This formation expands on my team speed philosophy on defense, in part to help make up for the fact that Strike Nickel is something of a situational rather than every down defense. Edge Nickel is a little more general purpose, and together these defensive sets will allow clever coaches to attack offenses and force turnovers with speed while remaining steady against runs and deep passes. If you like playing tight, aggressive defense then Edge Nickel may be a very nice fit for your team, as well as a major source of headaches for opposing offenses.
The unique feature of the Edge Nickel formation is how close every player lines up to the line of scrimmage. After the front four, the linebackers and every defensive back except for the free safety line up no more than 3 yards off of the line of scrimmage. The FS only lines up about 5 yards deep. Putting nine men in the box means that despite being a bit undersized compared to traditional 4-3 and 3-4 base defensive sets Edge Nickel is very tough against the run. Because this deployment would seem to be naturally vulnerable to passes downfield a wide variety of deep zone coverages are used to prevent breakdowns. Occasional mishaps may still happen, but these should be balanced by creating stifling pressure, stuffing the run, and the ability to create deflected passes and interceptions.
For all practical purposes the defense is designed as if it used three safeties (two strong and one free). In actuality I make the right side SS the third cornerback because most teams seem to have a little more depth at CB than at safety, especially SS. The rest of the defense uses standard personnel. I will use the CB #3 designation when describing individual player assignments, but in general I will describe this group as three safeties.
My most steady and overall balanced Edge Nickel play. Though the coverages don't really appear so, the play is designed somewhat to misdirect the opposition, defending the long ball very well in a tight formation that would appear vulnerable to deep passes. Edge Nickel's natural spread also makes this play impervious to most outside runs.
A gambler's play against the pass. The interior six defenders blitz straight upfield while the four outside DBs form a canopy of coverage to protect the sidelines and deep middle. The FS is given the large task of covering the underneath middle all by himself, but with a fierce pass rush he shouldn't be exposed for too long.
Solid against both the run and the pass, Double Flat Blitz brings a solid defensive rush without exposing too many vulnerabilities. Excellent at shutting down runs to the outside and pressuring QBs into picks.
The safety blitz connoisseur's delight. The free safety blitzes up the middle in the stock version, or take manual control and use some liberal repositioning and D-line audibles to create a huge number of attacking combinations. Offenses will be forced out of rhythm, worrying about protection instead of focusing on attack.
Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.