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Mike Smith: Atlanta Falcons won't shift to 3-4 defense

Roddy White apparently slipped up when he revealed via Twitter two weeks ago that the Atlanta Falcons are switching to a 3-4 defense in 2014.

"We changed what we are calling the guys, but we are doing what we've done in the past," coach Mike Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday. "We are going to be very multiple."


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Smith's sentiments echo those of general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who explained the signings of 3-4 specialists Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson two weeks ago.

"Defensively right now, the way the league is, there's so much creativity," Dimitroff said, via the team's official website. "A guy like Mike Nolan at the helm as a defensive coordinator, he's very creative with how he works things. Unfortunately, maybe we didn't have all the personnel we needed to truly fit into the 3-4 schemes at times and use that as a really strong base defense."

It's not that Nolan will not feature 3-4 fronts next season. It's just that his base defense is amorphous because of the "multiplicity" of looks.

Whether the Falcons set up in a 4-3 or a 3-4, Soliai and Jackson primarily will be used in run situations. When the offense counters with three-, four- or five-wide receiver sets on passing downs, Nolan will deploy two linebackers and five defensive backs with more pass rushers up front.

"When you really look at defensive football, it's changed," Smith added. "It's changed a lot over the last 10 years when you start talking about what your base defense is; your base defense is your sub-package."

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