As most fans know, there are three positions commonly associated with the 4-3: the strong side linebacker (SAM), middle linebacker (MIKE) and the weak side linebacker (WILL).
In theory, the 3-4 is more flexible for defending the pass and plays on the edge. This is because it’s easier to drop a linebacker into coverage than a defensive end. However, the 4-3 is generally better at stopping common inside run plays because there are more defensive linemen in the game at once.
A 7 technique is a defensive end used mainly in four down fronts who aligns himself on the inside shoulder of the tight end. This position serves a key function for even fronts because this player controls the C gap where many off-tackle runs end up.
The strongside linebacker (SLB) is often nicknamed the “Sam” for purposes of calling a blitz. Since the strong side of the offensive team is the side on which the tight end lines up, or whichever side contains the most personnel, the strongside linebacker usually lines up across from the tight end.
Weaknesses of 4-3 Under
Since the Will linebacker is protected by the weakside defensive end and 3-technique, a lot of plays and tackles are going to be funneled his way. He has to be able to sift through traffic as the nose and Mike linebacker spill things back his direction.
While the 3-4 allows for great complexity, confounding offenses with disguised blitzes and coverages, the 4-3 allows a defense to drop seven men into coverage and still get pressure—an unbeatable combination. Whether Over or Under, one-gap or two-, the 4-3 rush defensive end is a premium position.
In a 4-3 defense there are three linebackers on the field in a base set. These are broken down into a weak-side, strong-side and middle linebacker. Where they line up on the field is based on which position they play. The different linebacker positions are broken down by the alignment of the offense.
It is probably the most commonly used defense in modern American football and especially in the National Football League. NFL teams that use the 4–3 defense as of 2014 include the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, St.
The Will linebacker is usually the most athletic of the three linebackers in a 4-3. He usually doesn’t have to be as big or physical as the other two because he typically won’t see as many immediate blocks from offensive linemen as the Mike or the Sam and because he won’t have to deal with a Tight End as often.
Teams that use the 3–4 defense include the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, and Houston Texans.
0-Technique: The defender lines up face-to-face with the center. 1-Technique: The defender lines up on the center’s outside shoulder. 2-Technique: The defender lines up on the guard’s inside shoulder. 3-Technique: The defender lines up on the guard’s outside shoulder, between the guard and the tackle.
|Position||What It Means||Who Is Eligible|
|DB||Defensive Back||Only defensive backs (includes cornerbacks and safeties)|
|DT||Defensive Tackles||Only defensive tackles|
|DE||Defensive Ends||Only defensive ends|
Defensive linemen will often take a stance with one or both of their hands on the ground before the ball is snapped.
The 3-technique is the most glamorous of all the interior alignments. By definition a 3-tech (or under tackle) is any player aligned on the outside shoulder of a guard.
The “Mike,” or as he’s often referred to as the middle linebacker on defense. He is the player that often aligns in the middle of the defense, behind the defensive tackles. … The Mike linebacker is often referred to as the “quarterback” of the defense. This player is often the center of the defense.
The middle linebacker, or MIKE, is the quarterback of the defense and got his name because he is positioned in the middle of the defense (more or less). … The MIKE’s first order of business is to keep the weakside linebacker (WILL) “clean” by neutralizing any offensive linemen who reach the second level.
There are two variations of the position in a typical American formation: the free safety (FS) and the strong safety (SS). Their duties depend on the defensive scheme. The defensive responsibilities of the safety and cornerback usually involve pass coverage towards the middle and sidelines of the field, respectively.
six defensive backs
The dime package refers to six defensive backs on the field at the same time. The defense now employs four down linemen, one linebacker and six defensive backs. It is a lot like the nickel package.Nov 16, 2002
The strength of Alabama football’s run defense is its outside linebackers. Will Anderson and Dallas Turner (as well as Drew Sanders for a stretch) have been elite at setting the edge and not allowing anything to get outside.
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