Defensive Tactic: Backside Contain

21 Mar

backside contain1

The backside of any defense is where, initially, the ball isn’t going.  Backside contain is protection for those times when an offensive play – like a reverse, or counter, or bootleg – changes direction and attacks what was, initially, the defense’s backside.

Like containment on the frontside of a play, backside contain is about keeping the ball-carrier bottled up in the backfield and allowing the pursuit from the interior defenders to catch him before he breaks “outside” into the perimeter where the defense is weakest.

The assignment is performed at the edge of a formation by a Defensive End or Linebacker, depending upon the defensive scheme.

Routinely the contain defender will “stay at home” or “squeeze down” and watch for the ball coming back his way.   Others will have him “trail” the play at the same depth as the ballcarrier and shut down any reverse before it gains speed.

Both types of defenders are under control and will not cross the line of scrimmage and pursue the ballcarrier until he has crossed the line.

backside contain2
“Squeeze down” means to replace. The Defensive End (99) in the picture above is doing exactly that. He’s moving into the space vacated by the Offensive Tackle who is blocking down on the weakside Linebacker (33).  From this position, the Defensive End can stay “flat” – meaning parallel to the line – which allows him to read flow both away and towards him and pursue down the line or towards the sideline.


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