What Is A DB In Football? Terminology

Have you ever heard the term DB in reference to football and wondered what those letters stood for? If so you are not alone many football fans have found this term and many other football acronyms to be confusing.

A DB in football is an abbreviation for defensive back, a defensive back is one of the players that plays deeper into the defensive backfield. The DB position group includes cornerbacks, safeties, and slot corners.

Defensive backs are primarily used for pass coverage though all DBs have responsibilities in the run game as well.

Defensive Back Positions

Now that you know what a db is in football it’s time to break down the positions that fit under this term.


One of the positions that is included under the defensive back umbrella is cornerback. Cornerbacks are the players that are tasked with covering wide receivers.

These players typically wide up furthest from the formation usually standing face to face with a wide receiver near the sidelines.

In most plays, cornerbacks will cover the receiver in front of them in order to stop them from catching the ball.

On running plays cornerbacks are usually used to protect the running back from getting to the sideline. On these plays, corners will usually have to fight through the block of a wide receiver in order to make it to the quarterback.


The safety position is another that is included in the position group of defensive backs. There are two types of safeties that fit into this terminology, the free safety and the strong safety.

Free safeties are the players you will see starting the play deep in the defending backfield. These players act as a safety valve for deep passes and are meant to stop fellow defenders from getting beat over the top.

The strong safety also has responsibilities in pass coverage though they are most known for their run-stopping. This safety is going to play closer to the line of scrimmage when in pass coverage they primarily cover tight ends or running backs.

Slot Corner

The slot corner is the final position included underneath the db umbrella. This position as you may have already guessed lines up in the slot. The slot is the area in the field between the wide receiver and the formation.

The slot corner is responsible for covering the slot receiver. These players tend to be a little smaller than most cornerbacks and safeties.

Slot corners have become more popular in recent years due to the increase of three and four-wide receiver sets. As the NFL continues to focus on the passing game slot corners will become a larger part of NFL defenses.

Leave a Comment