Pro Football Defensive Line Position

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Defensive Line Position info

The defensive line goes head to head with the offense at the line of scrimmage. Defensive linemen must push through blockers to tackle running backs. On passing plays, they try to sack the quarterback. Football defensive linemen are also called rushers, and their position is to line up directly on the line of scrimmage, close to the ball.

Defensive tackle (DT)

Also called "defensive guard", defensive tackles play at the center of the defensive line. Their function is to rush the passer if they can get past the offensive linemen blocking them, and stop running plays directed at the middle of the line of scrimmage. The most interior defensive tackle who sometimes lines up directly across from the ball (and therefore is almost nose-to-nose with the offense's center) is often called a nose tackle, alternately nose guard or middle guard. The nose tackle is most common in the 3-4 defense. Most defensive sets have one or two defensive tackles. If one employs a second defensive tackle, sometimes called an under tackle, he is usually a bit faster than the nose tackle.

Defensive end (DE)

The two defensive ends play next to the defensive tackles, at the edges of the defensive line. Their function is to attack the passer or stop offensive runs to the outer edges of the line of scrimmage (most often referred to as "containment"). The faster of the two is usually placed on the right side of the defensive line (quarterback's left) because that is a right-handed quarterback's blind side.