ITP Glossary: 4 Technique

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From crack screen to Tampa 2, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

4 Technique

4 Technique is an alignment designation for a defensive lineman that is lined up over the offensive tackle, between the B Gap and C Gap. In most defensive schemes  the 4 technique is responsible for both the B Gap and C Gap – making him a two-gap player. The 4 technique defender can expect double teams, with the offensive tackle receiving help from the offensive guard or an inline tight end. As a result, the 4 technique, particularly against the run, is tasked with occupying double teams long enough to keep the blockers from working to the linebacker level, allowing the linebackers to fill or flow freely toward the ball carrier.  In some defensive schemes, the 4 technique will align slightly over the inside shoulder of an offensive tackle and play the B Gap – in more of a penetrating role.  This designation is commonly referred to as a 4i Technique.


On this play, the East Carolina Pirates line up with a 3-4 defense. The nose guard uses a 0 technique over the center. Both defensive ends utilize a 4 technique, with one lined up straight across from the left tackle, and the other lined up straight across from the right tackle:4TStill

On this play, Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams (#95) aligns as a 4 technique and absorbs a double team from the right tackle and right guard on a running play:

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By occupying both blockers, Williams allows his inside linebacker (#50) to flow freely to the ball carrier, fill the running lane and assist on the tackle.

In this example, the New York Jets run the power lead toss out of a strong i-formation using 21 personnel versus Washington:

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The fullback leads into the hole with running back Chris Ivory following. In order to create favorable blocking angles, the tight end attempts to down block the 4 technique defensive lineman Chris Baker, (#92), who slants down the line, away from the direction of the run.

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Brian Filipiak & Mark Schofield wrote this entry. Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_FilipiakFollow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

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