A dime defense in football refers to a defensive formation that utilizes six defensive backs. On a typically play a defense will usually have four defensive backs on the field. The dime style of defense bolsters up the secondary in order to effectively stop deep passes.
When playing with four defensive backs your secondary will consist of two safeties and two corners. When a dime defense is used two more corners will enter the field. This means the secondary will consist of four cornerbacks and two safeties.
In most cases the dime defense will consist of six defensive backs one linebacker and four linemen.
What Is A Dime Defense Used For?
As we briefly mentioned earlier a dime defense is used in order to stop the opposing teams passing game. When you have six defensive backs on the field you have a much greater ability to cover the opposing team’s receivers.
Defensive backs typically have great coverage skills. They are also much faster than the lineman and linebackers they are replacing. These skills and speed are essential to stop the opposing team’s receivers.
That all being said a dime package is not often used throughout a whole game. This defense is more often used in obvious passing situations.
For example, a dime defense may be used on a third and long when the opposing offense needs a big gain for a first down. This defense may also be used late in a game when the opposing offense needs a long drive in a short amount of time.
How To Beat It
There is one fairly straightforward way to beat a dime defense and that is to run the ball. As we stated earlier when defensive backs come on the field they are replacing defensive lineman and linebackers.
There are two reasons why this rotation of players makes the run game easier. First off is the mismatch in size. Defensive backs are always going to be much smaller than linebackers and defensive lineman.
This means they are going to be easier to block and easier to run over if you are the running back. If you have a three hundred pound lineman looking to block his man it’s going to be much easier if he has one hundred pounds on him.
This difference in size allows the offense to more successfully block the defense in order to open holes for the running back.
The other reason a dime defense is exposed to the run is that there are more players at the second level and fewer at the first.
Why Is It Called A Dime Defense?
The reason that this form of defense is called a dime defense stems from the nickel defense.
As we stated earlier a dime defense has six defensive backs on the field. While a nickel defense has five defensive backs on the field. The five defensive backs are referred to as a nickel because it is worth five cents.
Additionally, the fifth corner that is added to the formation is referred to as a nickel corner. When a formation with six defensive backs was made they decided to build off the dime defense.
Since a dime is the closest value of currency to a nickel, it was given this name. This name is also given to the sixth defensive back on the field. As they are typically referred to as a dime corner or dime back.