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View Full Version : Difference between MLB and OLB


GanadoUHCoog
03-23-2006, 10:50 PM
can someone please explain the difference in needed physical characteristics, tools, and abilities between a MLB and OLB in a 4-3. The reason I'm asking is because we had 4 starting LB's last year in the 3-4 and now everyone is acting like all our LB's are OLB-type (or DE-type guys) and we don't have any true MLB-type guys for our new 4-3 defense. Someone please explain.

mexican_texan
03-23-2006, 11:08 PM
can someone please explain the difference in needed physical characteristics, tools, and abilities between a MLB and OLB in a 4-3. The reason I'm asking is because we had 4 starting LB's last year in the 3-4 and now everyone is acting like all our LB's are OLB-type (or DE-type guys) and we don't have any true MLB-type guys for our new 4-3 defense. Someone please explain.
Kaille Wong used to play OLB, Greenwood's speed is better suited at OLB.

A MLB is the QB of the Defense, so he needs to make sure everyone is in position and make plays.

TexansNeedRBin05
03-23-2006, 11:10 PM
basically there the same, the Middle Linebacker is bigger most of the time (Urlacher Lewis Trotter etc.) I played Middle Linebacker in Highschool and we had OLB and we did basically the same thing but I guess on a higher level its alot more specalized.

Trapped
03-23-2006, 11:26 PM
In a traditional 4-3 weakside olb need to be able to cover the TE and temporarily cover the slot reciever. More of the "coverage LB"

MLB need to be able to identify plays the best, take up on blocks, shed them, make tackles, spy, pretty much do everything, stop the run a little, cover guys. "Balanced LB"

strongside OLB are the pass rushers, run stoppers, sometimes often taking up on the LT. "Physical LB"

That's the way i see it, feel free to correct me.

Another way i see it is, that the RE is the pass rusher, so u need the most physical LB playing behind him(strongside), because that RE is not the kind of Dlineman to take up on two blockers.

The MLB are often protected by the nose tackle and DT, so he is free to identify plays without a olineman on him, so therefore he needs to be the "run and chase" type LB.

The weakside LB is often protected by a DE whom is a run stopping Defensive end, so he needs to be able to do well in coverage to balance out the front 7.

mexican_texan
03-23-2006, 11:28 PM
In a traditional 4-3 weakside olb need to be able to cover the TE and temporarily cover the slot reciever. More of the "coverage LB"

MLB need to be able to identify plays the best, take up on blocks, shed them, make tackles, spy, pretty much do everything, stop the run a little, cover guys.

strongside OLB are the pass rushers, run stoppers, sometimes often taking up on the LT.

That's the way i see it, feel free to correct me.
I'm used to the Madden postitions :cool: , but doesn't the strongside LB rush on the side of the RT?

Trapped
03-23-2006, 11:34 PM
I'm used to the Madden postitions :cool: , but doesn't the strongside LB rush on the side of the RT?

Strongside is ROLB, therefore he is going up against LT and behind the RE(speed rusher freeny's, simeon rice, jason taylor, etc.)

Actually im not sure, someone come here and correct me if im wrong. ahha

stevo3883
03-23-2006, 11:53 PM
Strongside is ROLB, therefore he is going up against LT and behind the RE(speed rusher freeny's, simeon rice, jason taylor, etc.)

Actually im not sure, someone come here and correct me if im wrong. ahha


you got it backwards.

weakside lines up on the LT, strongside is on the RT

Carr Bombed
03-23-2006, 11:59 PM
a MLB has to be a solid all around player as far as defending pass and run and has to be a Beast at the point of attack against the run.

Rovator
03-24-2006, 01:06 AM
Yeah, Strongside LB usually lines up on TE's side, which most teams play on the offensive right side if they have a right handed QB.

mancunian
03-24-2006, 07:11 AM
I'm all confused now.

Let me get this right a stongside LB play on the RT and a weakside LB would cover the LT.
For the post the mentioned Madden that would mean the strong side LB would be the LOLB?

HJam72
03-24-2006, 07:48 AM
What if they have two TEs? Which is the strong side? Do they have to remember who squats the most? :idonno:

The biggest difference really is that the middle LB plays in the middle and the OLBs play on the outside. :ok:

Vinny
03-24-2006, 08:01 AM
Linebackers can be used different ways but the classic 4-3 guys are pretty simple.

SAM linebacker = Strongside or Offensive RIGHT side linebacker. Bigger and must take in the TE in coverage and the dominant right side run blocking RT/TE combo. This is the spot a converted DE may be able to hold down (example - Jeff Posey)

WILL linebacker = Weakside or offensive LEFT side linebacker. Smallest linebacker and quickest linebacker who lines up on the opposite end of the TE (generally). Generally the fastest LB and plays on the short side of the alignment.

MIKE linebacker = Middle linebacker. They seem to be getting smaller and quicker over the years. They used to be the biggest run stuffing guy you could find that can run but the NFL is a passing league now so you will find smaller MLB's than in the past. I think 235-245 area is ideal. In today's cover 2 set up the MLB has to play quite a bit of deep zone (more of a cover 3 or tampa 2 type play).

Gaps are numbered or lettered and start from the center and work their way out numbering the gap at each shoulder. Linemen are more married to their gap responsibility and they change depending on the technique called, but the linebackers generally have a gap to cover and they must try to find the same hole or gap that the running back will be looking for and meet the ball there.

Weak side C Gap – Weak side DE.
Weak side B Gap – WILL Linebacker
Weak side A Gap – Weak side Defensive Tackle
Strong side A Gap – MIKE Linebacker
Strong side B Gap – Strong side Defensive Tackle
Strong side C Gap – SAM/Strong side backer
Strong side D Gap – Strong side Defensive End

keyfro
03-24-2006, 08:22 AM
they've been smaller in the draft but not in the pro's...you still got guys like trotter 260lbs urlacher 255lbs and lewis 245lbs...i think guys like abdul hodge have the potential to add the weight and keep their speed up...hodge in a lot of ways reminds me of trotter...he's a shorter stockier lb...hopefully we can land him in the third round

Vinny
03-24-2006, 08:23 AM
they've been smaller in the draft but not in the pro's...you still got guys like trotter 260lbs urlacher 255lbs and lewis 245lbs...Most of the larger MLB's are now only 2 down players. Sometimes one down players. That's why you didn't see teams jumping out there to sign Trotter when he was available.

infantrycak
03-24-2006, 08:24 AM
I'm all confused now.

Let me get this right a stongside LB play on the RT and a weakside LB would cover the LT.
For the post the mentioned Madden that would mean the strong side LB would be the LOLB?

http://football.about.com/library/graphics/fig11.jpg

To follow up on what Vinny said, see the illustration above. The TE is lined up next to the RT. This has historically been the norm and so the formation in the illustration is considered the base and the offensive right side (defensive left side) is generically referred to as the strong side. For the purpose of determing the actual strong side on a particular play it is wherever the TE is lined up so if the LT is getting TE help in a 1 TE formation the offensive left side is the strong side. The confusion just comes from the difference between the general terminology vs. the play specific case.

infantrycak
03-24-2006, 08:30 AM
they've been smaller in the draft but not in the pro's...you still got guys like trotter 260lbs urlacher 255lbs and lewis 245lbs...i think guys like abdul hodge have the potential to add the weight and keep their speed up...hodge in a lot of ways reminds me of trotter...he's a shorter stockier lb...hopefully we can land him in the third round

Look at the examples you have and their age and compare them to the young up and coming MLB's:

Odell Thurman 6' 235 lbs
Lofa Tatupa 5' 11" 238 lbs
Jonathon Vilma 6' 1" 230 lbs

nunusguy
03-24-2006, 08:33 AM
Just talking 4-3 here, but elite OLBs tend to be more athletic than the MLBs
and therefor are drafted higher. This year there's maybe 4-6 OLBs projected
in the first round, but good chance not a single MLB taken in the top round.
This is pretty general of course, as there are always exceptions people will
point to like Ray Lewis and Urlacher ( the Bears backer might be even more valuable as an OLB, though ?).
But we should be able to get a damn good MLB in the third round, maybe even Sunday. This is suppose to be a tremendous year for that position in the Draft.

Wharton
03-24-2006, 08:45 AM
Strong side depends on where the TE and FB line up. While allot of times its the right side of the offense, its not a hard and sure rule.

For instance, in a standard I formation the strong side is the side were the TE lines up. This is usually the right side, but not always.

Only when the offensive formation is balanced does the strong side default to the right side. For instance, in a 2 TE set with a TE on each side of the line and a single RB.

In a standard 3-4 defense, Mike (ML) calls the plays and since he is usually taking on a center, guard or fullback, and is usually the largest linebacker. Mike's primary responsibility is run stop up the middle.

Sam (Strong side) is usually slightly smaller and faster then Mike but still must have enough size to take on tackles and tide end combinations. Again, Sam's primary responsibility is run stooping and containment of the play.

Willie (Weak side) is usually the smallest and fastest of the linebackers. Willie is sometimes thought of as a wild card and moved around the field. While Willie's also has run responsibilities, his primary responsibility is to attack the offense or rush the passer. Willie is also on containment duty as well.

Realize that I have made some very broad strokes here. You can send any of the LB on a blitz at any time.

chuckm
03-24-2006, 08:48 AM
http://football.about.com/library/graphics/fig11.jpg

To follow up on what Vinny said, see the illustration above. The TE is lined up next to the RT. This has historically been the norm and so the formation in the illustration is considered the base and the offensive right side (defensive left side) is generically referred to as the strong side. For the purpose of determing the actual strong side on a particular play it is wherever the TE is lined up so if the LT is getting TE help in a 1 TE formation the offensive left side is the strong side. The confusion just comes from the difference between the general terminology vs. the play specific case.


Your image begs a question that I've often wondered about .... why is it an illegal formation if the WR split out to the right (in your drawing) is up on the line?

Trapped
03-24-2006, 08:51 AM
thanks for the correction....

beerlover
03-24-2006, 08:51 AM
good explanation guys! the way I understand it the Texans as of right now have Weaver the starting Strong side DE with Babin & Peek formerly OLB's splitting time as the weakside DE's. Wong is not going to be available for training camp due to his recovery time otherwise I would assume he would be the starting MLB, now it looks like it will be Polk unless the Texans sign a free agent or draft a ILB early in the draft. Greenwood would slid over to weakside LB & some form of rotation on the strong side with Orr/Anderson. with Wongs status uncertain it certainly seems the Texans have a need for help at this position.

Vinny
03-24-2006, 09:02 AM
Your image begs a question that I've often wondered about .... why is it an illegal formation if the WR split out to the right (in your drawing) is up on the line?
simple....You have to cover the Tackle with an end. You can do it one of two ways. A tight end who is tight to the line (right next to the tackle), or a split end, generally known as a wr. If the far outside end steps up to the line then someone needs to back up since you must have 5 offensive linemen on the line of scrimmage, and both tackles covered by one end.

chuckm
03-24-2006, 09:08 AM
simple....You have to cover the Tackle with and end. You can do it one of two ways. A tight end who is tight to the line (right next to the tackle), or a split end, generally known as a wr. If the far outside end steps up to the line then someone needs to back up since you must have 5 offensive linemen on the line of scrimmage, and both tackles covered by one end.


thanks .... yea I knew the "covered" part but I still don't understand why if the WR split out to the right, steps up to the line that this results in an illegal formation ...

unless the key word in your explanation is "covered by ONE end" and not an end ...

so you can't have the right tackle covered by both the TE and the WR ...

the rationale for this is, I guess, the crux of my question? Does it give the offense some kind of unfair advantage? or is it that "a rule is a rule"?

Vinny
03-24-2006, 09:12 AM
ok ... and thanks .... but I still don't understand why if the WR split out to the right, steps up to the line that this results in an illegal formation ...

unless the key word in your explanation is "covered by ONE end" and not an end ...

so you can't have the right tackle covered by both the TE and the WR ...

do you know the rationale for this? Does it give the offense some kind of unfair advantage? or is it that "a rule is a rule"?Why are the bases 90 feet apart in Baseball? I donno. I do know that in football there is a basic formation of 5 offensive linemen and you must cover the tackles with an end of some sort. End means NO MORE....so you can't have two ends, so I guess they wouldnt call them Tight or split ENDs if there were more players on the line. I know people really never think of the word end when they see "tight end" or split end".

chuckm
03-24-2006, 09:20 AM
Why are the bases 90 feet apart in Baseball? I donno. I do know that in football there is a basic formation of 5 offensive linemen and you must cover the tackles with an end of some sort. End means NO MORE....so you can't have two ends, so I guess they wouldnt call them Tight or split ENDs if there were more players on the line. I know people really never think of the word end when they see "tight end" or split end".


:) ... thanks ... I thought maybe someone knew the rationale behind the "covered tackle" rule ....

infantrycak
03-24-2006, 09:26 AM
Wong is not going to be available for training camp due to his recovery time otherwise I would assume he would be the starting MLB, now it looks like it will be Polk unless the Texans sign a free agent or draft a ILB early in the draft.

Everyone keeps forgeting Terry Pierce. He was regarded highly enough to be a mid 2nd rounder originally and not beating out Al Wilson is no insult. Looks like a training camp battle waiting to happen.

Kaiser Toro
03-24-2006, 09:31 AM
http://football.calsci.com/TheRules6.html

Position of Players at Snap
1. Offensive team must have at least seven players on line.

2. Offensive players, not on line, must be at least one yard back at snap.

(Exception: player who takes snap.)

3. No interior lineman may move abruptly after taking or simulating a three-point stance.

4. No player of either team may enter neutral zone before snap.

5. No player of offensive team may charge or move abruptly, after assuming set position, in such manner as to lead defense to believe snap has started. No player of the defensive team within one yard of the line of scrimmage may make an abrupt movement in an attempt to cause the offense to false start.

6. If a player changes his eligibility, the Referee must alert the defensive captain after player has reported to him.

7. All players of offensive team must be stationary at snap, except one back who may be in motion parallel to scrimmage line or backward (not forward).

8. After a shift or huddle all players on offensive team must come to an absolute stop for at least one second with no movement of hands, feet, head, or swaying of body.

9. Quarterbacks can be called for a false start penalty (five yards) if their actions are judged to be an obvious attempt to draw an opponent offside.

10. Offensive linemen are permitted to interlock legs.

chuckm
03-24-2006, 09:53 AM
10. Offensive linemen are permitted to interlock legs.

hahahah can you imagine? this must be a rugby tie in ....

chuckm
03-24-2006, 09:55 AM
http://football.calsci.com/TheRules6.html

Position of Players at Snap
1. Offensive team must have at least seven players on line.

2. Offensive players, not on line, must be at least one yard back at snap.

(Exception: player who takes snap.)

3. No interior lineman may move abruptly after taking or simulating a three-point stance.

4. No player of either team may enter neutral zone before snap.

5. No player of offensive team may charge or move abruptly, after assuming set position, in such manner as to lead defense to believe snap has started. No player of the defensive team within one yard of the line of scrimmage may make an abrupt movement in an attempt to cause the offense to false start.

6. If a player changes his eligibility, the Referee must alert the defensive captain after player has reported to him.

7. All players of offensive team must be stationary at snap, except one back who may be in motion parallel to scrimmage line or backward (not forward).

8. After a shift or huddle all players on offensive team must come to an absolute stop for at least one second with no movement of hands, feet, head, or swaying of body.

9. Quarterbacks can be called for a false start penalty (five yards) if their actions are judged to be an obvious attempt to draw an opponent offside.

10. Offensive linemen are permitted to interlock legs.

thanks for the research KT .... I still don't understand (unless my reading comprehension is crap) why you can't have 8 men on the line ...

Vinny
03-24-2006, 10:02 AM
thanks for the research KT .... I still don't understand (unless my reading comprehension is crap) why you can't have 8 men on the line ...Probably because its against the rules. :homer:

chuckm
03-24-2006, 10:03 AM
Probably because its against the rules. :homer:


It's not against any of the rules in KT's post ....

Vinny
03-24-2006, 10:04 AM
geez

Runner
03-24-2006, 10:08 AM
hahahah can you imagine? this must be a rugby tie in ....

You see it on field goals and extra points.

chuckm
03-24-2006, 10:11 AM
You see it on field goals and extra points.


yea true ... thanks ... sorry for the left field diversion

Kaiser Toro
03-24-2006, 10:51 AM
I can only speak to HS football rules as I was an official for two years many years back. Any player that is covered cannot go out for a pass, they are officially part of the line. For example if you had two TE's on one side both on the line then the inside TE is a blocker. You can have everyone on the line with an empty backfield, but only the two players on the ends could go out for a pass.

Please correct me if I am wrong, because it is plausible.

chuckm
03-24-2006, 10:55 AM
I can only speak to HS football rules as I was an official for two years many years back. Any player that is covered cannot go out for a pass, they are officially part of the line. For example if you had two TE's on one side both on the line then the inside TE is a blocker. You can have everyone on the line with an empty backfield, but only the two players on the ends could go out for a pass.

Please correct me if I am wrong, because it is plausible.


This makes sense and does provide an explanation as to why it'd be illegal ....

MorKnolle
03-24-2006, 04:59 PM
It's not against any of the rules in KT's post ....

Thought I'd throw this out there as far as seven players on the line, your center snapping the ball and two OLinemen on both sides of him have to be set and on the line and are ineligible receivers (i.e. they cannot move in motion, they cannot be the first player to touch the ball after the QB throws it and they cannot be more than a certain distance, I think 5 yards?, downfield until the QB throws the ball). The offense is required to have one additional player beyond the OLinemen on both sides of the field that is on the line of scrimmage, whether it be a TE, WR, or combination thereof, they have to have one player on each side of the OLinemen group that is on the line of scrimmage. As I said, it doesn't matter who it is (the TE can be a yard back with the WR on the line, the WR can be back with the TE on the line, if two TEs are on the same side one has to be on the line and the other one has to drop back, if two or more WRs are on one side one has to be on the line and the others have to be at least one yard back, etc.). I don't know why, but that's the way it is, if you want to play around with possible combinations go create a playbook in Madden and create a formation and toy around with the different combinations of players that you can have on the line, in the backfield, whatever and it will tell you if it's a legal formation or not.

ClintonPortis26
03-24-2006, 07:06 PM
MLB- Usually bigger, thicker, stronger, tougher, slower.

OLB- Usually smaller, thinner,maybe weaker, maybe less tough, Faster.


OLB is usually used to defend thier sides of the field and play towards the sidelines while MLB is used to controll the middle of the field MOST of the time.