4-3 Barricade - Zone Stunt

My base plays in 4-3 Barricade are a bit on the conservative side, designed to be reliable down after down without much worry of blown assignment or unfilled run gaps. In contrast Zone Stunt is intended for situations where you need to shake things up, pressuring the QB in search of a sack or interception, or when your standard run defense isn't getting the job done and you need to gamble a bit to make a stop. Six defenders coming on an all out blitz with the ends and outside LBs stunting brings about as much heat as you'll find in the Monstrous Madden Playbook, and the moving zone assignments make good odds that a hurried pass could end up an intercepted pass.

The keys to the coverage are the flats zones played by each safety. These assignments bring the safeties down close and to the outside right after the snap, strafing directly through the passing lane for a slant or short post run by an outside WR. If the QB throws quickly in the face of the pass rush the safety can jump the route and pick it off going the other way. Over the top both CBs as well as the MLB drop deep to take away deep passes. While effective against straight up passing plays this pure zone coverage is vulnerable to play action. If any of the deep zone defenders gets caught flat footed by the play fake a receiver can slip behind him for a long completion or touchdown. Play action is a risk for the offense as well, because the intense pressure can often sack the QB before he gets a chance to look downfield. The other disadvantage is over the short middle. A TE will be able to run a short route such as a drag or curl underneath the MLB with deep zone responsibilities, often catching the ball just as the MLB turns to run deep.

While primarily designed against the pass, Zone Stunt can make some big tackles for loss against the run as well. Six attackers make it fairly sure that someone will get backfield penetration, the only problem is that the stunts make it quite possible that the penetration misses the ball carrier. The most vulnerable spots in the defensive front are right behind the offensive tackles; these blockers can trap the already inward blitzing DEs while the OLBs attack too wide, taking themselves out of the play. Zone Stunt is quite good shutting down tosses and sweeps, and gets good penetration right up the middle to stuff straight-ahead dives.

Player Assignments

Position Action
RE and LOLB Blitz Left
DTs Blitz Middle
LE and ROLB Blitz Right
MLB and CBs Deep Zone
SS Flats Zone Left
FS Flats Zone Right

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




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