THE FRONT SEVEN
By Greg A. Bedard and Daigo Fujiwara | Globe Staff
Typically, the front seven defensive players in The Box (within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and the offensive tackles) are in the formation of 4-3 or 3-4.
In a 4-3 defense, there are four down linemen (two tackles and two defensive ends) at the line of scrimmage and three linebackers (middle, strongside, and weakside). In a 3-4, there are three linemen (a nose tackle and two defensive ends) and four linebackers (two inside linebackers, two outside). The Patriots have been mainly using a 3-4 defense for the last few years but it is likely that they will mix in the 4-3 more this season.