5-2 Punisher - Mirage Blitz

...The quarterback scans the defense before the snap. Seeing the five man front he audibles "Red 32! Red 32!", changing the play to a pass. The ball is snapped, the QB take a short three step drop, thinking to fire a pass to his split end on a quick hitch hot read. But wait! A defensive tackle has dropped into the passing lane! The QB glances around but his vision is filled with defenders. The clock in his head ticking he looks for a running lane but cannot find one. A second later a defensive end sacks the QB despite being part of only a three man rush...

The scenario detailed above is one of the desirable outcomes of running Mirage Blitz. Your opponent will see a five man front, and five rushers is basically a blitz in the NFL even though in this case there are no "extra" rushers beyond defensive linemen. Your opponent will possibly audible to change the protection or ensure a hot read to throw to. This is just what you want because Mirage Blitz is a lot like many zone blitzes, except no linebackers join the attack. Eight defenders drop into coverage with two D-linemen taking away the passing lanes for short routes. Offenses thinking they can run on this play are also in for a nasty surprise. After getting a decent initial push against the three man rush the RB will more likely than not find nowhere to go, as the DTs dropping into zone maintain excellent gap control. Offensive linemen can have a difficult time in their blocking assignments because the defender they face backs off at the snap, leaving him unengaged and free to react to the run. Just don't expect many tackles for loss, instead giving up a lot of 1-3 yard gains.

Because Mirage requires the element of surprise it should not be used very often. If you expect pass and your opponent is not trying to hide it go with a more conventional pass defense. The reason is that while dropping back eight sounds great for coverage, once those big, lumbering D-linemen have done the job of taking away passing lanes for the hot reads they become fairly useless in carrying out more conventional zone assignments. The LBs will drift to the outsides while the DBs back off deep, potentially leaving a defensive tackle isolated in a 5 yard radius of open green. Not good. A QB who stays calm in the face of the never materializing pass rush can simply hold the ball, wait for the defense to spread out, and then fire the ball to a TE or back in the short middle against an overmatched lineman.

Player Assignments

Position Action
RE, Middle DT (DT #1), and LE Base
Right DT (DT #2) Hook Zone
Left DT (DT #3) Flats Zone Left
ROLB Flats Zone Right
MLB Curl Zone Left
SS Hook Zone
CBs and FS Deep Zone

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




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