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Horse Tracks: The 3-4 defense is coming back to Denver

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Good Morning Broncos Country!

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

News broke last night that the Denver Broncos have hired Wade Phillips to be the team's defensive coordinator. That means an aggressive 3-4 defense that has been the trademark for Phillips for years.

Even before the Broncos hired Phillips it appeared that they were headed to the 3-4 defense no matter who the defensive coordinator was. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar and linebackers coach Reggie Herring both coached the 3-4 defense in Houston under Wade Phillips, so the Broncos have some experienced coaches teaching our talented defense the 3-4 scheme.

The 3-4 defense isn't anything new for this group of players. Under former defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, the Broncos ran a number of different schemes including the 3-4 defense.

"With Jack [Del Rio] here the past four years, we've played 3-4, we've played 4-3, we've played everything," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. "So us playing in every scheme since we've been here, I don't think it will be hard to adjust at all."

What should make the transition even easier is the Broncos personnel. They already have a majority of the personnel on the team to run the 3-4 defense. The Broncos have Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe who are your prototypical 5-technique defensive ends, two really good edge rushers in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, and linebackers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan who can be inside linebackers in the 3-4.

One piece the Broncos are without currently is a nose tackle. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton who is set to hit Free Agency in March would be a perfect fit for this defense, but Pot Roast and the Broncos have yet to talk about a contract. It will be interesting to see if the transition to a 3-4 defense would make Knighton more of a priority this offseason.

Another thing that comes with Wade Phillips is big improvements on defense. In his first year with a new team, Phillips' defense's improved on average 10.25 spots in yards per play. 9.5 spots in sack rate and 12.5 spots in yards allowed.

Unlike every other defense that Phillips has inherited, this Denver Broncos defense is already pretty good. it ranked second in the NFL in yardage allowed per play and third in yardage per game in 2014, and is loaded with talent.

What Phillips will bring the Broncos is a tough/physical defense who will get after the quarterback, get sacks, force turnovers, and make opposing offense uncomfortable.

Wade Phillips will make this Denver Broncos defense great in 2015.

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