Edge Nickel - Canopy Blitz

Canopy Blitz is designed for coordinators who don't mind gambling a bit on passing downs, particularly with 10 or more yards to go. Four DBs drop back into curl and deep zones, forming the canopy shape the play is named after. The defensive linemen and linebackers all blitz straight ahead, pressuring the quarterback in hopes of a sack or errant early throw while the deep receiving routes are still developing. Underneath routes to tight ends, wide receiver crosses and running backs in the flats are allowed fairly easy completions on the premise that these passes will only achieve short gains, due to the outside cornerbacks in position to make tackles on the outside and the free safety patrolling the medium-deep middle.

Though primarily intended to stop medium to deep passing plays Canopy Blitz is also fairly good against the run. Six middle blitzes go a good job filling all primary gaps across the line of scrimmage. Pitches and sweeps to the outside have a very difficult time getting around the spread linebackers and close safeties, and are often tackled for a loss. Runs up the middle can be more dangerous; getting past the six blitzers is not trivial but a good blocking double team can expose the lack of depth between the D-line and LBs and punch a hole through to the secondary. Like all Edge Nickel plays, the closeness of every defender to the line of scrimmage means that a quick burst followed by a missed or broken tackle or two can mean a long touchdown run, so be careful choosing when to use this play. The best prevention against big runs is to shift the D-line and LBs to match up with the offensive blockers. Pull the line in tight to prevent runs up the middle, and spread things out to prevent pitches or sweeps, as well as create better pressure and containment of the QB.

Possibly the greatest vulnerability of this play is the quick pass right up the seams. While late throws deep or to the sides are well covered by the zone defenders, a quick throw that hits the receiver running straight upfield in stride may catch the DBs back-pedaling into their zone coverages flat footed. The most likely attack is a quick streak, post or slant that is caught just in front of or to the inside of the CB, possibly forcing the safety playing over the top and to the inside to make a TD saving tackle. A completed corner route would have a better chance of running away from the safety but would be an extremely dangerous throw for the QB, needing to thread the ball between two defenders. This is what really makes Canopy Blitz a gambler's play: the DBs are in as good of positions to read the ball and make an interception as they are to get burned by a quick seam route. This just means that Canopy Blitz takes guts to attack as well as to run, so keep the tendencies of your opponent in mind when calling this play.

Player Assignments

Position Action
D-Line and LBs Blitz Middle
Right Outside CB (CB #2) Curl Zone Right
Left CB (CB #1) Curl Zone Left
FS Hook Zone
Right Slot CB and SS Deep Zone

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




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