How an Offense Can Beat a Defense in American Football

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Battling a 3-4 front.

When facing a 3-4 front (three down linemen and four linebackers), the offense’s best strategy is to run weak side, or away from the tight end (which is always the strong side of any offensive formation).

One possible running play is called the weak-side lead. With this play, the defensive end (DE) usually attempts to control and push the offensive tackle (LT) inside toward the center of the line, leaving the linebacker behind him (OLB) to defend a lot of open area. The offense is in the I formation, and the fullback (FB) runs to the weak side and blocks the linebacker, shoving him inside. The left offensive tackle allows the defensive end to push him a little, letting the defender believe that he’s controlling the play. However, the offensive lineman then grabs the defender, containing him, and moves him out of the way to the right. The ball carrier should have a clear running lane after he hits the line of scrimmage. The preceding figure diagrams the play.

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