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American Football

What is the linebacker's role in the NFL?

What is the linebacker's role in the NFL?Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The linebacker is a versatile position in the NFL.

Fans will find the linebacker position on an NFL team's defense. 

It requires the player in that position to be reactive to whatever play is being run by the offense, therefore a linebacker has to have strong game awareness skills. 

But what is a linebacker in the NFL and what are their responsibilties? DAZN explains. 

What is a linebacker in the NFL? 

A linebacker is a position on the defense whose task is stop the offense. 

The linebacker lines up behind the defensive linemen and are often the captains of the defense. 

What are the reponsibilities of a linebacker? 

Communicating to defenders

With linebackers often being the captains on defense, they have to communicate with their fellow teammates once they have an idea of which play the offense will be running. 

Linebackers will then try to position defenders in the best areas to nullify the threat from the offense. 

Stopping runs

If an opposing offense decides to conduct a running play, then the linebacker could prove vital in stopping it. 

If the defensive lineman are being forced to create an opening by the offensive line, then it is a linebacker's job to try and plug that gap, and stop the running back before he is able to make any significant inroads down the field. 

Defending passes

On a passing play, linebackers who are some of more physical players on a defense will likely be tasked with marking the opposition's tight end.

Sacking the quarterback 

A linebacker can often be presented with an opportunity to sack the opposition quarterback during a game. 

This usually happens when the defensive lineman create an opening in the offensive line with the quarterback still in the pocket. The linebacker will then attempt to move past the offensive line and sack the quarterback before he is able to get rid of the ball.