3-4 Defense

Position Roles and Weaknesses

3-4 Defense

Position Roles and Weaknesses

Written by: Connor Morris | 05/01/2019 - Co-Founder, CMO, Apex Sports

Written by: Connor Morris | 05/01/2019 - Co-Founder, CMO, Apex Sports

3-4 Defense: Position Roles and Weaknesses


The 3-4 defense had become the go-to base defense utilized by NFL teams since the dawn of the 1980’s. After seeing a decline for the next 2 decades, the 3-4 defense made a resurgence in the 2000’s and is now implemented by NFL, collegiate, and even high school football teams. The 3-4 defense is run using 3 defensive linemen, one nose tackle on the inside flanked by two defensive ends. There are 4 linebackers playing behind them. Rolling out a defense with 4 linebackers allow for flexibility and versatility from these positions. In a 3-4 defense, the linebackers may be asked to rush the quarterback, function as a spy on the quarterback or running back, or even drop back into pass coverage.


Defensive Linemen Roles


In a 4-3 defense, the defense is centered on having playmakers on the defensive line. With 4 linemen upfront, a defensive line is tasked with getting to the quarterback. This can be seen with 3-technique defensive tackles as well as rush ends on the outside. Contrary to the 4-3 defense, the 3-4 defense relies on the playmaking ability of the linebackers. This means that the defensive lineman should be bigger and longer and serve to take up blockers in order to free up space for these linebackers. Think of NFL defensive ends like Akiem Hicks, Mike Daniels, and JJ Watt.

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