Buffalo Bills have the players to run 3-4 defense in 2023

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

This offseason the Buffalo Bills have added players on the offensive side of the ball, most notably Dalton Kincaid, that opens up the playbook and gives offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey more versatility with his formations.

However, the same can now be said on the defensive side of the ball with the recent signing of Leonard Floyd. The Bills have traditionally played in a nickel formation under Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier since both joined the team in 2017.

McDermott is now set to take over the play-calling this season and while he did call a lot of nickel formations when he was defensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers, the defense is expected to be more aggressive this season.

The Buffalo Bills should still have the nickel formation as their base formation with 4-3 front as a primary look as well that they give opposing offenses. However, they can create confusion with different looks and one of those is a 3-4 front.

Which players could fit in a 3-4 defensive front for the Buffalo Bills?

A 3-4 defensive front is when defenses have three down linemen with two outside linebackers lining up on the outside but without their hand in the ground, with two linebackers inside. Typically 3-4 defensive fronts have bigger defensive ends, with one nose tackle, as their responsibilities are more to take up space and free up those rushing lanes for the outside linebackers.

If the Buffalo Bills were to play 3-4 the outside linebackers are pretty obvious with Von Miller and Leonard Floyd. Both players have extensive experience in this role and it is almost more of a natural fit.

Along the defensive line, the Buffalo Bills could look to Greg Rousseau and Ed Oliver as their defensive ends. While Oliver is a defensive tackle, he does have the explosiveness that is rarely found at the position and has enough speed to still get pressure being a little further from the quarterback.

The nose tackle role would probably be handled by DaQuan Jones but if the Bills wanted a pass rush heavy 3-4 front then Jordan Phillips could also play that role. The biggest question is at inside linebacker and that probably goes to Matt Milano and whoever wins the job to replace Tremaine Edmunds.

In addition to this creating some confusion for offensive lines in terms of picking up the pass rush, this formation also gives the Buffalo Bills the ability to have their four best pass rushers on the field at the same time which includes Miller, Floyd, Rousseau, and Oliver.

It remains to be seen just how the rotation will play out at defensive end but there is no question that Sean McDermott has the players to be very creative with this defense in 2023.