This is a defensive formation that puts three men on the Defensive Line and four Linebackers behind them. The Linemen involved in this scheme are two Defensive Ends and one Nose Tackle in the middle. The Linebackers are two Outside Linebackers and two Inside Linebackers.
This is a defensive formation that puts four men on the Defensive Line and three Linebackers behind them. It is the most common and popular defensive formation used. The Linemen involved in this scheme are two Defensive Ends and two Defensive Tackles. The Linebackers are two Outside Linebackers and one Middle Linebacker.
This is when the defense charges directly for (the passer) as soon as the ball is snapped (it is also referred to as red-dogging). In order to execute this play and get through the defense to put pressure on the Quarterback, the defense will rush more football players than the offense has accounted for. From an offensive point of view, this means there are more men for them to block than usual and it crowds the space around the quarterback, which can lead to a sack. However, the risk the defense takes is that while they are occupied with getting to the Quarterback, the additional defensive player has left his normal position and this leaves more space for the Receiver to get open to catch the ball or to run in once he has caught the ball. The Linebackers are the defensive players usually involved in a Blitz, but it can also be the Defensive Backs (Safeties and Cornerbacks). Where they are positioned before the snap can be misleading as some players only “show blitz” when they are bluffing.
This is the area on the defensive side of the field in the middle and directly behind the Line of Scrimmage. It encompasses the area from the Defensive Line to approximately five yards back, typically containing the Linebackers, and its outer edges are determined by where the Defensive Ends line up on either side. The standard formation puts 7 Men in the Box. There are different defensive strategies relating to the Box such as “8 Men in the Box” which is a defensive formation to put additional concentration on stopping the run and “6 Men in the Box” which is a defensive formation that takes players out of the Box in order to put additional pressure on the passing game.
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A technique used by pass defenders (Defensive Backs) in which they initially hit the receiver “bump” within one yard of the line of scrimmage (in the NFL this number is five yards). They are not allowed to touch him past that range until he actually has the ball. Then they follow him or “run” with him. This slows down the offensive player in an attempt to throw off the timing of the route he is running and when and where the quarterback expects him to be. And because he has been slowed down it also gives the defensive player time to run with him and be in a position to prevent him from catching a pass.
Close the Cushion:
Whatever space is between the offensive player and himself, the defensive player must recover this or close the cushion once the ball is in the air. Read more about this under “Playing Defensive Back.”
Control the Cushion:
This means that the defensive back is limiting the cushion or distance between the receiver and himself all while the receiver is trying to expand that space. If you can’t touch the receiver you can’t defend the pass. The distance between them is the battle of who controls the cushion and you can tell who is winning by how close or far apart they are. Read more about this under “Playing Defensive Back.”
This is the space between the defensive player (usually the defensive back) and the receiver. The defensive back tries to maintain a cushion of three to four yards between him and the receiver so that he can touch him. The receiver, on the other hand, will try to get separation from the defensive player (i.e., a bigger cushion). Read more about this under “Playing Defensive Back.”
Also known as Double Teaming. This is when two defensive players are covering one offensive player.
Any space on the Defensive Line of Scrimmage that isn’t physically occupied by a body is called a Gap. A Defensive Linemen has two Gaps on either side of him and will be responsible for either one or both of them. In certain defensive formations it is important to have 2-Gap Defensive Tackles who, by defending both Gaps, thereby take on two players at once and free up an additional defensive player to protect against the pass.
This is a type of defensive scheme. There are two basic defensive schemes and they are distinguished based on how they defend against the pass. In Man-To-Man, as the name suggests, the pass defenders are assigned to defend against specific players.
This is used to describe what the defensive players are doing when they attempt to get through the offensive players and to the player (usually the Quarterback) attempting to pass the ball. If they get to the quarterback while he still has the ball in his hand, it is considered a sack.
This is when four or more players are assigned to cover the deep passing threat. With less players up front, the defense sacrifices the run and short pass to avoid giving up big plays. They allow this to happen because the hope is that the clock will expire before the other team can make it far enough down the field to score. However, because the Quarterback is often able to make short and medium length passes, the offense will eventually move the ball down the field. Some say that that the only thing the Prevent Defense does is prevent you from winning.
This is a type of defensive scheme. There are two basic defensive schemes and they are distinguished based how they defend against the pass. In Zone Coverage, the pass defenders cover a specific area or zone on the field.