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Why Ray Horton prefers the 3-4 in his own words

Why the Titans new defensive coordinator is known for a specific defense.

Gregory Shamus

Ray Horton is known for his 3-4 hybrid defense. While he is going to throw a lot of 4-3 elements in to help keep opposing offenses off balance, the 3-4 will likely be 60% or more of the Titans defense. He has done this in Arizona and Cleveland and was highly successful, so my question is why? Why does he have such a fascination with that defense? Well the Titans team page asked Horton that exact question:

"It’s simple, a number of things. It gives you more athletes that can play in space. It should help your special teams because you have more athletes that can play in space, and it also helps where, in the simplest terms, if you have four down, the offense basically knows, 1, 2, 3, 4 are rushing every time, basically. Well, in the 3-4 they have to account for, they know three guys are going to rush, the three big guys but now, who is the fourth rusher? They know in theory four guys are coming every play, but which one of the four is the next guy? Is it going to be the left guy? Is it going to be the middle guy, the other middle guy, the right guy? … It makes their blocking schemes, you’ve got to account for the three plus one, but it can be any of them so it just adds a dimension. It’s not like it’s revolutionary and they can’t do it, it just adds a dimension of, ‘Make sure you’re sound. You better be sound in your protection because if you’re not, this guy is coming.’ It just adds an element of mystery, I guess, to the layman sitting out there listening."

While the Titans don't have any superstars at linebacker, Akeem Ayers, Zach Brown and Wesley Woodyard are all definitely athletes. With the Titans adding a plethora of defensive lineman from space-eaters like Al Woods and do-it-all players like Daquan Jones, it looks like they are gearing up to give offenses a lot of different looks.

Where this will really help the Titans is against rookie quarterbacks, and that is something that isn't being talked about enough. With Blake Bortles and Tom Savage expected to start sometime this season for the Jaguars and Texans respectively, these schemes should be much harder for them to identify and will hopefully result in some huge plays for the defense and some divisional wins.