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Question on SAM v WIL

bhill410 : 8/9/2017 7:11 am
So i realize I may get slammed for this question but could anyone explain the difference of these two positions to me in today's NFL. SAMs seem to usually have body type of a DE where as the weak side will usually be the nickle linebacker. With the offenses being run today why is that? I wouldn't think that there would be such a preponderance of plays to one side with 3/4 wide formations being almost the norm. Again apologies in advance if this is basic stuff but was trying to better understand from the BBI coaches. Thanks in advance
It's a valid question  
Still a Sam Huff fan : 8/9/2017 7:41 am : link
Please do not apologize for it.
RE: It's a valid question  
Klaatu : 8/9/2017 7:59 am : link
In comment 13553537 Still a Sam Huff fan said:
Please do not apologize for it.

Agreed, and hopefully some of the more football-savvy members here will chime in. But until they do, linked below is an article from PFF from a few years ago that covers the basics on MIKE, SAM, and WILL LBs.
Defensive Prototypes: Linebackers. - ( New Window )
It's a good question.  
bLiTz 2k : 8/9/2017 8:01 am : link
While I'm no football expert, from what I understand the strong side of the offense usually refers to the side of the line where the TE is lined up.

The Sam backer needs to be able to take on that extra beef at the LOS hence why their body type typically calls for a stronger player.

Great question  
Joeguido : 8/9/2017 8:06 am : link
I really didn't know much about it but thanks for posting that article Klaatu.
RE: Great question  
Klaatu : 8/9/2017 8:16 am : link
In comment 13553548 Joeguido said:
I really didn't know much about it but thanks for posting that article Klaatu.

Here's another quick one that goes into a little more detail:

Top 3 Main Linebacker Positions. - ( New Window )
So in a ton of modern day  
BigBlueDownTheShore : 8/9/2017 8:22 am : link
defenses, due to all the passing. The Will and Strong Safety have become interchangeable. They need to play down in the box tough against the run, but they also need to be able to play in space often against a way better athletic WR.

Sams do not have to be as athletic because like the Mike they play mostly over the middle of the field.
Traditionally, the SAM lines up on the "strong" side,  
Section331 : 8/9/2017 9:11 am : link
or over the TE. It's a fair question to wonder why the prevails in the modern NFL, with more spread formations, but most teams keep a TE on the field a majority of the time.
Does McAdoo follow the Coughlin practice  
WillieYoung : 8/9/2017 9:42 am : link
of calling the SAM the linebacker who doesn't line up against the tight end because that's the strong side of the defense? Sort of like his green zone for the offense inside the 20. I've been hopelessly confused since then.
Depends what scheme.  
BigBlueWhale : 8/9/2017 9:46 am : link
Spags runs a 43 Under that plays like a 34. (That's why the Giants backed up the BRINKS truck for a 34 NT.) Due to play style they want big, physical guys at every position. Sure they run a 43 - but in reality Snacks is at NT and the strongside DE is shaded inside. The SLB is on the DE's outside shoulder like a 34 OLB. Just so happens to be Kennard's best position.

In the Under alignment, the WLB (and MLB) are stacked between the T's like 34 ILBs. It's why Spags likes big bruiser WLBs like Kawika Mitchell and now Casillas, who has gone from a speed guy to a power guy. They are blitzing and playing downhill taking on blocks between the tackles. Need a certain body type and mentality for that.
guys here are on it  
JonC : 8/9/2017 10:06 am : link
SAM is typically looked to line up over the TE (strong side) to handle the extra blocker or re-route him, while 4-3 scheme typically looks to free up and funnel the ball to the WILL, who's typically fast, agile, and a playmaker.
the really interesting thing is....  
BillKo : 8/9/2017 1:53 pm : link
Lawrence Taylor was the WIL, and Banks was the SAM. But teams were so concerned about LT that they would purposely change the formation to get more beef on Taylor, even inventing the H-back I believe (Joe Gibbs).

So while LT was the WIL, he was constantly taking on three blockers because he was simply unreal :)
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