Edge Nickel - Cover 2 Short

Cover 2 Short is one for all of the Maddeners out there who love their user controlled blitzes. I normally let the CPU manage blitzing while I hang back controlling a linebacker or safety, but with this play I control the blitzing free safety at least 90% of the time. The main reason is that manual control of the FS combined with audible shifts of the defensive line make for a huge number of possible blitz matchups, giving this play great flexibility. The play in its default form is fairly effective, blitzing the FS directly at the center and forcing each offensive lineman to block one-on-one, but the best matchups in my opinion are made by shifting players around. Spreading the D-line and occupying either outside tackle with the FS and allowing the defensive end an uncontested rush around the outside is one way, shifting the D-line to the strong side and using the FS as a speed rusher around the unprotected weakside is another, and shifting both the D-line and moving the FS to a single side to overwhelm one of the offensive tackles is a favorite of mine. Some of these techniques create weaknesses in the defensive front, but as long as the techniques are varied and sprung on the offense late in the play clock your opponent will always be one step behind, adjusting his protections instead of looking for ways to attack.

This play is derived from 3 Deep Close, with the FS blitz being the only change in assignment, so its coverage characteristics are fairly similar. Two cornerbacks and two LBs play man so all primary receivers will be covered. A running back may occasionally sneak out of the backfield, but in most cases the blitz should force a quick enough throw that the DBs will be up close enough to make a quick play on these flats and swing routes. The two hybrid slot CBs/strong safeties in deep zone coverage will provide decent protection against most deep pass plays, but most INTs will need to be created by rushed throws rather than the blanket coverage 3 Deep Close provides. If the blitz is picked up short throws over the middle zone vacated by the FS will cause some damage, so be sure you know how to get the most out of the blitz before bringing this play into battle. QB scrambles can be a problem, but most of the time you should flush them out of the pocket and force runs the long way outside instead of getting easy yards up the middle (except when you take your FS far from his natural middle blitz position).

When playing against human opponents be sure to fake the FS blitz with other Edge Nickel plays so that your opponent can't be sure when this play is actually coming. Moving the D-line around before the snap on other plays will also help disguise your intentions. If you don't normally like controlling the FS manually this can be a disadvantage to the play, but as long as you don't overuse it Cover 2 Short can be effective even if the defense sees it coming. After all, any time you can get your opponent to alter their plans at the last moment you're limiting their options, and if they make an adjustment that might neutralize your blitz you can always use manual control to take the FS into a simple short zone/QB spy/RB spy coverage, effectively complimenting the man coverage underneath while retaining a steady four man pass rush.

Player Assignments

Position Action
D-Line Base
Right Outside CB (CB #2) Man WR2
Left CB (CB #1) Man WR1
Right Slot CB and SS Deep Zone
FS Blitz Middle

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




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