ITP Glossary: 0 Technique

The language of football is often confusing: play callsalignmentstechniques, and concepts litter the commentary and writing about the game. Inside the Pylon wants everyone to understand and appreciate the game more deeply, so our glossary entries will give you a clear explanation and video examples. We hope you learn something and enjoy the games in a new way.

O Technique Nose Tackle

0 technique – A 0 technique nose tackle in a 3-4 defensive front aligns himself directly across from the center, and is responsible for controlling the two A gaps, one on either side of the center. Examples: Vince Wilfork, Ted Washington, Dontari Poe, Dan Williams, and Domata Peko


The 0 technique nose tackle must be the immovable object in the middle of the defensive front, able to anchor against the opposing center and guards, withstanding double- and triple-teams. This player rarely accrues tackles or sacks because few teams chose to run right at these often intransigent behemoths. By clogging the middle, the 0 technique forces the offense to the edges, and hopefully allows teammates to pursue the ball carrier free of blockers. [jwplayer file=”″ image=””] Jeremy Turner explains: New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork is lined up in a 0 technique, directly over the center. At the snap the center steps to the left, while the left guard pulls to the right. The right guard comes across to block Wilfork while the tight end makes a block on Joe Vellano at defensive end. This allows the left tackle to move into the second level to block the linebacker. This design should allow the ball carrier a clean release through the B gap into the second level. Wilfork is able to easily overpower the RG and push him into the backfield, causing the pulling LG to adjust his route, obstructing the running back. Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich is able to throw his blocker out of the way and make the tackle in the backfield, as the runner is caught in the jam created by Wilfork. Brian Filipiak broke down the game tape of former East Carolina Pirate (#54) and current Chicago Bears rookie Terry Williams: [jwplayer file=”″ image=””] Based on height/weight alone, very few nose tackles can play with a lower center of gravity than Williams ‒ and his tape backs up that assumption. Incredibly tough to dislodge from his gap even against double-teams, the defender displays ideal pad level in the leverage game in order to hold and even reset the line of scrimmage. Used mostly as a 0-technique nose tackle, Williams exhibited good initial burst and short-area quickness as a gap penetrator. Extremely aggressive when shooting a gap ‒ sometimes to a fault in the run game. He can constrict the pocket as a pass rusher but will struggle to close. Did execute one of the best spin moves you will ever see from a 350-pounder (shown above) and flashes decent footwork and lateral mobility on line stunts. 

The ITP Glossary is curated by Mark Brown. Others contributing to this entry are Brian Filipiak and Jeremy Turner.

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Inside The Pylon is football; from Division 3 to the NFL, to the terminology and film, we cover offensedefense, and special teams.

All video and images courtesy the NFL and NFL Game Rewind.

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