Strategy, tactics, technique, leadership and action on every play…
In a four man front or three men front there are usually two inside linebackers. These two defenders play behind the defensive linemen and align 3 to 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.
They are no doubt, the players most actively involved in the game on every play.
They must have a complete command of the defensive playbook. It is vital for the inside linebackers to know how to fit, or let’s say defend, every running and passing play.
In the running game, they usually fit between two defensive lineman but can pursue the ball from sideline to sideline. Versus the pass, they normally defend an underneath area of the football field. It is not uncommon though for them to have deep coverage — particularly in a two-deep zone.
One of the inside linebackers is the signal caller and handles any adjustments to be made on the field of play. The inside linebackers will most likely be the leading hackers each and every week.
They must be big and strong enough to take on an offensive lineman in the running game with power strength and ability to shed the block and get to the ball carrier. They must also be fast enough to get from the inside alignment to the perimeter for outside plays.
As well as being fast enough to pursue to the outside running game, they must be quick to cover slot receivers, tight ends or shifty backs man-to-man. These defenders are the most unique and valuable players on the field because of the action they are involved with. Inside linebackers will normally weigh between 230 pounds and 260 pounds.
Whatever weight, they must be durable enough day in and day out to handle high-speed and high power collisions. The inside linebacker position is also one of the most cerebral of all defensive positions to play.
As an inside linebacker you will be included in the blitz game as well. Although not a requirement, an inside linebacker with good pass rush ability has an added skill which substantially upgrades their value. Playing inside linebacker is the busiest of all positions. You must have a great instinct to feel, see, and react to all the traffic and chaos around you. Through it all you must diagnose the play, react and pursue.
There are a few plays in which the linebacker isn’t involved. It is the most rewarding of all positions and one of the most fun to play. Inside linebackers as you would expect must be leaders to deliver a defense that is disciplined, carrying out whatever role assigned.
If you want strategy, tactics, technique, leadership and action on every play and statistics to back it up, choose to play or study inside linebackers!