Corner back (CB) The CB should line up 3‐5 yards from the LOS, depending on the speed of the receiver. Their inside shoulder should line up with the farthest WR's outside foot in order to keep the play to the inside. The CB’s primary responsibility is to contain the sidelines and make sure the play stays inside. This mainly includes pass coverage but also some run stopping. The CB needs to have coverage, back peddling, and flag pulling skills. The CB must be able to hold down zones and also play man coverage. The CB must be willing to swat/intercept balls and chase down ball carriers. Your CBs should be fast. A good set of hands doesn’t hurt either!
Designated Zones ‐ Each CB has a zone on their respected side. The zones range from the LOS and back 15 yards. The zones, which are on the right and left sides of the field, should only reach about 7 yards wide.
Line Backer (LB) The LB should line up directly over the ball 7 yards from the LOS. The LB has two primary responsibilities, run stopping and pass coverage. The LB must have great vision and take efficient angles when chasing down the ball carriers. The LB also needs to have great reflexes and decision making skills. The LB is covering the most common weak spot on the defense, the center of the field. For pass coverage, the LB should keep their eye on receivers crossing through the middle of the field in addition to keeping an eye on the QB. The LB is one of the main weapons in shutting down the running game. Good flag pulling skills will help in the LB position.
Designated Zones ‐ The LB zone is from the LOS back 15 yards. The zone is located in the middle of the defense. The LB's zone should reach across the field with each side ending where the CB's zone starts. When a DT is in the line up, the LB's zone is pushed back 5 yards.
Defensive Tackle (DT) The DT should line up directly over the ball 2‐3 yards from the LOS. The DT should be run stopper first, pass defender second. The DT responsibilities include penetrating the LOS and stopping the RB. The back field may be crowded so if the DT can't reach the ball carrier, he should chase him to a defensive player who can pull the flag. If the ball is not handed off, the DT should drop into a zone and shut down potential pass routes like flats and screens. The DT does not have to be fast, but solid flag pulling skills are important.
Designated Zones ‐ The DT's zone is located along the LOS on the right or left side, and should only be about 3 to 5 yards deep.
Defensive Ends (DE) The DE’s primary responsibility it to STAY HOME and protect against sweeps, reverses, screen passes, or flat routes. He should also avoid letting a ball carrier get around him on the outside or sideline part of the field. The DE should always beat the runner to the sideline, forcing him back to the inside of the field where other defenders can help out. This player should be fast and also a good flag puller.
Defensive skills and fundamentals
When pulling flags, the defensive player must remember six things:
1. Keep their eyes on the ball carrier's belly button. The ball carrier will try to "juke" the flag puller with quick movements from the head, arms, legs, and hips, but their belly isn't going anywhere so the player should always focus on the runner’s belly.