I've frequently heard of the 'Dime Package' in football.

I know the nickel package but don't get with the dime is.

Can someone explain the dime package and under what circumstances that it should be utilized?

1 Answer 1


The biggest difference is in the number of Defensive Backs on the field for the play, and you would use the dime defense to prevent the mid to longer range passes. A couple of explanations below will help clarify it for you. While it is great in the pass game, it does leave the defense susceptible to the run.

In American football, the dime defense is a defensive alignment that uses six defensive backs. It is usually employed in obvious passing situations. The formation usually consists of six defensive backs, usually two safeties, and four cornerbacks, and has either four down linemen and one linebacker, or three down linemen and two linebackers. This formation is used to prevent the offense from completing a medium- to long-range pass play. This may be because the offense's running game is inefficient, time is an issue, or they need a long pass for a first down. It is also used against teams whose pass to run ratio predominantly favors pass. The formation, however, is vulnerable to running plays as the formation is missing two linebackers, or a linebacker and a down lineman.

A dime defense differs from the nickel defense – from which it derives its name – in that it adds a sixth defensive back to the secondary. This sixth defensive back is called a "dimeback" (D).

Dime Defense

The dime defense is a basic defensive formation that is designed to stop the pass. The alignment generally features either four down lineman, one linebacker, and six defensive backs or three down lineman, two linebackers, and six defensive backs.

If you take a look at the illustration above, you will see a diagram outlining the dime defense. The Os in the diagram represent offensive players while the Xs represent the placement of the defensive players.

In this particular dime formation, there are four linemen on the line of scrimmage (imaginary line seperating the offense and defense). You have two defensive ends (DE), one on each end of the line, and two defensive tackles (DT) in between. Behind the defensive line is one linebacker (LB).

Two cornerbacks (CB), one nickel back (NB), and one dime back (DB) combine with two safeties to cover the defensive backfield. The exact position of the defensive backs depends on the type of pass coverage they are in.


Source 2

  • That's a 'next level' answer. Out of votes until UTC clock flip. +1
    – Citizen
    Jan 27, 2016 at 20:07

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