March 27, 2020

The football positions guide: who does what?

What do diehard season members, casual stadium visitors and unconditional living room supporters have in common? They all share a love for our Alouettes and for the sport of football.

What can vary from one enthusiast to the other, however, is their level of knowledge about the ins and outs of the game. There’s a wide spectrum of fans between the guy or girl who’s able to call every single rule, penalty and who honestly believes they could lead the team because they know each play by heart. Oh, and le’ts not forget the one who really isn’t too certain about what’s happening but sure loves the action!

Understanding each player’s role on the field can help to get a better grasp of the game and make it even more exciting, which is why we prepared this comprehensive football positions guide.

    OFFENCE

  • The quarterback (Vernon Adams Jr.) – We start with the easiest: he leads the offence and calls the plays. He communicates the play call to his team during the huddle. He initiates the action and can decide if he wants to pass the ball to a receiver, hand it to a running back or carry the call himself.
  • The ball carriers are often very agile and quick players that are placed behind the offensive line. They are ready to get handed the ball from the quarterback. Once they have possession, they must carry the ball and try to advance as much as possible.
    • The running back (James Wilder Jr.) is often the designated ball carrier. He is responsible for running upfield to gain as much yardage as he can and attempting to get through the opponent’s defence. He is a very versatile player as he must also be able to catch, block and even throw a pass when need be.
    • The fullback (Spencer Moore) tends to be taller and stronger than the running back. His responsibility is primarily to block, but he can also receive passes or carry the ball, just like the running back.
  • The receivers usually start in the backfield on either side of the O-line, a few feet away. There are two different positions:
    • The wide receiver (Eugene Lewis) is the furthest away from the ball. He runs a predetermined route downfield to end up in a specific position to receive a pass from the quarterback. In some cases, he must block the defensive backs or linebackers to protect his running back. They’re mostly known as pass-catching specialists.
    • The tight end (Jake Wieneke) has a similar role to the wide receiver, but also has some of the qualities of a running back. He is positioned alongside the tackle on the offensive line, a few feet behind where the wide receiver would be. He can be as far as five feet away from the line of scrimmage.
  • The offensive line designates the five players on the line of scrimmage, whose responsibilities consist primarily of protecting the quarterback against the opponent’s defence and of creating an opening for the ball carrier to pass through. These guys are usually the biggest, the tallest and the heaviest. They cannot receive forward passes nor can they move forward downfield. They must wear a number between 50 and 69. Offensive line players are categorized into three categories:
    • The centre (Kristian Matte) “snaps” (passes) the ball to the quarterback between his legs at the beginning of each play
    • The guards (Trey Rutherford) are placed on either side the centre
    • The offensive tackles (Tony Washington) are positioned on either side of the guards.

    DEFENCE

  • The defensive line is the first barrier of defence, lining up directly on the line of scrimmage, facing the opposite team’s offensive line. Their job is to stop the opponent’s quarterback to prevent him from finishing a play or to tackle the ball carrier coming through the line, depending on the situation.
  • The linebackers, as their name indicates, back the first line of defence. There are usually three or four on the field and their job is to block any ball carriers who have been able to get through the first defensive barrier. They may also attempt to tackle the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage (quarterback sack).
  • We find two types of linebackers:

  • The defensive backs are the last and final obstacle of the team’s defence and are positioned quite a few feet behind the line of scrimmage. There can be classified into different positions:
    • The two cornerbacks (Najee Murray) start closest to the sidelines.
    • The two other defensive backs (Greg Reid) position themselves next to the cornerbacks, but slightly closer to the middle of the field.
    • The safety (Taylor Loffler) is considered a center fielder and is the last line of the defence as he stands behind the other defensive backs. He is used as the last resort to defend.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    In addition to the positions mentioned above, we have our special teams’ players that come on the field during field goals, punts and kickoffs

  • The kicker or punter (Tyler Crapigna)
  • The long snapper (Martin Bédard) “snaps” the ball to the kicker for punts or field goal attempts
  • The return specialist (Mario Alford)