Safety (American football)
Safety (S) is an American and
Canadian footballposition played by a member of the defense. The safeties are defensive backs which line up from ten to fifteen yards behind the line of scrimmage. There are two variations of the position in a typical formation, the free safety (FS) and the strong safety (SS). Their duties depend on the defensive scheme. The defensive responsibilities of the safety and cornerbackusually involve pass coverage towards the middle and sidelines of the field, respectively.
Safeties are the last line of defense, and are thus expected to be sure tacklers. In fact, many safeties rank among the hardest hitters in football history.
As professional and college football have become more focused on the passing game, safeties have become more involved in covering receivers.cite web
url = http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/20061007-9999-1s7chargers.html
title = NFL safety today must fly like wideout, sting like LB
accessdate = 2007-12-16
work = SignOnSanDiego.com
publisher = Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
date = 2006-10-07]
The strong safety has a lot of responsibility on the defensive side of the ball.The strong safety tends to be a bit larger and stronger than the free safety. He is tasked to handle the "strong side" of the offense, the side where the
tight endlines up. The strong safety tends to play closer to the line and assist in stopping the run. He may also be responsible for covering a player, such as a running backor fullback or h-back, who goes in motion in the backfield and then out for a pass.
The free safety tends to be smaller and faster than the strong safety. His job tends to be to stay back a bit, watch the play unfold, and follow the ball. On pass plays, the free safety is supposed to close near the receiver by the time the ball gets to him. Offenses tend to call
play action passes specifically to draw the free safety closer to the line to stop a long run. If the offense puts a receiver in the slot, then the free safety may be called upon to cover that receiver. Free safeties occasionally blitz as well. When this happens, the pressure is very severe since a blitz by a defensive back is not usually anticipated.
Sometimes instead of the safeties dividing up their jobs in terms of run support and pass support, the safeties will divide up the field into a left half and a right half, and each will be responsible for anything that comes into his half of the field. This type of division of responsibility is becoming more and more common, [http://www.footballoutsiders.com/ramblings.php?p=167&cat=1] and is called a
cover 2defense. The cover-2 was first used by the Steelersin the 1970's, but was made famous by the Tampa Bay Buccaneersof the late 90's. Led by head coach Tony Dungyand defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, the Bucs built a dominating defense, with strong safety John Lynch at the forefront. This particular version of the cover 2 is referred to as the " Tampa 2". Since then, the popularity of the cover-2 has soared. Both of the teams in Super Bowl XLI, the Coltsand the Bears, ran a primarily cover-two defense.
* [http://www.phillyburbs.com/football101/fsafety.shtml phillyBurbs.com "Football 101: The Free Safety"]
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