I named this simple appearing passing play Dart because those are exactly what your quarterback will be throwing when you run it: darts. The defense on the other hand may feel a bit like a dart board. Simple but extremely effective routes are organized into an easy, rapid read progression. The quarterback should almost never be forced to hold onto the ball for more than two full seconds, which both prevents negative plays and fully exploits out of position defenders.

Axe - Dart

As many of my short and medium range passing plays are, Dart is based around a quick slant pattern, run in this case by the left split end. The isolated position of this receiver makes this route ideal against man coverage, while the instant development of the route makes it great against blitzes. Heck, it even works pretty well against most zone coverages if the QB is willing to track the receiver and fire a hard pass between defenders. Likewise, the other three receiving routes are also nice and quick. The running back runs a swing into the open left flats, the right split end drags across the middle, and the flanker runs a route identical to the primary slant, but to the outside right corner instead of the inside left.

With its quick execution I like using Dart in situations where defenses will be playing tight, allowing only openings too small for longer, slower passes to get through without giving defenders a chance to react. I've found it quite effective at scoring touchdowns from about 8-12 yards out using the slant pattern. And although the routes are not very deep, the ability to hit most receivers running upfield and in stride gives Dart excellent ability to break longs gains off of easy completions.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 1yd
Left SE N6E6 (open)
RB Swing Left
TE Pass Block
Right Flanker N6E6 (open)
Right SE N2W2-W4 (open)

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

Read Progression

  1. Left SE quick slant
  2. RB swing
  3. Right SE short cross over middle
  4. Flanker quick corner

The read progression of Dart is simple and direct. Four reads are made simply scanning from left to right. Because of the short three-step drop of the QB the ball must be thrown to the first open receiver to prevent sacks, knockdowns or batted balls. It all starts with the primary route, the quick slant. With the left SE on the weakside of the formation this route should easily get open for about a 10 yard gain against man coverage, while the length of the route and the quickness of this first read should allow the QB to find gaps in zone coverage as well (at the possible expense of the timing of later reads due to locking in on one receiver for an extra half second or so).

Next look for the RB on the swing. Even if the initial slant does not get open there's a good chance it will clear out the coverage for this route. Third is the shallow crossing route by the right SE. This throw should be made as the receiver passes right in front of the center, both to keep the quick rhythm of the progression and to avoid congestion with the first two routes farther towards the left sideline, which may occur with a late throw. Finally comes the flanker quick corner pattern near the right sideline. This is the biggest variable in the play, because if the defense does not shift over to the strong side of the Axe formation this route may break open early against overmatched defenders by rubbing off of the crossing route.




Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.