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Defensive Line Terminology

Understanding The Terminology and Technique

Whether we are scouting an individual player or an entire offensive or defensive scheme, it is essential to understand the terminology. There are a lot of variables that come into play when you are scouting a player or a team from player personnel groupings to formations and situations. Still, it is the language, understanding, and the delivery of that information that will make the most significant difference when creating a scouting report. Below, we define individual player scouting terminology that defines what technical aspects of the position you should try to identify when scouting. As we move forward in this series, we plan to include more in-depth information in regards to how we scout a team or an individual player.

Positional Breakdown

Defensive Line Terminology

Strongside Defensive End-


The strongside defensive end will generally line up on the strong side of the offensive opponent's formation.

Defensive Tackle-


The defensive tackle is an interior defender that will line up directly across from or outside shade of either the left guard (LG) or the right guard (RG).

Nose Tackle-


The nose tackle will line up directly over the center, or outside shade to the right or left of the center.

Weakside Defensive End-


The weakside defensive end will line up on the opposite side of the strongside defensive end on the weak side opposite of where the offenses TE is lined up.

Defensive Line Terminology and Technique Definitions

Instincts- Reacts on the move and when under pressure. Can diagnose play pre and post-snap, quick reactions.

Key and Diagnose- Football smart, reads ad reacts to keys. You can always find him near the football on film.

Explosive Leverage- Low and sudden movement, can unlock hips with force.

Lateral movement/Athletic ability- Can bend and turn the corner, fast downhill and quick when administering a stunt or slant move.

Tackling- Squares up, wraps and strikes an opponent with integrity keeping eyes up, head, up and applying a good tackling technique.

Shed and separation ability- Uses hands effectively to ward off blockers, has quick hands, pull and jerk.

Relentless/High Motor- Displays the same high-level effort consistently without sacrificing proper technique. Has a nose for getting to the football before teammates.

Acceleration, or Burst- Amount of time it takes to get to top speed.

Initial Quickness- Movement off of the football, with or without hesitation, explodes into his blocker.

Holds the point/Strength- Power to hold point and stack.

Pursuit- Plays with good angles and timing. Displays long and short quickness to close in on ball carrier. Good closing speed.

Pass Rush Ability- Stance, takeoff, quickness, use of hands, types of moves: one or two move player? Gets good vertical push, gains leverage on blocker, accelerates off of blocks, stays disciplined in the rush lane.

Power Rush- Bull Rush, can press the pocket, leverage player.

Double Team- Reaction, strength, and technique to hold ground, two-gap ability, or is he a one gap movement guy?

Trap- Quick recognition to close down the hole, spill technique, takes on with outside shoulder to flatten.

Speed Rush- Can turn speed to power, good hand usage, and good footwork.

Scheme- 4-3 End, 3-4 End, 4-3 Tackle, Nose Tackle

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