Safeties are distinguished from other defensive players by their positioning: they line up nearer the back, behind the front line of scrimmage. Because of this, their role consists mainly of tackling, with safeties being well known as hard hitters. They have also been known, especially in recent times, to cover receivers. There are two varieties of the safety position in a typical defensive formulation: the free safety and the strong safety, the roles of which are outlined below.
Free safetyOf the two types of safety, the free safety is generally smaller and lighter. His role usually consists of staying back until the play gets going and following the ball. The free safety should stay near the receiver in order to cover for him when the time comes. Players on the offensive team often try to draw the free safety closer to the line in order to prevent a long run.
Free safeties are also responsible for the blitz (first caused by famous player Larry Wilson), where the free safety attacks from defence unexpectedly.
Strong safetyUnlike the free safety, the strong safety is often well built, suitable for defending against the corresponding strong side of the offensive team (i.e. where the tight end is). The main job of the strong safety is to stop a run occurring from the offensive side by playing closer to the line. The strong safety is also a good cover for the running back(s) or the fullback.
Scoring a Safety
In American football, the safety or safety touch (Canadian football) is a scoring play that results in two points (or, in rare cases, one point) being awarded to the scoring team. Safeties can be scored in a number of ways, such as when a ball carrier is tackled in his own end zone or when a foul is committed by the offense in their own end zone. After a safety is scored in American football, the ball is kicked off to the team that scored the safety from the 20-yard line;