Raiders may flirt with 3-4 defense

The Raiders decision to draft linebacker Napoleon Harris will give defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan more flexibility to experiment with his play-calling. That might include playing a 3-4 defense, something only three other NFL teams currently play on a full-time basis.

Oakland will still use the 4-3 as its base defense but because of Harris' ability to play both as a stand-up linebacker and down on the line as a defensive end, Bresnahan will be able to use the rookie in a variety of ways. One way would be as an extra linebacker on passing downs where Harris' speed as a pass-rusher could be used best.

''If you can do that it just gives the offense something else to defend,'' said Bresnahan. ''But that's really not our plan (on a full-time basis). Whether we go to it as part of the mix, it's possible. (Harris) does bring in versatility but I don't want to get into a situation where we hamper him by trying to get him to learn too many positions.''

That doesn't mean the Raiders won't be creative in how they use Harris. Bresnahan said the team used the 3-4 last season but only about nine percent of the time. That number will increase, though only slightly.

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