A three tech or three-technique in football refers to a defensive tackle that lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard. In most cases, a three tech defensive tackle is going to play in a 4-3 formation.
The name three tech refers to the location on the field in which the defensive tackle lines up.
If a player lines up directly in front of the center he is a zero technique. A defensive tackle lined up between the guard and center on either side is referred to as a one technique.
And a player lined up in between the guard and the tackle is referred to as a three-technique defensive tackle.
What To Know About Three Technique Defensive Tackles
Now that you know what a three-technique defensive lineman is let’s break down everything you need to know about these players. Below we will explain the key traits of this position plus what responsibilities this position has.
They Make Splash Plays
One of the best aspects of the three-technique defensive lineman is that they play one of the more glamorous roles on the defensive line. These players are often able to work their way into the offensive backfield and rack up tackles for loss.
One of the main ways they are able to do this is by receiving one on one matchups. Oftentimes defensive tackles are going to face double teams from the offensive line.
Since three techniques line up between the guard and the tackle they are rarely doubled-teamed. This is because in a 4-3 there will be a defensive end that the outside tackle has to take care of.
This often leaves the defensive tackle in a one on one with a guard making it much easier for him to get pressure on the quarterback. This is why you will find that three-technique defensive tackles are going to be the tackles that rack up the largest amount of sacks.
Speed Over Weight
Another interesting aspect about three techs is that this position is often much smaller than other defensive tackles. The reason for this is quite simple, three techs are expected to be fast.
In order to create the previously mentioned splash plays, these players need to have a quick first step. And one of the best ways to ensure you are quick is by keeping your weight lower.
This results in the majority of three techs weighing in at less than three hundred pounds. Since these players aren’t expected to fight off double teams this reduced weight is not much of an issue.
Instead, these players utilize their lighter weight to reach quarterbacks and running backs at a faster rate.
They Provide Most Interior Pressure
Building off the splash plays three techs are also known for creating interior pressure. Pressure from a defensive end on the outside can be effective but often times the quarterback can step up and avoid it.
But when it comes to interior pressure the quarterback often has to bail on the pocket in order to keep the play alive.
Since the majority of defensive tackles face double teams on pass plays it is often up to the three tech to generate this interior pressure.
And since these players specialize at getting into the offensive backfield quickly, they often generate this pressure throughout the entire game.
To watch a three-technique defensive lineman in play we suggest watching the Los Angeles Rams. Three tech defensive tackle Aaron Donald is perhaps the best example of this position.
He consistently makes splash plays, beats linemen with his speed and dominates teams with his interior pressure.
To learn more about topics similar to 3 techniques see our article on seven tech defensive tackles.