Football Term Glossary

Defense wins championships. That is what the conventional logic in football is. Yes, even in this era of high-powered offenses, strong defenses, such as the Denver Broncos in 2015, are still able to compensate for below-average offenses and win championships. How? The Inside the Pylon Football Term Glossary takes you inside football defenses and how they work, giving you critical information on defensive schemes, techniques, scouting terminology, formations, assignments, coverages, blitzes, and more. With both basic and advanced definitions, our definitions and videos on key terminology for football defense will help you become an expert on the defensive side of the ball.

Positions

Techniques

  • Backpedal – The backpedal is a technique used in pass coverage by a defender that allows him to keep his eyes on the ball and his man at the same time.
  • Bull Rush – In a bull rush, the defender makes hard initial contact with the OL with both arms, looking to drive him back, establish control, and then flow to the ball.
  • Catch Man – Catch man or catch technique is a defensive tactic where defenders “catch” or jam the receiver in the open field and disrupt his route.
  • Chip Block – A chip block is used by a tight end or running back before releasing on a route to help the pass protection with a difficult assignment.
  • Click and Close – Click and close is the ability of a defensive back or linebacker to read the flow of action while diagnosing the play and then attacking aggressively.
  • Hip Fluidity – Hip Fluidity is a key trait for CBs, allowing change of direction while maintaining balance, rotating his lower body quickly and mirroring quick cuts.
  • Jam – A jam is a collision forced by the defender with a receiver coming off the line of scrimmage, intended to disrupt the path and timing of his assigned route.
  • Press Man Technique – Press Man Technique, or “bump and run,” is when the CB is close to the line of scrimmage, facing the receiver, looking to hit or “jam” the WR within 5 yards.
  • Robber Technique – Robber technique is usually a safety moving from pre-snap position toward the line of scrimmage, attempting to disrupt crossing, slant, in and dig routes.
  • Roll Coverage – To roll coverage is to show one coverage look before the snap and then shifting to a different coverage after the ball is snapped.
  • Running the Arc – Running the arc occurs when an edge defender attacks with an outside pass rush, bursting upfield and around the opposing tackle’s frame and into the pocket.
  • Speed Turn – The speed turn is a technique for defensive backs to flip their hips without losing speed while covering a wide receiver.
  • Sugar The A Gap – To sugar the A gap is to line up one or two linebackers in the A gaps – between guard & center – feinting an A gap blitz before dropping into coverage.
  • Swim Move – A swim move is a pass-rushing technique used by primarily by defensive lineman and linebackers that is similar to a freestyle swimming stroke.
  • Wall Technique – Wall is an underneath coverage technique used by defenses to help secondary defenders with deep coverage responsibility.
  • Zone Turn – A zone turn is a maneuver executed by a defensive back where he flips his hips toward the inside of the field to face the quarterback while in coverage.
  • 2-Point Stance – The 2-point stance features 2 points of contact with the ground (2 feet) & is seen with all safeties, CBs, and off-ball LBs, along with most base 3-4 OLBs.
  • 3-Point Stance – The 3-point stance is the most common technique among interior defensive linemen and traditional base 4-3 DEs as it allows for burst off the line.
  • 4-Point Stance – The 4-point stance features 4 points of contact with the ground, as the defender has both hands & both feet on the ground with his weight sitting forward.