Chicago Bears coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace didn’t really say much during their media sessions Wednesday at the NFL Combine, but they did confirm what type of defense they will operate from starting this season.
In what resulted from a series of odd events last month from the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago ended up with Vic Fangio as its defensive coordinator and although there was speculation leading up to Wednesday that he would employ a base 3-4 defense, Fox and Pace indeed confirmed the Bears will.
Although some of the big news from Wednesday’s press conferences dealt with no votes of confidence for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, Fox’s decision to move Jared Allen from defensive end to outside linebacker went somewhat under the radar.
— Bears News (@NewsBears) February 18, 2015
But it’s big news considering Allen, who has never played in a 3-4 defense, isn’t much of a fan of that defensive scheme.
No Interest in 3-4 Defense
Back in 2011, while still a member of the Vikings, Allen spoke out against a potential move to a 3-4 scheme for Minnesota.
Allen made it clear Wednesday that he’s very happy playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and has little interest in being moved to linebacker.
“(Defensive end is) where I’ve made my mark,” said Allen, who has an NFL-leading 18.5 sacks this season and was elected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. “I like what I play, I like what I do, I like that art form.”
That was back near the end of the 2011-12 season, though, and after year one of his deal with Chicago Allen has definitely not lived up to expectations, battling an illness last season and finishing with only 5.5 sacks. Now, the Bears are set on running a 3-4 system and Fox is determined to see what Allen can do at outside linebacker.
“We’ll line them both up there, what they’ll become is up to them.” On Allen, he was asked further and said that “he’s a good football player, he has good football instincts. In my experience, that works in both a two-point and a three-point (stance).”
But let’s go back in time once again to 2011, and read more of Allen’s thoughts concerning a 3-4 look.
“I want to end my career as a defensive end. And I’m not playing a 2-gap, let me just throw that out the window now.”
Allen To A New Team?
The conversation eventually led to speculation on why Fox and Pace confirmed Chicago was switching to a 3-4 defense. Zaidman proposed that making the announcement public could have been done to alert teams to come a-calling for players that don’t exactly fit a 3-4 defense – a player like Allen.
“Jared Allen is now going to be a part of a 3-4 defense, but is he? You know, I think one of the reasons that perhaps these guys made this public yesterday is to let the rest of the NFL know, ‘Hey, there’s some pieces on this team that might be better suited for your team. If your team runs a 4-3, give us a call.’”
Wiederer, who covered the Vikings when Allen was still in Minnesota, said the now former defensive end, may not be so accepting of his new role.
You can listen to the entire segment here.
By the sound of it, Allen, who will be 33-years-old when the season starts, won’t be looking forward to lining up as a linebacker.
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