Defensive football positions
Defensive football positions
Defensive football positions are all designed to achieve one goal – stop the offense from gaining
yards and scoring. It sounds simple enough, but players at each position have different
responsibilities they must perform for the defense to be successful. Here’s what a basic defense
Although the number of defensive tackles can change depending on the formation, most basic
defenses have two defensive tackles on the field. Along with defensive tackles, defensive
tackles are part of a group of players called the “defensive line”. Defensive tackles line up next
to each other in the middle of the defense opposite the offensive center and guards. Defensive
tackles are usually very large players who can hold their place even when double-teamed by
two offensive linemen. The main task of the defensive tackle is to prevent the offense from
running the ball up the middle and to put pressure on the quarterback in passing situations. The
typical defensive tackle is a fairly tall, heavy player with great strength who can hold his own
against offensive linemen.
Although the number of defensive ends can change depending on the formation, most basic
defenses have two defensive ends on the field. Their name probably comes from the fact that
they “bookend” the defensive line. Their main job is to prevent the offense from running the ball
to their side and to try to kick the quarterback on passing plays. Because their duties require
them to cover more ground, defensive ends are usually easier and faster than defensive
tackles. The typical defensive end is a tall, strong player with the ability to hold off an offensive
tackle and the speed and quickness to get to the quarterback or chase down a runback.
The middle linebacker is often called the “quarterback of the defense” because he needs to
know the assignments of each defensive player and sometimes make adjustments to the
defense based on what the offense is doing. The middle linebacker is basically a jack-of-alltrades – he needs to be able to stop the run and cover the pass effectively.
The middle linebacker is often in the middle of the action and usually leads the team in tackles. The typical
middle linebacker is a strong, intelligent player who is a good tackler and can play both in space
and in traffic.
Most basic defenses have two outside linebackers on the field. Where they line up depends on
the formation, but they are usually about 3 to 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage and either
just inside or just outside the defensive line. Outside linebackers are usually a little more athletic
than middle linebackers, because they are asked to blitz more and usually have tougher
assignments in pass coverage. The typical outside linebacker is a tall, strong athletic player who
can play in space and is a solid tackler.
Although the number of cornerbacks can change depending on the formation, most basic
defenses have at least two cornerbacks on the field. The cornerbacks usually line up opposite
the wide receivers. Cornerbacks are often physically equal to wide receivers, and their main job
is to prevent passes from being completed. Many times, wide receivers who have trouble
catching the ball switch to cornerback. The typical cornerback is a small to medium sized player
with great speed, acceleration, instincts and coverage ability.