Coaching Linebacker Keys in the 4-3 Defense

I have been putting a lot of thought into our Linebacker reads in the 4-3 Defense. Since 2008 I have preferred to read backs because of the speed I thought our linebackers could get the reads.

However, the idea of teaching just a back read leaves a lot to be desired. We make too many mistakes and miss too many pullers. At some point in almost every season since 2009, we have taught Guard reads in some respect to someone on the defense.

It has not always been to everyone, or in every game or every situation. But I have felt a need for reading uncovered linemen. Last season, we ended up with both Outside Linebackers focusing on reading a 2-man surface (Tackle & Tight End for the Sam or Tackle & Guard for the Will), while the Mike continued reading the back.

Now, I’d like to transition completely to reading Offensive Linemen as the primary key, with Back flow as a secondary key. There has been some internal struggle, but I think we are getting closer.


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