What Is A Sam Linebacker In Football?

quarterback sack, american football, action-1579978.jpg

What Is A Sam Linebacker?

A Sam linebacker in football is a player who lines up on the strong side of the formation, typically opposite the tight end. The responsibilities of a Sam linebacker vary depending on the defensive scheme but typically include stopping the run and covering the flats in passing situations.

Responsibilities Of The Sam Linebacker

They are responsible for setting the edge against the run and covering tight ends and running backs in pass coverage. In a 3-4 defense, they will line up outside the defensive line and are responsible for blitzing, covering receivers, and stopping the run.

The term “Sam” comes from “strongside,” as the strongside is the side of the formation with the tight end. “Sam” can also be used to refer to the position itself, as in “He’s our Sam linebacker.”

Typical Athletic Requirements 

The physical requirements of this position are quite demanding, as it requires players to have above-average strength, speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, and quickness. The ideal height range for a SAM linebacker is between 6’0″ and 6’5″, while the weight should be between 220 – 240 lbs depending on their body type and frame size.

Regarding speed, 40-yard dash times should be around 4.7 seconds or faster, while vertical jumps should exceed 30 inches or higher. Players should also have the good hand-eye coordination to catch passes if needed or swat away balls thrown by opposing quarterbacks during blitzes or pass coverage situations.

Where Do They Lineup?

The answer is that it depends on the formation of the other team’s offense. In most cases, the Sam linebacker will line up on the strong side of the formation, which is the side with more offensive players. However, if the other team has a lot of wide receivers, Sam might line up on the weak side to help cover them.

Qualities Of A Good SAM Linebacker

Big and Strong: As a Sam linebacker, you’ll be responsible for taking on offensive linemen and fullbacks head-on. You need to be big enough to take them on and strong enough to shed their blocks.

Fast and Agile: You must be fast and agile enough to pursue ball carriers from sideline to sideline. Hit the track and work on your speed and agility drills.

Be Smart: You need to be able to read offenses and make quick decisions. Watch film, learn your opponents’ tendencies, and study the game of football.

Leader: Be vocal on the field, and inspire your teammates with your play.

Good Work Ethic: Watch film hit the weight room, and do whatever it takes to get better.

Coachable: Listen to your coaches and take their advice. They know what it takes to be successful at this level.

Mentally Tough: Football is a mental game as well as a physical one. You need to be able to stay calm and focused in the heat of the moment. If you can keep your composure, you’ll be able to make big plays when the game is on the line.


To summarize, A SAM linebacker plays an important role on the defensive side of football by providing support against both running backs and receivers and being ready for blitzing when necessary.

They need to possess superior athletic abilities, including strength, speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, quickness, and sound mental skills to anticipate what might happen next on the field. If you thrive under pressure, this could be an ideal position if you have what it takes physically and mentally.