What is a DB in Football?

DB stands for “defensive back” in American football. These players cover the backfield as the last line of defense. Due to their athleticism and ability to make plays, many defensive backs quickly become fan favorites.

The following is a breakdown of what an American Football defensive back does.

What are the Defensive Positions on the Field?

Defensively, football teams often have a few key positions that effectively cover the field. The defensive linemen and defensive ends cover the line of scrimmage, linebackers stand behind the line of scrimmage, and defensive backs play more flexible positions. Between the offense and the end zone, these positions provide several layers of defense.

Why Are Defensive Backs so Important in a Football Game?

Among the most versatile tools that a defensive coordinator has at his disposal are defensive backs. The reason for this is that they can easily field more or fewer backs depending on the opponent’s play.

Popular Defensive Schemes

Nickel defense with five defensive backs is one of the most basic defensive schemes in American football. This scheme often refers to the fifth defensive back as a nickel back. The fifth player could be a cornerback who can help in man coverage or a free safety who can cover more defensive backfield space.

To defend against passing plays, dime defensive schemes typically have six defensive backs. A quarter defense with seven defensive backs and a dime back may be deployed in high-risk situations.

It is important for the defensive coordinator to consider these schemes. The reason for that is that teams can only have 11 defensive players on the field at any given time. In order to implement more backs, a team must utilize fewer linebackers or linemen, which are necessary for stuffing the line of scrimmage and blocking running plays.

What Are The Different Types of Defensive Backs in Football?

Defensive back positions are filled by three different players. In addition, there are free safeties, cornerbacks, and safeties. In a football game, each type of player brings unique skills and strengths, so understanding their differences is crucial.


Cornerbacks are members of the defensive secondary who play closest to the line of scrimmage. As a result, they are primarily responsible for interrupting passing plays. During plays, cornerbacks typically cover wide receivers as their primary objective.

In addition, they can blitz and approach the line of scrimmage to jam running backs, causing extended plays and fumbles. Halfbacks often serve as an intermediate between linebackers and cornerbacks in some defensive schemes.


During a play, safeties are some of the furthest players from the line of scrimmage. It is common for them to be between 10 and 15 yards away from the action at any given time. On every play, there are two safeties: strong safety and free safety.

Strong safety players are usually bigger and play closer to the line of scrimmage than their counterparts. As their names suggest, strong safeties play on the “strong side” of the offense or where passes are likely to occur. On the strong side of the field, there is a tight end or multiple receivers.

Free Safeties

Every football team’s last line of defense is their free safeties. Since they have to defend a large area of the field, these players usually play zone coverage. In order to make a tackle or cover receivers deep in the backfield, these players often watch the play unfold. Because they must cover such a large area of the field, free safeties must be quick-thinking and agile.

What Makes a Good Defensive Back in American Football?

Football defensive backs need to be well-rounded players with specific skills that other players might not possess. It is essential for defensive backs to be able to backpedal quickly to keep up with receivers without having to turn around. The players must be strong enough to fight a receiver for the ball, but not too heavy or slow.

How Many DB’s are in the NFL Hall of Fame?

The NFL Hall of Fame currently has 36 different defensive backs. These players are often essential to a football team and easy fan favorites since they can make game-changing plays.

Who Are Some of the Most Famous DB’s in the NFL Hall of Fame?

In the football hall of fame, Deion Sanders is one of the most notable cornerbacks. It’s no wonder he made it into the hall of fame with a nickname like “Primetime.”. On special teams, Sanders returned kicks and punts and intercepted 53 passes.

During his nearly 20-year career, Charles Woodson split his time between the Oakland Raiders and the Green Bay Packers. Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper share the NFL record for most defensive touchdowns during his storied career.

The Steelers’ fans loved watching Troy Polamalu attack the line of scrimmage during a blitz. He was able to jump over his defensive line to make aggressive plays that often caught offensive teams off guard. He stood out from the rest because of his style of play and his hair.

Lastly, Ed Reed helped the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLIII with two tackles during his career. As a coach after a long career on the field, he now works for the Miami Hurricanes in college football.

Conclusion: What is a DB in Football?

Due to their athletic ability, defensive backs are among the most popular football positions in American football. In order to prevent touchdowns, these players must be strong and fast. Keep an eye out for players in the defensive secondary during your next American Football game!

Leave a Comment