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Video:What is the 4-4 Defense in Football?

with Scott MacKerron

Want to learn about a 4-4 defense in football and what it means for the lineup? Here, see helpful information about a 4-4 defense.See Transcript

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Transcript:What is the 4-4 Defense in Football?

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

Football Basics

As a quick review, each team has 11 players on the field. The defense is made up of players on the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs.

Basics of 4-4 Defense in Football

The term "4-4" comes from how many players you have on the defensive line and how many linebackers you have in the game. If you have 4 down linemen rushing the quarterback and 4 linebackers then you have a 4-4 defense.

More Information About 4-4 Defense in Football

The 4-4 defense is not used very often, usually only in short yardage situations or near the goal line where the offense is most likely going to call a running play. Versatility is a key as every player can have a variety of roles from one play to the next. It is an attacking defense with multiple blitz packages. The 4-4 defense is designed to stop the run with 8 men in the box. In addition, with 8 men in the box, it is difficult for the offense to pin point exactly where the pressure will be coming from when the defense blitzes. One final significant advantage of the 4-4 defense is that it can easily adjust to the offense. The 4-4 can shift into a nickel or dime coverage simply and effectively.

Additional Information About 4-4 Defense in Football

While size is definitely a plus for defensive tackles in the 4-4, it is not as important as quickness and the ability to use leverage to manipulate the offensive linemen. It's imperative for the defensive tackles to hold their ground. The defensive end's primary role in the 4-4 defense is to get to the quarterback as fast as possible.There are two inside linebackers in the 4-4 scheme. The primary responsibility of the inside linebackers is to stop the run. As there are two inside linebackers, there are also two outside linebackers. The strong side linebacker does his fair share of blitzing, however he also needs to play the run and will usually be relied upon to cover the tight end or potentially a running back out of the backfield. The weak side linebacker can be moved to just about anywhere to better suit the defensive call or adjustment.

Facts About 4-4 Defense in Football

The major drawback to the 4-4 defense is the potential to give up the big play, both through the air and on the ground. Quick running backs are most successful against the 4-4. If they can cut their way through the layer of linebackers, they will likely only have 1 to 2 men to beat in the secondary. The other way the defense is exposed is on the deep pass, because the cornerbacks are often left one on one with the receiver. If a receiver gets past his defender, there likely is nothing between him and the end zone. The hope, however, is that even if a receiver opens up, the quarterback won't have time to deliver the ball because of the pressure.

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

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