'd be a whole lot easier to default to the big nickel than to make a wholesale 3-4 conversion. Maybe they lock up Grimes, despite his age et cetera. Or maybe they go after some additional corner back talent in the draft or free agency. In any case, I think they stick with what Nolan likes best.