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Old 03-23-2006   #1
GanadoUHCoog
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Default Difference between MLB and OLB

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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #2
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Originally Posted by GanadoUHCoog
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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #3
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #4
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #5
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Originally Posted by Trapped
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 , but doesn't the strongside LB rush on the side of the RT?
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Old 03-24-2006   #6
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Originally Posted by mexican_texan
I'm used to the Madden postitions , 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
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Old 03-24-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped
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
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Old 03-24-2006   #8
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #9
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #10
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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?
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Old 03-24-2006   #11
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What if they have two TEs? Which is the strong side? Do they have to remember who squats the most? :

The biggest difference really is that the middle LB plays in the middle and the OLBs play on the outside.
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Old 03-24-2006   #12
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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
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Old 03-24-2006   #13
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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
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Old 03-24-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyfro
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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancunian
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?


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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyfro
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
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Old 03-24-2006   #17
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #18
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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.
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Old 03-24-2006   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak


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?
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Old 03-24-2006   #20
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thanks for the correction....
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