3-4 Assault - Flats Slammer

Most of the time I design my defensive plays to be general purpose. I try to avoid too many situation specific plays and concentrate on plays that give different looks while being useful several times during a single game. However, sometimes an opponent may be really getting under your skin by successfully working a certain type of route or technique repeatedly. This may not necessarily be a particular play being used over and over again, but may be a signature style that a player has honed to great effectiveness. In my case my signature offensive techniques would probably be quick slants and swing passes. On offense I like to take what the defense gives me, so if the defense plays against the long ball I'm very content to complete short, quick passes underneath, in the flats and over the short middle. I decided it might be very useful to come up with a devensive play specifically to counter these techniques. Flats Slammer does part of the job, designed to neutralize flats and swing passes while doing a pretty good job against wide receiver quick slants to boot.

Flats Slammer won't completely take these routes away, but will force your opponent to make some very good throws and get good pass protection to use them. Slant passes can be squeezed between the outside linebacker in flats coverage and the middle linebacker in hook zone coverage, though that's about it. Immediate throws off of a one step drop will be batted away by the outside LB if not intercepted. Running back swing patterns can still cause problems if the quarterback is given a lot of time to throw. Although the outside LBs are in great position for passes to RBs at or behind the line of scrimmage, once the back is able to turn upfield along the sidelines it may be too much to ask the LB to stay with him, causing problems if the cornerback to the same side is pulled far away in his man coverage assignment. This area behind the flats zone coverage is also vulnerable to corner and out routes run by the interior receivers, such as tight ends,with no man coverage. I like using mixes of man and zone coverages quite a bit but these vulnerable areas are the price that is paid. Just don't overuse any such play, exposing these soft spots, and you should be all right.

Against the run Flats Slammer is adequate but not spectacular. Although both outside LBs spread out into flats zones, with a quick handoff they won't get outside quickly or very far and can be trapped inside by a blocking tight end. If the offense puts a lot of power to one side (e.g. TE and FB to same side, or TE motioned to same side as other TE) be sure to compensate by shifting the LBs to that side, or possibly spreading them out if your opponent like to run counters or pass plays out of run looks. Shifting the down linemen doesn't do much good. Inside runs should not bust for too many long gains but will often achieve 4-5 yards, particularly to the side of the hook zone LB. Likewise, with only four attackers the pass rush is decent but not great. Be sure to mix in some five man rushes to keep the opposing offense guessing and help disguise the coverages.

Player Assignments

Position Action
D-Line Base
ROLB Flats Zone Right
RILB Hook Zone
LILB Blitz Middle
LOLB Flats Zone Left
Right CB (CB #2) Man WR2
Left CB (CB #1) Man WR1
SS and FS Deep Zone

See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.




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