Are the Atlanta Falcons becoming a 3-4 defense? Sign(ing)s point to yes

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) works as Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (95) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Atlanta Falcons didn't waste time starting to overhaul their much-maligned defensive front.

In the first hour of free agency, the team signed defensive end Tyson Jackson and nose tackle Paul Soliai. Those moves should help a team that was routinely gashed up front and needed to get tougher.

But tougher in what alignment? Is it possible that the team is switching to a 3-4 front?

Head coach Mike Smith has run a 4-3 system since well before he arrived in Atlanta, but defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is well-versed in the 3-4 and might have convinced his boss that the team needed to switch things up.

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Is it a good idea? Time will tell. Schemes do not fix teams; players do.

If the team believes that a Jackson-Soliai-Jonathan Babineaux front is going to be effective, then so be it. But who will be rushing the passer? Unless DeMarcus Ware comes on board, it's likely the team will have to find that help via the draft.

But the team has gotten tougher on Tuesday, and throw in the offensive signing of guard Jon Asamoah, who clearly shows that new assistant GM Scott Pioli has already made his stamp on this roster. It's a good, interesting and — yowzers — expensive start to free agency for the Falcons, who likely will look different defensively next season.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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