Football Secondary

Chapter 9.4

In this chapter, we will learn more about the secondary, the defensive positions in it, and the strategies for the second line of defense for the defense in football.


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

The Secondary

The secondary is a last line of protection from a score by the opposing team. They operate in an area behind the line of scrimmage called the defensive backfield.

Rookie Road Football Defensive Backfield Image

The players in the secondary are collectively known as defensive backs.

The secondary changes based on the coverage, but usually includes the following four (4) players:

Rookie Road Football Secondary Image

The goals of the secondary are the following:

Cornerbacks (CB)

Cornerbacks are defensive backs who stand on the ends of the line of scrimmage. They defend against offensive wide receivers who run complex routes on the field to catch passes.

Rookie Road Football Cornerbacks Image

LINGO ALERT: a route is pre-planned path that a receiver runs on the field with the intent of catching a pass thrown by the quarterback. Routes can be complicated or simple depending on the play design.

Strong & Free Safety (SS, FS)

The strong safety and the free safety are defensive backs who stand deep in the defensive backfield to protect against the pass.

Rookie Road Football Strong and Free Safety Image

In a typical secondary, there is one (1) strong safety and a one (1) free safety. The difference between the two is based on the following:

  • the size of the player
  • the speed of the player
  • position on the field either the strong side or the weak side

LINGO ALERT: the strong side of a football field is the side of the field that the tight end positions himself on. Many offensive and defensive plays are designed around the offensive tight end position. The weak side of the football field is the other side.

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