Is Foreman signing a signal 3-4 is here to stay?

The Oakland Raiders signing of inside linebacker Jay Foreman on Thursday is yet another example that the 3-4 is here to stay. Granted, the Raiders never overtly said they would switch back to the 4-3 but signing Foreman would appear to further signal they are sticking with the 3-4.

The Oakland Raiders signed Foreman, according to the Press Democrat, for a one-year deal for roughly $540,000 dollars. The Houston Texans released Foreman after three seasons. Houston acquired Foreman in a trade from Buffalo before the 2002 season.

Foreman, who is the son of former Minnesota Vikings running back Chuck Foreman, has been an inside linebacker for much of his career but he is also capable of playing outside linebacker.

The Raiders tried to switch from a 4-3 to 3-4 last season with minimal success. Oakland finished No. 30 in total defense last season one year after ranking dead last.

Signing Jay Foreman undoubtedly fills a need at perhaps the team's weakest position. Third-round draft pick Kirk Morrison took reps with the first-unit at the team's most recent minicamp. While Morrison might be capable of contributing immediately, signing Foreman suggests that the Raiders are not ready to count on Morrison too much this soon.

Oakland clearly needs help at both linebacker positions because at the inside spot Danny Clark is the closest the Raiders have to a sure thing at linebacker. Nonetheless, that's all the more reason Oakland will likely stick with the 3-4 as its primary front seven despite the fact that their outside linebackers are looking iffy. Sam Williams showed promise in his second year but has had trouble staying healthy. Tyler Brayton switched from defensive end to linebacker with minimal success.

Foreman, however, does not come without concerns. He compiled a combined 276 tackles in 2002 and 2003. Last season, Foreman tallied 79 stops before landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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