ITP Glossary: 5 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.

5 Technique Defensive Lineman


5 technique – An alignment and technique designation for defensive linemen. A 5 technique player is commonly a defensive end in a 3-4 front, and aligns directly across from the offensive tackle. The player is responsible for the two gaps (B & C) on either side of the offensive tackle. (Example: Richard Seymour)



Here, Washington Football Club second round pick Preston Smith is aligned as a 5 technique defensive lineman on the outside shoulder of left tackle.



Brian Filipiak breaks down the action:

Smith exhibits good footwork, following an elongated step toward the B gap with a short stutter step, keeping the blocker off-balance. Taking advantage of the teetering offensive tackle, the defender rips an uppercut through the lineman’s extended arm, breaking free into the backfield and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket.

Using his speed to attack the blocker, Smith times the swim maneuver off his third step. The retreating offensive tackle is caught with locked knees. Maintaining movement upfield with little resistance, Smith is in position to drive the help block from the nearby offensive guard backward into the path of the QB disrupting the pass.

In this clip from the draft profile of St. Louis Rams second round pick Rob Havenstein, Filipiak diagnoses the proper blocking form against a defensive end utilizing 5 technique:

Havenstein’s massive stature allows him to anchor the edge of the offensive line in pass protection and wall off power-based pass rushers with relative ease:

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Above, the right tackle cleanly slides out to meet the 5 technique defensive end, using a quick inside strike to the sternum in concert with a wide base to support his upper body. While the pass rusher makes mild forward progress, Havenstein controls the situation by keeping the defender’s inside hip centered to his body, adeptly guiding the power rush wide of the mark.

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

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

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