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Football 101 - Understanding the Basics of the 6-1 Defense

Defensive Formations - The 6-1 Defense

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6-1 Defensive Formation

6-1 Defensive Formation

James Alder
The 6-1 defense is a variation of the 4-3 formation. The alignment features four down lineman and three linebackers in the front seven, but two linebackers move up on the defensive line, putting a total of six defenders on the line.

If you take a look at the illustration on the right, you will see a diagram outlining the 6-1 defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

Notice the lowest row of Xs on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive tackles (DT) in the middle of the line and two defensive ends (DE) ligned up just outside of the tackles. The outside linebackers move up so they are lined up on the outside of the defensive ends. The third linebacker lines up behind the line.

Two cornerbacks (CB), one on each side of the field, line up to cover the wide receivers. There are also two safeties. The exact position of the defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.

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