Bear 46 Defense

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

The numbers shown below the defenders is the alignment based on our numbering system shown on the previous page. the strong-safety is not a typical lineman. Below is the Base Bear Defensive against a two receiver and two back offense. but is a fast and quick athlete who is strong enough to play on the line of scrimmage. but capable of covering pass routes if needed. For our purpose. In Buddy Ryan’s 46. 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 defensive end was really a linebacker giving the Bears both speed and size on the strong side of the 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.

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

Now. The problem for the offensive is that the S is there to fill that gap. and C gaps. call a “reach block. Look at the “point of attack. In the example below. The TE is trying to block DE. That means. Attempted reach block on the DT. F This player is unblocked. B.” the shaded area. there is nobody left to block our linebackers. This W-LB is unblocked and fills stepping to A. DTs are drilled extensively to never allow a reach block. let’s take a look at the defensive scheme in action. Simply put. 5 . The good news is that all of the offensive linemen must block our defensive line. this block should be almost impossible to achieve. 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. the offense is trying to run a typical off -tackle play. This means that the OG must try to block the other side of the DT.

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

the Nose aligns in a 0 technique. he aligns in a 1 technique. His major responsibility is quick penetration to the assigned gap (weak or strong A).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. In a Weak. Nose must also slant away from a Mike or Will A-Blitz.or Strong-Bear.Nose Guard Nose Guard (0 to 1) – In Base Bear. N 0 N 1 -.Strong N 1 -.

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. In the 3 technique.Tackle Tackle (3 to 5) – In Base Bear. the Tackle will align in a 3 technique and maintain B gap leverage. Tackle has 2 additional assignments: Never allow the OG to effectively reach block. and never allow the OG a free release to Mike or Will. bench press the blocker and rip the inside arm. 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 . he will have responsibility for B gap. Blow delivery is critical in achieving the assignment of never getting reached and not allowing an effective jump-through by the OG. the tackle will gain leverage by coming underneath the Guard. unless a stunt is called.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The initial assignment is the middle third of the field. 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. he must quickly move upfield to help LB’s with short middle routes. Remember. FS reads the QB but must quickly find the ball on run plays. the DE and LB’s for the base of the triangle.Free Safety Free Safety (Roam) – FS is the “third” LB. 15 . FS’s first steps are always forward and then on angle. FS reads the eyes of the QB. FS is always the apex of the triangle. On shorter routes of the middle. On pass plays.

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