ITP Glossary: Wide 9 Technique

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From kill call to hit and throw, 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.

Wide 9 Technique

Wide 9 technique is an alignment and technique designation for defensive linemen. A wide 9 technique player is often a speed pass rusher, who aligns well outside the offensive tackle, or even outside the tight end. This player uses pure speed and agility to get to the quarterback. (Example: Dwight Freeney).


Here is an example of what wide 9 technique looks like against a five-man offensive line:BuffaloWide9-anno

This is what wide 9 technique looks like with a tight end added to the standard offensive line:NFLPreview2RexPlay2Still1

Mark Schofield breaks down the wide 9 alignment:

In the passing game the wide 9 positioning works to isolate the offensive tackles in space. This creates opportunities for the edge rushers to beat blockers with speed on the outside and for the interior linemen to win one-on-one battles inside. Against the run, the wide 9 alignment serves to generically set the edge while creating a natural running lane off tackle. 

Any run outside requires flawless execution or ‒ more likely ‒ a bit of luck to be successful. The linebackers in this scheme must be cognizant of any attempted run off-tackle and immediately fill that hole, while the safeties need to be ready to assist in run support.

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Jared Allen of the Chicago Bears is lined up in wide 9 technique to the right of the quarterback. Schofield explains:

Off the snap the defensive end gets into the backfield quickly, his alignment and speed forcing the rookie left tackle Jake Matthews to turn his shoulders to the sideline as the tackle gains depth into the pocket. Because Matthews is still settling into position Allen is able to initiate contact, and he gains control and leverage over the young player. The veteran then relies on pure strength to drive Matthews into his quarterback, and Allen disengages to finish the sack.

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Mark Schofield and James Mastrangelo contributed to this entry. Thanks to Mitchell Schwartz for pointing out the need for a picture of the tight end alignment. This entry has been re-published to include new information.

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

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