Scepter is a great medium to long range passing play that emphasizes the #1 wideout lined up in the left slot. All four left side receivers run crossing routes in a star cluster pattern, throwing off any man coverage. Defenses that have to face Scepter more than a couple times will be forced to play zone or bump coverage against Dynamo to prevent the slant out pattern from simply abusing the defensive backfield. Whether the defense goes man or zone, the depth the receivers get can open up some big running lanes for a good running quarterback. Even lead-footed QBs may be able to pick up an occasional easy 5 yards if they keep their eyes open.

Dynamo - Scepter

Besides the devastating slant out pattern, Scepter's other key routes are the slant in and iso streak. The isolated right split end has a great chance at getting single coverage deep, especially if the defense goes with a more traditional Dime rather than Quarters coverage. The slant in route does the dirty work of making the tough but critical catches to the inside. This puts a bit of pressure on the #5 receiver position, but with the starters getting the earlier key reads and drawing the top coverage any capable player should be able to handle it. Two more streak routes round out the play. These are best for drawing coverage away from the in and out slant routes, but can make for good secondary options if the coverage breaks down. If only one safety has to cover both routes a well placed throw to an open spot can make a good jump ball play, especially for the trailing receiver. The SE in the lead is a good quick option if the DBs play tight during a blitz.

While Scepter eats up man coverage, other schemes can cause fairly serious problems. Bump coverage is risky for a defense because the primary slant routes may slip through unhindered. Sometimes though, the left SE and another route will be bumped, jamming up all four left side receivers. If any pressure is brought this can spell disaster: no open receivers (the right SE is probably jammed too), no time, and nowhere to run with a bunch of defenders close to the line of scrimmage. Zone coverages won't stop an accurate and decisive QB, but will allow a bit more time for the defensive rush to create pressure, may take away the slant out pattern, and will be in good position to deflect or intercept bad throws.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 2yd
Left Outside Flanker N4E6 (open)
Left SE 25yd Streak
Left Inside Flanker N6W6 (open)
Left Rear Flanker 25yd Streak
Right SE 25yd Streak

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

Read Progression

  1. Right SE streak
  2. Left SE streak
  3. Left inside flanker slant out
  4. Left outside flanker slant in
  5. Left rear flanker streak

Though I like to advocate well planned read progressions (counting when modified at the line to attack specific weaknesses), Scepter is a play that a QB can shoot from the hip with. With every route run in a straight line precision timing to match the ball's release with a receiver's break is not an issue. Routes are run to most parts of the field, so being able to pick out soft spots to target may be more important than following each route directly. The QB also has only a short time to work with due to no blocking help, so finding the first good opening is critical to success.

Scepter starts with the right SE streak. This should be singled against most man coverages, watch for the cornerback's first step to read the coverage and place the ball where only the WR can get to it. Next is the left SE streak. No matter the defensive formation, all the receivers to this side will attract a lot of coverage in a hurry so this route can have difficulty getting open. A quick throw can burn tight coverage, while a deep rainbow can go for six if the DBs are stretched thin. Third is my favorite route, the slant out. This one has to get through the crossing section cleanly to be effective, put just enough arc to get the ball over and zone CBs or LBs and place to the outside, just keep it in bounds. I like to run this play most often from the right hash marks to make this throw easier. Fourth is the slant in. Watch the LB in zone coverages here, and wait for the receiver to find an open spot against zones. Quicker throws can work against confused CBs in man coverage. The trailer streak is last. Throw this against a zone when the free safety plays behind the deeper SE.




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