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Houston Texans

What the heck is a 3-technique?

All we've been hearing since the Texans drafted Amobi Okoye is that he's a "3-technique" defensive lineman. For those of you who haven't played, coached, or otherwise studied the X's and O's of the greatest game in the land, I offer you this explanation from coach Dent, a Texans fan and football coach in Pennsylvania:

In a 4-3 defense, there are two interior defensive tackles. The inside technique, or 1-technique tackle generally plays on the inside shoulder of the weak side offensive guard, away from the tight end. The 3-technique tackle is the guy who plays on the outside shoulder of the strong side offensive guard on the same side as the tight end.

The 1-technique tackle is a heavier guy who plugs up the middle. He won't make many plays. His job is to swallow up double teams and allow the middle linebacker the ability to make plays. Your 3- technique is more of a playmaker. Defenses want their 3- technique to dominate. If he can, this forces the offensive tackle to come down and help out the guard and now your defensive end is on a tight end or a back and you have your mismatch.

Okoye will make Mario Williams a better player. His lack of size is not as much of an issue at the 3-technique as it would be in the 1-technique. Sam Adams, Tony Siragusa, and now Warren Sapp would be your prototypical 1-techniques. In his younger, more explosive and quicker days, Sapp was a 3-technique.

Thanks to Coach Dent for that primer on Defensive Tackle techniques. Maybe Anthony Weaver would like to chime in?

You can email Alan Burge at:

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