What Is A Linebacker Position In Football?

Linebacker position in football: The defensive team’s captain is the linebacker. The defensive position is frequently regarded as one of the most important. In addition to adequately communicating with the other 10 players on the field, linebackers must prevent the run and tackle the pass. Keep reading this complete guide and discover everything about this position.

What is a Linebacker Position in Football?

Football’s linebacker position is among the most crucial spots on the field. They are responsible for various duties that necessitate intelligence and self-control. Football linebackers’ primary responsibility is to halt the offensive running onslaught. 

If the offensive throws the ball, linebackers will assist the defensive backs in stopping it. One of the field’s most adaptable positions is this one. Linebackers are frequently athletes who are both physically large and athletically capable of covering the pass. 

They must be large to engage offensive linemen and halt the run. Every time a run play is called for, they will have to disengage from an offensive lineman in order to stop it.

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What Does a Linebacker Do in Football?

The responsibilities of this position are to deliver the defensive play call, block the run, and assist in preventing the pass.

Delivers The Defensive Play Call

In the majority of defensive systems, the linebacker will receive the play signal from the defensive coordinator. The other players will then receive the play call from the linebacker. 

The linebacker frequently stands in the center of the formation and field, making it the ideal position from which to signal the call to the whole defense.

Players in high school aren’t allowed to wear speakers in their helmets, so one player must inform the others of the play. The linebacker enters the game at this point.

Block The Run

In this sport, stopping the run is a linebacker’s primary responsibility. Football offenses that can successfully run the ball control the time and the tempo of the play. The winning team will frequently run the ball well.

Running back stifling is the responsibility of the defensive line and linebackers. To halt the run, they accomplish this by bridging what is known as gaps. 

On the scrimmage line, there are six spots. Running backs are required to move laterally as a result of having a body in each of the six gaps; this allows the defense to pursue and handle the running back with their faster players.

Assists In Preventing The Pass

Because it necessitates a specific skill set, the linebacker position is exceptional.

An offensive lineman might often engage in hand-to-hand combat with a defensive lineman when attempting to halt the run, for example.

Wide receiver coverage is the responsibility of defensive backs, who are smaller, quicker athletes.

Both of these skills are necessary for linebackers. They must have the ability to halt both runs and passes.

According to the defensive plan, linebackers frequently have to maintain man-to-man protection on tight ends or defend a zone on the field.

How to Play Linebacker Position in Football?

In the how-to-play of this position, we will cover terms such as Stance & Start, and Rip & Swim.

Stance & Start

To become a linebacker, stance and start are crucial.

Because incorrect posture and incorrect steps frequently leave the linebacker out of position just seconds before the snap, stance and start are extremely important.

The linebacker needs to stand correctly to:

  • Set their feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Their shoulders ought to extend past their toes.
  • The hands are prepared to contact and punch through the offensive lineman.
  • The offensive line components or running back must be the subject of attention.

Rip & Swim

Rip – The linebacker must use the defender’s weak side to their advantage to perform a rip maneuver. Lift upward with the outside arm, eliminating the offensive lineman’s point of target. This arm movement needs to be quick and intentional.

Swim – The linebacker’s swimming motion gives rise to the moniker of the swim maneuver. Like a swimmer in a pool, their arms will rise and cross over. Instead of making a long, straight-armed stroke, do a brief “arm over” stroke. This technique aims to shift the offensive lineman’s arm using speed and agility.

Famous Linebacker Position Players

linebacker position in football

James Harrison

Among all linebackers who have ever played, Harrison is probably the most powerful. The all-time leader in sacks for the Steelers (84.5 in his career) was crucial in assisting Pittsburgh to win two Super Bowls.

Sam Huff

The Giants’ defensive captain and hard-hitting linebacker participated in six NFL championship contests. The first NFL star to appear on the cover of Time magazine, he even received his entire CBS television special, “The Violent World of Sam Huff,” in 1960.

Willie Lanier

Lanier has a good reason for going under the nickname “Contact.” He was a ferocious batter and a reputed headhunter. He was also a master at pass coverage, which contributed to his 27 career picks.

Derrick Brooks

Among the most instinctive and technically proficient linebackers to ever compete in the sport is Brooks, who is frequently held in high respect. He had great pass coverage skills and was a reliable tackler. Throughout his Hall of Fame career, he accumulated over 1,700 tackles and created 49 turnovers.


To sum up, the linebacker position in football is crucial to determining victory or defeat. They must be strong enough to halt the rushing onslaught and athletic enough to handle the pass. 

Don’t forget to visit our American Football Terms site frequently if you want to learn more about American football or read more great articles like this one. 

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