The Denver Broncos look set to make an appointment at Defensive coordinator in the coming days, with Wade Phillips and Vance Joseph the top candidates for the role.
Joseph is the preferred option but regardless of who gets the job it appears the Broncos are set to take a gamble in moving to a 3-4 defense for the 2015 season. Both Phillips and Joseph are 3-4 men so the official hire shouldn't alter plans.
Ditching the 4-3 system the team ran with for the previous four seasons under the now departed John Fox is a bold move, especially considering Denver's impressive front against the run in recent years.
Ranking second, seventh and third against the run over the past three seasons it is clear that 4-3 has had its benefits but it looks like those in charge at the franchise - including new head coach Gary Kubiak - are keen to switch to 3-4 to improve their ability to get to rush the passer.
With two stellar pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller the roster is certainly suited to the move. While it is a risk it could make a huge difference going forward - transforming Denver's so-so defense into an intimidating front capable of winning games outright.
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Much of the debate in the aftermath of the Broncos' 24-13 playoff loss to the Colts focussed on Peyton Manning and a lacklustre offense but the defense too was culpable. A failure to put any pressure on Andrew Luck allowed the Colts time to pick holes and take leads in the game. Luck wasn't sacked once during the contest.
Statistically the Broncos defense hasn't done too badly but clearly the team are willing to make a key decision now in a bid to take them to the next level, avoiding another Super Bowl shortfall.
Von Miller meanwhile seems confident any transition won't take too long to become accustomed to:
"We've already been running something like a 3-4," Miller told the Denver Post. "You look at our base defense last year, all DeMarcus had to do was stand up and it was a 3-4."
The decision means re-signing pending free agent nose tackle Terrance Knighton suddenly just rose a few places on Kubiak and Elway's to-do list.
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