Tag Archives: Defensive Backfield

How Safeties Interact With Cornerbacks

2 Mar

By Steve Nichols
MHR University

First, let’s define the safety position.  While safeties vary in types, assignments, and uses, their primary job is to stop the big play.  They are primarily “goalies” in the hockey sense.

The free safety (FS) is often lined up on the weakside, and almost always plays a deep zone and plays his own assignment based on what he is seeing develop (we call this a “true free safety”).

The strong safety (SS) lines up on the strong side, and is often the “lesser” safety, though no less important.  A majority of his time is spent in deep zone, but he can also be used to cover a receiving TE.

Teams prefer to use a SAM linebacker to cover TEs to keep their safeties covering the deep field, but if a team has a slower, run blocking SAM, or if the TE is particulalry fast, the SS gets the assignment.  Because SSs are usually a little bigger (but not as fast), they have developed reputations as being the heavy hitters.

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