defensive end
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Defensive end (DE) is a defensive position in the sport of
gridiron football Gridiron football,"Gridiron football"
''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrie ...
. This position has designated the players at each end of the
defensive line Image:Linemen.svg, 350px, A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the ...
, but changes in formations over the years have substantially changed how the position is played.


History

Early formations, with six- and seven-man lines, used the end as a containment player, whose job was first to prevent an "
end run In gridiron football, an end run is a running play in which the player carrying the ball tries to avoid being Tackle (football move), tackled by running outside the end (or flank) of the offensive line. It is distinct from a Dive (American football ...
" around his position, then secondarily to force plays inside. When most teams adopted a five-man line, two different styles of end play developed: "crashing" ends, who rushed into the backfield to disrupt plays, and "stand-up" or "waiting" ends, who played the more traditional containment style. Some teams would use both styles of end play, depending on game situations. Traditionally, defensive ends are in a
three-point stanceThree point may refer to: * Three Points, Arizona * Three Points, California * Three-point lighting, a photographer's method of illuminating a scene * Three-point field goal, a field goal in a basketball game * Three-point play, a basketball ter ...
, with their free hand cocked back ready to "punch" an
offensive lineman 350px, A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage In gridiron football, a line of ...
, or in a two-point stance like a
strong safety Safety, historically known as a safetyman, is a position in gridiron football which is played by a member of the American football positions#Defense, defense. The safeties are defensive backs who line up from ten to fifteen yards from the line o ...
so they can keep containment. Some defensive ends play the position due to their size; they close down their gap so the
running back A running back (RB) is a member of the in . The primary roles of a running back are to receive from the to the ball, to line up as a receiver to catch the ball, and . There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play ...
has no
hole A hole is an opening in or through a particular medium, usually a solid body. Holes occur through natural and artificial processes, and may be useful for various purposes, or may represent a problem needing to be addressed in many fields of engin ...
to run through. Other ends play the position due to their speed and agility; they are used to rush the
quarterback The quarterback (commonly abbreviated "QB"), colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in . Quarterbacks are members of the offensive and mostly line up directly behind the . In , the quarterback is usually considered the leader ...

quarterback
. These ends can time the snap of the ball in order to get a jump on the
rush Rush(es) may refer to: Places United States * Rush, Colorado * Rush, Kentucky * Rush, New York * Rush City, Minnesota * Rush Creek (Kishwaukee River tributary), Illinois * Rush Creek (Marin County, California), a stream * Rush Creek (Mono County, ...
, and stop the play. Most of the time it is the job of the defensive end in run defense to keep outside or containment, which means that no one should get to their outside; they must keep everything to the inside. If they have an outside linebacker besides them that is not in zone defense in American football, pass coverage, this gives the defensive end more freedom to rush the quarterback. The defensive ends are fast for players of their size, often the fastest and smallest players on the
defensive line Image:Linemen.svg, 350px, A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The linemen of the ...
. They must be able to shed blocking (American football), blockers to get to the ball. Defensive ends are also often used to cover the outside area of the line of scrimmage, to tackle ball carriers running to the far right or left side, and to defend against screen passes. Since the creation of zone blitz defenses in the late 1990s, defensive ends have sometimes been used in pass coverage, dropping back to cover route (American football), routes run close to the line of scrimmage. In the 3–4 defense, defensive ends are used primarily as run stoppers and are much larger than the normal size of a player at this position. Often, the position is played by a more agile or slightly undersized defensive tackle. Because of the increased popularity of the 3–4 defense, the value of a defensive tackle prospect that can possibly be used in this manner has increased. They are used to occupy an
offensive lineman 350px, A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. In gridiron football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage In gridiron football, a line of ...
, on pass rushing plays to let the outside linebackers get a quarterback sack, sack. They block screen passes and are put outside the offensive tackles to get a sack. Defensive ends in the 3–4 defense average a height of 6′3″–6′8″ and a weight of 285–315 lbs.


See also

* Glossary of American football


References

{{American football positions American football positions