Football Will Linebacker

football weak side

What Is the Weak Side Linebacker in Football?

The weak side linebacker stands on the weak side of the field, usually behind the defensive tackle. They stand across from the strong side linebacker, and because of their positions on the weak and strong sides, the weak side linebacker is often called a “Will linebacker” because the name Will begins with W, and the strong side linebacker is called a “Sam linebacker,” as Sam begins with S.


The weak side or “Will” linebacker needs to be the quickest out of the three types of linebackers (strong side, weak side, and middle). Their main role is usually to stop run plays, but they also often step in to help with pass coverage. They need to be quick on their feet when faced with jam-ups and traffic on the field. The Will linebacker covers the first-advancing back on their side in man coverage; in zone coverage they are responsible for the weak flats and curl or hook areas.


The weak side linebacker must be physically tough and can’t shy away from making a tackle. They should be a player that can read the field in an instant, see openings, and step into place to help out the other defensive members. They should be familiar with a one-on-one scenario, as this might happen if the offense sees an open lane on the weak side of the field. Don’t be fooled by the name; the weak side in football is where a lot of the action can occur.


What is the Will linebacker position in football?

The term “Will Linebacker” in football is used to describe the weak side linebacker in the standard 4-3 defense. The Will Linebacker is one of multiple linebacker types in football, including the Sam Linebacker, the Mike Linebacker, the Ted Linebacker, and the Jack Linebacker. These names refer to the positions of the respective linebackers: Will is for weak side, Sam for strong side, Mike and Ted for middle linebackers, and Jack for a special type of weak side linebacker.

What does the weak side linebacker do?

The weak side linebacker (also called a “Will Linebacker”) lines up on the weak side of the field and defends it. The weak side linebacker is primarily responsible for stopping run plays but can also cover passes. They must be quick on their feet, good at tackling, and familiar with various types of defensive schemes and strategies, such as zone defense and man-to-man coverage.

What are the characteristics of a Will linebacker?

Will linebackers are fast, physical, and intelligent. They must be fast to cover passes, their primary assignment. They must also be strong and physical to make tackles and cover blocks at the line. Will linebackers are intelligent and perceptive as they are required to read plays as they are upholding and fill gaps in coverage as needed.