Football Defensive Line

What is a defensive line? What are the positions of the football defensive line in football? Get ready to learn all about football defensive lines.

Defensive Line

The defensive line in football is a group of linemen on the defense:

Football Defensive Line

The defensive line is positioned on the line of scrimmage at the start of every down.

The defensive line is responsible for:

Football Nose Tackle

The nose tackle is a lineman in the middle of the defensive line. He stands opposite the center in the offensive line. The nose tackle charges the center player after the snap.

Football The Nose Tackle

PRO TIP: The nose tackle must be careful not to enter the neutral zone before the snap. A penalty called encroachment will be called on the nose tackle.

Defensive Tackle

A defensive tackle is one of two linemen in the defensive line that stand opposite the guards of the offensive line:

  • left tackle
  • right tackle

Football Defensive Tackle

Football Left Tackle

The left tackle is the linemen on the left of the nose tackle in the defensive line.

IMPORTANT: There is also a left tackle position in the offensive line, but do not confuse the two.

Football Right Tackle

The right tackle is the linemen on the right of the nose tackle in the defensive line.

IMPORTANT: There is also a right tackle position in the offensive line, but do not confuse the two.

Football Defensive End

The defensive end stands both ends of the defensive line. They stand opposite the offensive tackles. Defensive ends have the best chance to sack the quarterback because they are close to the sidelines.

Football Defensive End

4 3 Defense

A 4 3 defense is a defense with four defensive linemen and three linebackers. A defensive line does not have to have five players on the line of scrimmage.

Football 4 3 Defense

3 4 Defense

A 3 4 defense is a defense with three defensive linemen and four linebackers. A defensive line does not have to have five players on the line of scrimmage.

Football 3 4 Defense

False Start

A false start happens when a player crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap. Linemen must be careful not to step over the scrimmage line before the hike or they will be called for a false start - a 5 yard penalty.

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