Rule 7 – Section 1 – Article 5 – Defensive Team Requirements
The defensive team requirements are as follows:
a. Each of the following (1-5) is a dead-ball foul. Officials should blow the whistle and not allow the play to continue. After the ball is ready for play and before the ball is snapped:
- No player may touch the ball except when moved illegally as in Rule 7-1-3-a-1, nor may any player contact an opponent or in any other way interfere with him. (A.R. 7-1-5:I-II)
- No player may enter the neutral zone threatening an offensive lineman and causing him to react immediately, or commit any other dead-ball offside foul (Rules 2-18-2 and 7-1-2-b-3 Exceptions). (A.R. 7-1-3:V) (A.R. 7-1-5:III)
- No player may cross the neutral zone and without making contact continue his charge toward any back.
PENALTY − [1-3] Dead ball foul, offside. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S18: DOF].
- Player(s) aligned in a stationary position within one yard of the line of scrimmage may not make quick, abrupt or exaggerated actions that are not part of normal defensive player movement. (A.R. 7-1-5:IV)
- No player shall use words or signals that disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play. No player may call defensive signals that simulate the sound or cadence of, or otherwise interfere with, offensive starting signals.
PENALTY − [4-5] Dead ball foul, delay of game. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S21: DOD].
b. When the snap starts:
- No player may be in or beyond the neutral zone at the snap.
- All players must be inbounds.
PENALTY − Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot [S18: DOF].