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DROPS—The backward movement made by linebackers in zone coverage.
FLEX DEFENSE—An innovation of Dallas Coach Tom Landry, so named because one or two defensive linemen set up one-half to two yards off the line of scrimmage, thus allowing him or them to get a quick read of the play before initiating contact.
FREE SAFETY—Usually the deepest man in the secondary and the defensive back who covers the medium to deep zones from the weak side to the middle of the held. In man coverage his responsibility is usually the weak-side wide receiver.
MAN—A pass coverage in which the defensive backs and linebackers are assigned to cover specific receivers one on one.
NOSE GUARD—The middle defensive lineman on a three-man line.
PREVENT—A defensive alignment by the team that's ahead when time is running out, which is designed to stop the long pass while allowing short completions. It includes three pass rushers and eight defensive backs. But all too often, safe is sorry.
ROTATION—The movement of the secondary and linebackers into their areas of responsibility in a particular zone coverage.
SEAMS—The small unprotected areas between the linebackers and the secondary in a zone.
STRONG SAFETY—The defensive back normally responsible for the tight end on man coverage as well as the deep area on the strong side in zone defenses. Usually the best tackier in the secondary.
STRONGSIDE ZONE—A coverage concentrated on the two-receiver side of the offense.