What Are the Duties of a Football Linebacker?


One of the key positions in American football is the linebacker. The linebacker has many responsibilities and is one of the main players on the football field.

Stop the Offense

  • The linebacker is a defensive position whose main duty is to prevent the opposing team's offense from scoring points. The linebacker is tasked with stopping the offense from moving the ball down the field and therefore not allowing the opposing team to score any points.

Strong Side

  • The strong-side linebacker is a type of linebacker whose main duty is typically to stop the running back from advancing the ball and also usually covers the tight end position on the offense. Strong-side linebackers are often the teams best tacklers.

Middle Linebacker

  • The middle linebacker is the "quarterback" of the defense and is responsible for reading offensive setups and calling plays for the defense. Middle linebackers need to be good leaders and spend a lot of time studying opposing teams' offensive formations.

Weak Side

  • The weak-side linebacker is typically the most athletic linebacker on the field and will often drop back in pass coverage to assist the secondary in covering receivers. He is the safety of the linebacking corps.

Means of Defending

  • Linebackers must stop the opposing team's offense by all legal means. This means that linebackers have the responsibility to rush the passer, cover receivers and defend against the run. This is accomplished by utilizing the right blend of strong, middle and weak linebackers.

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