By John Turney
|Paul Brown. Colorization by John Turney|
To this day, his terms for the linebackers have survived, Sam for the strong-side linebacker, the one who is on the side of the tight end. Mike for the middle linebacker and Will for the weak-side end, the one away from the two-receiver side. They are pretty universal among coaches and the media when describing the positions.
However, they are not the only names that have been used. George Allen called his linebackers Stub (strong-side), Mac (middle) and Buck (weak or "back" side". It isn't known if
Tom Landry had his set of terms
There are, however, a few variations that have been used, combinations or hybrids, and with the popularization, for the 3-4 defense a name had to be added for the extra linebacker and that term is far from universal.
Here are some screenshots of a few of the defensive terminology pages from various playbooks over the last 40 years.
|Tom Landry terminology|
|George Allen terminology|
|Paul Brown |
Here are some others:
|Bill Belichick playbook|
In this playbook, using Bill Arnsparger's language "Ted" was added as the inside linebacker to the tight end side in a 3-4 defense.
Capers used this verbiage, as it is from the 1997 Panthers playbook. Buck is his preferred term. Dom
|Bill Arnsparger terminology|
Joe Collier used these terms when he was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots in 1992. Rather than "Ted" the term, was "Zip".
Buddy Ryan used Sam, Mike, and Will for his base players, but when he used the 46 defense he used "Jack" and "Charley" for Otis Wilson and Todd Bell/Wilber Marshall.
Bud Carson, like Bill Belichick, used George Allen's terms for
(defensive line) but used Toby for (TE-side or strong side) and Opie (open side or weak side). rushmen
George Siefert's defense had a couple of unique terms. He had a "Plugger" rather than "Ted" or "Zip" And his Buck was a strong backer and his "Whip" was the spot played by Charles Haley, Rickey Jackson, Tim Harris, Kevin Greene, etc. Sometimes it was called "Elephant" but that term was for Sieferts's 4-3 defense package and the rush
was still the "Whip". However, the 49ers in their media releases listed Jackson and Greene as "Ele" so it caught on. end
In 2002 this was the verbiage for the Bengals base defense.
|1997 Panthers playbook|
Wade Phillips liked "Mo", rather than "Zip", "Buck" or "Ted" or "Will".
|2003 Falcons Playbook|
for the 3-4 Odd front. Ravens base
Ray Malavasi's terminology called the second inside linebacker "Meek"
The Eagles Jim Johnson used this, and his disciple Steve Spagnuolo uses it still, it is the Paul Brown terminology and in our view the
nomenclature for 'backers. Below is a stack front, which is very common in base defenses in the 2000s-2010s. prevelant