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Video:What Is the 3-4 Defense in Football?

with Scott MacKerron

Want to learn about 3-4 defense in football and why it's used? Here, see helpful information about this football formation.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is the 3-4 Defense in Football?

Hi, this is Scott MacKerron for About.com. In this video, we're going to talk about the 3-4 defense in football.

Basics of 3-4 Defense in Football

To begin with let's go over a few basics. In football, each team has 11 players on the field. The defense is made up of players on the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. The term "3-4" comes from how many players you have on the defensive line and how many linebackers you have. If you have 3 down linemen and 4 linebackers then you have a 3-4 defense.

More Basics of 3-4 Defense in Football

The advantage of using a 3-4 defense is that it is confusing to the opposing quarterback because it's difficult to figure out which of the outside linebackers are going to be rushing the quarterback. Another advantage is that since there are more linebackers on the field than linemen, there is more speed on the field to attack spread offenses.

Information About 3-4 Defense in Football

A defensive end's role also changes significantly in a 3-4. In other defensive alignments, the defensive ends line up outside of the tight end or offensive tackle, where they hope to use their speed and athleticism to beat the blocks. In this scenario, an end's sole responsibility is to rush the quarterback and collapse the pocket, which is the area created by the offensive line that the quarterback stands in to pass. In a 3-4, an end's most important job is to control gaps and beat double-team blocks to push the pocket.

3-4 Defense in Football

The weakside linebacker is usually the main pass-rusher in a 3-4. A strongside linebacker often is asked to cover tight ends and running backs on passing plays. The two inside linebackers are supposed to find holes in the line and make plays in the running game or pressure the quarterback.The best way to beat a team using the 3-4 defense is with a good running game, which usually involves using a two tight end set. The tight ends can be used to block the rushing outside linebackers or they can slide off during pass plays as additional receivers.

Thanks for watching, I'm Scott MacKerron with About.com

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