The strong side in football is the side of the field where the offense has more receivers and tight ends lined up pre-snap. This gives the offense tactical advantages on the strong side, including more eligible receivers to throw to and extra blocking support for the run game.
Defending the strong side requires alignment adjustments by the defense and different coverage techniques like man or zone schemes. Attacking the strong side on offense means aligning your best receivers there and utilizing personnel groupings, formations, and play calls that target the strong side.
Having a thorough understanding of the strong side is crucial for coaches and players on both sides of the ball. Leveraging your knowledge of the strong side concepts covered in this article will give your team an edge.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the strong side in football, including how to defend it and attack it effectively on offense.
- The strong side in football refers to the side of the field that has the tight end and most of the receiving threats lined up.
- Identifying and leveraging the strong side is an important strategic component for success in football at all levels.
Why is the Strong Side Important in Football?
The strong side is important for several key reasons:
- It allows offenses to isolate and target specific defenders in coverage. By flooding one area with receivers, offenses make it difficult for defenses to provide help.
- Extra blocking support on the strong side makes it easier to run the ball. The additional tight end(s) help seal the edge.
- Defenses must commit extra defenders to the strong side. This leaves the weak side more vulnerable.
- Play action passes become more effective when you first establish the run on the strong side.
- It enables the offense to create mismatches by forcing linebackers or safeties to cover receivers.
Understanding these advantages is the first step toward leveraging the strong side successfully on offense or defending against it.
How to Defend the Strong Side in Football
Defending the strong side starts with identifying it before the snap based on the offensive personnel and formation. Once the strong side is identified, the defense can align and use tactics to counter it:
Align the Defense Towards the Strong Side
- Shift extra defenders like linebackers and safeties over toward the strong side.
- Consider using an overload blitz from the strong side to pressure the QB.
- Be prepared to rotate coverage toward the strong side after the snap.
Use Zone Coverage Schemes to Defend the Strong Side
- Zone coverage allows defenders to keep eyes on the QB and react to routes.
- Pattern reading zone defenses counter flood concepts on the strong side.
- Mix in zone blitzes + zone coverage to create confusion for the QB.
Use Man Coverage Techniques to Defend the Strong Side
- Jams and presses at the line disrupt timing of routes.
- Double coverage on top receivers makes QB progress through reads.
- Safety help over the top prevents big plays on the strong side.
Use Defensive Line to Disrupt the Strong Side
- Blitz and stunt toward the strong side to quickly pressure the QB.
- Spies who read the QB can prevent scrambles if pressure comes free.
- Setting a hard edge prevents runners from getting the corner.
Attacking the Strong Side on Offense
On offense, the goal is to create a numbers advantage on the strong side to unbalance the defense. Here are key methods to achieve this:
Line Up Your Best Receivers on the Strong Side
- Isolate your top receiver against the defense’s weakest coverage player.
- Force the defense to double team or rotate help to that side.
- Use bunches and stacks with your best receivers to defeat jams.
Run the Ball Toward the Strong Side
- Extra blockers on the strong side can seal the edge.
- Overload with multiple tight ends to outnumber the defense.
- Utilize traps and counters going back to the strong side.
Pass to the Strong Side
- Flood concepts send multiple receivers to one area.
- Deep crossers and overs open up underneath for tight ends.
- Play action combined with strong side routes holds safeties.
Use Play Action on the Strong Side
- Show run initially on the strong side before passing.
- Draws defense forward and opens up space behind them.
- Strong side runs establish credibility for run fakes.
- Take deep shots behind occupied safeties post run fakes.
Conclusion: Leveraging the Strong Side in Football
In football, identifying and controlling the strong side gives teams an advantage. The strong side is the area with more pass catchers that offenses target in the passing game and support in the run game.
On defense, techniques like aligning extra personnel, using both man and zone concepts, and creating pressure are key to defending the strong side. For offenses, flooding the strong side with top receivers, running that direction, and faking runs sets up big play opportunities.
Mastering strong side strategies requires identifying it pre-snap, establishing the run, isolating mismatches in coverage, and play action manipulation. Both coaches and players can leverage a deep understanding of strong side concepts to give their team the upper hand.