The 3-4 Defensive Lineman are unique and fascinating team players with tremendous size, strength and athleticism.
The Defensive Line position is the best when broken down into two segments. Teams will base their defense out of a 3-man front or a 4-man front. The 3-man front is called a 3-4 defense and utilizes three Defensive Linemen. The 4-man front is called a 4-3 defense and utilizes four Defensive Linemen.
We will be describing the 3-4 defense in this lesson. The three Defensive Linemen align as close to the football as possible and are in a three-point stance 99% of the time. The 3-4 defense has two Defensive Ends who align on the Offensive Tackle and sometimes the Guard. The third Defensive Lineman is the Nose who is one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense.
The Defensive Line is your first line of defense. The Defensive Linemen are the biggest players on the defensive side of the ball. Not only must these defenders have bulk, but they must be quick and explosive in a short area. Most often the Offensive Linemen are larger than the defensive line. Regardless of the Defensive Linemens’ size they must be strong enough to anchor their area of the field. Most often there is a gap or two gaps between Offensive Linemen. They must have quick hands to shoot into the offensive line to keep them off their body and legs.
The two Defensive Ends in the 3-4 align on the offensive tackle and are normally 6’5” to 6’8” and weigh between 290 and 320 pounds. They must be able to anchor the offensive tackle and also pursue the football. The Nose is between 6’ and 6’4” and weighs from 300 to 360 pounds. If the center or guard can block the 3-4 Nose one-on-one, the 3-4 defense will not be effective.
The three Defensive Lineman in a 3-4 defense are under-rated because they usually don’t show up on the stat sheet like the other defenders. Their primary role is to occupy the Offensive Linemen and allow the linebackers to be free from second level blocks to run and tackle the football.
The 3-4 Defensive Lineman are unique and fascinating players with tremendous size and strength mixed with incredible athleticism for such big athletes.