What Does DE Mean In Football?

The acronym DE in football refers to the position of defensive end. Defensive ends play on the defensive line and have the primary purpose of rushing the quarterback. Their ability to shut down an opposing team’s quarterback makes the defensive end one of the most valuable positions in football.

Defensive ends line up on the end of the defensive line. In most formations, there are going to be two defensive ends on the field on each play.

In a three-four defense defensive ends are going to make up two of the three defensive line positions. A four-three defense have four defensive linemen, two ends on either side of the line and two defensive tackles in the middle.

Other acronyms for defensive positions in football include DT for defensive tackle and OLB which stands for outside linebacker.

DE Responsbilities In Football

Now that you understand DE in football means defensive end you may be wondering what exactly this position does. Below we will break down some of the main responsibilities of this position.

Sacking The Quarterback

The ultimate goal for defensive ends is to sack the quarterback. A sack or half sack in football refers to tackling the quarterback for a loss of yards before he is able to throw the ball.

On passing plays, defensive ends will attempt to get into the pocket and tackle the quarterback. DEs will have to fight through the blocks of offensive tackles in order to reach the quarterback.

If they are able to tackle the quarterback the offense will have moved backwards and it will cost them a down.

Additionally sacking the quarterback is going to affect his physically and mentally. If a quarterback takes a large number of hits throughout a game it is going to make it more difficult for him to throw.

Fumbles are also often caused when a quarterback is sacked, if a DE is able to generate a sack-fumble it can have a large effect on the game.

Sealing The Edge

Though defensive ends are often valued in their ability to rush the passer they also have responsibilities in stopping the run. When the opposing team runs the ball defensive ends are going to be one of the first players with a shot at the running back.

One of the jobs DEs are often given on run defense is sealing/setting the edge. On these plays, the defensive end will work his way upfield so that the running back cannot get outside him towards the sideline.

The defensive end is not expected to make the tackle but instead will force the running back to stay on the other side of the formation.

This responsibility is especially common for weakside defensive ends.

Forcing A Bad Throw

On top of sacking the quarterback, defensive ends also have the goal of forcing the quarterback to make a bad throw.

Sacks are relatively rare for defensive players with ten total sacks in a seventeen game season being a mark of a good season.

Though even if the DE can’t come down with the sack they can generate a large number of hurries and pressures. This means the quarterback will be forced to move or throw early due to the pressure he is facing.

Creating pressure via defensive ends is a big part of pass defense. When defensive ends are able to make a quarterback’s life difficult the defense is much more likely to suceed.

That’s all on the DE position in football to learn more about other position acronyms see our guides to the FS position acronym or SS position acronym.

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