Football Defensive Line

Chapter 9.3

The defensive line is a group of five (5) players in charge of tackling the ball-carrier and countering the offensive line of the other team. Get ready to learn about the defensive line in football.

Introduction

Every football team needs a strong defense to counter the opponent's offense. The defense is made up of two main parts:

The Defensive Line

There are five (5) players in the defensive line. They are the nose tackle, left and right defensive tackles, and the defensive ends . The defensive line is positioned on the line of scrimmage.

Rookie Road Football Defensive Line Image

Defensive Line Goals

The goals of the defensive line are the following:

The Nose Tackle (NT)

The nose tackle is the player in the middle of the defensive line. He stands opposite the offensive player known as the center. It is his job immediately charge at the offensive center once the ball is snapped into play.

Rookie Road Football The Nose Tackle Image

PRO TIP: The center stands in an area of the field called the neutral zone. No player can enter this zone before the ball is snapped into play or they risk a penalty called encroachment, a 5-yard penalty.

The Tackles (LT/RT)

The left and right defensive tackles stand on the sides of the nose tackle of the defensive line. They usually stand opposite of the offensive guards.

Rookie Road Football The Defensive Tackles Image

Defensive Ends (DE)

The defensive ends stand on the ends of the defensive line. They usually stand opposite the offensive tackles. Defensive ends have the best chance at sacking the quarterback since they are on the ends of the line.

Rookie Road Football The Defensive Ends Image

The Pocket

The defensive line counters the offensive line and must break through an enclosed area called the pocket that the quarterback stands in. A strong defensive line will do whatever it takes to break through the offensive line and tackle the ball-carrier.

Penalties

The defensive line must be very careful not to cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped into play by the offense. If they do cross the line of scrimmage before the snap, it is called a false start, a 5-yard penalty.

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