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Formation (American football)

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Title: Formation (American football)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of formations in American football, Flexbone formation, I formation, Short punt formation, T formation
Collection: American Football Formations, American Football Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Formation (American football)

A formation in American football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories.

Contents

  • Offense 1
    • Rules 1.1
    • Rules 1.2
  • Defense 2
    • Defensive positions 2.1
    • Rules 2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Offense

At the highest level of play in the NFL and NCAA, the one constant in all formations is the offensive line, consisting of the left and right tackle, left and right guard, and a center (football). These five positions are often referred to collectively as the "line", and have the primary role of blocking. By rule there must be two additional players on the line of scrimmage called Ends. These players are eligible receivers and may play near the linemen (tight ends) or farther away (split end or wide receiver). Most teams play additional players near (but still off) the line of scrimmage to act as extra pass receivers.


The three other backs can be halfbacks, (the ball), [[football

  • TE = tight endto catch the ball when passed to)
  • HB = halfback (the primary ball carrier)
  • FB = fullback (used for blocking)

Rules

The offense is required to set up a formation before a play, subject to several rules:

  • The formation except those at either end of the line are ineligible receivers: these players may not touch or catch a forward pass[1] (receiver, including a deflection by a defensive snap. In Canadian football, all of the players in the backfield can be in motion, in any direction, at the time of the snap, as

Defense

Two terms often heard in referring to defensive formations are box and secondary. The box is defined as an area on the defensive side of the ball, within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and framed by the offensive tackles. This area is most commonly occupied by defensive linemen and linebackers. The secondary can refer to the defensive backs as a group, or to the area behind the linebackers usually occupied by defensive backs. The two standard NFL defenses, the 4-3 and the 3-4, have 7 players in the box. The phrase "8 in the box" is used to indicate that 1 of the 2 safeties has moved into the box to defend against the run.

Defensive positions

The three basic defensive positions are:

  • Defensive lineman (DL): Linemen play at the line of scrimmage, directly across from the offensive line. They are categorized as defensive tackles (DT) or defensive ends (DE). The 4-3 defense has 2 tackles and 2 ends; the 3-4 defense has 2 ends and 1 tackle, who is sometimes called a nose tackle (NT) to indicate the 3-4. Tackles line up inside and rely on power to stop the run, while ends line up outside and are faster and more athletic to allow them to pursue the quarterback.
  • Linebacker (LB): Linebackers are positioned 2 to 4 yards behind the defensive line. The 4-3 defense has 3 linebackers, who are categorized as strong, middle and weak (SLB, MLB, WLB; also called Sam, Mike and Will). This is not an indication of strength; it instead refers to the positioning of the linebackers relative to the offense. Strong linebackers line up on the same side as the tight end, weakside away from the tight end. A 3-4 defense will use 4 linebackers, who are indicated by their side (right/left) and positioning (inside/outside).
  • Defensive back (DB): Defensive backs can include cornerbacks (CB), a strong safety (SS, lines up on same side as tight end) and a free safety (FS, so called because they are "free" to roam where needed). Cornerbacks are almost always responsible for defending against the pass, and particularly against wide receivers; often they are the fastest defensive players. Safeties also defend against the pass, matching up on tight ends and backs, but they are positioned in the center of the field to be prepared to stop the run as well.

Rules

Rules regarding defensive formations are not as complex as their offensive counterparts. The defense may line up anywhere on its side of the neutral zone, and players are free to move at any time before the snap, but all defensive players must remain on their side of the neutral zone (defined as the width of the ball) before the snap. If they line up on the wrong side of the line, the offending players are offside. The exception is during a field goal attempt, PAT, or punt. The defense is only allowed a maximum of 6 players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap. Having 7 or more players on the line on one side will result in an illegal formation penalty.

A defensive formation with the "box" highlighted.

This formation assumes the offense is lined up strong side right (from the offense's point of view). This diagram could be matched up to an offensive formation diagram to make a complete 22 player football field.

See also

References

  1. ^ Forward Pass

External links

  • yourtactics.com
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