ID Name Notes
GL Goal Line Defense stacks up and pursues the play, no initial rush
MD Mixed Defense front seven read and react, don't commit
PD Pass Defense man to man coverage, soft, four man rush
RD Run Defense front seven plug the gaps and pursue the play, no initial rush
FD Flex Defense linemen attack to break up the play, linebackers read and react
IX Inside Charge stacks up the play inside, six man rush
OV Shift / Slant Over aggressive run defense, attacking the strong side
OX Box Defense outside charge, boxes the play inside, six man rush
TS Tackle Stunt aggressive run defense, stunting to spring a man inside
UN Shift / Slant Under aggressive run defense, attacking the weak side
ES End Stunt aggressive pass defense, stunting to spring a man outside
DD Double Man man to man, with extra man deep or double team, three man rush
LD Linebacker Drop lineman or linebacker drops in short pass zone, three man rush
LJ Linebacker Jam linebacker jams tight end on line of scrimmage, four man rush
ND Bump And Run man to man coverage, bump and run, four man rush
WC Wide Coverage soft four deep, four short zone, three man rush
ZD Zone Defense three deep, four short zone, four man rush
ZS Short Zone two deep, five short zone, four man rush
JB Strongside Linebacker Blitz strongside linebacker, looping to the outside, five man rush
KB Weakside Linebacker Blitz weakside linebacker, looping to the outside, five man rush
LB Inside Linebacker Blitz inside linebacker, plugging the middle, five man rush
FS Free Safety Blitz free safety inside, disguised or delayed blitz, five man rush
SB Strong Safety Blitz strong safety inside, no disguise, five man rush
SS Strongside Corner Blitz strongside safety or corner from the outside, five man rush
WS Weakside Corner Blitz weakside safety or corner from the outside, five man rush
BZ Allout Blitz blindside linebacker and inside safety, six man rush



Goal Line Defense ( GL ) Back to Table
Defends the line of scrimmage, stacking up and pursuing the play along the line. It is good against most running plays, effectively keying out the running backs, although liable to be penetrated by dive plays (where the defense is not concentrated enough to hold the line) and misdirection plays (where the aggressive pursuit can be drawn to the wrong point of attack). Against the run it is not likely to give up big gains. Against the pass it is poor, with the front seven committed elsewhere and no pass-rush, making the chances of completion and good yardage high, although each individual receiver should still be checked off in man to man coverage.


Mixed Defense ( MD ) Back to Table
A standard defense, with the front seven reading and reacting to the offense. The defense is unlikely to make a big play, as they're conceding the initiative, but they're unlikely to give up a big play either. In many combinations mixed defense is also treated as a specialist defense. If the offense is messing about with something clever, then mixed defense will help your defense to wait, read and react correctly.


Pass Defense ( PD ) Back to Table
A four man pass-rush with man to man coverage on the various receivers. The outside linebackers hold responsibility for the running backs, the cornerbacks cover the wide receivers, and the strong safety is responsible for the tight end. The corners usually line up fairly deep, giving them time to react to the receivers' moves, and the overall passing threat should be reduced. The defense is not particularly weak against the run, as the defenders are individually keyed on the various offensive personnel ( for example, if the tight end blocks rather than releasing, the strong safety should read this and move up for the run).


Run Defense ( RD ) Back to Table
A conservative run defense, with the linemen and linebackers looking to plug the gaps and not allow the offense more than a two or three yard gain. There is no initial pass rush, but the defense is not very strongly committed to the run and is unlikely to give up a big gain to a passing play.


Flex Defense ( FD ) Back to Table
A more aggressive run defense with the defensive linemen attacking across the line of scrimmage to break up the play, while the linebackers read and react as in the basic run defense. The linemen's charge increases the chance of stuffing a play at source, and the play is strong against inside runs, which are likely to be disrupted by the rush or plugged by the linebackers. With the defensive line committed to the backfield there is a risk if the ball is run to the outside, but the play is flexible if the play turns out to be a pass. The hunt for the ball in the backfield will soon turn to search for the quarterback if he drops back to pass.


Inside Charge ( IX ) Back to Table
The most extreme inside run defense, with the front six stacking up the play inside. Any inside run will be overwhelmed, but against an outside run or any pass the only chance is to stuff the play at source. Normally only used on goalline or short yardage situations.


Shift / Slant Over ( OV ) Back to Table
In the Overshift defense the defensive line overloads the strongside of the line of scrimmage by slanting their blocking assignments to that side. against the pass there is no difference from a basic run defense, but against strongside runs, particularly off-tackle plays, the extra concentration of the defensive line is effective in increasing the number of busted plays (stuffs). Against weakside runs, the defense is less effective, with the defense slanting away from the point of attack.


Box Defense ( OX ) Back to Table
An extremely aggressive defense, that commits defenders to the outside to box running plays to the inside. Outside runs will be stuffed, but if a running play breaks inside the yardage will be significant. Against a pass the only hope is the pass rush.


Tackle Stunt ( TS ) Back to Table
An aggressive run defense with the line stunting to spring a man inside. In a stunt one lineman leaves his position and loops around another lineman into what might be a vacant hole. This increases the chance of a lineman being sprung unblocked into the backfield, but also increases the chance of a breakout, if the position vacated is the hole to which the offense is running. The play is most effective against the slower developing runs, particularly lead plays.


Shift / Slant Under ( UN ) Back to Table
The Undershift defense is the mirror of the Overshift, eith the defensive linemen slanting the weakside of the line of scrimmage. This isn't an especially good idea unless the offense is runiing to that side. Look out for offenses with balanced strong and weak sides, who are especially likely to hit the weak side of the line.


End Stunt ( ES ) Back to Table
Another variation of the basic pass defense. Instead of a straight ahead four man rush, one pass rusher stunts (loops around another defensive lineman) to the outside. The disruption to the offensive blocking scheme increase the chance of springing him free with a clear path to the quarterback. Against a long pass (slower pattern) the chance of disrupting the play should be higher, against a quicker pattern the stunt may simply take a pass rusher out of the play.


Double Man ( DD ) Back to Table
A more extreme pass defense, dropping a man from the pass rush to reinforce the coverage. This provides either double coverage on a key receiver or an extra man deep. With only a three man rush, the chance of quickly closing down the play is poor, but the extra defender decreases the chance of giving up a big completion and increases the chance of making an interception


Linebacker Drop ( LD ) Back to Table
A mixture of man-to-man and zone defense. One pass rusher drops off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball into a short zone over the middle, from where he can read the quarterback and/or pick up running backs and tight ends coming over the middle. If the offense is passing deep or out to the wide receivers then the pass rush is reduced without reinforcing the secondary, but a key feature is the opportunity for the offense to lose track of the dropping linebacker or lineman and throw a free ball into his zone


Linebacker Jam ( LJ ) Back to Table
The Linebacker Jam is a variation on the basic pass defense. The strongside linebacker attempts to jam the tight end on the line of scrimmage, preventing him releasing into his pattern before passing coverage over to the strong safety. Effective against passes to the tight end (who is effectively being double covered) but not good if the play calls for the tight end to block the linebacker anyway, and also removes the linebacker from pass coverage in the flat


Bump and Run ( ND ) Back to Table
A variation of the basic pass defense. The cornerbacks line up on the line of scrimmage and try to "bump" the receivers, preventing them from getting away into open field (defenders are only allowed this contact with receivers close to the line of scrimmage). This defense is also effective against quick patterns as the receiver cannot catch a pass "underneath" the coverage if the defense is tight to him at the line of scrimmage. However, the aggressive play of the cornerbacks increases the chance of a "blown play" and a big gain if a pass is completed


Wide Coverage ( WC ) Back to Table
Wide Coverage is primarily a zone defense concentrating on avoiding giving up the big play. There are four short zones (manned by linebackers, excpet that a defense would normally replace some linebackers with defensive backs in situations where wide coverage might be used) and four deep zones (all manned by defensive backs), and only a three man rush. Entirely useless against a running play, as the defense concentrates on pass coverage. Close to the goal line, where the deep zones are unnecessary, the defense adjusts by keeping pass defenders in man to man coverage to ensure that on any chosen play wide coverage always has the least chance of giving up a catch in the endzone


Zone Defense ( ZD ) Back to Table
The Zone Defense is a committed pass defense. The fornt four rush the passer, and the coverage is divided into seven zones, with four short zones up to 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, and three deep zones further downfield. With the secondary concentrating on the quarterback, they cannot react quickly to running plays or screens. Zones can also be vulnerable to quick patterns, when a receiver may be isolated against a linebacker, and to secondary receivers slipping into the "seams" while the defenders are picking up primary receivers tracking through their zones


Short Zone ( ZS ) Back to Table
Emphasises the Short Zone coverage, with five short zones and only two deep (hence this is also called the "two deep zone"). The two outside short zones are both manned by cornerbacks, so it is particularly strong against short patterns run near the sideline. The two deep zones are manned by the two safeties, who may be vulnerable to any deep pattern, but particularly to a fast tight end breaking up the middle into the seam between the two safeties


Strongside Linebacker Blitz ( JB ) Back to Table
The Strongside Linebacker Blitz sends the strongside (left) outside linebacker looping to the outside. His chances of disrupting a sweep are good, as he may get into the backfield and nail the running back, and the five man pass rush also provides a strong rush against the pass


Weakside Linebacker Blitz ( KB ) Back to Table
A similar play to the strongside linebacker blitz, but sends the weakside outside linebacker looping to the outside (in a 3-4 defense it is the weak inside linebacker who blitzes, having assumed the responsibilities of the outside linebacker who is already the fourth pass rusher). The effects are similar to the strongside, except that weakside runs may be stuffed


Inside Linebacker Blitz ( LB ) Back to Table
This is the least effective blitz against the pass, sending a linebacker through the middle of the offensive line. Against a pass the linebacker is unlikely to get through unblocked, but against the run he increases the chance of stuffing a play up the middle


Free Safety Blitz ( FS ) Back to Table
A disguised or delayed blitz up the middle by the free safety. The relatively light but quick free safety is unlikely to be very effective at plugging a gap on a running play, but against the pass he's the least likely to be picked up. He was also the last line of defense, until you sent him after the quarterback


Strong Safety Blitz ( SB ) Back to Table
Similar to the inside linebacker blitz, sending the strong safety up the middle. The strong safety will be less effective against the run than a linebacker, but more effective than the free safety, and is more likely than a linebacker to be left unblocked on a passing play


Strongside Corner Blitz ( SS ) Back to Table
The Strongside Corner Blitz is actually a blitz by either the strongside corner or the strong safety from the outside. Less effective against the runs than linebacker blitzes, the element of surprise against the pass will be higher, as the blitzer is leaving his coverage on a primary receiver


Weakside Corner Blitz ( WS ) Back to Table
Similar to the strongside blitz, but with the weak (free) safety or weakside cornerback attacking from the outside


Allout Blitz ( BZ ) Back to Table
The All Out Blitz combines the weak side linebacker blitz and the strong safety blitz, with both men rushing the quarterback to make up a six man rush. The chance of nailing the quarterback is very high, but if the ball escapes the remnants of the defense will likely be outmatched