Sunday, February 22, 2009
Mailbag question: Can you talk about the defensive position groups?
Please post an explanation of something I have been confused about:
It seems like if I am small, then I am a cornerback. If I grow, then I become a safety. If I grow more, I am moved to OLB. If I grow more, then I move to DE. If I grow more, then I move to DT. Noticeably missing is MLB. Who are these guys? Can you describe a little bit about each position group.
Thanks for the question.
CBs (cornerbacks) are generally some of fastest defenders. You can play either man or zone coverage with them. In zone, there are a number of different schemes.
Safeties: In general, there are two different positions --SS (strong safety) and FS (free safety).
In Cover 3, or 3-deep coverage, your FS is sometimes called the" centerfielder" of the defense. His main task is to keep 21 players in front of him. He is the last line of defense, and prevents big plays both on run and pass plays.
The SS can also be used as a fourth Linebacker in many schemes. When you hear that the defense is adding an 8th man to the box, generally the SS will be crowding the line of scrimmage.
In Cover 2, both safeties will have similar responsibilities. They both are responsible for covering 1/2 the field in the passing game. SS can line up either by strength of formation, or on the wide side of field.
The OLBs (outside Linebackers) are usually categorized in one of two ways: either WLB (weak-side, "Will," or quick-side linebacker, where you use either strength of formation, or short side of field to define weak or quick side) or SLB (strong-side or "Sam" who will be found opposite the WLB, and use the opposite rule to line up go either to wide side, or strength of formation.)
The MLB (middle linebacker) lines up, as name indicates, directly in the middle over the offensive center. In some defenses -- the 4-2 and 3-4 -- you use two ILBs (inside linebackers).
DTs (defensive tackles): Some teams will, in a 4-3 defense, use one DT and one NT (nose tackle) Others will use two DTs. It really does not matter. It is where you line them up, and the techniques used by them that truly counts.
DEs (defensive ends): Most defenses will use two DEs. You can line them up by side -- right DE and Left DE -- or you can flip them, or switch sides similar to the outside LB's.
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