Basic

Bear 46 Defense
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1

You might know his son Wayne. We use a number system originally developed by Bum Phillips. The defense is named after Doug Plank who wore jersey number 46.Numbering System The 46 “Bear” defense was developed by Buddy Ryan while he was a defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. we use a number system to tell players where they should line-up. who is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. In order to understand the various assignments of the 46 defense. Here is the numbering system we use: 2 . Doug Plank was a heavy-hitting strong safety and could effectively play close to the line of scrimmage.

Below is the Base Bear Defensive against a two receiver and two back offense.Alignment in the 46 The unique part of the 46 defense is the strong-safety (S in the diagram below) who is on the line of scrimmage. but is a fast and quick athlete who is strong enough to play on the line of scrimmage. The numbers shown below the defenders is the alignment based on our numbering system shown on the previous page. For our purpose. but capable of covering pass routes if needed. In Buddy Ryan’s 46. the defensive end was really a linebacker giving the Bears both speed and size on the strong side of the offense. Base Bear 2 Back and 2 TE Set E 9 S 7 T N 3 0 T 3 E 9 C M 4 W 4 C F 3 . the strong-safety is not a typical lineman.

Examples of 46 Assignments The best attribute of the 46 defense is allowing the linebackers to run virtually unblocked. When he does this. In our defense. he will be in position to make a tackle for plays running off-tackle or in position cut-backs. Many offensive blocking schemes call for the OT to block the play-side LB when uncovered. The away-side LB is responsible for attacking at an angle underneath the OT. OT E 9 C S 7 T N 3 0 T 3 E 9 C M 4 W 4 F 4 . the play-side LB is responsible for stepping outside the helmet of the OT who is trying to block him. This allows the LB to effectively play a sweep while maintaining inside position for plays that might run off-tackle.

this block should be almost impossible to achieve. and C gaps. The good news is that all of the offensive linemen must block our defensive line. This W-LB is unblocked and fills stepping to A. B. The TE is trying to block DE. F This player is unblocked.” the shaded area. In the example below. DTs are drilled extensively to never allow a reach block. 5 . there is nobody left to block our linebackers. call a “reach block.Now. The problem for the offensive is that the S is there to fill that gap. This means that the OG must try to block the other side of the DT. let’s take a look at the defensive scheme in action. That means. the offense is trying to run a typical off -tackle play. Attempted reach block on the DT. Look at the “point of attack. TE OT OG OG OT E C S T N T E C W M This M-LB is unblocked ready to fill the hole and take on the block of the FB.” which is a very difficult to do. Simply put.

6 . • Play with 100% effort until the referee blows the whistle.” • Play with your head and eyes up. “I can’t. it takes a whole team to make a stop.” Never say. “I’ll try my hardest.Rules of the 46 Defense • Play aggressively. • Find the ball and punish the ball. • Play your assignment. • Always say.

Nose Guard Nose Guard (0 to 1) – In Base Bear. N 0 N 1 -.Strong N 1 -. In a Weak. Nose must also slant away from a Mike or Will A-Blitz. His major responsibility is quick penetration to the assigned gap (weak or strong A). the Nose aligns in a 0 technique.Weak Tackle under Nose (TUN) or Nose under Tackle (NUT) T N Strong Side Stunt T N 7 Will A Blitz W . Nose may stunt to strong or weak-side B gap with the DT assigned to A gap. he aligns in a 1 technique.or Strong-Bear.

the Tackle will align in a 3 technique and maintain B gap leverage. and never allow the OG a free release to Mike or Will. the tackle will gain leverage by coming underneath the Guard.Tackle Tackle (3 to 5) – In Base Bear. Tackles must strike a blow with both arms underneath the pad level of the offensive lineman aiming for underneath the numbers. He may start in 4 or 5 technique. he will have responsibility for B gap. Tackle has 2 additional assignments: Never allow the OG to effectively reach block. In the 3 technique. B Gap B Gap T 3 T 4 B Gap T 5 Tackle under Nose (TUN) or Nose under Tackle (NUT) T N Strong Side Stunt 8 . bench press the blocker and rip the inside arm. Blow delivery is critical in achieving the assignment of never getting reached and not allowing an effective jump-through by the OG. unless a stunt is called.

E 9 E 9 End should keep his outside hip and arm away from the blocker. This is an aggressive position and NOT a “contain” assignment. End must never get beat wide unless it is very deep. the End is responsible for Bootleg. End is a force player responsible for squeezing the C gap as well as aggressive pass rush. the End must two yards up-field and squeeze the C gap. End must flow across the offensive line looking to spill BCR. End should strike a blow with the inside arm assuming a stiff arm stance with the outside hip free for run contain. The End cannot get too far upfiield or plays will simply run underneath him. This allows a quick release to the football. Direction of Block Shoulder width staggered foot position 9 . Up 2 yards then toward the outside hip of the near-back keeping the ball to the inside shoulder. The same arm/same foot dip and rip will be used for an outside pass rush. On plays away. He should be very aggressive in getting up-field while staying disciplined in his assignment in order to squeeze the C gap. A play may never go around an End unless the ball carrier takes a very deep outside path. Ends are disrupters but must always maintain outside leverage. On plays away. Counter and Reverse (BCR). Flow away.End End (9) – Unless a stunt is called. The initial rush is up-field on the outside hip of the near-back. BCR. The End looks to the nearside running back. His aim point is the back’s outside hip.

S 7 E 10 .Strong Safety Strong Safety (7) – In Base Bear. Safety will play a strong-side 7 technique. Safety quickly fills the C gap moving up-field rapidly fitting under the backside of the TE. S 7 E TE moves to release downfield. TE blocks down on the End. he must be cognizant of an OT down-block and fit inside this block to maintain C gap leverage. S moves to fill C gap by moving under the TE’s backside to fit inside a down block by the OT. he must take on and win this block maintaining C gap leverage. S fights a free release and moves quickly upfield looking for pass and QB sack. If the TE attempts to block down on the End. If the TE moves to block Safety. After reading TE’s block. If the TE releases. The Safety must try to keep the TE from freereleasing downfield. Safety will move upfield rapidly looking for a QB sack. Safety initially reads the block of the TE.

Outside the helmet of the OT. he should fit underneath the DE forming the base of a triangle. Inside the inside foot of the DE on sweep. jab stepping in the his direction looking though the play-side OG. Mike and Will read the FB’s step. If sweep. 2 1 2 E C S M N W E C C 1. If the DE losses contain. E M 1. 2. rock and roll back to counter. The End has responsibility to contain outside by gaining enough outside leverage as needed. 2. the away-side LB must fit to the inside foot of the away-side DT scrapping downhill looking initially A to B gap. OT. 4 yards behind the ball. counter-alarm bell should ring and LB’s should stop. and FB to the RB. speed and fierce hitting ability. FS FS Basic sweep triangle. looking C gap. LB must quickly move outside the outside foot of the DE. In Base Bear. Inside the inside foot of the same-side DT. If the DE losses contain. Scrapping downhill looking A to B gap. 11 . Play-side LB must form the base of the triangle my moving no further outside than the inside foot of the DE. The play-side LB should fit outside the helmet of the OT looking for sweep. C or FS moves to fill the apex of the triangle. the LB must quickly adjust his angle and move to the outside foot of the DE. On plays away. If OG or OT pull.Linebackers Mike and Will Linebackers (4) – The LB positions are the most challenging in the 46 defense. Mike and Will align in the LB 4 technique. They must also be extremely disciplined. LBs must possess quickness.

counter-alarm. 3. LB should read the triangle looking for pull by OT and OG. Slow until you know. A pulling offensive lineman sounds the alarm of counter! Keys to great LB play: 1. the LB must maintain un-focused eyes looking to the play-side OG and OT.Mike and Will (Continued …) – The LBs must initially read the step of the FB or near-side back. Keep eyes unfocused. Find the ball and punish the ball! Read the Triangle 2 1 E C S M N W E C Initial jab step. By keeping the eyes un-focused. After the initial FB read. stop rock and roll. 2. FS 12 .

This is called an Ace adjustment where Mike moves to middle-Backer. called #2. FS 1 2 E C S N M FS E W C W is always the adjuster to the 2nd back. 13 .The Will Backer is always the adjustment to the motion or set of the Tail Back. Notice the 1 back set.Mike and Will (Continued …) . Below are examples of adjustment. Ace Adjustments Motion 2 1 2 1 Motion E C S M N W E C C W is always the adjuster to the 2nd back. E S M N C W E FS W is always the adjuster to the 2nd back.

play man coverage. In pass coverage. the CB will play 3-deep coverage. WR performs a crack-back on the DE. CBs man-cover deep “Go” routes. Typically. CBs move to just outside the DE on WR motion away. WR blocks down. unless there is a 2 TE/2 RB set. or play 3-deep coverage. LBs cover flat to hook and curl. Corners will line-up over the WRs. CB should yell “RED” giving DE notice of the coming block. If the WR turns inside. however. the weak-side Corner aligns in a 7 and plays the Safety technique. 2 1 2 1 C moves to 7 and plays S technique E C S M N W E C C E S M N W C E 2 1 2 1 E C S M N W E C C E S M N W E C Motions with WR to just outside DE Yells “RED” and moves to contain. In a 2 TE/2 RB set. CB releases WR and moves to flat zone coverage.Corner Backs Corners (Head up on WR to 7) – In Base Bear. Corners have responsibility of filling the apex of the sweep triangle by fitting between the end and the play-side LB. If the CB sees the WR moving to crack-back on the DE. CB’s head should be on the outside shoulder pad of WR. or the DE loses outside leverage. They must. 14 . maintain outside leverage if the DE is effectively reached-blocked by the TE.

FS reads the QB but must quickly find the ball on run plays. The initial assignment is the middle third of the field.Free Safety Free Safety (Roam) – FS is the “third” LB. he must quickly move upfield to help LB’s with short middle routes. On shorter routes of the middle. 2 2 1 1 E C S M N This is the weak area of our coverage scheme E C W C E S M N W FS E C FS Typical three deep coverage FS works to fill the apex of the sweep triangle. FS reads the eyes of the QB. 15 . On pass plays. FS is always the apex of the triangle. the DE and LB’s for the base of the triangle. Remember. FS’s first steps are always forward and then on angle.

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