ITP Glossary: 1 Technique Defensive Lineman

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.

1 Technique Defensive Lineman

1 technique is an alignment and technique designation for interior defensive linemen. A 1 technique player aligns across from either shoulder of the center (a technique also known as shading) in the A gap between center and guard. The defender is responsible for controlling that gap and is expected to handle a double-team by the center and guard. The 1 technique is commonly used in a 4-3 scheme. Examples: Linval Joseph, Nick FairleyNdamukong Suh


In this clip, New England Patriots defensive linemen Dominique Easley (#74) and Vince Wilfork (#75) are both lined up as a 1 technique defensive lineman, between the center and guard.

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At the snap both make contact with the opposing offensive lineman, who are looking to push one or both out of position for a dive run up the middle. Wilfork is double teamed by the center and right guard, while Easley is locked up by the left guard. The Miami Dolphins offensive line creates a hole for the running back who is met, hard, by a crashing safety and tackled for minimal gain. Det-Alignment-Plus-Stunt-PS-4-anno The two Detroit Lions defensive tackles above, Fairley and Suh, are both using 1 technique on this play against the Atlanta Falcons. They are lined up on the inside shoulder of the guard and figure to be coming straight up field. The defensive ends are lined up in 9 technique, far outside the tackles, and would seem to be headed around the corner. However, that is not what the Lions defensive coordinator has designed: Det-Alignment-Plus-Stunt-6-wm

Both defensive ends crash inside, while Fairley and Suh disengage from their blockers and cross behind their teammates — and the offensive line left mostly grasping at air — leading to a hurried throw and Matt Ryan knocked to the ground.

This gambit works because the Falcons expect the two big defensive tackles to come straight up field, as they did on many other plays on this day.

The ITP Glossary is curated by Mark Brown. Mark Schofield and James Mastrangelo also contributed to this entry.

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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.

3 thoughts on “ITP Glossary: 1 Technique Defensive Lineman

  1. Why does this entry contradict the 3 technique entry? The first picture of gap alignments above doesn’t align with other articles? I thought head up on a player designated an even number such a 0, 2,4,6?

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