Football is a complex sport with various positions, each playing an important role in the team’s success.
One such position is the defensive end (DE), which is responsible for defending against the opposing team’s offense and disrupting their plays.
Here we look at the role of a defensive end in football, their responsibilities, techniques, and the impact they have on the game.
The Role of a Defensive End
The defensive end is a key position in American football, typically found on the defensive line.
Their primary objective is to prevent the offense from advancing the ball and scoring points.
They are responsible for both stopping the run game and rushing the quarterback during passing plays.
The defensive end plays a vital role in creating pressure on the opposing team’s offense, forcing turnovers, and disrupting their plays.
1. Stopping the Run Game
One of the primary responsibilities of a defensive end is to stop the run game.
They must be able to read the offensive play and react quickly to disrupt the running back’s path.
The defensive end uses various techniques, such as shedding blocks, maintaining gap integrity, and pursuing the ball carrier to make tackles and limit the offense’s yardage gained on running plays.
For example, if the offensive play is a run to the outside, the defensive end must set the edge by maintaining outside leverage and preventing the running back from turning upfield.
This requires strength, agility, and good positioning to effectively stop the run game.
2. Rushing the Quarterback
Another crucial role of a defensive end is to rush the quarterback during passing plays.
They aim to disrupt the quarterback’s timing, force hurried throws, or even sack the quarterback for a loss of yards.
The defensive end must possess a combination of speed, agility, and technique to effectively get past the offensive line and reach the quarterback.
Defensive ends often employ various pass-rushing moves, such as the bull rush, swim move, spin move, or speed rush, to beat the offensive lineman and reach the quarterback.
Their ability to generate pressure on the quarterback can lead to interceptions, incomplete passes, or even fumbles, providing a significant advantage to their team.
Techniques Used by Defensive Ends
To excel in their role, defensive ends utilize a range of techniques and skills.
These techniques help them effectively defend against both the run and the pass game.
Let’s explore some of the key techniques used by defensive ends:
1. Shedding Blocks
Shedding blocks is a crucial skill for defensive ends.
Offensive linemen will try to block the defensive end to create running lanes or provide protection for the quarterback.
The defensive end must use their hands, footwork, and leverage to disengage from the offensive lineman’s block and make a play on the ball carrier or the quarterback.
They can use techniques like the rip move, swim move, or bull rush to shed blocks effectively.
By doing so, they can disrupt the offense’s plays and create opportunities for their team.
2. Gap Integrity
Gap integrity refers to the defensive end’s responsibility to maintain their assigned gap in the defensive line.
Each defensive player is responsible for a specific gap, and if a defensive end fails to maintain their gap integrity, it can create running lanes for the offense.
The defensive end must read the offensive play and react accordingly, ensuring they fill their assigned gap and prevent the running back from finding open space.
This requires discipline, awareness, and quick decision-making skills.
3. Pass Rush Moves
Pass rush moves are essential for defensive ends when rushing the quarterback.
These moves help them beat the offensive lineman and reach the quarterback to disrupt the passing play.
Some common pass rush moves include:
- Bull Rush: The defensive end uses their strength to overpower the offensive lineman and drive them backward.
- Swim Move: The defensive end quickly moves their arm over the offensive lineman’s shoulder, creating separation and allowing them to get past the blocker.
- Spin Move: The defensive end spins away from the offensive lineman, using their agility to evade the block and reach the quarterback.
- Speed Rush: The defensive end uses their speed to beat the offensive lineman around the edge and reach the quarterback before they can release the ball.
By mastering these pass rush moves, defensive ends can become a significant threat to the opposing team’s passing game.
FOOTBALL DRILLS || DEFENSIVE LINE WORKOUT AND TECHNIQUE
The Impact of Defensive Ends on the Game
Defensive ends play a crucial role in determining the outcome of a football game.
Their ability to stop the run, rush the quarterback, and disrupt the opposing team’s plays can have a significant impact on the game’s momentum and final score. Here are some ways in which defensive ends influence the game:
1. Creating Pressure
Defensive ends are responsible for creating pressure on the opposing team’s offense.
By consistently applying pressure on the quarterback, they force hurried throws, increase the likelihood of interceptions, and disrupt the timing of the passing plays.
This can lead to incomplete passes, turnovers, or even defensive touchdowns, providing a significant advantage to their team.
2. Sacking the Quarterback
One of the most impactful plays a defensive end can make is sacking the quarterback.
A sack occurs when the defensive end tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in a loss of yards for the offense.
Sacks not only disrupt the offensive play but also provide a morale boost to the defensive team and their fans.
Defensive ends who excel at sacking the quarterback can significantly impact the game by putting the opposing team in unfavorable down-and-distance situations and forcing them to adjust their offensive strategy.
3. Defending Against the Run
Stopping the run game is another critical aspect of a defensive end’s role.
By effectively defending against running plays, they limit the offense’s ability to gain yards and control the game’s tempo.
Defensive ends who excel at stopping the run can force the offense into predictable passing situations, making it easier for their team to defend against the pass.
4. Setting the Edge
Setting the edge is a term used to describe a defensive end’s ability to maintain outside leverage and prevent the running back from turning upfield.
By setting the edge, the defensive end forces the running back to change direction or cut back inside, allowing their teammates to pursue and make the tackle.
This technique is particularly crucial when defending against outside running plays.
Defensive End (DE) vs. Defensive Tackle (DT) vs. Outside Linebacker (OLB)
Defensive End (DE), Defensive Tackle (DT), and Outside Linebacker (OLB) are positions in football..
While there may be some overlap in their roles and responsibilities, each position has its distinct set of skills, abilities, and roles on the field.
Let’s discuss them individually:
Defensive End (DE)
- Skills and Abilities: DEs are typically known for their strength, speed, agility, and pass-rushing skills. They need to be able to explode off the line of scrimmage, engage with offensive linemen, and quickly maneuver around them to pressure the quarterback or disrupt running plays.
- Roles: DEs primarily focus on rushing the passer, aiming to sack the quarterback or force him into making hurried throws. They are responsible for containing the outside edge of the defensive line, preventing running plays from breaking to the outside. In some defensive schemes, DEs may also be tasked with setting the edge and maintaining gap integrity against the run.
Defensive Tackle (DT)
- Skills and Abilities: DTs are typically larger and more powerful than DEs. They possess strength, leverage, and the ability to control offensive linemen. They need to be able to shed blocks and clog up the interior of the line.
- Roles: DTs are primarily responsible for stopping the run and collapsing the pocket on passing plays. They aim to disrupt the opposing team’s offensive line and penetrate the gaps to make tackles or pressure the quarterback. DTs often require double-team blocks, which opens up opportunities for other defenders to make plays.
Outside Linebacker (OLB)
- Skills and Abilities: OLBs require a combination of speed, agility, and strength. They need to be versatile and able to both rush the passer and drop into pass coverage. OLBs should be effective at reading plays, making tackles in space, and covering tight ends or running backs.
- Roles: OLBs have a more diverse role compared to DEs and DTs. They are responsible for setting the edge against the run, covering receivers or tight ends in pass coverage, and also rushing the passer. OLBs often provide support in run defense, pursue plays laterally, and may be involved in blitz packages to pressure the quarterback.
Note that defensive schemes can vary, and the roles of these positions may be adjusted accordingly.
Additionally, some players may possess the versatility to play multiple positions or transition between DE, DT, or OLB depending on the specific defensive scheme or situation.
Average Height and Weight of NFL Defensive Ends
The average height and weight of NFL defensive ends can vary depending on the era, playing style, and specific team preferences.
However, the average height and weight of NFL defensive ends typically range as follows:
Height: Defensive ends generally stand between 6 feet 3 inches (190 cm) and 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm) tall. However, there are exceptions on both ends of the spectrum.
Weight: The average weight for defensive ends is around 265 pounds (120 kg) to 285 pounds (130 kg). Again, there can be variations, with some players weighing less or more based on their specific role, athleticism, and body type.
Note that these figures are averages and there are players who may be taller, shorter, lighter, or heavier than the ranges mentioned.
Moreover, football players’ sizes and attributes can change over time due to training, conditioning, and evolving playing styles.
FAQs: What Does the Defensive End Do in Football?
1. What is the role of a defensive end in football?
The role of a defensive end is to defend against the opposing team’s offense, both in stopping the run game and rushing the quarterback during passing plays.
2. How does a defensive end stop the run game?
A defensive end stops the run game by reading the offensive play, shedding blocks, maintaining gap integrity, and pursuing the ball carrier to make tackles and limit the offense’s yardage gained on running plays.
3. What is pass rushing?
Pass rushing refers to the defensive end’s technique of rushing the quarterback during passing plays.
Their objective is to disrupt the quarterback’s timing, force hurried throws, or sack the quarterback for a loss of yards.
4. What are some common pass rush moves used by defensive ends?
Common pass rush moves used by defensive ends include the bull rush, swim move, spin move, and speed rush.
These moves help them beat the offensive lineman and reach the quarterback.
5. How do defensive ends impact the game?
Defensive ends impact the game by creating pressure on the opposing team’s offense, sacking the quarterback, defending against the run, and setting the edge.
Their ability to disrupt plays and create turnovers can significantly influence the game’s momentum and final score.
6. Can a defensive end intercept a pass?
Yes, a defensive end can intercept a pass if they are in the right position and have the awareness to make a play on the ball.
While interceptions by defensive ends are less common than by linebackers or defensive backs, they can still occur and provide a significant advantage to their team.
7. What physical attributes are important for a defensive end?
Physical attributes such as strength, speed, agility, and size are important for a defensive end.
They need strength to shed blocks, speed and agility to rush the quarterback, and size to hold their ground against offensive linemen.
8. Can a defensive end play in different defensive schemes?
Yes, a defensive end can play in different defensive schemes depending on the team’s strategy.
They may line up as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker, each requiring different techniques and responsibilities.
9. How do defensive ends prepare for games?
Defensive ends prepare for games by studying film of their opponents, analyzing their tendencies, and identifying weaknesses in their technique.
They also work on their physical conditioning, strength training, and practicing various pass rush moves to improve their skills.
10. Who are some notable defensive ends in football history?
There have been many notable defensive ends in football history, including Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Deacon Jones, J.J. Watt, Nick Bosa, and Khalil Mack.
These players have made significant impacts on the game and are considered some of the best at their position.
The role of a defensive end in football is multifaceted and critical to a team’s success.
They are responsible for stopping the run game, rushing the quarterback, and creating pressure on the opposing team’s offense.
By utilizing various techniques and skills, such as shedding blocks, maintaining gap integrity, and employing pass rush moves, defensive ends can disrupt plays, force turnovers, and significantly impact the game’s outcome.
Their ability to defend against the run, sack the quarterback, and set the edge makes them a vital component of any successful defense.