As offenses have expanded the use of both the forward pass and
formations that utilize the entire field, the need for quick,
agile players at the linebacker position has increased. Today's
linebackers must be able to step up, take on blockers directly
in front of them; move from side to side; make tackles from
sideline to sideline; rush the quarterback on pass plays; and
play pass defense by dropping into deep zones or covering swift
offensive backs man-to-man. The modern linebacker combines the
strength of a big defensive lineman and the nimbleness of a
defensive back with the hitting and intensity already associated
with the position.
One of the most important traits of a great linebacker is
leadership. It is not necessary to be a shouter or a sideline
screamer to lead. Great linebackers lead more by example than
words. To develop this necessary leadership quality, a
linebacker must become a dedicated student of the game. He must
comprehend as much of the total plan of the defense as possible.
In addition to understanding the skills needed to play his
position, he also should be familiar with the responsibilities
of the other defensive players on the team. He must take it upon
himself to set the tempo of practice, working hard from the
moment he walks onto the field until the last play of practice.
Good, hard, clean, aggressive tackling is a skill possessed by
every good linebacker. Nothing can fire up a defensive team
quicker than a linebacker's hard tackle that stops a ball
carrier in his tracks.
Play Football The NFL Way is the ultimate football manual for
coaches and beginning players who want to learn the basics of
football correctly. Author Tom Bass is a former NFL coach with
more than 20 years of experience with the Cincinnati Bengals,
San Diego Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaners.
For a personalized autographed copy of Play Football the NFL
Way, plus information on the new Coach Bass Sport Maps -
football guides that aid in watching and enjoying college and
professional football, please visit http://www.CoachBass.com.
For information on Coach Bass' In-Depth Coaching Clinics go to