In a 4-3 there are four defensive linemen and three linebackers, in a 3-4 it’s the opposite as there are three defensive linemen and four linebackers.
It’s easy to assume that the Saints could just pull out one of the defensive linemen (defensive tackle) and insert an additional linebacker. Only if it were that simple.
Schematically speaking the assignments of the defensive players differ dramatically and traditionally a 4-3 player’s talents don’t translate over into a 3-4.
There are allot of differences, too many to go into detail here, but Saints fans and their players are in for a mega roster purge in the coming months.
Long time Saints such as defensive end Will Smith, and linebacker Scott Shanle, almost certainly have played their last down in a New Orleans uniform.
In fact with exception to a handful players — corner Jabari Greer, defensive end Cameron Jordan, free safety Malcolm Jenkins, and linebacker Curtis Lofton — there is probably no defensive player that is safe.
But it’s far too early to say definitively who will go and who will stay. Sure, the Saints roster has some talent that could transfer over to a 3-4, but sweeping changes are coming,
First New Orleans needs to find and hire a new defensive coordinator, at which point the roster evaluations should begin.
Those said to be targeted by the Saints include former Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, and even Eric Mangini.
These names were brought up by a few of the beat writers that cover the Saints for Nola.com, and don’t necessarily represent the teams desires, among other possible candidates, for their defensive coordinator.