IDP Lessons: Gaps and Techniques

Steve Gallo, @SteveGalloNFL

When you are watching the NFL draft, or a game you are bound to hear analysts and commentators talk about how a player is a 3-technique or 5-technique.  Do you find yourself wondering what they mean when they say that?  You will also hear announcers talking about how a player filled the A-gap.  If you feel like they are speaking a foreign language, trust me, you aren’t alone.
                                 
The following pictorial will help you have a better understanding concerning the defensive verbiage used by analysts and announcers, and in turn understand why particular DLs have more value than others do.

The following image labels the gaps on the offensive line.

Gaps and Techniques

As you can see, the A-Gap is the gap on each side of the center.  The B-Gap is between the guards and tackles.  The C-Gap is the space to the outside shoulder of each tackle.  Finally, the D-Gap is on the strong-side of the offensive line – outside of the Tight end.

Understanding gaps is just part of the equation.  How the defensive line lines up defines the technique that each player plays.

The image below helps illustrate how to determine the technique being played by a defensive lineman. To be clear, a technique isn’t what the player does, but rather where they line up – it represents a location on the defensive line. The image shows the technique each of the Cardinals DL are lined up at in their 3-4 scheme.

The Gaps and Techniques

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This image shows the Vikings in their 4-3 and the technique that their DLs lined up in. 

The Gaps and Techniques

In this image, you see Trent Cole and Jason Babin lining up as “wide-9” DEs in the 4-3 the Eagles used to run.

The Gaps and Techniques

Hopefully this pictorial was able to help you better understand gaps and techniques, and in turn that should help you to understand why some players have better fantasy value than others.  If you have any additional questions please feel free to email me at gallo@thehuddle.com or find me on twitter @SteveGalloNFL.

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